What Is Magento?
Magento is the most popular e-commerce platform on the market with a dominating 29.1% market share.
The Magento platform is built on open source technology giving eCommerce store owners much needed flexibility for their website’s shopping cart. This open source tech means you have full control over the content, functionality, and overall look of your online store. With all that room for flexibility and customization It’s no surprise that it is the top choice for online merchants around the world.
Why Magento Is Such A Popular Ecommerce Solution
The Magento application was one of the first ecommerce platforms built with non-technical users in mind. When it was first released in 2008, it filled a key need in the market for a versatile, user-friendly ecommerce platform for non-developers.
More recently, Magento 2’s new interface was completely overhauled to provide a better user experience and accessibility to an even broader audience of non-technical users.
Magento’s newly designed interface designed with the optimum UX in mind
Magento has a massive number of quality themes and extensions which takes the ability to customize your site and integrate it with other applications even further. Magento’s variety of add-ons is so great that entire websites have been created to serve as a marketplace for these tools.
There are tools to maximize your productivity by adding shipment notifications or tools for optimizing your search functionalities so consumers can easily find more products. Premium themes can get your site up and running in less time and optimized for speed and mobile users.
The Magento community is large, active, and actually helpful. It extends from their own forum to a dedicated Magento subreddit, to even their own Stackoverflow site. All of which are ripe with knowledge you can peruse through to find solutions to problems you may be facing, find ideas you can implement on your own site, or even to find developers who specialize in Magento.
If you can’t find what you’re looking for it is as simple as submitting a question to the community to get all the direction you seek.
A peek at the user-friendly Magento Forum dashboard
Magento is extremely scalable, which is a primary contributor to its widespread success. Each application comes with multiple master databases which let you ramp up your capacity where needed so you can handle a wide range of workloads across your products, orders, and checkouts.
Magento is known for setting the standard when it comes to eCommerce scalability, and they keep exceeding those standards with each update. The chart below shows scalability under stress testing between Magento 1 versions and Magento 2 versions. As you can see the scalability has more than doubled in the past few years since releasing Magento 2.
Chart comparing Magento’s scalability under stress tests
Top 5 Web Hosting Options for Magento Ecommerce Platform
While Magento is a powerful ecommerce solution, what makes it so effective also makes it a bit high-maintenance in terms of hosting.
Magento’s size mean you should probably skip the budget hosting options and look at the more top-tier providers and plans that provide the necessary server capacity to handle the Magento platform. This means extremely optimized caching systems, high-tech hardware, and ideally a custom plan that is tailored specifically to Magento’s unique needs.
With that in mind, we have curated a list of 5 hosting options that we feel are an abnormally good fit for the Magento platform.
1. Nexcess Magento Web Hosting
Nexcess will come up quite a bit if you starting seeking out recommendations for a Magento hosting provider; and for good reason.
Nexcess is known in the hosting industry for having high performing servers and unparalleled tech support. Their support team believes there is no such thing as a dumb question and are available 24/7/365 with support options ranging from phone, email, and live chat.
Nexcess VP of Sales discussing Nexcess hosting at MagentoLive UK 2017
The Nexcess platform is also PCI compliant meaning your site will be extensively safeguarded from vulnerabilities and threats which meet the PCI Security Standards Council’s requirements of a hosting provider.
While they offer a lower cost option, Nexcess specializes in premier solutions for midsize companies that want with features like CDN’s and dedicated servers to maximize uptime, performance, and security.
To learn more about their hosting plans and get the most current pricing visit the Nexcess website or download their Magento White Paper to learn the best practices for optimum Magento performance.
2. SiteGround Magento Web Hosting
SiteGround has rolled out Magento focused servers, and there as great as you’d expect. SiteGround’s Supercacher keeps your website loading fast and it’s Cloudflare CDN tops off its impressive hosting package by making your site visitor’s experience swift and satisfying.
The custom Magento hosting packages are created for with ease of use, security, and support in mind. SiteGround also has one of the most in-depth guides on installing Magento and optimizing it for maximum performance and stability.
Most SiteGround hosting packages come with the ability to host unlimited websites, free email accounts, and a free drag & drop builder so you can customize your sites to the max with little to no technical experience.
One of their ‘Geeky’ features SG-Git allows for easy Magento repo creation. This feature allows you to to make a Git repository of your Magento install which you can access and edit locally while comparing your sites changes between the live site and your staging site. This makes updating and deploying your new site a breeze for a very reasonable cost.
3. MageMojo Magento Web Hosting
The aptly named MageMojo is yet another serious contender on the hosting front for your Magento site.
One of the biggest things that separates them from the competition is they exclusively host Magento sites. That means every aspect of your server from CPU, to memory, to disk space, and even bandwidth is optimized specifically for your Magento store. With all that impressive hardware also comes a transparent service level agreement.
While MageMojo isn’t the cheapest option, you most definitely get what you pay for. Every plan comes with a dedicated server and solid-state drives which makes your site load extremely fast and won’t lag under stressful shopping days where your traffic is spiking. Also, as far as dedicated servers go you won’t likely find anything this good for the price.
Finally, MageMojo has built a well known reputation among the Magento community for offering the best customer support you can find. Not only are they exceptionally responsive but since they only host Magento sites they have a vast accumulation of Magento knowledge. All of this information and more can be found on the MageMojo website which is also where you can find the most up to date pricing.
4. Sonassi Magento Web Hosting
Sonassi has been hosting high performance Magento stores since the original Magento was still in beta back in 2008. They built their solution with speed, scalability, and stability in mind and started their journey by not only hosting Magento stores but building them for their clients as well.
In 2015, they discontinued to offer Magento builds for their clients but still offer top of the line Magento hosting.
Since Sonassi has been with Magento since the beginning, their team of developers and support staff are exceptionally knowledgeable when it comes to optimizing your store and troubleshooting any issues you may have.
Even more impressive is the Sonassi team created MageStack which is the fastest platform a Magento store can run on. The MageStack gives you the power and scalability of a cloud system combined with the speed of a dedicated server. They advertise speeds as low as 8 milliseconds and credit their advanced caching functionality and load balancing features.
Sonassi is a managed Magento solution which brings about features like comprehensive automated backups for your site and advanced security protocols. Along with features like the MageStack and integrated CDN’s it’s not hard to believe they are one of the most expensive solutions out there. But in the end, the Sonassi platform is the epitome of getting what you pay for.
To read more about their hosting packages and to get a custom quote check out the Sonassi website.
5. Cloudways Magento Web Hosting
Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting solution meaning you get to choose among top-rated infrastructure providers like AWS, Digital Ocean, and more; but beyond that you can choose from over 30 unique locations across the world to host your store on so can be closest to your target audience.
This specificity combined with their optimization formula named Thunderstack have shot them to the top of the hosting charts when it comes to quick loading times and overall user experience.
Beyond speed, Cloudways is well known for offering managed security. This means you don’t have to pay for expensive and heavy security solutions for your Magento store and you can rely on the security experts at Cloudways to be on watch for malicious attackers and vulnerabilities they might exploit. They constantly update your system, patch your firmware at appropriate times, and constantly monitor your site for threats so you can have a little peace of mind knowing your store is in great hands.
Cloudways offers relatively mid-range pricing options but you’ll see they’ve got you covered with auto-scaling Magento hosting meaning your store won’t suffer under unexpected traffic spikes. To see the most up to date pricing and read more about their Magento specific hosting options check out the Cloudways website.
Setting up Magento Ecommerce Platform
Now that you have a better idea of which hosting platform you should use for your Magento store it is time to get into the nitty gritty of setting up Magento on your site. Follow this simple 4 step process:
- Download the latest Magento Installation package.To do so, head on over to the official Magento website and click Get Started at the top of the screen to initiate the download for the most up to date installation package. You will be prompted to sign in or create an account if you are a first time Magento user.
- Upload your Magento installation file to your cPanel. To do so, navigate to the File Manager in your cPanel.
A second option would be to upload the installation file through your FTP. When deciding where to store the file you need to ask yourself if Magento will be the main element of your site (i.e. http://www.yourwebsite.com) which will require you install the package onto the public_html folder. Or if you will place it in a subfolder such as public_html/store and have Magento be a separate part of your website (i.e. http://www.yourwebsite.com/store).
- Create a mySQL database to assign a user to. To accomplish this you can login into your cPanel and select the MySQL database option.
In the following screen, you will choose the name of your new database and click Create Database.
You will receive a confirmation screen that tells you your database has been successfully created. Now you just need to add a user. To do so click on the Back button to get back to the database management screen. Select a username and a password then click Create User. Then you will choose that user below and Add User To Database to finalize the process.
On the following screen, you will be prompted to choose desired user privileges (we recommend selecting them all) and clicking Make Changes to end step 3.
- Follow Magento Installation Prompts. The package is now uploaded, extracted, and you have a functioning MySQL database, to continue head over to http://www.yourwebsite.com or http://www.yourwebsite.com/store depending on the folder used. You should see the Magento Installation Wizard which will guide you through the rest of the process. To begin you must select a checkbox to agree to Magento’s terms and conditions.
Click Continue where you will be prompted on the next screen to enter a preferred time zone and currency. Click Continue again, and you will find yourself on the configuration page. You will enter in your MySQL Database login information from Step 3 and check the box that says Skip Base URL Validation. Every other checkbox or field can be left untouched. Click Continue.
On the next screen, you will create an admin account. Just type in your name, email, username, and password and the bottom field will generate an Encryption Key for you. That key will encrypt credit cards, passwords, and other confidential information. Click Continue.
That’s it! You should see a confirmation screen signifying your installation has been complete. Write down that encryption key and navigate to the frontend or backend of your site to start customizing and setting up your Magento store.
Summary of Magento Web Hosting
Selecting a hosting provider for your online store is extremely important when running a robust solution like Magento. Now that you’ve had an in-depth look at what the market has to offer you can make an informed decision with your new store.
If you’re already up and running and you notice your store is running slow or your hosting provider’s support isn’t satisfactory then maybe it is time to switch.