Enterprise v. Community FAQs

There are currently two editions of Magento available, Magento Enterprise Edition and Magento Community Edition. Both editions of Magento are valuable, however, they are meant for different audiences. You might have questions about what the two editions are, why both editions need to exist and what the differences between them are. This FAQ will help you get answers to these questions and set you on the right path for eCommerce success.

What is the Magento Community Edition?

Magento was born as open source software. The reason this edition is called "Community" has its basis in these origins. This means that you, and anyone around the world, are free to download Magento, and make any modifications you may need to suit your requirements. Magento has had tremendous growth and with this growth there are now over a million people around the world who have downloaded Magento, and many of those have developed customizations, extensions and other changes. The Magento community connects on the Magento Community site forums to share their knowledge, assist each other, exchange tips and tricks and to offer support. Development of the Magento Community Edition continues at a rapid pace through this model, providing a basic and powerful solution for small shops looking for a state-of-the-art eCommerce platform.

What is the Magento Enterprise Edition?

Magento Enterprise Edition shares the same base as Magento Community Edition. However, as Magento adoption continues to rapidly increase, there are retailers who require more than the community can provide. Some need advanced features and deep customization, some require major functionality changes, and others require a higher level of support through Service Level Agreements. There are many reasons for this, ranging from business requirements to traffic considerations, catalog size and even the types of services retailers wish to provide. The Magento Enterprise Edition is therefore fully supported by the Magento team. Magento invests considerable resources for development and continued support of Magento Enterprise Edition and provides a longer support life cycle. This stable base, which can be easily customized if needed, offers exclusive advanced features and is backed by a solid support contract giving organizations the solution they need for a production ready, enterprise grade eCommerce platform with the full confidence of an SLA.

In a nutshell, all Magento Editions share the same genes at the core, but target very different needs. If you find yourself with more questions read below for a more detailed break down of some common questions.

The Magento Community Edition software is and always will be free of charge. It is available on an as-is basis to anyone wishing to download it and is supported by the community primarly through the Magento Discussion Forum. The Magento Enterprise Edition is available through a subscription which offers a Service Level Agreement (SLA) backed by Magento's dedictated support team. Support is provided via email and/or phone. Magento Enterprise Edition subscribers also receive additional exclusive features, product enhancements including priority patches for critical and security updates as part of their subscription plan. Please see the Enterprise Pricing page for more details.

What happens when you have an issue and need support?

Support for the Community Edition is offered through various community channels, including IRC, third party sites and forums. By posting a question to the forum you may be able to receive a resolution from a fellow community member. However there is no guarantee of a response or of a final resolution by community members, it is at the discretion of the global community and you put your faith in them.

The Magento Enterprise Edition includes professional support as part of the subscription for the platform. Simply call the Varien support line and staff will be on the case to resolve the issue. Magento works with your IT support staff and service vendors in an effort to ensure your deployment runs smoothly with minimal downtime. The Magento Enterprise Support staff is a dedicated team available as a resource to ensure a smooth ride, whether you are deploying or already live with Magento.

Do I really need a Service Level Agreement (SLA)? Can support really pay for itself? Are there different levels of support?

This question can only be answered by you, but we highly recommend it. Unless you maintain technical staff on site who are highly knowledgeable about Magento, you may encounter situations in which you require technical assistance and support. A Service Level Agreement (SLA) gives you the peace of mind you need in order to know that you are backed by a guarantee of support through Magento, no matter what happens.

In today's job market, employee acquisition, training and retention can run into the hundreds of thousands of dollars. In fact, a Magento Enterprise Edition subscription is significantly cheaper than hiring, training and retaining competent on-site technical staff, and offers you the option of support on an as needed basis, which will save you money and help free up those resources so you can focus on running your business, not managing your software.

Support through Magento is not available through any other offer outside of the Magento Enterprise Subscription, and is provided at both Gold and Platinum levels. Further information on the different levels is available on the Support page.

Are there bugs today with the Community Edition? Will Magento just fix any problems I find with the Community Edition immediately? How do you prioritize bug fixes with the Core product or features?

Developing software is a constant and unending process; issues always crop up and there are always enhancement being developed. The Magento Core development process revolves around the Bug Tracker. If you find a bug, you submit it to the bug tracker at which point anyone in the community or the Magento team can take a crack at fixing it. All bugs have the same baseline priority since we want to ensure Magento remains the best eCommerce platform in the world. However, development resources are limited and so sometimes issues within the Enterprise Edition, especially if they are reported by retailers with valid support agreements, will receive more attention from the Magento team. Community submitted bugs continue to be looked at and handled as part of the standard development of the Magento Core.

Will additional features for the Enterprise Edition be provided? Will any of the Enterprise features really help me make money? Will Enterprise Features be available to the Community at a later date?

The Magento Enterprise Edition is actively developed by the Magento team, incorporating feedback and contribution from many customers, partners and other third parties. As such, the Enterprise Edition is not only required, but expected to grow. Enterprise releases are usually released every six months. Both current and any future developments and enhancements in Magento Enterprise Edition are made with your business in mind. These features are developed specifically to help you differentiate yourself from your competitors by helping you deliver unique, highly valuable and technically innovative sites to cater to your customers. Magento Enterprise gives you the tools to take your offerings to the next level and increase your conversions, driving more revenue.

Both editions of Magento share the same core code. As such, Magento may or may not, decide to include features which were originally developed for the Enterprise Edition audience in the community edition, as either part of the core or indirectly. However, there are no current plans to release Enterprise exclusive features as part of the Magento Community Edition.

Can’t my internal developer take care of any Magento-related issues? If there are problems with my store can’t I just modify the software as needed?

While internal development staff may be able to assist in resolving issues and taking care of problems as they arise, you'll still want to get answers on questions from those with in-depth knowledge of the platform without worrying about sick days, having staff distracted from crucial projects or hearing "I don't know" after long hours of intensive investigation into issue. Having a guaranteed response time from a Magento Support team member guarantees that you will receive the RIGHT answer in a timely manner.