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Which Platform: Magento Open Source or Magento Commerce?

The Best Magento Version for Your Business

Available in three flavours, the Magento e-commerce eco-system is a compelling choice for small and enterprise merchants alike. From supporting the first steps into the world of e-commerce for online newbies to powering multi-store, global businesses like Nike, Canon, Made and Kurt Geiger, Magento is a proven and highly adaptable system that boasts fertile developer support and unlimited opportunities for customisation. In fact, the only thing you have to decide to begin your e-commerce journey is which platform version to choose: Magento Open Source, Magento Commerce or Magento Commerce Pro.

Choosing Your Magento Version

With three versions available (although in reality Commerce and Commerce Pro are different configurations of the same thing), getting started with the right version of Magento is clearly going to be important for the future growth of your business. Let’s take a look at what each version offers and what the costs might look like, before we get into recommending the right system for you.

Where Beagles Dare!

Formerly top Magento-powered merchants in the cycling industry, Where Beagles Dare! is an e-commerce agency offering retail-tested Magento consulting, design & development services for growth-focused businesses.

The most widely used Magento platform, formerly referred to as Magento Community Edition 1 or 2, now re-named Magento Open Source. This version is free to download, self-hosted, fully customisable and supported by a vast and active community of developers, store owners and marketers. 

For small to medium businesses, Open Source is an excellent choice with which to build and grow an e-commerce business. Not only does it include an incredible array of features as standard, but within the Magento community there exists a world of apps (in Magento parlance, Extensions) that can replicate and sometimes better features that exist in Commerce/Pro.

The danger of paid plans is they sometimes make free versions seem like poor relations. However, having used Magento Open Source for the past three years in a successful, market-leading store, we can honestly say that it lacks for nothing, and can happily cater for business turning over up to $5 million a year before a need to take out a paid Commerce edition might arise. 

Formerly referred to as Magento Enterprise, the Commerce platform builds upon the solid base of Open Source but adds many enhancements that extend various areas of operation. Most significantly, Commerce provides a PaaS – Platform-as-a-service (PaaS) based production, staging, and development environments optimised for Magento – in plain English, Magento hosts the store for you.

Stand-out software enhancements include an inbuilt loyalty program, improved search function, advanced marketing, and more productive order and content management tools. But are any of Commerce’s software features reason enough to take the plunge? Yes and no. While you can narrow the gap between Open Source and Commerce with 3rd party extensions, there is a lot to be said for the simplicity and cohesion of a single system.

The crux of the decision to use Commerce over Open Source could well come down to server costs and associated time savings that the Commerce subscription affords. 

Commerce Pro takes things up a notch, with a bolstered, dedicated hardware setup to provide what Magento call “enterprise-grade reliability and availability”. On top of the hardware upgrade, Commerce Pro also includes the Business Intelligence Essentials analytics package, and a dedicated launch manager to oversee technical account management from sign up to go-live.

Such is the monthly cost of Pro, only large e-commerce stores, possibly blending physical outlets and multi-location warehousing will be able to realise its potential. Arguably, this pre-qualification makes Commerce Pro the easiest of all Magento versions to recommend. 

Magento Price Comparison Table

Comparison tables usually throw everything at you, so instead of listing every feature, in our table you’ll find key areas where each version differs. Pricing has the potential to confuse, so for a real-world price comparison, we show an estimated cost for a 16 CPU / 15 Gig RAM Google Cloud server to run the free to use Open Source edition.

Open Source

$ 350 (est. cost of self-hosted server)*
  • Order Management
  • Site & Content Management
  • Catalog Management
  • Magento Shipping
  • Magento Social Connector

Commerce

$ 2000 (starting price, monthly)
  • Cloud Hosting & Deployment
  • 24x7 Email Support
  • Customer Segmentation, Personalization
  • Loyalty Program
  • Dynamic Rule-Based Product Relations
  • Content Staging and Preview
  • Visual Merchandising
  • Elasticsearch
  • Advanced Site and Content Management
  • Advanced Order Management

Commerce Pro

$ 3417 (starting price, monthly)
  • Cloud Hosting & Deployment
  • 24x7 Email Support
  • Customer Segmentation, Personalization
  • Loyalty Program
  • Dynamic Rule-Based Product Relations
  • Content Staging and Preview
  • Visual Merchandising
  • Elasticsearch
  • Advanced Site and Content Management
  • Advanced Order Management
  • Business Intelligence
  • High availability infrastructure
  • Dedicated hardware
  • Dedicated launch manager

If you’re looking to build an e-commerce store on the Magento platform, please do drop us a line. With years of experience as a Magento retailer, we are well-positioned to know what goes into creating a successful, customer-retaining business. From the technical aspects to Magento e-commerce design, through to finding a space in a crowded market, we’re sure that we can be of service on your next adventure.