Choosing Magento hosting is challenging. The market is growing faster than the overall economy with up to 16% CAGR gain predicted for 2018-2023 and a total market size of 32+ billion dollars.
There are many hosting services from both new and established brands. Making the right choice in such a vast market is tough. Our goal is to help you decide.
This guide is for you whether you need a home for a brand new web store or want a better service for an existing project.
When it comes to choosing the best hosting for Magento, the platform is tough to please. This powerful CMS with flexible architecture is fitted with many features that, unfortunately, come at the price of resource intensiveness.
Therefore, it makes sense to keep in mind Magento hosting requirements if you want to avoid angry emails from your customers complaining about Magento’s slow speed and other frustrating issues.
The Magento hosting requirements depend on:
- the Magento version you are using;
- the actual size of your store;
- the number of visitors you have, coming to your website at the same time.
A LAMP or LNMP stack is a must for Magento 2 hosting. This means:
- Linux operating system (such as CentOS, Ubuntu, Debian);
- Apache or Nginx server;
- MySQL database management system;
- PHP programming language (to run a Magento 2 store, you will need at least PHP 7.2.0 or 7.3.0).
Here you can find the technology stack requirements for the latest Magento 2.3 version. These requirements are compliant with cloud, VPS, and dedicated plans from the top hosting providers.
Considering that some e-commerce stores are heavier and more “busy” than others, they need more CPU and RAM to work seamlessly. Magento 2.3 demands a minimum of 2 GB of RAM from a hosting provider. However, this can be an agreeable solution only for small out-of-the-box stores with no customization and integrations required. The average Magento store needs not less than 4 GB of RAM.
Besides, make sure that your Magento 2 hosting supports integrations with:
- Redis or Memcached. Without one of these caching technologies, your store will work very slowly.
- An SSL certificate. You need this one to deliver secure transactions for your customers. Other security features such as an advanced firewall, DDoS protection, and automated backups are also essential.
- Content Delivery Network (CDN) of your choice.
The best way to choose the best hosting for Magento is to know exactly what you are looking for. So even before you start your search – decide what is important for you and go from there.
2.1 Real Performance vs Perceived Performance
There are two types of website performance. Real and perceived. Both are important.
a) Real Performance
It is more important for search engine robots such as Google crawlers. They measure your store’s technical parameters: server response, time to first byte, time to last byte, etc.
The target performance here is 200 ms for time-to-first-byte and under 2 seconds for time-to-last-byte. These values supposedly don’t directly influence rankings, but at the same time, they kind of do, although indirectly. So don’t dismiss them entirely. Google looks at several user behavior metrics to determine whether the web store brings value to the customer. If you want your store to be as fast as possible and all the important metrics are green, read our guide on optimizing Magento for Google Page Speed Insights.
If user stays are short, view depth is low, and the average time of visit is abysmal – don’t be surprised that your website sinks lower and lower with every search index update.
b) Perceived Performance
This is an interesting metric. Some UX researchers argue that it’s even more important than the actual store speed. You see, there are two types of speed.
Depending on whether you are bored or engaged, a few seconds can pass either lightning fast or painfully slow. So let’s take a closer look at “brain time” or perceived performance and how it compares to “real time”. If you want a website to feel fast, you’ll need to optimize it.
Turn to our Magento speed optimization services to improve both the perceived and real performance of your store.
2.2 Types of Hosting
There are several main hosting types that you need to understand:
- shared hosting;
- VPS hosting;
- dedicated hosting;
- cloud hosting.
When you look at the big picture, each hosting type emphasizes a different business value.
a) Shared Hosting
This type of hosting is all about being beginner-friendly, accessible, and cost-effective. It’s almost always the hosting of choice for new business owners who are only getting their feet wet in the market. They are new either to e-Commerce or Magento in particular. They look for creating a working web store from scratch and aren’t usually prepared to invest a lot of money in infrastructure.
- cost-effective, a decent choice for complete Magento beginners;
- fast configuration and setup;
- on-demand tech support.
- low flexibility in setup and configuration;
- poor scaling options;
- lower resistance to vulnerabilities;
- extremely poor performance if your website is even slightly popular;
- poor security protection.
Use shared hosting when:
- you want to start a new store / try out a new business idea;
- you don’t expect a lot of traffic or have no clue how many visitors you are going to get during the first few months (no more than 10 orders/day);
- you need good tech support (just make sure it’s at least half-decent);
- you have a modest budget and want to save money on infrastructure;
- your store is lightweight, doesn’t have a ton of extensions or products.
Generally speaking, shared hosting for Magento is suboptimal. Look for an alternative if you can.
b) Virtual Private Server
VPS is as close to a real dedicated server as it gets. It’s a reliable and fast Magento hosting solution that offers you the freedom of your own dedicated server inside the shared hosting environment. The compromise here is that you don’t really own any hardware (but at the same time you can get tech support team help if anything goes wrong).
VPS is a solid solution for 10-50 orders per day and decent foot traffic. More than that and you’ll want to look for something else.
Your server is a virtual machine, one of many others that are running on a physical server. And even though you still share resources with other users, instead of playing a tug of war with them for RAM or CPU time you get guaranteed control over everything you have paid for.
VPS shares similar pros and cons with a dedicated server but without the need to invest in the infrastructure. Thus, VPS is a great Magento hosting that requires high customization.
c) Dedicated Hosting
Dedicated hosting allows store owners to focus on highly customized hardware solutions. The greatest part about Magento dedicated hosting is the complete independence from other users, as well as a DIY approach.
It’s a good solution for hosting Magento 2 stores with 50-500 new orders every day.
The downsides are obvious. A dedicated server is hard to scale up or down quickly. It’s both expensive and slow to order a part, wait for it to arrive, and then have someone physically install it in your machine.
A dedicated server requires expert knowledge of the hosting environment so if anything goes wrong you are basically on your own.
Dedicated Magento hosting is great when you know the exact traffic numbers on your website, have a solid grasp of how to configure your hosting environment, and troubleshoot any issues.
- the best performance per dollar spent;
- high flexibility in setup and configuration;
- top-notch security (if you know how to set it up properly);
- lots of room to experiment and create a custom-tailored solution;
- great for mission-critical hosting tasks.
- scalability options are extremely limited;
- if you have a problem or mess up, you are on your own;
- high initial cost and high upgrade cost;
- hard and expensive to downgrade;
- needs admin staff for service/maintenance.
Use Magento dedicated hosting when:
- you need to build an extremely customized business-critical solution;
- cost is not an issue;
- you understand your needs really well and know that you can handle typical load spikes;
- you won’t need to suddenly/constantly upscale or downscale your hardware;
- you need full control over everything (the hardware, the firmware, and the software of your machine).
d) Cloud Hosting
This Magento hosting option focuses on scalability which means you can have a web store with any number of orders, but bear in mind that until you have at least 100 orders per day cloud hosting is not an optimal solution.
It is a great option for Magento stores that have stark seasonal user spikes, extreme loads during sales, special events, or holidays. Magento cloud hosting is easy to scale up or down which means your web store remains responsive and fast but at the same time you don’t have to pay for unused hardware.
Cloud hosting is not as straightforward in pricing as other solutions. Most commonly it’s advertised as a pay-as-you-go service but in reality payment plans and scaling is different for every provider so you still have to choose which of them suits you best.
- the best scalability for your money;
- you get most advantages of a VPS without the negatives;
- it’s the future! Eventually, cloud hosting will replace both shared and dedicated hosting options.
- you still need to manage your hosting to avoid overpaying for it;
- some providers offer upscaling and downscaling web servers only after a reboot which can lead to a less-than-perfect uptime and interruptions to customer experience;
- extremely hard to set up and configure if you have no idea what you are doing (you’ll need an expert level team to leverage all the benefits of the cloud without sacrificing server speeds);
- monthly hosting expenses are more or less predictable for a well-configured web store but even then you can expect some fluctuations (around 20-50%) month to month.
Use cloud hosting when:
- your business has high seasonality and you need to scale up and down at least 1-2 times a year;
- you need a lot of Magento instances for development/testing/demos;
- your store needs to be online no matter what (cloud hosting has good redundancy and reliability, although there can be some uptime concerns);
- disaster recovery/damage control matters more than cutting costs.
2.3 Tech Support
Some services offer a convenient way to set up and run your production environment. And that’s great. But it’s more important to choose a Magento 2 hosting that offers continuous help in day-to-day operations. And here’s why. You set up your server once. You forget about it. But all the other things that can spoil your day will happen after that event.
Look for a reliable, experienced, and helpful team of experts to assist you if something goes wrong. Even if you need their help rarely, it’s still crucial to always know some people can help you out in a challenging situation.
Find a customer support team with a short reaction time and good knowledge of your specific technology stack. Don’t be shy to ask how well they are acquainted with the tools and tech you use.
If you are not a tech person or technically proficient but don’t have time to manage and maintain a server, opt for Magento hosting managed by experts. In this IT provisioning model, providers are responsible for software and hardware setup and configuration and technical support, security management, system monitoring, and updates. Moreover, managed Magento hosting services, in some cases, can be customized to meet a customer’s specific hosting requirements.
2.4 Magento Specialization
It’s important to choose someone with extensive experience in Magento hosting. The platform has a lot of hidden pitfalls and complex mechanisms so not everyone will be able to understand your Magento-specific challenges.
Look for a hosting provider that has a strong Magento support team. You’ll thank us later.
2.5 Backups and Damage Control
Businesses grow on reliability and trust. If your website is down, you lose sales, customers, leads, and Google search rank.
To mitigate these risks, you need a solid backup system and a good firewall setup. Ask your potential hosting provider:
- what kind of backups they offer;
- how often they will make backups;
- whether or not they have a recovery strategy;
- what will they do if the website goes down;
- what tools they have in place to protect from viruses and DDoS attacks (shield, scan, clean, recover);
- what happens during a hardware failure;
- what is their typical reaction time and what will it be during an emergency.
The more complete answers you get, the better. Don’t hesitate to ask other questions that are important to you.
2.6 Integration With Third-Party Solutions
Out of the box, default Magento is not a lightweight platform. It works best when integrated with a well-thought-out caching solution such as Redis and Varnish.
Check whether your potential hosting provider knows these tools well and is comfortable integrating with them.
CDN is another crucial part of Magento’s optimization strategy. You can use a content delivery network for JS, CSS files, as well as for Magento image optimization. Make sure your hosting provider supports your CDN of choice (or offers a good alternative) and has an adequate integration knowledge base in case you need any help.
2.7 Reviews, Testimonials, and Industry Awards
Don’t chase the lowest bidder. Remember that to make a low price offer, this provider will have to cut corners somewhere. At the very least you should know where your potential Magento 2 hosting makes these shortcuts.
Take a look at the market leaders. You’ll identify them from the variety of positive reviews, overall mentions, personal recommendations, and customer testimonials. And while we don’t suggest that you rely completely on other people’s opinions, you might want to take them into consideration.
Choosing a solid web host even for something as great as Magento can be a challenging proposition. Thanks to affiliate marketing and other sponsorships, there are many sources that have succumbed to temptation and given in to fluffed up reviews.
If you’re looking for a solid review of Magento (or anything else even actually), look out for reviewers who are willing to bolster their text with hard data. It really is difficult to argue with facts.
Those take the time to do extensive tests and perform in-depth analysis like the one I’ve seen at Onilab is also a good example.
— Jerry Low, founder @ Web Hosting Secret Revealed
2.8 Location, Location, Location
We’ve come to think about the Internet as an ethereal, cord-free thing that works through the air. On the contrary, even in 2019, we are heavily dependent on physical land and submarine data cables that connect humanity with each other from Spitsbergen, Norway to Tierra del Fuego, Argentina – and everything in between.
So if the majority of your customer base is in the UK, it’s not a good idea to host a website in the US and vice versa. Look for UK-based Magento web hosting, this will make your store faster for all European customers.
If your target audience is so diverse that you can’t determine which location is best, choose the data center closest to the majority of your customers. Install a CDN service to partially mitigate higher ping for everybody else.
If you can choose between a large connection hub such as London or a small regional data center, go with the hub. It will offer better connectivity to every other place in the world and translate into shorter server responses and a better user experience.
As a business owner, you actually shouldn’t care too much whether your server environment is built around Linux or Windows for Magento hosting. However, as a webmaster, you should know that Linux is way more popular for most server applications, and Windows is only used for extremely specific cases where it cannot be avoided. It’s also not free!
Choosing the right Linux distribution is often a matter of taste. There are a lot of good alternatives here, from RedHat to CentOS and everything in between. Our personal recommendation will go to Ubuntu but you could also give it a try to CentOS, Fedora, or Debian.
Bear in mind that some use cases require a specific OS that works better within a certain scenario. For example, if your project relies heavily on microservice architecture and containers, CoreOS will be by far the best choice here.
So even though you might have your personal favorites, some setups simply excel in certain workflows.
2.9 PCI Compliant Magento Hosting Recommendations
Shopping online, your customers need to be sure you offer them the best security options. When they share with you their credit card details, your business becomes responsible for Magento payment security. reception, processing, and storage of this data.
In the ideal world, you should look for a PCI DSS 3.2 Level 1 Service Provider, the highest certification available for web hosters. Of course, if you are going to work with the largest web hosting brands such as Amazon Web Services, MS Azure, or Digital Ocean (with most data centers PCI-DSS compliant), this will not be a problem.
However, even though you can almost guarantee that the biggest players will be timely audited and certified for PCI compliance, always do your due diligence and make sure that the service provider you’ve chosen follows these rules.
Below we break down the hosting solutions which we believe suit Magento stores best based on our expertise.
3.1 Best Magento Shared Hosting Providers
As a rule, we don’t recommend shared hosting for any Magento store, no matter how small it is. Just don’t do it. Both Magento 1 and Magento 2 need a ton of resources that have to be available to the Magento server 24/7.
Sharing computing power and RAM with other websites will make the platform excruciatingly slow despite all of your Magento backend optimization efforts. The cost savings are not worth it: losing customers and potential sales to a slow website will cost you more in the long run than breaking the piggy bank and paying top dollar for a decent Magento hosting solution.
3.2 Best for Beginner Magento Store Owners
If you are only getting your feet wet with Magento and maybe even e-Commerce as a whole, we suggest you choose a good managed VPS hosting provider. It doesn’t have the ultra-low-budget shortcomings of shared hosting nor the overwhelmingly high technical requirements of a barebone cloud hosting provider.
Choosing a managed VPS hosting is the middle ground between the inadequately slow shared hosting and the inadequately complex (and often pricey) cloud hosting. You will always have a helpful team of tech support staff ready to help you deal with setup and migration issues.
3.3 Best Professional Magento Commerce Hosting
Cloud hosting has grown in popularity over the years. From an inspiring vision to one of the most recommended hosting solutions, cloud hosting has become the go-to advice for too many people.
Amazon Web Services is one of the most popular cloud solutions on the market. However, it is also one of the most overrated. AWS isn’t ideal, especially for novice webmasters. It offers a barebone VM solution that requires a lot of configuration to make it work properly.
Setting up a blank virtual machine on AWS requires a lot of special technical knowledge. Configured incorrectly, AWS can be slow, insecure, and hard to get around. In addition, AWS doesn’t offer a lot of tech support channels – basically leaving users with a community forum to try and sort out any challenges they might have.
Everything you need to configure it yourself:
- completely set up the LAMP environment;
- install and fine-tune Magento 2;
- optimize your instance for speed (caching and other solutions);
- integrate with a content delivery network;
- setup security environment and configure it in an optimal way.
3.4 What About Other Cloud Hosting Providers?
There are a lot of unmanaged cloud hosting services besides AWS.
Some of them are more expensive than others.
There are old players such as Azure and Rackspace that are constantly evolving their offers and new players such as the relatively recent Alibaba Cloud.
Amazon Web Services offers top-notch and on-demand cloud computing services. Setting up Magento with AWS is not a piece of cake and this task may be challenging for an amateur developer. In some cases, to achieve the goal, you may need to carry out the professional adjustment of an EC2 instance along with setting up various components, such as Load Balancer, RDS, and ElasticCache.
However, these efforts will definitely pay off! Amazon has a wide range of services for Magento hosting, as well as incredible flexibility, high performance (due to millions of dollars invested in their data centers), and robust security tools.
Besides, AWS helps businesses to reduce costs by scaling their infrastructure according to their business needs. With Amazon hosting, you will pay for the services you use for the time they are running. Here you can learn more about AWS Magento hosting pricing.
In common with AWS, Rackspace offers fast, scalable, and reliable cloud computing services. Their cloud servers are located in the data centers in the US, Asia, and Europe to ensure global reach, scale, and agility.
Apart from unmanaged cloud servers, Rackspace has an option for fully managed Magento cloud hosting for AWS infrastructure. This means that you can use the facilities of Amazon Web Service without the challenge and expense of managing it yourself. With the managed cloud, Rackspace engineers will work with the client to architect, operate, secure, and optimize the AWS cloud. On Amazon, this is not an option – users must manage their servers themselves. So, if you are seeking a combination of cloud hosting for Magento 2 and management service, Rackspace can be attractive.
Here you can calculate the cost of your cloud environment with Rackspace based on your servers’ level needs.
Sonassi bills itself as Magento optimized hosting with top-of-the-line features and a tremendous technical team. Sonassi is now owned by Iomart and uses its cloud infrastructure and data centers to host Magento 2 websites. Unlike AWS, they arrange bare metal hardware with dedicated private networking. It’s a reasonable option for large stores as it offers a minimum of 32 GB of RAM, 200 GB of SSD storage, and 8 CPU Cores.
It is worthy of note that Sonassi made the unique OS tailored specifically for Magento, MageStack. The operating system itself gives high performance. However, you can go far and implement caching technologies, such as Redis or Memcached, on top of it for extra boost.
Sonassi is one of the best managed Magento hosting services not least because of its useful features: PCI-compliant environment, offsite backups, server monitoring.
Nexcess, with its data centers around the world, has one of the best Magento cloud hosting services and became a platinum partner for Magento e-commerce solutions. With Nexcess, your website would be hosted in a dedicated fully managed cloud environment, which means high scalability and flexibility for your business with professional experts that keep an eye on the server. Here you can find Nexcess pricing for Magento websites hosting.
Cloudways brings managed cloud services for Magento websites. However, it is best known as a “cloud integrator”, which means that it basically uses the infrastructure of the top 5 cloud providers: AWS, Digital Ocean, Google Cloud Platform, Stack Path, and Linode to host Magento websites. The point is that you can launch a server on one of these 5 providers without the need to register an account anywhere except Cloudways.
In addition, it grants fully managed Magento hosting services, so you don’t need to worry about technical tasks such as setting up Magento with cloud or updating software. A win-win situation, right?
BlueHost has two different hosting options for Magento websites to choose from: the VPS hosting and dedicated hosting plans. No matter which of the plans you select, it goes with domains, backups, auto-scalability, and multi-server management. Other important features include a CDN, unique IP, spam protection, and others. Besides, Bluehost has amazing support that you can contact 24/7 using chat, phone, or email.
Both options have three pricing plans: Standard, Enhanced, and Ultimate. You can choose one of them according to the requirements of your store.
7.) Byte (Hypernode)
Byte specializes solely on managed Magento hosting and offers a branded “Hypernode” platform. Its cloud servers are optimized for Magento 1 and 2 and present all the tools a developer requires along with management by Byte.
The Hypernode platform focuses on website performance and security. To ensure maximum speed, it includes SSD-hardware, PHP 7.2, and built-in advanced caching technologies (FPC, Varnish, Redis). In order to improve loading times, MySQL, RabbitMQ, and Nginx are supported, as well.
MageHost, with its Dutch data center, must be among our top Magento hosting providers. It focuses on the high performance of the websites, as well as the top quality of services. Thus, they do much to make Magento stores fast. No virtualization! Only bare metal hardware performance. If you want to learn more about the features MageHost has, you can read here.
Mgt-commerce is another rewarding managed cloud hosting solution. Basically, like other similar providers (for example, Cloudways up there), it uses the AWS servers to host websites and offers management and support services on top of the Amazon cloud. It includes migration, security management, as well as setting up a Magento website on AWS, configuration of an EC2 instance, and other services. It is an optimal choice for atechnic business owners.
ZeroLar has two options: cloud/hybrid cloud and managed hosting plans for e-commerce stores of all sizes. The hoster offers a full suite of cloud management services, including proactive monitoring of your server, on-demand server system upgrades and software patches, management of load balancers, and firewalls (if they are needed within your environment). ZeroLag is a completely Magento-optimized hosting that gives the highest performance level, reliability, and maximum security.
InMotion has both VPS and dedicated hosting plans. With the first one, starting at $29,99/month, the user can choose from fully managed and self-managed options. The second plan specializes in custom solutions and includes managed servers and bare metal servers built on their high-performance infrastructure. The variety of hosting types is one of the strongest advantages of the providers. But there are plenty of others: good uptime, rapid support, free SSD, multi-layer security defense, lengthy money-back guarantee.
HostGator is a USA-based Magento hosting that boasts one of the most affordable pricing policies. They have VPS and dedicated hosting plans for Magento websites. With the first one, the user gets a custom environment that scales up at a click of a button. HostGator’s virtual private servers are housed in a state-of-the-art data center to ensure maximum security. Meanwhile, all HostGator’s plans include full root access, 24/7 live support, unlimited databases, DDoS protection.
If you are looking for a hosting that could help you to reduce or eliminate Magento speed issues, SiteGround is for you. This hosting platform is built on Google Cloud and uses both its fast network and SSD storage. For extra speed optimization, the provider makes provision for a free CDN option, Nginx enabled for all sites, as well as multiple software solutions at the server level: Memcached, HTTP/2, and others.
Magento will run fast on a SiteGround’s VPS or dedicated servers, pick up the proper one as per your store size. With multiple data centers around the globe, you can pick up the server location you like.
We know that most people love quick and easy answers. And we’d really want to point our finger at the best hoster and say, “Here, this is the one. Go host with them.”
Unfortunately, this is not how things work. The optimal choice will depend on your exact needs. Whatever you select – оust make sure they know their way around Magento. You don’t want to be stuck with an offline website at 3 in the morning and no one to help you spin it up again.
If you want to build for performance and know your way around Magento, look for a managed VPS solution. This option will give you the best bang for your buck and at the same time will not leave you completely stranded if something goes wrong. The key here is a strong support team and a reliable, solid server environment.
If you need easy scalability, go with the cloud. Our recommendations here are conservative: both AWS and Sonassi offer a solid server environment and reasonable pricing for Magento hosting. Take a look at Google Cloud and Azure for more alternatives. Magento Cloud is also an interesting option if you are looking for a cloud environment that is 100% dedicated to Magento hosting.
Bear in mind that no matter which hosting solution you choose, it will still require a fair bit of work from a dedicated Magento development team to optimize and configure it in the best way possible.
In Search of an Ideal Magento Hosting Provider: Conclusion
Still haven’t decided which Magento hoster is the best for your project?
Let our dev team help you choose the optimal hosting plan and the best server environment for your needs. We have extensive experience migrating Magento stores and working with a variety of hosting providers on both large and small Magento stores, so reach out to us today, and let’s talk hosting!