How to Choose the Best Magento Host
This blog post is by Rob Mangiafico at LexiConn.
Finding the perfect host for your Magento eCommerce store is not easy. Magento requires a great deal of know-how in order to make it run fast and reliably. Although many web hosts might meet the minimum requirements for hosting a Magento store, there are a few things you may want to consider when choosing the best Magento host for your online business…
Do they specialize in Magento?
A web host that specializes in Magento can be a life-saver when issues come up. Since Magento is open source, you do not have a company to turn to for support unless you are a Magento Enterprise client. Being able to ask your web host for help when a Magento error crops up, or ask them for help with a feature or setting in Magento can save you hours of searching and asking on a forum or support website.
Beyond getting support for problems, a web host that really knows Magento can help you avoid common mistakes, assist in setting up your store properly from the beginning for an optimized experience, and help with making sure your store is secure.
Bigger is not always better
Choosing the biggest or most well known web host may not be in your best interest. Companies such as IBM and Microsoft are listed as Magento hosting partners. It may be quite difficult (or very expensive) to try and get personal attention and in-depth support for your Magento store from large companies such as these.
You may want to consider a smaller host that provides a more managed, hands-on approach to hosting your Magento store, especially if you’re looking for more of a partner as your web host. Not sure which host to choose? Email them a few questions about specific actions or services you think you may need or want, and see how they respond.
Low priced hosting may cost more in the long run
Magento requires a good deal of server side resources to run well. Web hosts that offer very inexpensive hosting plans and list Magento as being supported may not be the best choice for you to have a successful store. In order to turn a profit, these hosts often load up their servers with a large number of clients. Your Magento store may not have the resources available when it needs them, resulting in slow page loads, database errors, or not being able to load at all.
You don’t have to break the bank when it comes to Magento hosting, but you want to find a happy medium between cost, speed, and support. It may cost a bit more for a quality, managed hosting provider, but this will pay for itself with a fast loading site and support that can help you solve problems quickly when they arise.
The term proactive gets tossed around a lot in the hosting industry. What does this term mean for a quality Magento host? A few things you may want to look for…
- Magento security patches applied proactively by the host when they are released.
- Monitoring of your website being up *and* free of Magento error pages, along with proactive action when the site is not loading correctly.
- Optimizations put in place at the time your Magento store is installed.
- Ongoing analysis of your Magento store to increase performance.
- Support for PCI issues such as scan results and payment gateway configurations.
Does the host really know Magento?
It can be tough to cut through the marketing hype and find a host that really knows Magento. Here’s a few ways you can tell…
- Detailed knowledge base for Magento
- Active in the Magento community
- Certified employees
- Social media, blog posts, news pages, etc… about Magento happenings and events
- Advanced options offered such as Redis caching, PHP Opcode caching, CDN solution
Often times hosting is seen as a commodity and the last thing to think about when it comes to planning your Magento store. This is often the wrong approach, as a properly selected hosting provider that fully supports Magento can help with problems, provide advice specific to Magento, and help you navigate the various issues that come up when running an ecommerce website. Take the time to carefully research your hosting selection, and you’ll be set up as best you can for a successful online store.
About Rob Mangiafico:
Rob is the CTO at LexiConn, a managed web hosting provider that specializes in Magento and eCommerce solutions. Follow @LexiConn on Twitter for the latest news in the eCommerce and hosting industries.