Magento 2 is a totally reworked platform with a feature set beyond what anyone could have imagined. So you made the decision, it’s time to upgrade to Magento 2.
Now comes your next decision, Community or Enterprise?
Magento has always offered a free version of their platform, the “Community Edition”, as well as a more advanced version, “Magento Enterprise”, available at a cost. This structure remains the same with Magento 2, however the gap between the Community Edition and Enterprise Edition is much larger.
Magento 2 is an upgrade no matter what. While Magento 1 is a powerful and effective platform, it is over 10 years old and no longer Magento’s primary focus. Magento 2 is built on years of hindsight and customer feedback. So whether you are looking to update to Community Edition or Enterprise Edition they are both far more scalable than Magento 1 and are an absolute upgrade.
On Magento 1, Community Edition had almost everything Enterprise offered, and unless you had a very specific business use that Enterprise was a must-have for, it might have been an unnecessary purchase. That is no longer the case; in order to really get the full feature set of Magento 2, you need the Enterprise Edition.
The key site elements ecommerce merchants are concerned about are site speed, being mobile friendly and an optimized checkout. What really separates Magento 2 from the rest of the market are the out of the box templates that are mobile friendly, have unparalleled site speed, short and fast checkout and advanced content management capabilities. Some of the main features of Magento 2 such as; the Split database structure for optimized speed and scalability, built-in Bluefoot CMS, and content staging (which are designed to really make faster, more efficient and powerful) are exclusive to Enterprise. Simply put, Magento is no longer giving out the major features for free.
But can’t I use the Community Edition and use extensions to fill the void? Everyone seems to ask themselves that question at some point. While the answer may be technically yes, it’s not very practical, here’s why:
Having too many extensions causes bloat; when your server needs to talk to one thing, which needs to talk to another, which needs to talk to another, before you know it your system is confusing itself, slowing down and is far more likely to break somewhere along the way. On the other hand, using a comprehensive solution that is streamlined will run smoother and is far less likely to have technical issues.
You might not even save money in the end by going on Community; even if you just want to add the extensions you absolutely need, after the cost of the extension, the development costs, and in-house time to operate and maintain the site, you may very well be paying more than the Magento licensing cost.
Conclusion: Both the Community Edition and the Enterprise Edition are better on Magento 2 than Magento 1. On Magento 1, the difference between the Community Edition and the Enterprise was minimal, however on Magento 2, the major features are only available on Enterprise. Trying to customize the Community Edition to have all the functionalities using extensions will lead to bloat, and may end up being more expensive than the licensing after all the costs.