Gyles Seward Gyles Seward
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When choosing between Magento Enterprise and Magento Community there are many things to consider when deciding which is best for your business.

Magento is an open-source platform written in PHP with the Zend framework, created by Varien. Based round an administration interface – including marketing, merchandising and content management tools – it is hugely successful and was acquired by eBay in 2011.

Magento Community is available free and is supported by the Magento community, whilst Magento Enterprise includes enhancements that are only available by subscription. As well as all the features of Magento Community, Enterprise has additional enhancements and comes with a Service Level Agreement.

Both versions are robust and rich with features ideal for administering e-commerce websites; here are some of the more important elements that feature on both editions:

  • Site Management
  • Catalogue Management
  • Catalogue Browsing
  • Product Browsing
  • Guest or Account Checkout, Payment and Shipping
  • Order Management and Tracking
  • Customer Accounts and Customer Service
  • Marketing, Promotions and Conversion Tools
  • International Support
  • Analytics and Reporting

On top of these features, here are just some of the additional components only available through Magento Enterprise:

  • Stronger data encryption
  • Automated Email Marketing Reminder
  • Private Sales/Selected Offers
  • Rewards Points & Credits
  • Gift registry & gifting options
  • Backup and Rollback
  • Secure Payment Bridge
  • Advanced search using Solr
  • Order Archiving

Whilst it is clear the Enterprise version takes the Community version and builds on it, to provide an e-commerce suitable for practically any size operation, it is worth knowing that many of the Enterprise functions can be applied to the Community edition through 3rd party extensions.

Which version should you choose?

If budget is an issue, obviously the free version will be appealing.

You should however note that the cost of Enterprise is very competitive when compared to many other e-commerce platforms – an annual licence costing in the region of $15,000.

Faster out of the box, fully scalable, flexible and with additional security, Enterprise could well allow you to increase sales. If it is likely you will require a high level of support the Service Level Agreement could prove vital, and your final decision will need to take into account the level of traffic you expect, your catalogue size and the types of services you provide.

If however you are a small business with a good level of technical knowledge you may not need the additional elements offered by Enterprise, so perhaps trying out the Community Edition would be your best tactic. Remember, upgrading later is always an option.

Both versions of the software are vast and it will take some time to discover all of the excellent tools you have at your fingertips. Whichever version of Magento you choose, using a Magento Agency with experience of the software is something worth considering, to help with maintenance and system management. Whilst that will increase your costs, the potential rewards can far outweigh this.

No matter what you chose to go with, both versions of Magento are very flexible and expandable, and Magento can be the solution to your e-commerce needs.