March 7, 2021

What’s the difference between Magento Community Edition & Magento Enterprise Edition?

Dr Peter Mowforth

Magento, the world’s most popular choice for those who are serious about ecommerce, comes in a community and an enterprise version. Here’s a guide to help make the right choice for your business.

Costs

With Magento EE the most popular Gold support version of EE costs $22,000 a year. Basic support starts from $18,000 annually. Platinum support costs an additional 20%. More importantly, the license fee increases with your turnover. For example, if your ecommerce sales are $100 million then the license fee will increase to around $250,000 a year.Most Magento extensions are more expensive for the EE than the CE.A final factor impacting costs is that with EE, website owners have to regularly upgrade to the latest version of Magento in order to continue with support. Complete website rebuilds are expensive.Magento CE is free.

Extensions

There are over 1,700 extensions for Magento. Several are free, most cost less than $100 while some can cost several thousand dollars. While the extensions are free, you need to factor in (a) install and integration costs and (b) support costs.It’s been estimated that to provide CE with the same level of functionality as EE, you need to add in around 60 extensions (ref). In practice this is less because you should only add in those extensions that are needed for your business. If you only need 10 extensions then this may be possible within 20 - 30 hours of work.Many extensions are compatible with both CE and EE. It should be noted that, with many extensions, prices and support costs are higher for EE than for CE integration.After the launch of Magento 2, licenses for new Magento 1 Enterprise Edition stores will no longer be available.

Upgrades

Businesses that are currently using Magento 1 EE have been told that support by Magento will cease on 18th November 2018. Migrating to Magento 2 EE will involve a complete website rebuild.Magento CE users are not forced to upgrade to Magento 2. We are aware of current new-build CE projects being carried out using Magento 1. This is happening because when the decision was made, essential extensions may not have been available.While support for EE version 1 will end next year, we suspect that there will still be significant numbers of CE version 1 in 3 years time. The reasons are that:

  1. CE version 1 is currently by far the most popular version.
  2. Just upgrading to CE version 2 will not increases ecommerce sales. If you have money to invest to grow the business then it’s likely to be better spent on marketing (which will increase sales).
  3. Some extensions or functionality in version 2 may not work or may contain bugs

Performance & Functionality

There are no major differences once necessary extensions have been added to the CE site. However, having many of the key extensions (page cashing (Varnish) etc) already integrated and supported does make things easier for the developer. Shero (ref) claims that there are some small differences, namely:

  • EE runs very slightly faster.
  • Split database (only currently available for EE) allows greater scalability.
  • Usage of MySql Cluster.
  • Better JS organization (faster JS calls).
  • Job Queue Mechanism.
  • Deferred Inventory Updates, which indicates a faster checkout process.

Most of these points ultimately translate to having a website that will be just a little bit faster. If that is the main difference then spending just a little bit more of the website hosting will allow you to claw back most of what differentiates the two.

Support

If you are an Enterprise business and particularly if your in-house development team is severely stretched then having EE Magento support can be a major safety net for a business-critical ecommerce system.There is no support from Magento for the CE version. If you are a business that has engaged an agency to build your CE website then they are the ones best placed to support and maintain your project. The agency, it turn, will make use of the extensive community of agencies and developers world-wide along with the numerous online sources for training, help and assistance.

Hosting

Magento offers it’s own cloud edition servers to support Enterprise-level solutions.INDEZ was one of the first companies worldwide to attempt to use it. After six months with an EE Magento 2 application, we moved away and back onto a traditional server network. The reasons were:

  1. Magento cloud edition was slower than a conventional server setup.
  2. Support services were poor.
  3. Key elements of code and code extensions behaved differently on the cloud servers. This meant that the system was taking much longer to develop and complete (it added around 4.5 months to the project and involved a lot of out-of-spec additional work.
  4. System updates meant the site being offline - not the case with a standard setup.
  5. Costs were higher than with traditional hosting.

Agency Bias

Some agencies actively promote Enterprise Edition. The reasons are:

  1. The agency gets kick-back commission fees for selling them.
  2. The agency is actively marketed by Magento and is given sales leads.

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