Best Magento Hosting
Ecommerce software is also commonly called Shopping Cart software. Magento is well known for its ecommerce and business related web applications. This popularity is mainly due to the properties of power and user friendliness.
Magento is owned by EBay. EBay itself being the leader in online retail, Magento software’s popularity in the ecommerce world is not surprising at all. The software is currently available in the Open Source free version and the premium Enterprise version.
Magento uses the PHP language for programming and the MySQL or MariaDB databases. It follows object oriented programming concepts and the model-view-controller architecture.
System Requirements For Magento Installation
Just like Drupal and Joomla!, Magento uses the LAMP stack architecture. Most web hosting providers have the one-click installation tools available in their packages.
The versions of the LAMP stack required are:
- Linux x86-64
- Apache 2.x or Nginx 1.7x
- MySQL 5.6 +
- PHP 5.4 +
As Magento deals with ecommerce related websites, security is of top priority. Hence, a dedicated IP address with a plan that supports an SSL certificate will be required for the developer.
Overview of The Open Source Version of Magento
The Open Source free version of Magento is also called its Community version. This version of the software is not just a preview or demo. It is the complete software available for use.
Important features of the Magento Community version:
Search Engine Optimization
- Page for most commonly searched items
- Control over settings for URLs
- HTML metadata for items and pages
Marketing of The Business
- Discounts for large purchases
- Recently viewed products shown
- Opinion polls
- Wish lists
- Related items displayed
- Coupon system
- Free shipping options
- Custom themes available
- Content management system present
- Area and zone based tax calculation
- Login administration
- Built in localization
Display For Products
- Zooming options
- Multiple views of a product
- Sharing on social media sites like Pinterest
Catalog Management and Browsing
- Organization of products into groups and categories
- Product features
- Variable pricing options
- Special pricing options for holidays etc.
- Personalizing of products
- Inventory management support
- Filter and sort with advanced options
- Global site-wide search
- Comparing of products
Checkout, Payment and Shipping Details
- Easy checkout
- Guest or sign-up options
- Various forms of payment accepted
- Shipping estimates based on location
- Different shipping options available along with free shipping
- Shopping carts can be saved for the future
- PayPal can be used
- Order tracking available
- Reordering option available
- Email notifications
- Customer service for order related issues
- Easy creation of accounts using forms
- Tracking of placed orders from the account
- Password settings
- Automated email facility
- Multiple shipping and billing addresses storage
- Tracking of placed orders
- Order history can be viewed
- Option of leaving reviews on previous purchases
- High quality reporting on different aspects of the store including inventory, refunds, invoicing etc.
- Integration with Google Analytics
Overview of The Premium Enterprise Edition
The first main reason to opt for the paid Enterprise edition of Magento would be the availability of support and guidance for increased usability of the software. This is provided only with the Enterprise edition.
The Community edition is more like a ‘do-it-yourself’ version of the software. Other than that another important reason to go for the paid version would be the requirement of one or more of the features present only in the Enterprise Edition.
Some of the extra features present in the Enterprise Edition of Magento are:
Targeted Promotions and Customer Grouping
It allows you to group customers based on criteria like location, shopping statistics and other factors. Promotional deals can be made available to customers based on these groupings.
A long-term cookie is used to maintain sessions for longer durations and also multiple sessions.
Automated email feature can be used for sending reminders to customers for various reasons.
This is a version of Magento that does not require installation. It is a completely cloud based software. It was launched 2011 to give small to medium businesses the opportunity to create their ecommerce websites easily. However, due to some reasons Magento Go was shut down in 2015.
Magento 2 is the latest version of the Magento software. It has many improvements and new functions. Magento 2 introduced the Model-View-ViewModel (MVVM) pattern in its front end code. Currently both the versions of Magento are available for use.
Alternatives to Magento
The most popular alternatives to Magento would be ZenCart and osCommenrce. These are also ecommerce platforms like Magento.
ZenCart is less complicated than Magento. Hence, easier to learn and use for beginners. It provides a lot of good functionality and can be customized to the user’s needs. Magento on the other hand is more complex but gives the site a more professional look.
Content management Systems like WordPress or Drupal can also be used for building ecommerce applications by adding plugins. This would be a good option if the user already has a WordPress site and wants to add ecommerce functionality to it.
Other examples of shopping cart software include BigCommerce, KonaKart, LemonStand, OpenCart, JigoShop, Apache OfBiz and Shopify to name a few.
Magento Web Hosting Providers
Ecommerce websites can be built on both shared and VPS hosting solutions. However, as scalability is an important factor for a website supporting a growing business, a VPS hosting account would be the ideal option.
In terms of the basic requirements of a web hosting environment: fast server, dedicated IP address, security etc. SiteGround is considered as the company with
the best web hosting options for Magento. Its top competitors are BlueHost, InMotion, IPage and A2.
Frequently Asked Questions
What is Magento?
Magento is an open source e-commerce software also known as shopping cart software. It is written in PHP. Magento is famous for being powerful and very user-friendly. Magento uses the MySQL or MariaDB databases and the object oriented programming concepts.
What operating system do you need for running Magento?
You need the Linux operating system for running Magento. It cannot work on any other operating system.
What are the system requirements for installing Magento?
Magento uses the LAMP stack architecture. It needs the Linux x86-64, Apache 2.x or Nginx 1.7x, MySQL 5.6 + and the PHP 5.4 + versions of LAMP.
Will Magento work on shared hosting plans? What is the best hosting plan for Magento?
Yes, Magento will work on a shared hosting plan. However, shared hosting is not ideal for building and running ecommerce applications that Magento is generally used for. Ecommerce websites have to guarantee high security to their visitors which is not possible on shared hosting plans. Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting plans are considered the best for Magento hosting. Scalable VPS hosting is most ideal. With this you can expand overtime and pay as you use more resources with more traffic.
What should a user that cannot afford a VPS hosting plan do for Magento hosting?
A user that cannot afford VPS hosting should opt for a web hosting provider that offers reliable shared hosting and easy upgrade options to scalable VPS hosting. That way the user can start with an inexpensive shared hosting plan and then move on the scalable VPS hosting as the website generates more traffic and income.
What are the alternatives to using Magento?
Other than Magento there are currently many ecommerce platforms available.
osCommerce and Zen Cart are the most popular ones after Magento. Plugins can be used to build ecommerce functionality on top of content management systems like WordPress and Drupal. Online marketplaces like Shopify or Amazon are also options in place of online stores.
Which is a better option when Magento is compared to ZenCart?
There are different benefits to using both Magento and ZenCart. Magento has more features and a more efficient user interface. Also the applications created with Magento have a more professional look to them. Zen Cart is less complicated and has a highly customizable user interface.
Is Magento better or WordPress with a plugin?
The answer to this depends on a couple of factors. Firstly, your skill in WordPress and Magento. If you already have a lot of WordPress experience, it makes sense to utilize that and use WordPress ecommerce plugins. Also, if you have an existing WordPress site and you want to add ecommerce functionality to it, the WordPress plugins are useful. If neither of this is the case and you are just setting up a brand new ecommerce site, Magento will be the ideal solution.
Which is the best option amongst Magento, Shopify and Etsy?
Shopify and Etsy are online marketplace platforms. They are hosted by someone else and enable you to easily and quickly get your site up and running. However, they do not provide you with the flexibility of customizing your site according to your needs. This is done only when you build your own site using an ecommerce software like Magento.
What are the important advantages of using Magento?
Magento has many advantages that make it a popular ecommerce software. These include versatile content management, mobile friendly configuration, customizable security permissions to name a few. Magento is also very powerful, spacious and cost efficient.
Resources For Beginners
- Website – https://magento.com
- Wikipedia – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Magento
- GitHub – https://github.com/magento/magento2
- Business News – http://www.businessnewsdaily.com/7709-best-enterprise-ecommerce-software.html