Magento is a CMS (content management system) which is used across the world for e-commerce websites for several distinct reasons. Due to its open source license, Magento is actually one of the most common CMS used for anything related to e-commerce whether it be a global retail store or a small online front for your home business.
It’s fairly easy to set Magento up but managing it and making sure that it keeps performing at its peak often requires some hard work.
As far as web hosting is concerned, there’s a long list to choose from. But as soon as your desire to use Magento enters the equation the list goes from “long” to “a few” rather quickly. This is mostly because Magento itself is often rather intense on server resources, significantly making it slower to load up as for as CMS’ are concerned, it requires optimization and configuration on the server which isn’t an easy task for anyone without web development knowledge.
Then there’s also the question of which type of hosting to choose. Shared hosting is fine for many other CMS but Magento only performs at its peak when it’s given its on dedicated server; performance declines drastically on shared hosting as your website becomes sucessful. VPS are nice and shiny but as the number of products on your store climb along with traffic; so will your costs. But that’s a worry for another day.
Let’s look at the facts. If your website ever gains enough visitors that performance becomes an issue then you’ll be more than happy to move over to a VPS or even a dedicated server.
Things to look at for e-commerce startups
There’s quite a long list of things to look at when someone starts browsing through hosting providers and quite a lot of the information posted doesn’t make any sense. Being able to make email addresses for the domains you own and having a File Manager shouldn’t even need to be mentioned when you’re trying to purchase a web hosting service.
The features you should be looking at for Magento are as below:
Maybe you’re a person who doesn’t know anything about languages like HTML, PHP, etc. or maybe you’re an expert in these and many other languages. 24/7 support is a feature that any competent hosting provider should be able to provide.
Experienced web developers would rarely need to use it but every now and then someone ends up breaking something that they’re unable to fix and having customer support that’s willing to help you is always a good idea.
Bandwidth & storage capacities
People highly overestimate the value of bandwidth. Even if your storage capacity & bandwidth is fairly high, sooner or later your website’s going to reach it if you’re doing your job correctly and you’ll have to not only face downtime but also face the possibility of losing sales because of said downtime.
Magento itself is a fairly resource hungry CMS and requires more than a powerful server to run it flawlessly. Add bandwidth limitations and a powerful fan base to the equation and your website will be hitting the monthly limit pretty quickly.
Most hosting providers offer upgradeable plans but it’s still a nice idea to double check beforehand. No one wins when you hit the limits midway through the billing cycle and there’s no way to upgrade your plan.
Contacting support beforehand is a great idea as it’ll help you get two birds with one stone; you’ll know the answer to your question and you’ll know if the support is competent.
Things to look at and our recommendations
Here’s a few screenshots from popular hosting providers from across the world. These are the things you should be looking out for when it comes to finding the best for the job.
BlueHost already provides 24/7 tech support but another thing that people overlook is the ability to restore backups or to scale your plans according to your needs. Do check our review about BlueHost along with a coupon for a quick discount.
For completely fresh start ups we’d recommend A Small Orange simply for the amazing support and forum community (do read our tutorial about running your own forum community on WordPress), you can read through our review of the hosting service provided by ASO and also get a 30% discount on any hosting plan you wish to receive.
Don’t forget to take a look at our homepage for a complete list of the various hosting providers and their price plans.