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30Sep, 2016

Importance of Hosting when Working with Magento E-commerce

The last thing you would want in the middle of the holiday shopping season is a flurry of angry emails from your shoppers; complaining about long page loading times, error messages when trying to add items to cart for checkout and more. You think this is far from reality for your business because you are on the best e-commerce platform. Think again!

You might be on the best possible e-commerce platform but look closer, the problems highlighted above are not related to your e-commerce platform. They are related to your backend infrastructure, they are related to your hosting.

E-commerce Hosting

Hosting can make or break your site performance. Choosing the right hosting option requires knowing something about back-end technologies and working with the right partner. Like in the case of picking a server type, shared hosting is an easy decision cost-wise when you are starting out but might not be the right choice as your business grows. Knowing something about back end would also help you discuss performance and maintenance issues intelligently with your provider. Early familiarity will help you make smart choices right from the start and you may even be able to troubleshoot a few issues yourself. For more information, do try and read more on Nexcess.

Magento and Hosting

Magento is the leading e-commerce platform and has gained significant market share over the years. But, over these years the most commonly cited issue with Magento 1.x has been its performance. Because of which, one of the biggest changes in Magento 2.x was around its speed and performance.

However, hosting continues to be an important factor determining your Magento e-commerce store’s performance. With multiple hosting options available, the best hosting option for Magento will depend on several factors like the number of products in the Magento store, site traffic and site performance needs which can cater to current and near-future requirements.

Picking the Right Host

Selection of the best hosting provider relies on

  • proper assessment of one’s own current and future needs, and,
  • using solid evaluation criteria.

Knowing what your E-Commerce Site Requires

Here are the important things you must consider:

  • Site Traffic

First, evaluate how many requests your server receives in normal and peak times. This will clarify the size and scope of hosting footprint that would be needed. Hosting works in time slices of requests received every second, and this information is not provided by Google Analytics. If you already have an e-commerce site, then this information would be available with your current hosting provider.  Ask the provider to send you raw log files and use free tools available online to find the requests per second.

  • Number of Pages and Page characteristics

The number of pages and well as the number and type of products on each page can impact performance if hosting power is not adequately provided. The technical cost of rendering products to the client differs for different category pages. For instance, category pages with simple products consume lesser hosting power than category pages with configurable products.

Once you have the requirements figured out, you can check various hosting options to see which one would best match your needs.

Hosting Type

Depending on who is maintaining the server hosting can be classified into (1) Managed or (2) Self-service hosting. In managed hosting, maintenance and configuration of the server, along with applying updates and fixing issues is handled by the hosting providers’ technical team. In self-service hosting, the server is to be run by the client or a third-party team hired by him.

Managed hosting in Magento can pose issues like the hosting provider not supporting some functionality or charging a heavy premium for installation of enabling software. While self-service hosting doesn’t pose any limits on adding new functions it comes with the task of managing the server yourself.

Full control equals More Administrative Work

Server Type: Dedicated, Shared or Virtual Private Server (VPS)

Dedicated server is dedicated to a single client’s Magento store. The entire capacity of the server is available for use and this ensures optimal performance. However, dedicated servers are also significantly costlier than the other alternatives, i.e., shared or VPS. If you have the budget dedicated servers give you top speed and can support more traffic and products. More importantly, you can choose the number and type of disks, the disk and controller models, and type of RAM that goes into your server.

Tip: Solid State Drives (SSD) should be a part of your storage mix as they have a huge impact on the speed of IO operations. SSDs can ensure optimal performance of your Magento site.

Speed and disk space are both limited in shared servers. Shared servers also don’t allow complete customization of server settings to suit your business needs. Additionally, if other users on the server are experiencing issues there is a good chance you’ll be affected too. But shared hosting is a good option for E-commerce owners working on a limited budget.

VPS servers are sold by internet hosting providers, and give complete access to server/virtual machine (VM), for customization with any software. VPS is very similar to a dedicated server. It is cheaper compared to dedicated servers and can be set up fast. But VPS can experience performance issues due to neighbor site loads, it’s only drawback.

Support

Ensure your hosting provider is giving 24/7 technical support along with Magento emergency support services. Magento support is particularly useful for new users who are as yet unfamiliar with Magento suite and site building. Support teams should be easily available via phone and email. Look for providers with a low response time and check if they charge fees even for standard support features.

Web Security

For starters, make sure your hosting company blocks spammers, porn sites or banned sites barring which the whole IP net can get blocked, and you would end up blacklisted too. Magento sites are e-commerce sites and therefore require high security. Check if your web hosting provider supports SSL and SSH encryption, daily backups/live backups, suPHP, IP blocking and other security features in its hosting plans.

Magento compatibility

Select a host who offers full compatibility with Magento 2.0 version. It means that the web hosting server will need to support PHP 5.4+, Apache 2.x, and MySQL 5.6+.

There are a couple of other minor aspects to consider

  • Check for PCI compliance.
  • Also, look for real end-user reviews on support quality and performance.
  • If possible, enquire about the server quality at hosting provider’s data centers.

So, is “Best Magento Hosting” a myth? Probably not. By properly factoring in your needs and evaluating different hosting providers, you will be able to find the Best Magento Hosting Provider for you!

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Importance of Hosting when Working with Magento E-commerce