We have a store with 5,000 skus (and growing, hope to have 10,000 within 3 years) and currently in the region of 1m page views and 10,000 orders per month. We currently work from a bespoke platform but are considering a move to Magento.

As regards hosting we have been researching it for a while now and Nexcess are our front runner at the moment. The main question we have is, from a purely performance perspective, is the Enterprise Edition worth the money over the Community Edition?

We are considering either a UK SIP 500 Dedicated Server or a UK MCE-SIP 100 2 node cluster. We also see that Nexcess offer Varnish support via their turpentine extension. If the community edition is deployed correctly and tuned, can it perform as well as EE?


Disclaimer: Sonassi is a Magento hosting provider

We have a store with 5,000 skus (and growing, hope to have 10,000 within 3 years)

CE and EE will perform equally with small catalogues like this. In fact, they'll perform about the same until around ~100,000 - when EE will begin to have the edge for catalogue/search pages because of SOLR handoff for layered nav.

Currently in the region of 1m page views and 10,000 orders per month

Working the numbers backwards, based on a 20 day sales period, that equates to around ~500 orders per day.

Assuming 3% conversion, that would equate to around 17,000 unique visitors/day.

Again, this is pretty small numbers for either CE or EE. The busiest CE store we host is around ~250,000 unique visitors/day, so I'd safely safe you've got quite a way to do before you hit any kind of ceiling.

From a purely performance perspective: Magento Community Edition is the same as Enterprise version

You've mentioned caching (Varnish) and something that is extremely important to understand is that caching != performance. No slow store is made faster by using a cache, you merely get the illusion of speed if you load the same page twice - but in the grand scheme of things, caching never improves performance.

One of the key advantages of EE over CE is FPC (a cache), but as caches improve capacity, not speed, this doesn't alter much.

The real speed advantages from EE come from SOLR, beyond that, EE isn't any faster (with the more complex promo rules engine, EE can actually be slower).

I havent seen any difference but the price tag

There's a bigger difference between the two products than just price. Over the years we've seen CE stores move to EE and EE stores move to CE - and they each have their own decisions for it.

However, what I've never seen is anyone migrate to EE because it will improve performance. This should not be a purchasing factor - simply because Magento CE is more than capable of delivering 0.5s (or less) page load times with all the caches off.

We are considering either a server or another server

Turning away from CE/EE as a performance bottleneck - your baseline bottleneck is going to be the hardware and software configuration.

If you've got outdated hardware or a poor software configuration - then its going to severely limit what your potential is going to be. You can only go as fast as your slowest component.

NB. I work for a hosting provider, so take my advice with that bias. But I'd never ever suggest going it alone (eg. OVH/Rackspace etc.) and trying to DIY your hosting. Anyone can set up a server (albeit, not everyone can do it well), but when something goes wrong - and you are losing money, you need an experienced team to rapidly identify and fix your issue.

Put it this way, you wouldn't start your own logistics firm to deliver the goods to your customers (and maintain the vehicles, breakdowns etc.) - don't try and do the same thing with your hosting (the most important facet of your online business).

There's a world of difference between "Magento optimised" hosting from your typical managed providers and companies like ourselves - that have wholly specialised in Magento hosting since its inception.

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from my experience - support for Magento specific issues at Nexcess, Peer1, Rackspace, etc, is heavily limited.

do not expect you problems to be fixed in an hour, probably you will stuck for days trying to solve some configuration,cache, magento errors, cpu or database related issues.

also you will waste all your budget for these overpriced servers. look at their Level 3 Management, this is just a joke. the same as Magento specific optimizations...

with the growth of the business like yours, consider hiring a professional magento system administrator, and build your own infrastructure, for example with OVH.co.uk enterprise servers. you will spend the same budget, but you will get a bigger server/or two, and having your own professional admin who covers your business hours 100%, will give you a peace of mind.

btw Varnish extension is not plug and play, make sure your layout is properly designed, and crucial blocks are properly named and defined.

from a purely performance perspective: Magento Community Edition is the same as Enterprise version. I havent seen any difference but the price tag...


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I work for a company of close to the same size. 1.2M pageviews a month. We're on EE and have been hosted by Nexcess. We currently have 75,000 skus, and add roughly 10,000 a selling season (two per year)

We moved off Nexcess because we have a systems administrator that can handle CLI settings and bugfixes. Nexcess doesn't provide root CLI access beyond their own technicians. Our in-house person was unable to get access to remove a file that was crashing our servers. We were down starting about 8pm PST, and didn't come back online until 10am the next day (because the level 2 technicians were asleep, and the on-call guy didn't know what he was doing). We've been down with Zerolag as well, but we are measuring those outages in minutes, not hours (or days, like it was before I was hired on).

As for the performance, CE would work just fine. There are certain aspects of the installation that we 'require' of EE. The biggest is administration user levels. We have almost all of our employees logging into the magento admin panel, and it scares our owner to think that anyone could be logging in and changing site design and payment settings. There may be an extension for CE, but that's a native EE feature, and a big one for us.

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CE can perform very well indeed if you can get Varnish and Turpentine configured correctly. The SIP servers are heavily optimized for Magento performance (even before the option Varnish/Turpentine optimization). I'd suggest checking out our whitepaper.

In full disclosure, I'm a developer at Nexcess currently working on Turpentine. I'm happy to answer any questions you have.

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