Update April 2018: Magento rebranded and updated their product names in 2017. Specifically, Magento Community Edition is now known as Magento Open Source and Magento Enterprise is now known as Magento Commerce. Since the original posting of this article, more features have been included for both versions via several released updates. To read the most up-to-date information on Magento Commerce and Open Source editions, please visit this article: Magento 2 Commerce vs Magento 2 Open Source.

Commonly Asked Questions:

  • “What’s the difference between Community Edition (CE) and Enterprise Edition (EE)?”
  • “What does Magento 2 have to do with it?”
  • “Which one do I need?”

Once we talk them through their first set of questions, the next line of questioning goes something like:

  • “How much does it cost to create a Magento 2 site using CE vs EE?”
  • “Why should I choose the paid version over the free version?”  
  • “Can I create the same advantages of EE on CE if I use extensions?”

It’s tough to answer these questions at a brief, high-level without an in-depth understanding of your business. Every merchant is unique and every merchant has a unique set of needs, but we can detail some key differences between CE and EE so merchants have a better understanding of where to start before they have those in-depth calls with us or another developer.

Magento 1 vs Magento 2

We have covered the differences between M1 vs M2 in detail and have discussed how and why you should upgrade to Magento 2. Read about those here, here, and here. However, below is a cheat sheet comparing the key benefits of what Magento 2 has to offer over Magento 1 for both CE and EE.

New Magento 2 Features included for both Magento 2 CE and EE
Feature M2 Community Edition (CE) M2 Enterprise Edition (EE)
Search Engine Optimization Yes Yes
Site Management Yes Yes
Catalog Management Yes Yes
Catalog Browsing Yes Yes
Product Browsing Yes Yes
Checkout, Payment and Shipping Yes Yes
Order Management Yes Yes
Customer Accounts Yes Yes
Customer Service Yes Yes
International Support Yes Yes
Analytics and Reporting Yes Yes
Mobile Commerce Yes Yes
Native Device Applications Yes Yes
Marketing, Promotions and Conversion Tools Yes Yes

New Extension Processes for Magento 2

When Magento 2 launched, Magento also revamped how merchants access extensions. Merchants can go to the Magento Marketplace for access to hundreds of extensions and they are grouped in the following categories: Accounting & Finance, Marketing, Content & Customization, Customer Support, Payments & Security, Reporting & Analytics, Sales, Shipping & Fulfillment, and Site Optimization.  

Many of the extensions are free but some can cost hundreds, even thousands of dollars. The important things to consider are the quality, reliability, and available support for any extension. A benefit of Marketplace is that all the extensions have been reviewed and tested through the Extension Quality Program.

Magento 2 Enterprise – New Out-of-the-Box Features

To the right set of merchants, we recommend Magento 2 Enterprise Edition over Magento 1 Enterprise Edition. In Magento 1, there was little incentive for merchants to purchase EE. There were not enough additional features over Community to make Enterprise worth the investment. Notably, we saw many merchants on CE utilizing extensions to get the power of EE without the price tag. That worked for some, but it can be tricky to manage and maintain a healthy website. Those M1 Frankenapp sites can create some seriously expensive headaches.

However, that is not the case for Magento 2 Enterprise. Magento has packed the latest Enterprise Edition with a multitude of exciting out-of-the-box features – no complicated extensions (or Frankenapps) required!

Magento 2 EE features vs CE versions
Feature M2 Community Edition (CE) M2 Enterprise Edition (EE)
Customer Segmentation, Targeted Promotions & Merchandising No Yes
Dynamic Rule Based Product Relations No Yes
Persistent Shopping No Yes
Automated Email Marketing Reminder No Yes
Private Sales No Yes
Gift Registry No Yes
Gifting Options No Yes
Rewards Points No Yes
Store Credits No Yes
Multiple Wish Lists No Yes
Add to Cart by SKU No Yes
Return Management Authorization (RMA) No Yes
Content Management System No Yes
Scheduled Import/Export Functionality No Yes
Backup and Rollback No Yes
Staging, Merging and Rollback of Content No Yes
Customer Attribute Management No Yes
Administrator Permission Roles on Website and Store Levels No Yes
Price and Promotion Permission No Yes
Logging of Administrator Actions No Yes
Category View and Purchase Permissions per Customer Group (Limited Catalog Access) No Yes
Order Archiving No Yes
Solr Search No Yes
Full Page Caching No Yes
Optimized Indexing No Yes
Configurable Order Tracking Widget No Yes
Support for Alternate Media Storage – CDN and Database No Yes
PA-DSS Certification/Payment Bridge No Yes
Strong Data Encryption, Hashing and Key Management No Yes
In addition to the extensive features detailed above for M2 EE, merchants receive 24/7 technical support. This includes a dedicated Account Manager who is focused on achieving the best results from your Magento store.

What About Costs?

Community Edition is a free option for Magento – there is no additional cost to use the platform.

Enterprise Edition is a paid option for Magento – total costs vary depending on merchant revenue.

Specifically for EE, the higher gross merchandise sales value (GMV) of a store, the higher the annual fees will be. With that in mind, larger merchants usually determine that the benefits of EE are worth the investment. Smaller merchants often start by utilizing the free Community Edition, until they can grow their sales to justify the investment of Enterprise.

However, when considering CE over EE, it’s important to also calculate the costs of extensions into your investment. Consider not just the overall cost of the extension, but also the time it will take to install, set-up, and configure (which includes ensuring that all extensions play nicely together). There are also ongoing expenses for updating and maintaining extensions over time.

While it might be more economical to start with CE and a few extensions, it’s important to think about the long-term game plan. If over the next couple of years dozens of extensions will need to be installed to get the right features needed, then it very well could be worth it to invest in EE from the get-go.

What Version of Magento is Best for You?

This brief overview of M2 EE and CE is to assist merchants in the early steps of their research and planning phases. We really like to talk with merchants and get to know their individual needs and goals for the future, particularly when they’re considering a major M2 upgrade or investment like Enterprise. We want to help ensure merchants make decisions they feel confident about and won’t regret down the road. Magento is a smart business investment and when done appropriately can be extremely rewarding.

Contact us for more information on Magento 2 CE and EE and we’ll schedule a time to answer all your questions.

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