Selecting a Magento Hosting Plan
While considering hosting options for a new website, you may come across a wide variety of services including shared, VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting solutions.
In many cases, your first reaction will be to shop for the lowest priced solution that will meet your minimum technical requirements for the immediate future. However, there are long-term considerations that you should be keeping in mind as you make your decision. When you factor in the hidden costs of some cheaper options, they can actually turn out to be worse financial decisions in the long-term. Here’s a quick description of the major hosting plan types available for Magento merchants:
Shared hosting environment is not optimized around the performance needs of your specific website. The goal of such a service is to place as many customers as possible into a single deployment. Depending on your traffic, API calls, number of simultaneous admin users, and the size of your Magento catalog, customer list, and order volume, a shared account is unlikely to perform well for you.
A step-up from shared is a Virtual Private Server (VPS) account. With a VPS, you’re still sharing resources, but there are typically fewer other customers than on a shared platform. Generally speaking, if other tenants have security or other issues, there are increased chances that your account may be compromised or otherwise negatively impacted.
The next option is your own dedicated server or cluster. This is typically the best option for most merchants. A dedicated server can be optimized for your instance of Magento. This means faster page loading speeds, more stable performance, and a generally smaller security vulnerability footprint. With a dedicated server, you’re the master of your own destiny, and not impacted by other hosting accounts in the same way as you would be with a shared or VPS environment. This is considered to be the best option for Magento hosting.
By optimizing server(s) just for your site, it’s extremely likely that you’ll see measurable improvements in your website’s loading speeds. Such improvements to your website speed performance are known to lead to conversion rate improvements and more successful marketing campaigns. Such benefits can easily make it worth the increased cost, as can the long-term benefits of improved stability, security, and reliability. After all, downtime and security issues can be extremely costly in the long run.
The last option is a Cloud hosting account, which provides you with resources provided from a network of servers that are interconnected. Popular cloud infrastructure options include clouds like Amazon’s AWS, Microsoft Azure, and Google’s Cloud. For many SMB merchants, leveraging AWS may be overkill due to the high cost and complexity of maintaining such an environment.
For mid-market and enterprise merchants, you’re likely to leverage a mix of dedicated and/or cloud servers, which can be used to create a server cluster. This allows you to distribute and balance your server load across your servers, which can be critical when your site experiences traffic increases, whether due to seasonality and holidays or sales and promotions.
It’s also a best practice to have a staging server where changes to your website can be tested and approved, prior to rolling out these changes to your live website. This staging server should mirror the live server in order to accurately be used to test site changes, like security patches and software updates.
Having a solid hosting platform is crucial. However, much like when you hire a web development team, you should also pay close attention to support. If your Magento hosting account is having issues, you can expect to lose sales and customers. This makes Magento hosting a mission-critical service.
We recommend selecting a host with proven Magento expertise, positive reviews, and recommendations, a strong SLA with 100% uptime, fast phone and ticket response times, PCI Compliance expertise, and proactive monitoring and maintenance. In many cases, if you select a host that offers poor support, it’ll cost you a lot more in downtime. Having a great partner in hosting should be about finding a team that will continually work hard to earn your business, and bring you success!
- Robert Rand
- Director of Partnerships & Alliances, JetRails
Magento 1 & 2 Certified Solution Specialist
Robert has over a decade of experience in helping merchants benefit from sound E-commerce and Digital Marketing strategies. He’s highly experienced at harnessing the power of E-commerce technologies and solutions to help businesses of all types and sizes grow and succeed and has earned numerous distinctions and accolades from his work with merchants and partner organizations. Robert is the head of partnerships for JetRails, a fully-managed white-glove eCommerce hosting service.