Pricing Comparison of Magento Open Source vs Adobe Commerce

When comparing Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce, it's important to consider pricing. But you should also weigh the pros & cons and features of each platform before making a decision.

Mark Shust

Mark Shust

9 min read

If you are thinking about starting an online business or taking it to the next level, this article is for you. Building an eCommerce store is a large undertaking, but Magento can help provide a great shopping experience. You're likely trying to find the most optimal way to create an online store with the most features and the best cost.

There are two popular options when researching eCommerce frameworks – Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce. While this is a Magento vs. Adobe article, the two are very much related. If you are not familiar with these Magento platforms, you may not know which is worth pursuing.

In this pricing comparison, I'll break down the cost, features & details. This will help you decide which option is best for your business. Let's start by going over a very high-level overview of the two main options available in this Magento ecosystem.

What are Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce?

Magento Open Source is a platform that enables a team with coding experience to build an online store from scratch. Similarly, Adobe Commerce is a platform with its roots in Magento Open Source. It is targeted to larger enterprises looking to provide the most optimal experience for their consumers.

Magento Open Source was first developed by Magento Inc., and was previously named Magento Community Edition. However, Adobe acquired the rights to Magento back in May of 2018 for $1.68 billion. Open Source is basically an open source version of Adobe Commerce.

The largest & most significant differences between the two are the prices of the platforms.

Magento Open Source is the free version that doesn’t require a commercial license. It is perfect for those on more of a budget and looking to get started at minimal cost. Although the license of Magento Open Source is free, there are still many expenses associated with using it.

On the other hand, a single license for Adobe Commerce costs $22,000 annually. However, this is just the starting price for the license, and it can quickly increase depending upon several factors. This includes the size of your online store and the annual revenue of your company.

Magento Open Source logo

Magento Open Source

Detailed Breakdown of Functionality

Installing & setting up Magento Open Source is very straightforward. It is excellent for those looking to avoid the large upfront installation expenses common with other eCommerce frameworks. All of the code for Magento 2 is available on GitHub, and there are many plug & play modules available for free.

Hearing the word "free" may cause you to think you can build an online storefront without spending any money, which is definitely not the case.

Magento GitHub Readme

Although the licensing is free, there are other related expenses you'll need to foot the bill for, including:

  • Updates & Security Patches - Just having a storefront is only a very small portion of the overall cost. Hidden costs occur with software updates or security patches. You'll need a process in place to handle updates from every new version release. This ensures your Magento store is secure and on a recent version of the platform.
  • Custom Magento Extensions - While many modules or extensions are available on the Magento Marketplace, there are situations which are unique to your specific business model. In this case, you will need to contract the work out to a Magento agency or a team of experienced Magento developers. This has involved costs, but allows you to write completely custom modules that match your business logic.
  • Magento Hosting - Hosting solutions are available for your Magento website for as little as a few hundred dollars per month. However, you'll want to avoid options that place your site on the same server as others. Shared hosting can adversely affect the performance of your store. If you don't want to ever worry about server updates or maintenance, it may be better to consider a fully managed hosting option.

These are just a few of the primary expenses you'll have setting your storefront on Magento. These are not the only costs, and they can all start to add up and quickly become costly over time.

Magento Marketplace

The Magento Marketplace has thousands of modules available for download or purchase.

You may need to think twice about building a storefront on Magento if you are a smaller company or working on a tight budget. Even though Magento Open Source is "free", it may not be the ideal option for your business. There are much better solutions for very small businesses which have drastically lower initial setup costs, such as Shopify.

If you're willing to invest in your business' future, a platform such as Magento can take your online store to the next level. Your go to market strategy has the potential to drastically increase your investment over time.

The amount of money spent on Magento Open Source varies from one business to the next. It’s very common for build costs to total between $25,000 and $50,000 for a standard storefront installation & configuration.

Additional Features of Magento Open Source

Before moving forward, it's a good time to truly understand what you're getting in return for your investment. Here are a few more great features you can benefit from that are included in Magento Open Source:

Magento PageBuilder

  • CMS PageBuilder - While PageBuilder used to only be available in Adobe Commerce, it is now available in the community edition. This means that you have access to content editing tools that were previously only available to enterprise merchants. PageBuilder features a drag & drop user interface, which can greatly reduce the costs associated with managing content. This can also eliminate the need for developers to be involved when it comes to updating site content.
  • Architecture & Scaling - All Magento commerce sites share the same codebase, which means Open Source shares the same core code used by Adobe Commerce. This provides your development team with a fully scaled application architecture that can grow with your business. This allows your development or agency team to build an amazing commerce experience for your customers.
  • Proven Checkout - Consumers prefer an easy to use checkout process that makes buying what they want a breeze. Magento Open Source offers a streamlined checkout process which your customers will greatly appreciate. Unlike other SaaS offerings, the checkout can be completely customized. This provides you with full control over the checkout experience.

Magento Checkout

These features really set Magento Open Source apart from other offerings, and make it easier for you to build a commerce experience that consumers love.

Adobe Commerce logo

Adobe Commerce

What to Expect For Platform Costs

Now that you know the costs associated with Magento Open Source, you're probably wondering what makes Adobe Commerce a better option. While both offer similar platform features, there are quite a few differences.

Unlike the open source version, Commerce requires a fee for annual licensing. Licensing fees and increased costs for modules are the two main drivers of Commerce pricing.

The build costs for setting up a Commerce site start at around $50,000. Licensing costs start at $22,000 annually, in addition to build costs. In some cases, licensing costs could drastically increase depending on the amount of your business' revenue. High-earning companies with millions of dollars in sales will essentially pay higher licensing fees than those earning less.

Modules that support Commerce also wind up costing two or three times more than their open source counterparts. This is because the larger Commerce codebase requires additional support, and merchants have increased needs for scaling & security.

Magento Admin

The Best Features Adobe Commerce

Small, medium & large-sized businesses can all benefit from building a storefront on Adobe Commerce. The platform offers dozens of features which aren't available on Magento Open Source, including:

  • Content Staging - The Content Staging feature of Adobe Commerce allows you to schedule content changes. Rather than making content updates directly on production, you can "stage", or preview, it before making the updates live. You can also automate content changes for specific time periods, allowing you to coordinate with seasonal promotions. This allows you to run campaigns with unique, varying content.
  • Live Search - A fairly recent update to Commerce is the ability to have search driven by artificial intelligence. Adobe Sensei is part of a larger service based initiative, and is available exclusively to Commerce customers included in their licensing fee. This essentially provides an AI-powered super search engine that can help predict what shoppers may buy, even before they do.
  • Magento Commerce Cloud - Magento Cloud takes specific knowledge to configure & manage, but definitely provides benefits. This includes the ability to automatically scale after spikes in traffic. Cloud also provides amazing performance out-of-the-box.

Why I Hate Magento Cloud

There are also many reasons not to choose Magento Cloud. If you prefer, you can always choose to self-host your site, or use another managed hosting service altogether. Due to the open source nature of either framework, vendor lock-in doesn't really exist.

Although these are some key features provided by Adobe Commerce, there are various others you can benefit from. These include search engine optimization, advanced marketing tools, and customer segmentation options.

Implementing an Adobe Commerce storefront is announcing to the world that commerce is essential to your business. It means that you are willing to invest what it takes to make sure your customers have an amazing eCommerce experience.

Which Platform is the Better Option, Magento Open Source or Adobe Commerce?

While both platforms have much to offer, deciding which to use depends on a number of factors. The decision may leave you feeling a bit indecisive as to which is the best option for you as a merchant. While Adobe Commerce provides features that aren't currently available on any other platform, Magento Open Source is also a fantastic option. This is because it includes so many common, useful features available at a more affordable price.

Ultimately, which platform to choose will be up to you. They are both amazing frameworks which you can use to build your business on top of.

Magento vs. Adobe

If you are on a budget and concerned about Magento pricing, I'd recommend starting with Magento Open Source. As your business needs become more advanced over time, you can always choose to upgrade to Adobe Commerce. Adobe provides migration tools that make this upgrade process much easier than in years past. Much of your code will also continue to function after upgrading, as long as it has been programmed properly.

Each of these eCommerce platforms are here for the long run. They will both continue to deliver fantastic features & performance to thousands of storefronts for many years to come. Whichever Magento eCommerce option you decide to choose will be a great one.

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