Updated December 5, 2018
The 3 keys to Magento success boil down to a few basic hosting requirements that must be met, and a few that optionally should be considered, if you plan on outpacing your ecommerce competitors. A few simple rules to live can help you steer the murky waters of choosing the right hosting.
Fundamentals for Magento Success
Running a profitable ecommerce site, Magento in particular, boils down to a few fundamental principles that must be prioritized – for good reason.
Magento is in secure control of the world’s top 10-thousand and 1 million websites sites, with 14500 websites in the Alexa top 1 million websites.
#1 – Page Speed
There’s a reason that over 200,000 renowned companies use Magento. The more popular names include Nike, Ford, Lenovo, Nestle, Samsung and Olympus.
Online shoppers have entirely too much choice. On a whim, they can click back, visit Google (or Bing/Baidu/Yandex) and start a new search to buy products from a different website. Shoppers are spoiled rotten – and we’re some of those shoppers – we love being spoiled with too much choice!
Shoppers expect a speedy site. They will not wait for slow loading pages. They will not wait for slow loading images. They will not wait for you to explain why your site is slower than they expect. We know that there’s a lot going on in the background with queries, filters, caching, loading descriptions and images, sorting and aligning. Shoppers do not care about how hard it is to deliver a good experience – they demand a good experience, period.
First Page Load
When loading a page of products, like a category page, or even a product page, there’s a lot of server processes at work – each of them focusing on getting the titles, descriptions, pricing and offers out of the database, and the images (and videos) off of the hard drive and transfer it all across their network, through the Internet and deliver it into the browser of someone, somewhere in the world.
Databases need CPU power to process and RAM to function effectively. More is better! When you have a Magento web host who has dedicated enough resources to your account, suddenly the database queries that select, filter and sort your products happens instantly (seemingly instantly). File systems on old hard drives are notoriously slower at delivering images than newer hard drives, which in turn are slower than SSD’s (drives that have no moving parts – like RAM chips). The hosting provider network goes from the network card of the server, which can be 100mbit or gigabit, depending on your host and plan, then goes through a series of routers and network devices before reaching the shopper.
Hardware makes a huge difference in how quickly a Magento shop performs.
Repeat Page Loads
After the page loads the first time, each subsequent load can be loaded from browser memory, server memory or a repeated loading of all those images and descriptions again. The latter is the slowest imaginable way of doing things, as a full reload is just as slow as the first time. Browser memory is great, but there are limits. The more pages someone views, the more items come into the local machine, and these push out older things. They can’t all be stored in memory forever.
Server memory, or caching, is one big way you can differentiate a cheap and cheerful host from one who has invested in delivering peak performance. Without going into technical explanations of all the different caching approaches, applications, etc, suffice it to say that there’s more than one way to do it – and generally any of them are better than none!
We all know how frustrating it is to get an error when visiting a website. It might be a 404 or a 503 or an XYZ – we don’t care – we don’t like it. Page not found. Page unavailable. These are killers. They kill profits.
What happens when most people receive an error message? Red flags go up – the distrust spidey senses kick into overdrive. Suddenly all those trust signals a site has used to inspire trust, like SSL certificates, logos, hacker safe banners, testimonials – all become worthless. A consumer has to believe you have your act together otherwise, they’re not going to cough up their credit card details – having been burned before, or knowing someone who has been burned before.
Uptime is the single biggest factor in assessing dependability for Magento shopping cart based sites. If your site is down, not many people will wait around for it to come back up. Some will even remember the experience and avoid your site next time around. Almost everyone will go elsewhere to make their current purchase. Minutes of downtime are costly. Hours of downtime are disasters. Days of downtime bankrupt brands.
Unmanaged hosting is popular because it’s cheap. Hosting companies offer it up by the bucket, because they have less responsibilities, much lower labor costs, less training on technologies, less support and admin tasks. Some liken server management to life insurance – everyone else appreciates that you have it.
Managed hosting means that things like hardening, security, migrations, configuration, optimization are all handled for you, so that you can go about your daily life doing what you do best – running your business.
The first time you move from unmanaged to managed, you’ll look back and wonder how you ever got along without managed hosting.
How to Deliver the Fundamentals Well
Getting your Magento-based online shop to load pages fast, really fast, you need a web hosting company that understands and invests heavily in page speed.
First Page Load
A quality Magento host, like KnownHost, will spend considerable money on premium hardware and networking. Modern, cutting edge, hardware will greatly outperform older gear. High speed network cards, high end routers and internet appliances, and tier-1 Internet backbone providers are essential in delivering high speed page loads. KnownHost sites are fast because we invest in this infrastructure – because we know our customers will appreciate having the fastest sites online – so they can provide flawless Magento shopping experiences.
Repeat Page Loads
Linux can achieve great performance. CloudLinux can achieve peak performance and make resource management a breeze. Add LiteMage on top of that, and your optimized Magento hosting will achieve max caching performance for incredible gains in repeat page loads. KnownHost offers CloudLinux and LiteMage across all platforms – just tick those boxes at checkout (a small monthly fee is required, but well worth the cost).
Achieving maximum uptime comes down to a lot of factors, many of which rely around hosting company choices for hardware, software and networking. Older, cheaper, less dependable gear is a great way to save money in the short term, and pass along a huge risk of downtime.
KnownHost is proudly the proven most dependable hosting company on the web – just check HyperSpin if you don’t believe it! With a better than 99.99% uptime, you can rest assured that your site will be alive and responding to requests when your prospective customers come shopping for whatever it is that you sell.
The best uptime in the industry is achieved thanks to quality hardware and software, plus a whole load of technical experts burning brain calories to figure out just how to maximize uptime. For example, using KernelCare is one way of making sure the kernel can be updated, without rebooting the entire server/service. You can actually get kernel updates on the fly, without downtime. It’s these type of smart additions that separate a savvy company that cares about your uptime and a hugely profitable company that cares about your wallet.
When you’re shopping for Magento hosting, whether it’s reseller, VPS, cloud VPS or dedicated, look for managed hosting. It will cost you a few dollars more each month. It will save you that money in wasted time, effort, frustration, downtime, and risk, many, many times over. KnownHost offers managed hosting because our clients want and need that extra helping hand that we provide – acting as the technical hosting experts, so site owners don’t have to try and learn everything we’ve learned from a decade in the business, leveraging hundreds of years of combined technical know-how on our technical team.
Now is a great time to consider fully managed Magento web hosting from KnownHost, offering a range of different plans, depending on your budget and needs. They include…
A great entry level plan ideal for smaller or newer shops without thousands of products or massive volumes of traffic. $14.97 per month for first term (50% OFF sale) – can lock in savings for several years if selected period is chosen.
The next step up from reseller hosting and an excellent way to get more resources for sites with more demands. $49.00 per month for as long as you stay a customer (30% OFF for life).
Even more resources for Magento, plus all the great features of our cutting edge cloud platform. $63.00 per month (30% OFF for life).
Our dedicated servers give you the ultimate in power and security for the most demanding Magento online shops. $159.00 per month.