Top 10 Reasons Magento Merchants Switch Hosts
As an open-source, on-premise solution, Magento requires a properly configured hosting environment in order to run well. That means you need to choose a web hosting solution. The hosting solution that you select will directly and fundamentally impact your Magento stores’ success. While many hosts will advertise Magento hosting accounts that you can purchase yourself through their website, that can be kind of like a restaurant advertising “free wifi” in the window. What they’re offering isn’t necessarily fast, secure, or otherwise a business-grade offering capable of meeting your ecommerce hosting needs and expectations.
Not sure how to tell a good host from a bad one? Well, you’re in luck! We’ve put together a list of some of the common issues that Magento merchants often experience with their first hosting vendor:
1) Shared Resources
You can’t choose your neighbors. With shared hosting environments, this certainly rings true. When you’re hosted on a shared server or in another shared environment, if another site on the server is hacked, under attack, or hogging resources, your site can be negatively impacted. What seems like a cheap solution at the onset can really cost you a lot in downtime and slow loading speeds when you step back and look at the bigger picture.
It’s always best to select a dedicated environment, whether on Dedicated Servers or in a public cloud account such as AWS. This way you can optimize the environment for your needs and minimize the chances that your business will suffer because of issues outside of your control. In a dedicated environment, the entire hosting account and all of the server resources are provisioned for you alone. Everything from firewall settings to caching systems is set up to best meet your specific needs.
2) Server Management
Many hosts have a set-it-and-forget-it mentality. Once you’re in a hosting account, they don’t provide ongoing maintenance. That can mean that you’re not benefiting from updates and patches to your version of Linux, PHP, and other hosting software. Operating systems and other software must be kept up-to-date, and other critical maintenance should be taking place. Make sure that your host is going to provide proactive maintenance.
*Important Note: If your host is providing you with Root access, chances are that they’re not responsible for server management and it’s up to you to keep things patched and secure.
Magento hosting servers have been around for many years. If a host puts you on an outdated magento hosting environment, it might be an older server configuration and you may not enjoy the benefits of newer hardware like solid state drives (SSDs). You may also be at a higher risk of a server failure as hard drives and other server components have limited lifespans.
A good solution will not only include a modern hardware stack. It will also provide redundancy through RAID configurations, caching layers, off server backup, and a strong SLA for replacing any equipment should a part fail.
It’s great to have a hosting account that is up and running, but who’s monitoring it? What if your site is going down or your account is maxing out of resources like hard disk space, RAM, or CPU? Will the host wait for you to notice and reach out to them or will they step in to assist? A good host will be proactive in providing this kind of support to minimize any downtime.
A chain is only as strong as its weakest link. In many cases for Magento hosting, it is going to come down to server configuration. You can throw all of the processors and RAM at a problem as you’d like, but if you’re bottlenecked because of PHP.ini or My.cnf settings, or you don’t have properly configured caching, you’re not going to see the benefits that you should.
Magento is a robust platform with many hosting intricacies. Even a hosting engineer with years of general experience can have a hard time properly configuring a server to run Magento efficiently and effectively. It’s why experienced developers and agencies consistently recommend hosts that truly specialize in Magento hosting. They’ll be better prepared to set up your hosting environment, maintain it, and get to the bottom of any issues that may arise.
If you need to add more hardware or more servers to balance your traffic load, does your host have a plan to assist quickly and with minimal downtime? Will they assist with load testing to make sure that your site will be able to handle traffic from an upcoming marketing campaign or flash sale?
Even with modern, fast hardware and up-to-date software that takes advantage of new speed improvements, loading time for your Magento site will vary. Every Magento website is indeed a snowflake - a unique entity that’s not identical to other sites. A team of Magento development experts, like Collins Harper, can do a lot to improve your loading speeds. However, your web host should be helping to configure a wide range of caching, CDN, compression, and other technology that makes sense for your particular use case.
8) PCI Compliance
If you accept credit cards on your Magento website you should, of course, be PCI compliant. There are many factors that impact PCI compliance. Your host will need to maintain server software versions, properly set firewalls, and keep up other settings to pass standard PCI testing. Just because a host suggests that they support Magento users, does not mean that they’re able to meet PCI standards.
If the contents of your hosting account are damaged, whether by accident or on purpose, you’ll need a recent backup to restore site functionality. It’s best to leverage off-site backups so that even if your entire hosting account is corrupted, you’ll have a backup elsewhere that you can access and restore from. Not all hosts take this basic and crucial step.
This is the big one. Support is what gets more Magento site owners to switch hosts. Support is interwoven with the first 9 items on this Top 10 list; however, it can also stand on its own. Here are some examples:
(a) Your host doesn’t provide phone support
(b) They take hours to respond to an urgent ticket
(c) They make you go through 6 technicians before you can connect with anyone that’s familiar with the basic Magento hosting issue that you’re reporting
(d) They keep “kicking the can” down the road rather than address an issue that you’re experiencing
(e) They don’t have a strong SLA that guarantees reasonable support and uptime
When ineffective support is costing you in sales, developer time, and stress, you’re most likely to consider a new host.
Director of Partnerships & Alliances, JetRails
Magento 1 & 2 Certified Solution Specialist
Robert has over a decade of experience in helping merchants benefit from sound E-commerce and Digital Marketing strategies. He’s highly experienced at harnessing the power of E-commerce technologies and solutions to help businesses of all types and sizes grow and succeed and has earned numerous distinctions and accolades from his work with merchants and partner organizations. Robert is the head of partnerships for JetRails, a fully-managed white-glove eCommerce hosting service.