There’s a reason why Magento is better than most other e-commerce platforms. The secret lies in its architecture, which is highly functional, scalable, flexible, and overall, pretty powerful. While such powerful architecture serves as a great basis for an impactful e-commerce store, it also places a higher-than-usual demand on the website hosting resources. In order to enjoy all the benefits of the Magento platform, along with the assurance of superior performance, it’s important that Magento store owners invest in a high-quality hosting solution for their website. In fact, this step is so important it can practically make or break the performance of the website.
Let’s look at the different types of web hosting options that are available for Magento websites and how to arrive at the decision for choosing the right one.
4 Key Types of Hosting Solutions Available for Magento
In shared hosting, a single web server, and its resources, are shared among several websites, all being hosted on the same server. This means hundreds, or even thousands, of websites could be running along with your website using the shared server and resources. It’s the cheapest hosting option that you’ll find, costing around $5-$20 per month.
The advantages of using this hosting solution for a Magento website are, frankly, not many. The low cost can be a plus point, especially if you’re an e-commerce business owner who’s just venturing out. Shared hosting allows you to split the cost of hosting with other users who are using the server for their websites. Little to no administrative or technical skills would be required on your part.
The disadvantages of using shared hosting stack up pretty quickly. First off, the server performance will be very dependent on the total number of websites that it’s hosting. Even though a Magento website will run fast enough in this type of hosting, it’s only reasonable to expect some roadblocks in performance when so many connections are running simultaneously. Second, you have limited control over how much you can customize the server settings for your needs. Third, security issues and threats will loom over this kind of hosting solution.
It’s okay to go for this hosting option if you are new in the e-commerce business, have only a small range of products on the website, and don’t anticipate high website traffic. In this case, try to find a trustworthy, shared hosting provider to collaborate with. But if you’re someone who looks at the bigger picture, you’ll know that the ultimate goal is to have a bigger website with more and more traffic. This means that you’ll need to go with a hosting solution that’s capable of efficiently handling high traffic and large data volumes for your Magento website, something shared hosting falls short providing.
Virtual Private Server (VPS)
VPS, also going by the name Virtual Dedicated Server (VDS), refers to a virtual server that’s perceived as a dedicated server by the user, but it is actually installed on a physical computer that’s running and hosting several websites at a time. There can be many VPS nodes associated with a single physical server, each of which will have its separate operating system for running a particular website.
This hosting solution is a better alternative than shared hosting, you’ll have more dedicated resources at your disposal to help optimize performance. Better security and cost-efficiency are other positive points for VPS hosting. If you have a small, or new, Magento store to run, going with VPS could be a good choice for you. Just make sure that the server has enough RAM.
What you get with dedicated hosting is a single server that’s solely dedicated to hosting your website. Your Magento store will be the only one running on the server, there will be no other websites hosted. This exclusivity comes at a price; dedicated hosting has higher monthly charges, and the cost only increases as you decide to go for better and better hardware.
Barring the high price, dedicated hosting actually offers many advantages. You get full control over the customization of the server settings, for instance, you can choose an operating system that you think would work the best for your website. The dedicated server will also deliver great website performance. Even though you are paying a high price for this type of hosting, you are also getting a greater degree of flexibility, security, performance, and overall control in return.
Large and busy Magento stores, the ones with great volume of products and high user traffic, should opt for dedicated server hosting to meet their above average needs.
Cloud hosting is where your website is hosted on a network of servers. The resources responsible for running your website are spread across many interconnected servers instead of being located on just one server. This group of servers working together is called the cloud. This is a more recent type of hosting that has been gaining popularity for some time now, and for some good reasons.
Failure of one server isn’t going to take down your website since there is no sole dependency on a single server. Your website will be protected from unexpected downtime due to issues like a server malfunction. You are in control of the server configuration. Scalability is another great benefit of cloud hosting. Depending on the website needs, you can scale the resources up or down, for example, you may need more resources if there’s a flash sale on the website, or you may need less during off-seasons when you don’t expect much traffic. You pay only for the resources that you’re actually using.
Apart from generalized cloud hosting, you can also find the one that’s optimized for Magento websites. If the hefty prices of dedicated hosting is a problem for you, you can opt for cloud hosting instead and leverage similar benefits. Businesses which are in nascent growing stages would appreciate the flexibility offered by cloud hosting.
#QuickTip: Even though to efficiently run a Magento store, you need all hardware resources to be excellent, you want even more so when it comes to RAM. The size of RAM will be an important factor in your Magento store’s performance. 1 GB is a good number for small Magento stores with low volume of traffic. For bigger stores with more traffic, though 2GB is the minimum RAM needed.
5 Tips to End Up With the Right Magento Hosting Provider
Knowing that selecting the right Magento hosting provider is an important decision, it’s worthwhile to read a few tips that will help you get around to a right decision. If you’re in a fix about which hosting option to go with, here are a couple of tips that will help you out:
Assess Your Website Requirements
Start by doing an analysis of your Magento store. Ditch the one-size-fits-all approach for choosing your hosting provider. Instead, chalk out a requirement overview for your website, considering factors like:
- What would the user traffic be like on the site during normal and peak days?
- How many pages will your website contain?
- How many products will each of those pages have?
- Will those products be simple or configurable?
Factors like these will, in turn, help you arrive at calculated data for matrices like bandwidth, disk space, and processing capacity. It’s a good idea to find a hosting provider who specializes in Magento hosting, or at least has bona fide prior experience in the same.
Pay Attention to Security Measures
Security is a joint effort between the store owner and the hosting provider. There will be certain security related measures that you can implement on your end, but your hosting provider will be responsible for much of the security aspects, such as implementing security patches for the server’s operating system. The hosting provider that you choose should have a good reputation in this area.
Go Where There is Reliable Support
A hosting provider who can be counted upon anytime is essential. Ideally speaking, a good hosting provider would offer 24/7 technical support service and would even offer emergency support service. Their response time will be low and they’ll be easily reachable by being just an email or a call away. If you get the option for Magento specific hosting support services, that would be the best.
Need Managed or Unmanaged Hosting?
In case of unmanaged hosting, all you get is usually a server with an OS, there are barely any other additional hosting management services provided. It’s you who will have to arrange for any other extra amenities. Whereas, in managed hosting, you get several hosting management services like: malware inspection, backups, status supervision, etc. The decision to go with unmanaged or managed hosting would depend upon whether you’re capable of taking care of hosting management and maintenance on your own or not.
You might want the best for your website, but you can’t be getting it at a price that your business can’t afford. Hence, price is going to be a critical component in your decision-making.