If you are looking to build a powerhouse eCommerce site, you would certainly do well to harness the power of Magento 2. Built for scalability and custom implementation, with hundreds of marketplace addons ready to architect your site just how you need it, it is no wonder that Magento has risen from the masses to be one of the most popular eCommerce platforms in existence.
Of course, something this powerful definitely has a learning curve, and pitfalls will inevitably appear during development and deployment of your store. It pays to do your research ahead of time, to determine what features you need, what marketplace developers are worth their salt, and ultimately where you should host this beast of an eCommerce engine.
The right host can make all the difference in a straightforward launch process, or a painful deployment scenario. Here at Watermelon, we have worked with a number of solutions and would like to share our personal insight on what each platform has to offer.
Which version of Magento 2 is right for me?
Before you pick a host, take care in selecting the right Magento 2 version for your needs, as this will impact your ultimate decision of where to host.
Magento Open Source (formerly Magento CE / Community Edition)
Magento Open Source (formerly CE / Community Edition), is the open-source flavor of Magento 2. Magento Open Source is has all the same core features as Magento Commerce, but lacks features that can be important for certain case uses, such as credit card tokenization, customer segmenting, and some other high-end features (drop us a line for more details – we’d be pleased to evaluate your situation with you). Magento Open Source is designed for smaller businesses who may not need all the robust power and price tag (about $22,000 / yr in license fees) of the Magento Enterprise version. If you have an established catalog with a reasonable number of products and a moderately sized market footprint, Magento Open Source might be just what you need to deploy your store.
Magento Commerce (formerly Magento Enterprise Edition)
Magento Commerce is the enterprise version of Magento, and pricing is about $22,000 per year. Do you plan for rapid growth? Many stores in a variety of regions? Do you intend on drastically modifying the core features? Need support for extra security and corporate PCI requirements? You may want to go with the enterprise flavor.
It is important to make this decision right away, as the code base for Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce are different. Different themes, extensions and other important differences.
Which Magento hosting platform should I use?
Many people reading so far are probably aware of the Magento Open Source / Magento Commerce landscape, and while I wanted to briefly mention those, the real discussion point of this article is thus: of all the myriad options, which host will be the right choice for my store? Let’s break down the options.
Shared Magento Hosting
There are a ton of shared hosting providers out there that could handle hosting your Magento site for a very reasonable hosting fee. The problem with shared hosting means your web hosts resources are shared. This could be a problem if say, it is the holiday season and you get a huge spike of traffic on your store. If the hosting environment is not ready for that traffic hit, your store could be unstable, or worse. We recommend staying away from shared hosting, unless your Magento store is very small.
Dedicated Magento Hosting: Nexcess
Nexcess is one of our favorite Magento hosting providers as their support has typically been very good at helping resolve any deployment issues that may arise during development. Nexcess is perfect for a mid to large sized Magento site. They offer self-contained, secure, scalable environments and are fully PCI-compliant.
Dedicated Magento Hosting: MageMojo
MageMojo can be a good solution as well, as they have excellent support services and are known for their expertise in migration services. One big benefit of MageMojo is their pricing structure. It is built for scalability, similar to AWS. Fees are based on a base fee and then grow related to visitor sessions and disk space usage. A small store, for example, may thrive on this platform with regard to pricing.
Magento Cloud Hosting: AWS
AWS is a powerful platform, that can have an initial learning curve on how to setup and deploy your AWS instance. Of course the major advantage with Cloud services are the scalability and security resources available. If you plan for rapid growth and need rock solid security features, a Magento Commerce installation on AWS might be a necessary choice. The pricing structures are more difficult to wrap your head around than say, a standard tier service from Nexcess or MageMojo, but if your Magento site demands a lot of resources, AWS can offer an enticing platform, with real time scaling support, pay-per-use pricing, and multiple availability zones.
Magento Cloud Hosting: Pros and Cons
Magento Cloud is the new kid on the block, and while it may seem like a solid choice for Magento Commerce users, there are some pros and cons that must be weighed before making this choice.
The benefits of going with Magento Cloud mean Magento Support can easily work with you to resolve deployment issues, your account manager can directly work with support at your request, and they are acutely aware of what Magento specific server configurations should be made or otherwise.
The flipside is that the deployment process is not like any other solution. You are required to push your code to the cloud with version control software, which means any configuration error could result in a failed deployment. There are multiple staging areas you have to push between, and those deployment areas are unique and will often require support to resolve any issues or install specific server configurations that you may need. In the long run, Magento Cloud is powerful but will not be cheap, and will add significant overhead to deploying your store where other environments would be simpler.
Do your Research
We at Watermelon have developed our own opinions on where you should host your site over many years in the business, but please be sure to do your own research. You need to trust your hosting provider will provide you with the reliability, scalability, support and pricing that makes sense for your business. As always, we are here to assist when you need us.