LimeSurvey PRO vs LimeSurvey CE
From LimeSurvey Manual
Before starting the discussion about LimeSurvey PRO (LimeSurvey Professional) and LimeSurvey CE (LimeSurvey Community Edition), it is important to understand the difference between LimeSurvey and LimeSurvey GmbH. LimeSurvey refers to the web server-based software that is freely distributed under the GNU General Public License v2 (GPL v2) and above. LimeSurvey GmbH refers to the company that was built around the LimeSurvey software in order to better coordinate its development and provide various LimeSurvey paid services (e.g., hosting, personalized templates, add-on packages, technical support, etc.).
Because LimeSurvey has a General Public License and is an open-source software, it can be used, modified, and distributed for commercial, private, and educational purposes by anyone, With the exception of the name and logo, which are trademarked. For example, LimeSurvey can easily be used to create and distribute questionnaires for the evaluation of a university class or professor, or it can be installed on a personal server in order to conduct online/offline marketing research for your company.
In order to install LimeSurvey on your personal computer (for development purposes) or on your server, a minimal set of requirements need to be met. For an exhaustive step-by-step explanation on how to install LimeSurvey, read our installation guideline.
However, for users who might find the installation process too time consuming and for those who have no server administration knowledge, LimeSurvey GmbH offers PRO hosting services. With PRO hosting services, the installation is created for you!
LimeSurvey PRO vs LimeSurvey CE
Check the following table in order to better grasp the main differences that exist between the two services:
|LimeSurvey PRO||LimeSurvey CE|
|Hosting is provided by LimeSurvey. The creation of an up-and-running installation should not take more than 5 minutes.||Self-hosted.|
|You can choose one of the four types of subscriptions: FREE, BASIC, EXPERT and ENTERPRISE.||You may either use the free version or pick one of the three premium packages. The premium package contains the ComfortUpdate feature, access to older versions and a multitude of design templates.|
|Always uses the latest stable version of LimeSurvey.||You get access not only to the latest releases, but also to the older ones. You choose which to use.|
|Technical support included for the paid packages.||Technical ComfortUpdate support included for the premium packages.|
|Contains all the features that make LimeSurvey great.||Contains all the features that make LimeSurvey great.|
|LimeSurvey PRO comes with response and storage usage buttons due to the limitations imposed by the subscription packages.||LimeSurvey CE does not contain response and storage usage buttons. Limitation are due to the amount of space allocated from the personal server to the LimeSurvey-related tasks.|
|No server access. This means that no third-party plugins/extensions can be added to your LimeSurvey installation.||If you own your server, you can access your LimeSurvey installation. You can start tweaking it and further enhance it by adding additional extensions/add-ons.|
|The ComfortUpdate tool is utilized to upgrade the LimeSurvey installation.||The ComfortUpdate tool is utilized to upgrade the LimeSurvey installation. The update can also be done manually.|
|You save valuable time by using our available hosting and avoiding any server or installation configuration.||Ideal for hands-on people with technical knowledge. The LimeSurvey manual Is a great place to start learning about this software.|
|Reliable response inflow due to a self-renewing subscription system.||The only limitation is related to your server and its configuration.|
|More flexibility - You have 3 days until the date of renewal to cancel your subscription!||The software is hosted on your servers. No linkages between the activity performed by you with the help of the LimeSurvey software and LimeSurvey GmbH.|
Convinced that LimeSurvey CE is right for you? You can install it on your server now. To download LimeSurvey CE, access the Resources tab from the LimeSurvey main toolbar and click on the Download option.
The following page will load:
Four boxes will be displayed:
- LimeSurvey PRO: If you click on the create installation button, you will be first asked to create a LimeSurvey.org account in order to be able to access your online LimeSurvey installation. If you wish to use our hosting services, continue reading the following quick start guide: LimeSurvey PRO Quick Start Guide.
- LimeSurvey CE: This option allows you to download the LimeSurvey software, archived in different formats and also in an executable file (usually the latest link). Use this option if you would like to install LimeSurvey on your own server or on your own computer for personal testing. It is ideal for hands-on people with technical knowledge. You will see that LimeSurvey CE is divided into stable releases and development releases. For a rock-solid software, go for the stable release. However, if you would like to test new LimeSurvey features and you want help us solve bugs, go for the development release.
- Templates: You may find example surveys here, label sets, and question templates in various languages. All the templates are community-made. You can also contribute by uploading your work and making it publicly available to other users.
- Extensions: LimeSurvey supports plugins and extensions. By clicking on the "SEE EXTENSIONS" button, you get access to a directory that contains all the LimeSurvey third-party extensions (your own contribution can also be listed there).
What do I need?
There is a lot of information to grasp. We are completely aware of this and you might feel a bit overwhelmed. We suggest you do a cost-benefit analysis. Some aspects that are worth taking into consideration:
- Capital: Think of the costs of running a server for example. Even though a lot of low-cost hosting providers can be found online, take into account that you have to take care not only of your LimeSurvey installation, but also of the server configuration. If you want to create more complex surveys and/or install/create additional plugins, employees with knowledge in PHP, HTML, CSS will be needed - which means higher costs for you and your business.
- Human resources: If complex surveys are created, employees with IT-related skills might be needed. That is why it is better (sometimes) to outsource such services. You may use our LimeSurvey PRO services or the help provided by our official partners.
- Time: Time is a limited resource. Different time-related constraints (e.g., deadlines, lots of qualitative research requests from your clients, etc.) transform time into an important independent variable that should definitely influence your final decision.
Think of all your possible needs and available resources before choosing between LimeSurvey PRO and LimeSurvey CE.
Generally, if you want to use LimeSurvey without any download or configuration, use should LimeSurvey PRO. You can test it freely as long as you want and then purchase one of the subscription packages. However, if you have a running server infrastructure and want to integrate LimeSurvey into that, take a look at LimeSurvey CE. We also offer great LimeSurvey CE packages to enhance your installation with one-click updates and more custom themes.