Magento is an ecommerce platform built on open source technology. With its flexible shopping cart system, Magento has long been a heavy-hitter among enterprise brands selling online because it provides them total control of the look, feel, and functionality of their online stores.
According to data from BuiltWith, there are over 230,000 live stores running on Magento. In terms of market share of the Alexa top 1 million (the one million websites with the most hits globally), Magento is used by 18%. In other words, there are over 14,000 Magento stores in the Alexa top 1 million.
Magento was first released in 2007. In 2011, the company was acquired by eBay and then became an independent company again in 2015. The latest development occurred in May 2018, when Magento was acquired by Adobe. Speculation followed as to what that would mean for the company and businesses relying on it. In September 2018, Magento announced the end of life of Magento 1 as June 2020, meaning those software versions would no longer be supported. In March of 2019, Adobe announced their new Adobe Commerce Cloud which is essentially a fully managed cloud-based version of Magento that integrates with other Adobe tools.
Magento is undeniably flexible and scalable but its long list of features comes at a cost. In order to unlock its potential, you will need a skilled developer/designer (or team of developers) to set up, maintain, and update your store. Depending on how you get the product delivered, you also may be on the hook for hosting and platform security costs.
Let’s compare the Magento platform to the BigCommerce platform. Both offerings have a robust catalog of features for enterprise brands, but one of the biggest differences is the hosting setup.
BigCommerce is a SaaS (Software-as-a-Service) platform. This means it provides an all-in-one package that includes a flexible shopping cart plus best-in-class security and DDoS protection with hosting on Google Cloud, the highest level of PCI compliance, and automatic updates.[quote]
BigCommerce has a wide range of built-in features and is a great fit for large businesses who are ready to grow quickly.
Magento may be a good fit for businesses who require extreme flexibility in their platform and are willing to invest a lot of time and money to achieve that.
We’ll delve more into the distinct differences between these two platforms below and determine which is right for your business.
On-Premise vs SaaS vs Cloud
One of the primary differences between Magento and BigCommerce is how they are hosted.
Magento offers two main products. The first is its free-to-download option Magento Open Source. Anyone can download the software for use from Magento without cost. However, you will be responsible for hosting and development costs which can be steep, so “free” comes with a pretty big asterisk (more details on the Magento operating costs below).
Magento’s second main offering is Magento Enterprise which comes with Magento support. The cost of running Magento Enterprise will be based on the business’s traffic and sales. Magento Enterprise can be hosted on-premise or cloud-hosted as a PaaS (Platform-as-a-Service) solution.
Both Magento Open Source and Magento Enterprise can be hosted on-premises on a company’s own servers or be cloud-hosted through Amazon Web Services. With Magento Open Source, a business would download the software for free and then seek out their own hosting solution.
It is worth noting that, in addition to the above products, in 2019 the new Adobe Commerce Cloud was announced. This is a fully managed cloud service built on Magento Commerce and now part of the Adobe Experience Cloud.
The difference between on-premise and cloud-based solutions are pretty clear: the former is on site and the latter is delivered over the internet. However, as we delve into the intricacies of cloud services, things can get murkier.
Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition is a PaaS offering. BigCommerce is SaaS. And to complicate things further, there’s another cloud hosting model, IaaS (Infrastructure-as-a-Service). Here’s a quick breakdown of the difference:
IaaS: cloud-based, pay-as-you-go for services such as storage and networking.
PaaS: hardware and software tools available over the internet.
SaaS: third-party software available over the internet.
Below is a great summary illustration as well:
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