If you are starting a new eCommerce business, then Magento will be the best platform for it. Magento has become a popular open source eCommerce platform because of its flexibility and multiple features. But, as its architecture is complex in comparison with other platforms, it has more server demands.
For the Magento based eCommerce stores, you need to have a hosting server which enhances its performance. But, the selection of a hosting provider is the most difficult as well as an important task to do.
There are various aspects which affects the selection of the Magento hosting provider. We will try to cover multiple aspects one by one. But let us first see what the requirement of Magento for hosting is.
What are the Magento Hosting Requirements?
Generally, the hosting provider companies do the Magento Installation themselves and meet all the requirements before that. But in case you are installing the Magento on your own, you need to make sure that the below system requirements are met:
- Linux x86 or x86-64
- Web Servers: Apache 2.0.x, Apache 2.2.x or Nginx 1.7.x
- PHP 5.4+, Safe mode off, Memory limit 512MB
- MySQL 5.6+
- Valid SSL certificate
- HTTPS support to Payment gateways
For the Magento hosting, you need to have a dedicated IP address. These requirements will be taken into account for selecting the best suitable hosting services for your Magento based store.
Why your eCommerce Business Needs the Magento Hosting?
Websites these days are the best medium to engage your customers and make an online presence for any business including the eCommerce. If you have an online store, you must be knowing that all the files from your store are kept on a computer server which is popularly known as the host.
Hosting plays an important role in improving the website performance. However, it becomes crucial to select a hosting company which can offerthe best suitable hosting services for your business and website.
Magento is becoming powerful and growing fast as the best eCommerce platform. It has the scriptwhichutilizes Zend PHP and MySQL databases. It offers a flexible modular architecture and unlimited control options. So, to create reputation in the market and to expand the business, you need to choose hosting services very carefully.
What are the Different Types of Hosting?
If you are working with Magento, you may need to invest in the Hosting services for better performance of your store. There are multiple types of hosting available for Magento.
- Shared Hosting
- Dedicated Server Hosting
- VPS Hosting
- Cloud Hosting
- Managed Hosting
All the types of hosting act as a storage for your store but still they are different in storage capacity, control options, requirement of thetechnical knowledge, speed of the server, and reliability.
Let us understand them all, before you actually take up any hosting provider for your website.
On a shared server, there can be multiple websites ranging from very few to hundreds or even thousands in number. All the websites share the basic components of the server such as the Disk Space, CPU and RAM. The cost of this hosting is lowest among the others but the performance of the websites depend on the number of websites using that server hosting.
Shared hosting can be useful for the beginner level businesses, with less technical knowledge and the websites handling less number of visitors.
But there are certain limitations too with this hosting. You can access the root directories, cannot make changes in the server, it has limited power to handle large traffic peaks and the performance of the website can be highly affected by other websites.
With Magento you need more space, flexibility and less connections to make the platform keep running faster. If you are planning to expand your business or website, you may need to face high traffic and for that you have to go for a separate hosting service and not a shared hosting.
Dedicated Server Hosting
The Dedicated server hosting is better than the shared server hosting. A dedicated server supports and handles only one website. Here, you are free to choose an operating system for your store, make the changes in the server, access the root directories and get the better website performance as well as speed.
As you are getting a dedicated hosting service, you may have to pay large amount for that but you will see that it is worth paying for. If you have a website which faces high traffic on your store, then this is the best option for you.
VPS (Virtual Private Server) Hosting
The VPS is also called as the Virtual Dedicated Server. This is because, it is the combination of Shared hosting and dedicated hosting. In this hosting, you will get the benefits and characteristics of both the server hosting.
For a single server, there are various virtual server nodes with its own operating system. The websites are using these VPS nodes as the dedicated server but they are actually connected to the same server.
As the dedicated server, you will get the full access to the admin and the environment. This will help you in creating custom things or developing customized products on your website. You can install and download unlimited software on your server with fast speed.
The disadvantage of this hosting is that the performance of your website can be highly influenced by other sites on the server. And it has limited capacity to handle high traffic on the website.
The cloud hosting has become popular these days. In this, several computers are connected together to form a cloud and any website or application running can use the resources from all these combined computers. This has the capacity of handling large number of traffic or sales spikes.
With this hosting, the businesses can decrease or increase the capacity to be used as per their requirement. Generally these types hosting comes with configuration and to manage them you just need a system administrator and then you can configure as your own.
This is the perfect hosting for the companies or businesses who have a large product and market. As many computers are connected together, you may not get the admin access. And this is quite expensive for small businesses.
With Managed hosting plans you can get the power of a dedicated server without any technical knowledge for the admin work. This is because the hosting company provides the technical support along with the basic hosting services.
So, this makes you do whatever you want on your website with the help of the provider’s technical support. The whole environment or the system is pre-configured and if you need any changes that can be done.
How a Web Hosting Server Works?
The server is a virtual or physical machine, rather a computer which takes care of your website’s database and files. And a web server is a programmed software which handles the requests from the internet.
Whenever you type any URL into the address bar of the browserfrom your computer it forms a request which is then routed to the other computer which hosts the website you are searching for. The web server is that computer which handles the request.
The web server then reads the request after receiving it, analyses applications which are needed to run or access the files, and after completing the analysis, it sends the response back to the browser. The response which the browser receives is the webpage for which you were searching the internet. So, actually a webserver is the mediator between the internet and the files/data on the server.
Which Basic Features to Look for inthe Hosting Provider Company?
When you start looking for a hosting company for your eCommerceMagento store, please make sure you take care of the following discussed features:
- Speed: As per today’s standards, the loading speed for any website should not be more than 2 seconds However, it becomes a very crucial step to look for the hosting server with fast response and loading time. This will enhance the browsing of your webpages and hence will increase the conversion rate.
- Bandwidth: The bandwidth refers to the transfer of any data from a website over a period of time. The large bandwidth means the high speed and less means slow speed. So, the determination of bandwidth amount depends on the storage space you take on a server. If your site needs more space then it will require large bandwidth and vice-versa.
- Magento version Compatibility: When your store is developed in Magento platform, make sure that the hosting services match the system requirements of that Magento version.
- Storage: The storage capacity for your website on a hosting server depends on several factors. If you are uploading high resolution images on your website then you may need more storage space compared to others. But if you wish to include any video you can utilize the video uploading websites to reduce the load on your store.
- Scalability: While selecting a hosting for your Magento store, you need to take the future of your store into consideration. It may happen that you may wish to expand your business, products as well we store. So, choose a Magento hosting providers which offers more server power and disk space for the future expansion.
- Support: As the shop owner of an eCommerce store, you should look for the hosting companies which provides the 24/7 support. It may happen that you face some technical issue with your site which can lead to lost sales as well as search engine rankings. However, to get the resolution for your issues you should for the companies with 24/7 technical and customer support.
- Backups: A backup can help you to find some lost data from your store. It is necessary to take back up on regular basis to restore the data. Ask the hosting providers for their backup services/plans.
- Server Location: The server location for your website plays an important role in the SEO process. You should get the server in your targeted country. Because this helps the search engine to know which is your targeted country/customers.
- Cache Management: The cache management is required for the high speed of the webpage loading. Make sure the company you are selecting performs the cache management for the proper functioning of the website.
- Price: You can choose among the hosting provider companies as per your budget. As working with an eCommerce Magento store, you may need to spend your money on other things as well. However, you can go for some relatively cheap hosting provider services.
- Server Uptime: This is time during which the server has been working fine without going down. Ideally you should go for the server with 100% uptime but that is next to impossible However, you should select the servers with 99.99% uptime which means that you may have 8 hours of low or down time in an entire year.
Common Mistakes While Selecting Hosting
Mistakes are unintentional but it can have serious impacts or loss. Some shop owners make certain mistakes when they select a hosting provider for store. Let us learn from others mistakes, avoid these mistakes and perform better.
- Windows are not supported by the Magento systems. So, don’t chooseany windows hosting.
- The memory limit should be 512M and max execution time should be 600 (ten minutes) for proper working of the Magento backend
- Take backup and check the copies of the Magento on regularly
- If you are expanding your store, then you have to check the logs for errors and fix them.
- Don’t go for free hosting services.
Reasons to Not Choose Free Web Hosting
The free hosting servers or services are best for the personal blogs website or chat rooms. But they are not the best option for the Magento based stores. Here are some important reasons for not going for free hosting for your eCommerce store:
- Limited disk space, bandwidth, backups, supported databases and email accounts with no proper email account management.
- The free hosting just offers2 add-on domains, in place of an unlimited number.
- Low uptime guarantee
- No guaranteedsecurity and privacy
- No FTP access through SSL (SFTP) and no SSH control
- No access for creating advanced cron jobs and no use of complex scripts
- Low speed, few RAMs, weak processor and an old operating system
- No proper technical or customer support
If you want to avoid all these issues and want the all the system requirements, then you should select a proper hosting services instead of using a free hosting provider.
Benefits of a Magento Hosting
The Magento platform offers lot of benefits when it’s used with the best hosting server. Some of the top benefits are:
- Better User Experience– Magento is easy to use and makes the overall experience better for the user.
- High Performance–When Magento is used in the right hosting environment, it gives the incredible performance.
- Easily Customizable– With the right hosting server for your store, you can easily create a custom online Magento based store.
- Updated Regularly– The perfect Magento hosting will update the software whenever it is required and will also take care of all the bugs. It will also provide you with the new features for your store.
These benefits makeschoosing Magento over other e-commerce platforms.
As a final thought, we want to highlight the benefits of choosing the correct hosting servers for your store: it will increase the website performance as well as the conversion rates. It will make the store faster. You should choose the hosting services as per your budget and your store requirements but make sure that it will ensures the better performance when you upgrade your store.
DarshitParmar is a Magento Business Consultant at M-Connect Media. He has been with M-Connect Media from last 5 years and helping the MagentoeCommerce businesses to make online presence effectively. As a certified Oracle 9i and Google Analytic Individual, he enjoys sharing his knowledge about SEO and Magento design to make eCommerce businesses successful.