It’s important to note that in 2017 Magento rebranded and updated product names. Specifically, Magento Community Edition is now known as Magento Open Source. Magento Enterprise is now known as Magento Commerce.

Questions we often hear from merchants:

  • What’s the difference between Magento Commerce and Open Source?
  • What does Magento 2 have to do with it?
  • Which one do I need?

Once we talk through the first set of questions, the next set goes something like:

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

It’s tough to thoroughly answer the questions listed above in summary without an in-depth understanding of business needs. Every eCommerce merchant is unique, and every merchant has a unique set of needs, but we can detail some of the key differences between Magento Commerce and Open Source so that merchants have a better understanding of where to start before they have those in-depth calls with us or another developer.

Features Included for Both Commerce and Open Source

In previous posts, we have covered the differences of Magento 1 vs. Magento 2 in detail as well as why Magento 2 is so powerful and worth upgrading. However, below is a chart comparing the benefits of what Magento 2 offers over Magento 1 for both Commerce and Open Source editions.

Magento 2 Features included for both Commerce and Open Source

  • Advanced Reporting powered by Magento Business Intelligence
  • Analytics and Reporting
  • Bundled Social Extensions
  • Catalog Browsing
  • Catalog Management
  • Checkout, Payment. and Shipping
  • Customer Accounts
  • Customer Service
  • Indexing, cart, and cache operations Improvements
  • Integrated dotmailer marketing automation software
  • International Support
  • Magento Functional Testing Framework
  • Magento Shipping
  • Marketing, Promotions and Conversion Tools
  • Mobile Commerce
  • Native Device Applications
  • Order Management
  • Pipeline Deployment
  • Platform security and developer experience Enhancements
  • Product Browsing
  • Search Engine Optimization
  • Site Management
  • A streamlined Instant Purchase checkout
  • Upgraded Technology Stack – PHP 7.1 Varnish 5, and MySQL 5.7.

Extension Processes for Magento 2

When Magento 2 launched, Magento revamped how merchants access extensions via the Magento Marketplace for access to hundreds of extensions. Extensions are grouped into the following categories: Customer Support, Payments & Security, Marketing, Accounting & Finance, 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. Notably, a substantial benefit of the Magento Marketplace is that all the extensions have been reviewed and tested through the Extension Quality Program.

What Does Magento Commerce Offer Over Magento Open Source?

To the right merchants, we would recommend Magento Commerce over Magento Open Source.

However, in previous years, this would not have always been our viewpoint. In Magento 1, there was little incentive for merchants to purchase Magento Commerce (formerly known as Enterprise Edition). There weren’t enough additional features over Open Source (formerly known as Community Edition) to make the paid version worth the investment. Notably, we saw many merchants on Open Source utilizing extensions to get the power of Commerce without the price tag. That plan worked for some, but it made it tricky to manage and maintain healthy websites. Now, we refer to those websites as Magento 1.x Frankenapp sites – they can create some seriously expensive headaches.

Magento packed many exciting out-of-the-box features into Magento 2 Commerce Edition. Below is a chart comparing features available in Commerce that are not included in Open Source.

Magento 2 Commerce Features
FeatureOpen SourceCommerce
Add to Cart by SKUNoYes
Administrator Permission Roles on Website and Store LevelsNoYes
Automated Email Marketing ReminderNoYes
B2B Commerce functionalityNoYes
Backup and RollbackNoYes
Cloud deployment process ImprovementsNoYes
Configurable Order Tracking WidgetNoYes
Content Management SystemNoYes
Customer Attribute ManagementNoYes
Customer Segmentation, Targeted Promotions & MerchandisingNoYes
Dynamic Rule-Based Product RelationsNoYes
Full Page CachingNoYes
Gift RegistryNoYes
Gifting OptionsNoYes
Integrated Signifyd fraud protectionNoYes
Limited Catalog AccessNoYes
Logging of Administrator ActionsNoYes
Magento Commerce Starter (Cloud)NoYes
Multiple Wish ListsNoYes
Optimized IndexingNoYes
Order ArchivingNoYes
PA-DSS Certification/Payment BridgeNoYes
Persistent ShoppingNoYes
Price and Promotion PermissionNoYes
Private SalesNoYes
Return Management Authorization (RMA)NoYes
Rewards PointsNoYes
Scheduled Import/Export FunctionalityNoYes
Solr SearchNoYes
Staging, Merging and Rollback of ContentNoYes
Store CreditsNoYes
Strong Data Encryption, Hashing, and Key ManagementNoYes
Support for Alternate Media Storage – CDN and DatabaseNoYes


In addition to the extensive features detailed above for Magento 2 Commerce, merchants receive 24/7 technical support. The support includes a dedicated Account Manager that is focused on helping to get the best results from your Magento store.

Marketing Functionality in Magento 2 Commerce

Out of all the many out-of-the-box features included for Magento Commerce, the added marketing functionality components help streamline the planning and management of new campaigns and product rollouts. These capabilities give marketing teams the power tools they need to be successful.

Marketing Features in Magento Commerce

      • New Content Scheduling: Set-up, test, and schedule new content, including product updates, categories, and promos.
      • Customer Loyalty: Reward customers with coupons, rewards points and private sales. Also, includes bulk ordering.
      • Automated eMail: Set up emails to offer special discounts based on cart content. There is also an automated email option for wish lists updates.
      • Analytics: Google Tag Manager (GTM) integration. GTM will transfer data to Google Analytics Enhanced eCommerce, to show well a site, products, and promotions are performing.

B2B Functionality in Magento 2 Commerce

This new functionality allows companies to create and maintain their accounts, each with teams of buyers with various roles and levels of permission. It also includes a flexible API that integrates with a variety of ERP solutions from Magento partners.

B2B Features in Magento Commerce

      • Account management: Manage accounts, create sub-accounts, and set permissions and roles easily.
      • Negotiated Pricing Terms: Associate accounts with specific price lists, payment options, and shipping methods.
      • Mobile Responsive Design: Customers will be able to order on any device or platform.
      • Quick Order: B2B customers will be able to create a re-order, large-scale orders, and even recurring orders.
      • Credit Accounts: Customize businesses to make purchases based on their needs. They can check out now and pay later.
      • Inventory Tracking: Manage your inventory across multiple warehouse locations.

Cloud Hosting Available with Magento Commerce (Cloud)

With cloud hosting, websites are lightning fast and optimized 24/7 for customers. Formerly known as Enterprise Cloud Edition, Magento Commerce (Cloud) is managed hosting for cloud infrastructures. Magento Commerce (Cloud) combines all of the functionality that Magento Commerce offers with a few bonuses such as Git integration and key environments for development, staging, and live production. Specifically, merchants can code, test, and deploy across Integration, Staging, and Production environment for continuous integration in stores.

Magento Commerce (Cloud) hosting plans offer support and cloud-based hosting on a subscription basis. Currently, Magento offers the Magento Commerce Starter plan or Magento Commerce Pro plan. Merchants can choose the subscription that fits their business while enjoying the benefits of Magento Commerce.

Magento Commerce (Cloud) Features

      • Plans include an integration environment for development, testing, and integrating services.
      • All environments run with active Git branches of code.
      • Unlimited number of inactive Git branches available
      • Add fully managed services like MySQL, Elasticsearch, Redis, RabbitMQ, without requiring external add-ons.
      • Increase the amount of memory and CPU as needed

What About Costs?

Magento Open Source is a free option for Magento which means that there are no additional costs to use the platform. Magento Commerce, on the other hand, is a paid option which means total costs vary depending on each merchant’s revenue.

Specifically for Magento Commerce, 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 Magento Commerce are worth the investment. Smaller merchants often start by utilizing Open Source, until they can grow their sales to justify the investment of Magento Commerce.

However, when opting for Open Source over Commerce, it is essential also to calculate the costs of extensions into the 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 of the extensions work together. There is also ongoing expenses for updating and maintaining extensions over time.

While it might be more economical to start with Open Source and a few extensions, it’s important to think about the long-term 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 Magento Commerce from the get-go.

Which Magento Version is Best for You?

This overview of Magento 2 Commerce and Open Source is meant to help merchants in the early phases of their research and planning. We like to talk with merchants to get to know their individual needs and goals for the future to help make decisions – particularly when they’re considering a major Magento 2 upgrade or investment like with Magento Commerce. We want to help ensure merchants make decisions they feel confident about and won’t regret down the road.

Contact us for more information on Magento 2 Commerce and Open Source, and we’ll schedule a time to answer all your questions.