Magento is synonymous with eCommerce. It’s one of the oldest and most popular platforms around, and if you need to build an online store, you won’t do much better than Magento. As the founder of a leading Web development firm, I’ve been using Magento for years, and this isn’t my first Magento review. It is, however, my first time focusing specifically on the Magento Community Edition, or Magento CE. That’s because there’s a great deal of interest surrounding this unique variation. If you’ve spent any time comparing the various Magento plans, you may have found yourself tantalized by CE’s top selling point: It’s absolutely free.
What is the Magento Community Edition?
Magento CE is the open-source version of the Magento platform. Like Magento Go and Magento Enterprise, CE enables you to build an online store from the ground up. Design your site, list your products, add deals and promotions, communicate with customers, manage orders, and even keep track of your customers.With Magento CE, you can do just about everything necessary to run a successful online business. But the obvious question remains: “Is it worth it?”
Magento CE Review – The Pros and Cons
When people ask me about Magento CE, my response is always the same: It’s a fantastic platform, but it’s not for everybody. I know that may sound like a cop out, but I’ll explain. Magento CE isn’t just good “for a free program;” It’s great on its own merits. It’s fully customizable, and it enables you to perform all of the essential tasks that other platforms charge good money for. Best of all, you can’t beat the infinite free trial. If you’re curious, just download Magento CE and start tinkering with it. You have absolutely nothing to lose, except maybe a few hours of your time.
The biggest downside of Magento CE is its lack of support. There is no customer service, and the platform is presented in a very bare-bones way. If you run into questions or complications (and believe me, you will), your only recourse is to seek the expert advice of the active Magento community members. So if you’re well-versed in design and development, you may find Magento CE to be the perfect solution for your eCommerce needs. But if acronyms like “PHP” and “MySQL” sound like gibberish to you, run for the hills. Magento CE is great for the more tech-savvy among us, but everyone else will find it frustrating, tedious, and perhaps even unmanageable.
Finally, it’s important to understand that even though the platform is technically “free,” it’s still going to cost you. If you want to accept credit card payments from customers, you’ll need to invest in a merchant service. And given the complexity of the system, you may also have need for a Magento designer or developer. So it’s true what they say: There is no such thing as a free lunch.
Magento CE – It’s Not the Only Game in Town
If you find Magento CE to be too convoluted, you may find Magento Go to be a breath of fresh air. Magento Go is the ideal, cost-effective solution for people who prefer a cleaner, more user-friendly content management system. Unlike CE, Go offers 24-hour support and premium hosting. Plans start at just $15 per month, so even for the most budget-conscious businesses, it may be a worthwhile investment. There is a 30-day free trial available, so you can easily compare it to CE and determine which option suits you best.
If you enjoy using Magento CE, but are looking for a professional helping hand, call Coalition Technologies at 1-888-800-9101. We’re a certified Magento partner, and we’ll gladly help you to smooth out the difficult edges, whether you need some custom designs, development work or search engine optimization. Call us for a free quote.