Shared hosting is Ideal for Magento

Yes, you read that right. I firmly believe that the best hosting for many Magento websites is shared hosting. All too often once you look around for a host to your Magento shop, hosting companies say things like”you can’t run Magento in a shared environment”,”Magento is resource hungry so that it is better on a VDS/dedicated server”,”you can’t be PCI compliant on a shared server plan”. These statements are crap in general. There’s some truth in them, but you ought not hear them unqualified.

What no Ecommerce website owner wants to admit, is that their websites don’t get thousands of visitors every day and dozens of orders every day. The huge majority of Ecommerce websites have significantly less traffic than this. It takes time and hard work to build up traffic on a website, and several haven’t reached these heights yet. When I first started out it took 3 years and a good search engine optimization company to propel me to those amounts. Then two years of recent fail decimated the visitors, and I am now re-building my client base. I use shared hosting. It wasn’t always so. When I first began using Magento I too listened to those host”specialists” and moved the VDS route. It was a mistake. Three changes of host latter I realised that my selection criteria for finding a host were incorrect, and the sort of host plan I was searching for was also erroneous.

Hosting plan

Whilst clearly it’s possible to achieve virtually anything with a well managed dedicated server, this comes at a price. There’s absolutely not any point spending hundreds of dollars each month unless you will need to and your website is generating sufficient profit to pay for this kind of deluxe solution. Most Magento shops are put on VDS programs or shared programs. As I have said previously, many hosts advocate VDS plans. I don’t agree.

For example take a fantastic online Server. Fit it with plenty of powerful chips, plenty of memory, and a fast connection, and place 30 Magento shops on it. First place the Magento shops in their VDS envionment (so you’re running 30 VDS on the server) and see how they perform. Then close them down and place the exact shops in shared environments on this server. They will most likely perform faster on the shared setup. This is because the server isn’t running 30 variations of Apachie, 30 versions of MySql etc.. Further the host company will pay a whole lot more focus on the time and setup of the shared host, compared to individual virtual machines. They’ll have the ability to prepare and tailor the host once to operate Magento more effectively and keep it operating.

Of course there are drawbacks to a shared service. You’re far more dependent on the visitors of the other websites that you share the server with. That said a good host will have procedures in place to monitor for this and prevent 1 store hogging all the resources. Further as you’re presumably running a suitable Ecommerce site you may have your own SSL and your IP address, which means you won’t be impacted by another website being blacklisted.

Obviously you want to decide on a host who doesn’t cram thousands of sites onto one server, and rather a host that knows how to configure a server to run Magento.

At all times you want to be aware of your own goal. You only real choice criteria when selecting a host. YOUR SITE MUST RUN FAST. Thats it. The consumer perception is all that matters. Your website must come up fast, when they perform a search the results have to be returned immediately, when they add a product to the cart it has to be used quickly, when they checkout the procedure must flow quickly. No doubt, no blank screens, no annoying wait.

So with the 4 hosting plans I’ve used in the previous 3 decades, the common one is half the price, twice the rate, and fully controlled.

PCI compliance

By this I mean making sure that the website can pass a PCI security scan. If a host company can’t find a shared service to pass a PCI scan proceed. Many can, so don’t listen to their explanations. If you would like to store credit card information on your site, then I’m concerned that a dedicated server (or 2 ) is required, and very deep pockets.

Selecting a good host

This is easier said than done. I wasted over two decades and went through three hosts until I threw out my selection criteria and moved back to fundamentals. I initially looked for a host which would encourage Magento. That would help out with the updates, and help bug fix. I forgot to guarantee that the host did appropriate hosting things first. It’s far better to get a good host and another business to encourage Magento as and when you want it. Instead I was able to pick Magento techies who played . 1 host company forgot to renew my primary domain and let it expire. 1 company failed to check their copies actually worked and couldn’t restore when an upgrade failed. 1 firm used Gmail for their e-mails and sometimes e-mails to them bounced. 1 firm refused to install the most recent stable release (1.6.1 at the time) since they would only encourage 1.4.2 (in spite of the fact that I NEEDED works only released in 1.6). 1 VDS server, though hosted by a business recommended by many Magento users, slowed to a 30 second page reply whenever 3 spiders crawled it concurrently. Their suggestion — limit the spiders and slow their crawl speed. NO, you need Google, Yahoo and Bing spiders to crawl all over your website. You want them to believe that your website is fast and doesn’t want them to be throttled. I realised that I had to prevent them and find a proper hosting company.

So my only choice criteria is will my websites run quickly for my clients. For this I looked for a host local to me, i.e. UK based. I don’t think is having a host from another time zone, which is unfortunate since there’s far more choice in the united states. I then looked for a host that has knowledge of hosting Magento, who claims to have the ability to configure their servers for Magento, and that offers great shared hosting.

Once I had a brief list I requested their sales staff some questions. Mostly about if they could configure Magento multi shop in the way I wanted it. This wasn’t just to see whether they could do it, but also to determine how quickly they responded, and if they used a ticket system to log email questions. Never again will I go with a host that can’t be bothered to use a ticket system.

I then look up the testimonials on the server to find out what sites they’re running and how quickly they are. I avoid hosts in which the testimonial client has moved away (!) . Many Magento hosts have a Magento demonstration store running to demonstrate how quickly they could get Magento to operate. This is of limited use. If it runs slow then you know to avoid them. If it runs quickly then you understand nothing, as they might have thrown plenty of resources at it, and if it’s just a few goods and no traffic. The only real method of knowing how quickly a website will be is to navigate a similar website really running on the hosts servers using the program you need to purchase. If the host company doesn’t need to provide examples, ask them why.

In the long run I found a host that offered a good shared plan. Who guarantees never to place over 30 Magento implementations on a server. They operate Litespeed servers, which appear to have the ability to create Magento fly. My conversion rate is up. My website is running faster than it ever has, and I am earning great money.

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