Magento is one of the most popular ecommerce platforms. It’s currently used by over 160,000 websites, including 199 of the top 10,000 sites on the internet.
Indeed, Magento is particularly popular with high-traffic stores such as Vizio, Jeep and the online shop for the Pittsburgh Steelers. These enterprise-level businesses are mostly drawn to Magento’s premium product, Magento Commerce, which offers robust security, high-end features and nearly endless options for customization.
These benefits may have you considering Magento Commerce for your own online store. If so, here’s what you need to know:
Before we continue, it’s important to note how Magento Commerce is distinct from the other version of Magento software, Magento Open Source.
Magento Open Source is, as you may have guessed, open source software. Anyone can download and use it for free. This is a bare bones solution, though — it doesn’t include hosting or dedicated support, and it’s relatively light on features.
Magento Commerce, on the other hand, does include hosting and support, as well as a number of features that aren’t included with Magento Open Source.
Of course, the biggest difference between Magento Commerce and Magento Open Source is the pricing.
Again, Magento Open Source can be downloaded for free. The cost of everything that doesn’t come included with Open Source would add up to a substantial sum (you can’t have a site without hosting, for example) — but, technically, the software itself is free.
For Magento Commerce, you’ll need to contact Magento for a quote to see exactly how much it’ll cost your business. According to Capterra, the license fee starts at $1,988 per month.
The following features are included with both Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce:
And these features are exclusive to Magento Commerce:
Another Magento Commerce exclusive is Magento Hosted Cloud — this hosting solution is designing specifically for Magento, making it a better option in terms of performance than pairing Magento software with a third-party hosting provider.
Magento Hosted Cloud is PCI DSS compliant by default, which provides your customers with some peace of mind and reduces your liability in the event of a data breach. Magento also guarantees 99.99% uptime for their hosting, so you can be confident that your store will always be available to your customers. And for security, Magento Hosted Cloud uses firewall and DDoS protection services from Fastly to keep your store safe.
Finally, Magento Hosted Cloud uses a content delivery network (CDN) to provide exceptional performance to your customers no matter where they’re located.
Physical distance plays a key role in site speed — the farther a visitor is from one of your servers, the slower your site will be for them. A CDN is a collection of servers that are dispersed throughout the world, ensuring that any given visitor is never too far away from one of your servers. With the help of Magento Hosted Cloud’s CDN, your site will continue to load fast even during peak traffic periods such as Black Friday and Cyber Monday.
In addition to Magento Commerce’s built-in features, you can use themes and plugins to further customize the appearance and expand the functionality of your store.
As far as themes go, the official Magento Marketplace is somewhat limited, as there are only 17 themes available (they range in price from free to $499). But you can also find themes from third party sources — for example, there are over 600 Magento themes on ThemeForest.
The Magento Marketplace has a lot more to offer when it comes to plugins. There are over 5,900 extensions available, covering everything from slider menus to live chat customer support to complete Salesforce CRM solutions.
While the add-ons that will benefit your store the most depend on your size, industry and other factors specific to your business, just about every Magento merchant would be wise to download the following extensions:
There’s just not enough room in this guide to cover every topic related to Magento Commerce. Should you have any questions about this platform now or in the future, Magento provides plenty of support options for getting the help you need.
If you can’t find an answer to your question, then the only option for Magento Open Source users would be to post their own thread and hope someone knowledgeable responds. But Magento Commerce users also benefit from 24/7 live tech support and a dedicated account manager to help them through any issue they might run into.
So, what are you waiting for? You now know everything you need to know to get started with your Magento Commerce store.
Adam Ritchie is a writer based in Silver Spring, Maryland. He writes about ecommerce trends and best practices for Shogun. His previous clients include Groupon, Clutch and New Theory.