Adobe Commerce vs. Magento Open Source: What’s the Difference?

The Magento platform has undergone significant change since 2018, when it was acquired by Adobe. Now, two of the most prominent editions of the digital commerce solution are Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce — but telling the difference between the two can be difficult if you don’t have some knowledge of the platforms. 

In this guide, we'll delve into the details of these two solutions, exploring their unique elements and similarities when it comes to features, costs, security, scalability, hosting, and more. By the end, you'll have a comprehensive understanding of the differences between Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce, which will help you determine what solution is best for your eCommerce business.

What is Magento?

This question is more complicated than you might think! When we talk about Magento, we are usually referring to the Magento codebase — this is the software that solutions like Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce are built on. In other words, Magento is the name of the software purchased by Adobe that acts as the foundation of its entire eCommerce platform.

What is Magento Open Source?

Magento Open Source, formerly known as Magento Community Edition, is a flexible open-source eCommerce platform. In simplest terms, it is the “free version” of Adobe Commerce.

As the name suggests, this edition of Magento is open-source. This means that Magento Open Source has a very active and dedicated community of developers that help drive the platform forward and provide support to those using it. 

What is Adobe Commerce?

Adobe Commerce, formerly Magento Commerce, is a feature-rich eCommerce solution that builds upon the foundation of Magento Open Source. It offers all the capabilities of Magento Open Source while integrating additional advanced features and tools designed to enhance the eCommerce experience. Adobe Commerce is more directly managed by the Adobe company itself and is designed to meet the needs of larger businesses.

What is Adobe Commerce Cloud?

Adobe Commerce Cloud is the same functional platform as Adobe Commerce with the additional feature of being hosted in the cloud by Adobe’s own support team.It combines the features of Adobe Commerce with the scalability and infrastructure management of Adobe — it is their most promoted version of the platform.

So, Is Magento Now Called Adobe Commerce?

Not exactly. As mentioned earlier, Magento is generally used to refer to the codebase that all Adobe commerce solutions are built on including both Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce. However, at one point it was its own platform. Here’s a quick breakdown of the progression of Magento:

  • 2008: Magento is introduced and commonly referred to as Magento Community Edition (or CE)
  • 2010: Magento Enterprise Edition (EE) is released
  • 2015: Magento 2 is introduced and the platform originally known as Magento immediately becomes known as Magento 1
  • 2017:
    • Magento Community Edition becomes Magento Open Source
    • Magento Enterprise Edition becomes Magento Commerce
    • Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition becomes Magento Commerce
  • 2018: Adobe acquires the Magento brands and codebase
  • 2021: Adobe rebrands Magento Commerce as Adobe Commerce and Adobe Commerce Cloud

When we write about these platforms, we do our best to be clear:

  • Magento or Magento codebase refers to the shared foundation underlying both Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce platforms
  • Magento Open Source is the open source license platform that is primarily driven by the Magento community of developers with support from Adobe
  • Adobe Commerce is a paid platform offered by Adobe with more native features than Magento Open Source — this platform still requires hosting
  • Adobe Commerce Cloud is the same as Adobe Commerce, but Adobe manages the hosting infrastructure

Adobe Commerce vs. Magento Open Source Comparison

Before delving into the specific features and aspects of each platform, let's outline the main differences between Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce:

  • Features: What features and capabilities do these two editions of the platform offer?
  • Cost: How much does it cost you to use these editions?
  • Security: What are the differences in security capabilities between these editions?
  • Scalability: How will these solutions each scale with your business’ growth?
  • Support: Who supports your eCommerce solution?

Now, let's dive deeper into each of these areas to provide a more comprehensive comparison between Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce.

Magento Open Source vs. Adobe Commerce: Features

Magento Open Source Features

  • Extensive customization options with a wide range of extensions and themes.
  • Basic SEO tools to improve online visibility.
  • Flexible product catalog management with support for various product types.
  • Order management and customer service tools.
  • Integrated checkout, payment, and shipping options.

Adobe Commerce Features

  • Content staging and preview capabilities for controlled website updates.
  • Advanced marketing tools, including rule-based product relations and automated email marketing.
  • Customer segmentation for personalized marketing campaigns.
  • B2B features such as custom catalogs, pricing, and account management.
  • In-depth analytics and reporting for data-driven decision-making.

In the case of features, there is no distinction between Adobe Commerce and Adobe Commerce Cloud.


Magento Open Source vs. Adobe Commerce: Pricing

Magento Open Source Pricing: Magento Open Source is a free platform, making it an attractive option for small businesses and startups with limited budgets. However, it's important to note that costs associated with hosting, development, and third-party extensions will contribute to your total cost of ownership considerations.

Adobe Commerce Pricing: Adobe Commerce is a premium solution with associated licensing fees. The cost varies based on the size of the business and the specific features required. While the licensing fees cover access to advanced features, businesses should also budget for hosting, development, and additional extensions.

Adobe Commerce Cloud Pricing: Adobe Commerce Cloud will incur a higher monthly subscription fee from Adobe as a result of the managed hosting they also include with this version of the platform.

Magento Open Source vs. Adobe Commerce: Security

Magento Open Source Security: Magento Open Source provides basic security features and allows merchants to implement security measures based on their preferences. However, since it's open source, ensuring security updates and protection against vulnerabilities is the responsibility of the merchant.

Adobe Commerce Security: Adobe Commerce offers enhanced security features, including PCI DSS compliance, security scanning, and regular security updates. This focus on security helps businesses protect customer data and maintain a secure online shopping environment.

Adobe Commerce Cloud Security: Adobe Commerce Cloud offers more centralized control of your platform security due to the fact that Adobe is managing not only the platform but the infrastructure it runs on.

Magento Open Source vs. Adobe Commerce: Scalability

Magento Open Source Scalability: Magento Open Source is designed to be scalable and can accommodate growing businesses. However, businesses might need to invest in additional performance optimization and infrastructure as they experience higher traffic and demand. Scalability often depends on not only a well-implemented core eCommerce platform but also a highly tuned hosting environment. As a self-hosted option, Magento Open Source, depends a great deal on your hosting company’s ability to optimize the environment to your needs.

Adobe Commerce Scalability: Adobe Commerce offers similar scalability capabilities as Magento Open Source. As with Magento Open Source, scalability depends a great deal on your hosting company’s ability to optimize the environment to your needs.

Adobe Commerce Cloud Scalability: Adobe Commerce Cloud offers out-of-the-box scalability features, making it easier for businesses to handle increased traffic and demand without significant infrastructure adjustments. The platform's cloud-based architecture ensures optimal performance during peak times.

Magento Open Source vs. Adobe Commerce: Support

When it comes to support for Adobe Commerce and Magento Open Source, it's essentially a level playing field — contingent on who is managing the support work. Both platforms need support for various aspects, including hosting infrastructure, basic application functionality, and customizations. 

When considering Adobe’s cloud-hosted option Adobe Commerce Cloud, there are two elements that inspire a sense of confidence:

  1. Adobe is a well-established company with ample resources for enterprise-grade infrastructure management and support.
  2. Allowing Adobe to manage not only the Adobe Commerce eCommerce application but also the hosting infrastructure that supports it, offers a single team with broader support capabilities.. 

However, even the more unified support from Adobe for their Adobe Commerce Cloud platform has limitations. Adobe’s basic support is limited to the core application functionality and the core hosting services (uptime). Any support needs beyond these two areas will require additional maintenance contracts with either Adobe’s professional services team or with another Magento development agency.

For example, if you have third party extensions installed or custom code implemented, you must find supplemental support. In most cases, even businesses on the Adobe Commerce Cloud platform will also enlist the services of a respected Magento development agency to help support their complete eCommerce solution.

Long-term support is an important element of eCommerce success. It is important to consider all of your options and to review service quality over time to help you make any necessary adjustments to your support team.

The Advantages of Adobe Commerce

Adobe Commerce stands out in the eCommerce landscape for several compelling reasons. Let's explore its strengths:

Robust Out-of-the-Box Functionality

One of the best features of using Adobe Commerce is its extensive out-of-the-box functionality. Imagine you're running an online fashion boutique, and you need to implement a sophisticated inventory management system. Adobe Commerce offers a comprehensive solution right from the start, without the need for extensive coding or development. With features like advanced inventory management, product bundling, and customer segmentation, you can efficiently manage your product catalog, create compelling promotions, and tailor your marketing efforts to specific customer segments — all with built-in functionality that reduces the need for extensive custom development, saving you time and resources.

Direct Relationship with Adobe

With Adobe Commerce, you gain access to Adobe's suite of tools, including Adobe Analytics. This seamless integration allows you to track customer behavior, optimize marketing campaigns, and gain valuable insights into your customers' preferences. The direct support and collaboration with Adobe's experts ensure that you make the most of the tools that Adobe Commerce provides.

Greater Integration Opportunities with Adobe Cloud

Imagine you're expanding your eCommerce business, and you want to provide a unified shopping experience across various digital touchpoints, such as your website and mobile app. Adobe Commerce's advantage lies in its ability to integrate seamlessly with other Adobe Cloud platforms, such as Adobe Experience Manager (AEM) and Adobe Target. By leveraging these integrations, you can deliver consistent branding, personalized content, and smooth customer experiences across all channels.

Advanced Marketing and Personalization

Adobe Commerce comes equipped with marketing and personalization tools that allow you to create tailored experiences for your customers. With Adobe Commerce's marketing automation and personalization capabilities, you can analyze customer behavior, create targeted email campaigns, and recommend products based on individual preferences. This level of customization can help boost sales and enhance customer satisfaction.

Global Expansion Made Easy

Expanding your eCommerce business to international markets can be challenging, but Adobe Commerce simplifies the process. Adobe Commerce offers built-in support for multiple languages, currencies, and tax regulations, ensuring a seamless shopping experience for any international customers. It even features a powerful tax calculation engine that handles complex tax rules, making compliance simple — all of this allows you to focus on growing your business without worrying about logistical complexities.

The Advantages of Magento Open Source

Magento Open Source, on the other hand, presents a different set of advantages that make it an attractive choice for many businesses:

Cost Advantage of Open Source

As an open-source platform, Magento Open Source is free to download and use, reducing the initial financial barrier for your business. This cost advantage allows you to allocate your resources to other critical aspects of your business, such as marketing, advertising, or even hosting.

Using a Single Magento Development Partner

Efficiency and simplicity are paramount when managing an eCommerce platform. Magento Open Source offers the opportunity to work with a single Magento development partner for all your needs — development, hosting assistance, technical support, you name it. This streamlined approach ensures consistency in your development process, making it easier to maintain and enhance your site.

Flexibility and Freedom

Flexibility is a key advantage of Magento Open Source. With this solution, you have the freedom to tailor your online store precisely to your brand's requirements. The platform’s open-source nature means almost every aspect of the site is customizable — the user interface, unique features, and theme are all determined by you (if you have the development skills or partnership to make it happen). This flexibility gives you a ton of freedom — something that not every eCommerce platform provides.

Choosing Between Adobe Commerce vs. Magento Open Source

When choosing between Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce, it's essential to consider your business's specific needs and goals. Magento Open Source is a solid choice for businesses looking for a cost-effective solution without being tied to a subscription to Adobe services. On the other hand, Adobe Commerce is ideal for businesses that require advanced features, scalability, and a higher level of support. By understanding the differences in features, costs, security, scalability, hosting, and support, you can make an informed choice that aligns with your business objectives.

At IronPlane, we understand that the world of eCommerce can be complex and overwhelming. That's why our team of experts is here to help you navigate the intricacies of Magento Open Source and Adobe Commerce. Whether you're looking to migrate, optimize, or customize your eCommerce platform, our experienced professionals can guide you every step of the way.

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