We’ve written extensively about the eCommerce giant Magento over the years – how it compares to WooCommerce and Shopify, and how to integrate it with WordPress, for example. If you’re weighing up the pros and cons of eCommerce platforms, it’s almost certain that Magento will be in your consideration list, as it’s one of the big three, with a thriving support and extension community that will help you on your way.
But there’s one thing that might play a part in your considerations that we’ve not really covered, as we tend to talk about the technical aspects. That’s how much it costs to run. We’re firm believers that if an online platform does its job properly and keeps your checkout ringing with new orders, it’s worth paying for, as long as the benefits outweigh the costs, compared to alternatives. So here, we’re going to have a look at Magento’s pricing. Buckle up.
One important fact is that Magento was acquired by software behemoth Adobe (best known for Acrobat, Photoshop and Illustrator) in 2018 for $1.68 billion. They have since changed the name of the hosted option to Adobe Commerce. In time, people will start using that name, but in daily life everyone still calls it Magento, as to all intents and purposes it’s the same thing.
If you’re familiar with WordPress and its two versions, .org and .com, you’ll understand that there are two flavours of Magento – one you download and operate yourself (equivalent of wordpress.org) and a hosted package (equivalent of wordpress.com). You can still download Magento as free software and host it yourself, but it will remain your responsibility to ensure that it’s secure and that your hosting is optimised and your version is up to date. That will include costs, of course – hosting, shipping, software, design and payment functionality don’t come for free, after all.
If you choose the Adobe Commerce version, that’s when you can expect to pay for the privilege, but you will have less worry about updates and security patches, while still having the freedom to design your site the way you want it.
And that’s where it starts getting complicated. Adobe does have a page supposedly dedicated to pricing, but it’s a bit thin on the ground when it comes to figures. You have to send them a message to start getting a quote. When you delve deeper, you’ll see why.
Essentially, the amount you pay will depend on what type of hosting you choose (traditional vs cloud) and the volume of sales you make through the site as well as the average order value (AOV). Generally speaking, if you’re selling lots of individual items, or selling a small number of items that are each high value, you can expect to pay more for the service.
This is made slightly more complicated because there’s such a huge range of prices that are influenced by your sales. The minimum you can expect to pay is about $20,000 a year for a basic licence, hosting and moderate sales, but that can exceed $120,000 per year if you’re busy and/or have high AOV. And that’s with traditional hosting. If you opt for the flexibility of cloud hosting, you could be looking in the ballpark of $40,000 to $200,000 per year.
Obviously, if your business is making 7- or 8-figure profits, that’s a relatively small price to pay, but if you’re turning over less than a million, and you have expenses and low margins, that’s a big chunk of your expenditure going on your site.
If you’re a smaller business or a startup, we’d probably recommend sticking with the free version and self-hosting, and seeing how it goes. If you can justify the prices of Adobe Commerce, you will for sure get an excellent solution. But depending on the nature of your eCommerce business, you might be better off, financially speaking, working with a trusted Magento developer and growing organically.