Looking at the features of the Enterprise edition, I am wondering whether I should recommend it to clients.

I have many years of experience with the community edition and have looked into the Enterprise edition. It seems to me that it will almost always be cheaper for my client to use a community edition with a full page cache solution (like Varnish with an appropriate module) set up.

There are some more add-ons to Enterprise like rewards or better management of staff rights, but all these can be easily built using appropriate modules in the community edition it seems.

Then there is the service level agreement (SLA), but again having very much Magento experience, so far, I was always able to solve problems in a timely manner.

I am probably overlooking something, since the Enterprise edition is extensively used, so please give me insights / scenarios when to recommend Enterprise to a customer.

  • Are you a Magento Partner? (just trying to figure out your position so I can post some arguments related to that). Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 11:53
  • @FlorinelChis Not, yet, we are thinking about it and that is part of why I am asking this question.
    – mpaepper
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 12:09
  • Magento is very strict about the level of support they offer with the Enterprise Edition. Make sure you read the scope doc carefully magentocommerce.com/support/ee Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 17:04
  • 1
    +1 - This is a very well-worded version of my [closed] question "Top reasons to switch to Enterprise" - kudos.
    – philwinkle
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 17:25

6 Answers 6


When comparing two editions of any software package, the best way to come to a decision is by weighing the costs and benefits. While Magento EE does have some great additional functionality, if you're not using it then it may not worth it. Jake Smith is absolutely correct in mentioning the scope of Enterprise Edition support. It is limited to1 :

  • Magento installation and downloads
  • Magento usage issues
  • Basic configuration
  • Troubleshooting, Bug Fixes (core only), and Escalation

Generally, you'll be using your in-house development team or a hired team, which would cover issues not covered by that scope:

  • Code Development
  • Development Support
  • Optimization and Performance Tuning
  • Custom Extensions
  • Custom Interfaces
  • Custom Configuration
  • Core Product Upgrades
  • Data Migration
  • Best Practices Recommendations

This leaves you in a position to decide if you need the features available. Take into consideration these key features2 :

  • Customer segments
  • Targeted promotions and merchandising
  • Product suggestion tools
  • Search with Solr
  • RMA
  • Customer rewards
  • Private sales
  • Automated email reminders
  • Gift registry
  • Gift cards
  • Store credit

During the planning phase of your project, you'll need to think about how you will track the ROI for these features. Each feature will need to be thoroughly planned, implemented, and then reported against. You'll want to make sure that the money coming in more than covers the cost of the features. Also, you'll want to make sure that if you only plan to use a handful of these features that it wouldn't make more sense to have them developed or to purchase existing ones (use caution when purchasing third-party modules, but that's a different topic).

For some sites, Enterprise makes sense. There is a marketing team, internal or external that will help plan usage for the marketing suite. They might have a team in place to analyze usage and to constantly maintain these features. If not, then start with Community. We have large clients on both Community and Enterprise, and talk extensively before making a decision. As a trusted extension of our clients' companies, it is of utmost importance to put their needs first.

The biggest scare tactic that I've seen is that Community is "Not PCI compliant". This is a long-winded topic, and can be very complex. If you're doing the following, then you'll be ok:

  • Filling out your PCI paperwork
  • Implementing PCI policies
  • Documenting your PCI technical policies (mostly for your host)
  • Using a payment gateway that you redirect to (PayPal) or HTTPS to communicate with an API

You'll be ok. Once you start doing more than 20,000 transactions per year, there will be more paperwork - but this shouldn't scare you. Your provider will be happy to work with you to not only fill out the documentation, but answer any questions you may have (we also do this). If this is too vague or anyone would like to discuss, feel free to contact me. There is much more to it than this, but it's a great start. Basically, don't ever let anyone bully you into not using Community because it's "not for production use" or "only for development".

As far as I know, Magento does not go through PCI certification for Community Edition or Enterprise Edition. It is a long and expensive process. The only products available from Magento that are PCI compliant are:

  • Magento Go
  • Magento Payment Bridge

So, hopefully this is an alright guide to helping make a decision. Remember - if the features in Enterprise will pay off, then get it. It's a great product and has some really neat stuff. If not, then wait. Although it's a bit more involved to migrate from Community to Enterprise than starting on it, you'll save some money that you can use for an extra custom feature or better hosting.


  1. http://www.magentocommerce.com/support/ee/
  2. http://www.magentocommerce.com/product/enterprise-features

One of the reasons which has not been addressed by the other answers is indemnity. For behaviors and code which are part of the out-of-box codebase, Magento (eBay) will defend EE license holders in the event that a claim is made for damages or infringement.

Lest it be thought that this is only a minor feature of the EE agreement, take the complete POS patent troll (my opinion, of course) company named Kelora, which claimed that it held a patent on layered/faceted navigation in some contexts; ref http://www.ecommercefuel.com/patent-troll/ for a writeup. Because Magento offers layered navigation out of the box, EE licensees would be shielded from this suit and any damages won by the plaintiff, but CE users would not.

This is generally not a purchase decision for small shops, but is essential for enterprise-level businesses with sufficient assets to make them a target.

  • Fantastic answer.
    – philwinkle
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 22:33
  • 1
    If you pay Magento for an EE license just because of lawsuit concerns the patent trolls win. This is like meta patent trolling.
    – Ralph Tice
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 14:31
  • @RalphTice Far from accurate. There ARE legitimate software patents out there which may lay valid claim. Regardless, enterprise organizations always look to mitigate risk for the least amount possible, and an annual license of less than $15,000 is a pittance for an these organizations with revenue in the millions. Moreover, it's rare that these organizations would be interested only in indemnification - the SLA and access to EE features are almost always part of the purchase logic.
    – benmarks
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 15:12
  • @benmarks You're making a fallacious appeal to size, in assuming that the size of an organization or its revenues is relevant to whether something is 'right' or not as well as an incorrect assumption as to the scale of the operations I'm responsible for. Also you seem to agree with me anyway -- indemnification is never the sole interest in purchasing licensing.
    – Ralph Tice
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 17:31
  • @RalphTice My answer is meant to add to the existing answers, since none of them mentioned indemnity. Maybe this intent of my answer was missed by you and I therefore misunderstood your comment. Beyond this: given that software patent suits (spurious or otherwise) are a reality, relatively cheap indemnity is right for potential targets. Trolls win when little companies cave; big companies can wage an expensive fight against these terrible creatures. Denying trolls money or (better) engaging them in a costly battle is more of a win for the good guys.
    – benmarks
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 18:09

There's a really good Prezi about the differences:


The main differences from my POV:

  • License: OSL vs. Commercial
  • Modules: Advanced ACL, Content Stagine, Customer segmentation, CMS+ (Version Control ...), Full Page Caching, SOLR Search, RMA ...
  • Professional support if you need it. As long as you can help yourself, it's fine, but think of a really big shop, which may loose thousands of dollars if the shop is down for an hour. Then the yearly fee is worth it to have that fallback solution.
  • 1
    Lone link is considered a poor answer (see faq) since it is meaningless by itself and target resource is not guaranteed to be alive in the future. It would be preferable to include the essential parts of the answer here, and provide the link for reference.
    – j0k
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 12:52
  • 2
    thx for the hint, I added the most important points from the presentation to my answer
    – Tobias
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 13:35
  • Add a new line after POV:, so the list will be activated !
    – j0k
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 13:36

There is the qualitative way, but everyone above has already addressed that, you just need to pick it for your circumstances. The quantitative way is very simple, $300,000-$3million revenue per year for CE and $3-13million for EE, above $13million you go in to Hybris territory. That will cover 95% of cases unless you have very special circumstances, like trying to launch a 1million product book site (actually you can do this with CE but you need Medium to Large Enterprise experience to understand how).

Why that range, this comes from multi-national consultants who work with Large Enterprise and sources such as Gartner. The range below is for EUR based but is equivalent in USD, a commerce platform should be 10% of IT Spend which is 5% of revenue. So EE you get $15,000/yr which is $3million in revenue, all very simple. There is also the qualitative way, but that is time consumsing, they both come to the same answer in the end anyway, it just depends which way you want to go about it: don't trust anyone and find out yourself means qualitative : trust the source and don't need to know the detail upfront means quantitative. Circa 95-99% will go the qualitative route which takes 2-10x longer to get to the result.

A medium-sized enterprise is defined as an enterprise which employs fewer than 250 persons and whose annual turnover does not exceed EUR 50 million or whose annual balance-sheet total does not exceed EUR 43 million.

A small enterprise is defined as an enterprise which employs fewer than 50 persons and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 10 million.

A microenterprise is defined as an enterprise which employs fewer than 10 persons and whose annual turnover and/or annual balance sheet total does not exceed EUR 2 million.

  • 15K/year is 0.5% of $3m, not 5%.
    – super9
    Commented Jun 22, 2015 at 2:37

Magento Community is a free open source solution, meaning, it should be enough if your store or brand doesn't have very huge requirements in terms of sales volume. However, if you are dealing with 6-figure revenue (such as millions of dollars in revenue per year), it is highly recommended to use Magento Enterprise, based mostly on its "out of the box" functionality that cannot be enjoyed in Community. (based on http://www.acidgreen.com.au/blog/magento-ecommerce/what-is-the-difference-between-magento-community-and-magento-enterprise/ )

There are a lot of differences between the two platforms, but when it comes to customer engagement, data security and performance, Enterprise seems to have the upper hand.

  • ...6-figure (such as millions...? Commented Feb 19, 2015 at 13:42

if you take cc payments, the enterprise is PCI compliant. Helps you get compliant.

Payment Bridge handles all credit card processing in Enterprise, and this stand-along system is PA-DSS certified. Payment Bridge is not available for Community Edition.

Quote from http://ecommercedeveloper.com/articles/2124-magento-releases-enterprise-edition-update-includes-pci-compliant-bridge/

Payment Bridge

The Enterprise Edition 1.9′s payment bridge was certified by Coalfire, a PCI Qualified Security Assessor (QSA), to meet or exceed the PCI DSS requirements. This may actually not have been a large step technically since some believe that software residing on a secure server has only to meet industry standard coding practices, but the move is significant for the software engineers and developers that would otherwise need to demonstrate PCI compliance. Effectively, this new payment bridge lets enterprise developers “check off” PCI compliance and move on.

  • 1
    While Enterprise is PA-DSS compliant, and has an upgraded encryption scheme to comply with SAQ-D and above, CE itself is not necessary uncompliant. EE does not help you to achieve compliancy, as there is more to PCI Compliance than the software handling CC handoff.
    – philwinkle
    Commented Feb 11, 2013 at 22:35
  • EE does help you achieve compliance. Which bit is unclear?
    – Jon
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 13:27
  • Magento themselves say "Implementing Payment Bridge with Magento Enterprise saves online merchants money and time when it comes to complying with PCI requirements." magentocommerce.com/company/pci-compliance
    – Jon
    Commented Feb 12, 2013 at 13:33
  • @philwinkle - EE isn't any more PCI Compliant than CE if you don't use Payment Bridge. They only introduced PB so that they could make a static code base - get that PCI tested, and leave Magento itself untested, so they didn't need it re-tested with every line of code that was changed. Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 15:42
  • @sonassi I've been through, and passed, 3 PCI audits conducted by 3rd party and have never used PB; both with CE and with EE. CE required more extensive work to implement the required encryption/hashing but the bulk of the work required was just to be document processes, put IT policies in place, follow OWASP etc.
    – philwinkle
    Commented Jul 24, 2014 at 15:48

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