Magento Enterprise or Magento Community: Which is for you?

Written by Emily on May 4, 2018

It’s the age-old question, “What version of Magento should I be using, Enterprise or Community?”, and it can be tricky for those pondering the e-commerce platform to decide which is best for their business.

Initial searches for comparisons of the editions show the Enterprise Edition to be the superstar, and what appears to be its lesser counterpart – the Community Edition – is overlooked. But don’t let these comparisons fool you.

Yes, the Enterprise edition of Magento is the most sought after. It is the premium paid version of Magento, backed by the Magento team and subscribers get full support direct from Magento by phone or email. But it comes at quite a hefty cost, with a large licensing fee plus an additional cost per server. Unless your business is turning over £10m online, this option could be out of your price range.

Magento Community edition (CE) is a free, open-source e-commerce platform that anyone can download and use to build an online store. BUT, put it in the hands of an experienced full-stack developer and you’ve got a platform equally as great as Enterprise – especially if you’re working with Magento certified developers.

This certification is a badge of honour, and is a mark of approval from Magento that the awarded developer knows their stuff. Seek a certified Magento web developer, and you’ll find that your e-commerce store on the CE has an endless amount of possibilities.

Now we dive into the nitty-gritty details that separate Enterprise and Community editions, and try to dispel any concerns over the Community edition.

What are the similarities between the editions?

Both Enterprise and Community editions of Magento are open source platforms, they have the same core features and are part of the same Magento ecosystem. The Magento ecosystem is Magento Connect, the extension marketplace that both editions can utilise for integrating apps and enhancing functionality.

They provide both B2B and B2C merchants a variety of tools and freedom to create e-commerce sites bespoke to their specifications and needs. Its flexibility and scalability is what’s most appealing, because it can be tailored specifically to individual businesses; whether they’re a Microenterprise, an SME or a Large enterprise.

Another similarity between the editions is that they both allow the usage of web servers API to integrate different databases.

The main and greatest differences between the editions:

#1, Cost
Magento Community Edition is free. The Enterprise Edition is not.

#2, Security
Magento CE isn’t out-of-the-box PCI compliant. But your payment gateway is, dissolving this issue since your payment gateway will handle all credit card processing.

#3, Performance
Magento EE offers full page caching, which lets you serve a cached version of your webpage instantly that doesn’t slow down even if you’re experiencing server issues. There’s also optimised indexing that automates indexing tasks, reducing the need to perform a full re-index.

However, CE’s performance can be optimised and full page caching can be implemented. Modules can be integrated to provide these functions to a CE website.

#4, Advanced Features
These EE features allow for a more sophisticated e-commerce experience. They include credit features, multiple wishlists, rewards, as well as private and flash sale capabilities. But again, these features can be achieved on CE via various third party services and modules. Though, it is in your website’s best interest not to overload it with too many modules.

Available features in CE include related products, upsells and cross-sells, voucher codes, tiered product pricing, bundled products, customer wishlists, persistent cart etc. already.

#5, Support
Magento CE only offers community-based support, dissimilar to EE with Magento’s 24/7 tech support. However, some basic problem-solving research or a call to your agency/developer to fix any issues is the alternative. You’ll also find that some agencies offer dedicated support contracts that have a higher-tier of support, usually 24/7 for emergencies.

The bottom line

For some businesses and websites, Enterprise makes sense. Having a dedicated Magento developer take care of your needs, with 24/7 tech support is the dream. But so is having a certified Magento developer take care of your website.

For our clients, Community is the most practical choice. Whilst EE has some great additional functionality, if it’s not going to be utilised then there’s no need to be paying for them, especially since most features can be integrated with CE.

Building modules and integrating third party services comes natural to a Magento certified developer, meaning any required functions or integrations can be applied. You may find that as your website grows more capabilities will be required, and that’s ok, they can be added gradually as and when they’re needed.

If you’re still undecided, think about the features and capabilities your e-commerce store needs and create a list. Then, research how Magento EE or CE can meet those needs. If you’re unsure, or can’t find the answers you’re looking for please drop us a line. Our certified Magento developer would be happy to help!