Magento is an e-commerce system developed by Magento Inc. The development started in 2007 and is in active development. Magento 2 was released in November 2015.
Magento has three different versions, two of which are paid and one of which is free of cost to use.
Magento Open Source is the free of charge version of the Magento e-commerce platform. The Open Source Edition can be added upon with paid or free plugin modules (self developed or provided by other developers). It provides a basic e-commerce system with all you need to operate. This version doesn’t include Hosting.
First released in April 2016, the Magento Commerce Edition is served as a “platform as a service”. In Magento 2, the Commerce Edition has improved architecture and development tools.
With tools like Magento Business Intelligence, a detailed analysis of your customers, products and promotions can help you to analyze where your shop needs some adjustments.
The Magento Commerce (On-Premises) Edition is a derivate of the Open Source Edition and comes with more features and functionalities then the Open Source Edition as well as technical support for the installation, usage, configuration and debugging of problems.
This makes it especially useful for large companies with shops that have a high throughput of customers and orders per day. The Magento Commerce Edition is developed by the Magento team with the additions which are requested by the users and third parties. This version doesn’t include Hosting.
Magento has a plugin module system which offers the availability to add to or change Magento’s standard behaviour.
Plugins can be developed by yourself or by third party developers.