Magento is a popular platform for creating and managing ecommerce websites. According to BuiltWith, it’s the third most used Magento O among the top 100,000 sites.
With the help of professional Magento development services, digital merchants can set up secure and SEO-friendly online stores with branded designs to streamline ecommerce operations, deliver outstanding customer experiences, and scale up their businesses.
However, the platform is available in two editions: Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce. So, companies can find it challenging to choose the one that best suits their needs, growth plans, and budget. This article clarifies what stands behind the Magento software and describes the differences between the platform’s versions.
Magento was first released in 2008 and hit 1.5 million downloads within two years. With the launch of Magento 2 in 2015, the platform saw further development. This new version is compatible with the latest technologies like PHP7 or MySQL 8 and contains a redesigned architecture, security improvements, enhanced features, and greater scalability.
Since the support of the first version stopped in 2020, migrating from Magento 1 to Magento 2 is now compulsory for businesses that want to keep their websites stable, secure, and up-to-date.
In 2018, Adobe acquired Magento to top off its Adobe Experience Cloud product offering and rebranded the Magento Commerce edition into Adobe Commerce three years later.
In its 2023 Magic Quadrant for Digital Commerce report, Gartner named Adobe Commerce a leading platform for the seventh consecutive year.
Previously known as Magento Community Edition, Magento Open Source is a free, open-source edition of the Magento platform under the Adobe umbrella.
However, it’s not a fully-fledged solution but a technology platform, meaning businesses need software developers to build an online store and integrate it with their ecommerce ecosystem.
The free Magento environment boasts a vast community of developers who can download, review, and improve the Magento code, change software configurations, and build custom extensions to create ecommerce websites tailored to the client’s specific needs.
Adobe Commerce is an enterprise-level licensed platform as a service (PaaS) built on top of Magento and enhanced with more advanced functionality than Magento Open Source.
The platform can be deployed on-premises as Adobe Commerce On-premise Software that comes with rich out-of-the-box features, customization capabilities, and additional bundled services.
The cloud version is deployed in public clouds (like AWS) with Adobe’s Managed Services, a hosted and managed infrastructure for Adobe Commerce on Cloud.
Since both editions have a common core codebase, they share the fundamental ecommerce features and functionality. Still, there are substantial differences businesses should consider when deciding between the two platforms.
Magento Open Source provides essential ecommerce capabilities to set up a basic online store.
If the pre-built functionality doesn’t accommodate all business needs, a Magento-based website can be upgraded with free or paid apps, extensions, or add-ons from the Adobe Commerce Marketplace or custom tools.
Adobe Commerce offers advanced features and additional tools for specific business needs, such as dynamic blocks, content staging and preview, customer segmentation and loyalty tools, business intelligence dashboards, “buy online, pick up in store” (BOPIS) model, and gift cards. Moreover, some basic features of the Magento Open Source, like marketing tools, are also available in Adobe Commerce but come in an upgraded version.
Adobe Commerce’s AI and machine learning framework, Adobe Sensei, helps merchants create personalized experiences with relevant product recommendations, apply intelligent analytics to gain customer insights, and deliver fast, personalized search results for every query with real-time product reranking.
Adobe Commerce supports B2B stores with a dedicated functional base. With B2B tools, businesses can set up company accounts and inner team hierarchies, create customer-specific price lists and catalogs, manage shared catalogs, process requests for quotes, and speed up the order placement process.
Magento Open Source has basic security features, such as CAPTCHA protection, strong password requirements, and two-factor authentication. However, it’s not PCI compliant, so businesses opting for this edition should apply additional cybersecurity mechanisms.
Meanwhile, Adobe Commerce offers more robust out-of-the-box security, including user data encryption, credit card tokenization, Fastly Web Application Firewall, and DDoS protection. Unlike the open-source version, Adobe Commerce is PCI Level 1 compliant.
Magento Open Source has limited database scalability. If the volume of your customers, orders, and traffic exceeds the platform’s capacity, you will most likely have to migrate to Adobe Commerce or another ecommerce platform.
In contrast, Adobe Commerce can use three separate master databases to manage different functional areas of your ecommerce solution like checkout, orders, and product data, giving merchants a scalability advantage. The platform offers several language and currency packs out of the box to support businesses planning to expand abroad.
Since Adobe Commerce was intended to extend the Adobe Experience Cloud product line, its cloud version seamlessly integrates with other components of the Adobe ecosystem to enable businesses to enhance and personalize digital experiences at scale.
The on-premises instances can also be connected to the Adobe Experience Cloud, but the integration requires more complex setup and configuration than the cloud version and involves the use of APIs and connectors.
Connecting Magento Open Source with the Adobe Experience suite requires custom development.
Technical support covered by the Adobe Commerce license includes customer success manager and cloud onboarding support available globally 24/7 through different channels.
Adobe doesn’t provide technical support for Magento Open Source. However, merchants can get help from the lively community of users, developers, and experts, consult Magento technology partners, or turn to self-help resources.
Although Magento Open Source is free to download and use, merchants bear hosting, development, maintenance, and upgrade costs. To tailor the solution to their requirements, businesses need additional third-party apps, themes, and extensions that can also cost money.
Adobe Commerce requires a paid license, which depends on the company’s Gross Merchandise Value and is available upon request. This edition is the most cost-effective for businesses earning over $25 million annually. Otherwise, the license can devour a substantial part of the revenue.
Magento remains in demand among ecommerce businesses of various sizes and verticals due to its rich capabilities and flexibility that can help them rise above the competition.
Still, with several Magento alternatives available, choosing the right platform and deployment option can take time and effort. The choice depends on the specifics of your business, the platform’s functional components you need, and long-term growth plans.
To avoid doubts and ill-informed decisions, you can rely on Magento experts who can assess your current and potential ecommerce needs, select the suitable platform option, and elaborate a Magento implementation strategy.