(This post was originally published on June 12, 2014. We’ve updated it for accuracy and completeness.)
At nChannel, we’re always doing research for our clients. Recently people have been asking, “What’s the best company to host a Magento store?” Unfortunately, the information available is sparse. It seems every guide out there is either poorly written or written by the hosting company itself.
We wanted to alleviate the burden of researching every company for you. So, we’ve compiled a list of all the essential information you need to know when choosing a Magento hosting provider. This top provider list has recently changed since Magento started heavily promoting their Cloud product and we’ve seen some companies stop advertising Magento hosting offerings.
Who are the best Magento hosting providers?
If you would rather skip the explanation, here’s a link to:
However, if you’re looking for a more in depth explanation of why I chose these companies, then keep reading.
Comparing Different Hosting Types
A big differentiator between hosting providers is the type of hosting they offer. The 4 hosting types you’re going to run into are Shared, VPS, Dedicated and Cloud. Each type is going to have its advantages and disadvantages based on performance, cost and level of control. Here’s a quick overview of the differences between each type.
Shared hosting means that your account is sharing resources with multiple other sites on the same server. If you’re just starting out, then shared hosting is usually a good place to start. It requires less maintenance and technical skills as a merchant. You won’t be in charge of security – you’re hosting provider should set up firewalls and other applications. Lastly, shared hosting costs less because you divvy up operational costs with other users on the same server.
As you grow though, you’ll experience problems with the limited bandwidth and lack of control with shared hosting since you’re sharing a server with others. You’ll wanted dedicated resources to handle your large volumes of data. (However, there are cases where shared hosting is preferred over a dedicated server.)
With VPS, your hosting account is on a server with other hosting accounts, but you have more specifically dedicated resources for performance. Resources are divided up evenly across accounts. However, if one account crashes the server, then you all go down.
Dedicated hosting means that your server(s) are yours only. You can fully optimize for the specific needs of your website and don’t have to worry about other accounts on the server causing issues that might impact you. While you’ll pay more for a dedicated server, you’ll have more control.
With cloud hosting, there are a network of servers on which your website can be located. While you may not know exactly which server and which rack your hosting account is on, you’ll receive dedicated resources across the entire network. The main benefit is that you now have additional redundancy against hardware failure on any one server. Also, cloud hosting can be more flexible. In some cases, it can even auto-scale to handle bigger bursts of traffic such as from flash sales, without needing to pay for extra resources year-round.
When deciding between hosting types, it comes down to how big your eCommerce store is and the level of performance you can justify paying for. Just remember, hosting reliability and performance directly impact eCommerce revenue. If your Magento store is slow and often crashes, you’re going to lose sales and your SEO will be impacted.
How to Compare Top Magento Hosting Providers
Beyond type, here are other top ways to compare different hosting providers: price, support, Magento experience, PCI Compliance, and level of management. Here’s what to look for in each of those categories:
Costs are going to vary depending on offered services and hosting types, as you saw above. Consider what you’re willing to pay for and what you can’t afford.
Support is going to be the main differentiator between hosting providers. If something goes wrong with the server, you need to be able to reach someone right away.
Magento is a big piece of software that takes more resources to run than other shopping carts. And as an open source platform, merchants can customize their store to their unique needs. Make sure you work with an experienced or certified Magento partner. Otherwise, you’re going to waste too much time and money.
Merchants don’t often enough consider whether their Magento hosting provider offers PCI compliant shared servers. PCI compliance is not only a matter of security, but a matter of law. For a deeper conversation about what you need to know about PCI compliance check out Mijireh’s article here.
Managed vs Unmanaged
Another term that comes up a lot when comparing hosting services is whether they’re managed or unmanaged. Unmanaged hosting plans come with no or very few additional services. You’ll basically get a server with an operating system installed. You’re in charge of adding anything else you might need like data backups.
Managed hosting plans, on the other hand, come with any number of extra services such as automated backups, malware scanning, status monitoring, and more.
When reviewing providers, take a careful look at what management services they provide and what they don’t. If you can’t take care of maintenance and management yourself, you’ll want to make sure you pay for a fully managed service. While this is a good list of factors to consider, there is of course more information to look at. The list would grow quite long and could be different from company to company based on your individual needs.
For more simple matters you can make sure the server meets all these requirements, or even check how others optimize their servers. However, our recommendations will be based primarily off of user reviews and these five categories.
Top 8 Magento Hosting Providers
|Provider||Ideal Company Size||Magento Partner||Support||Price||PCI Compliant|
|*Chosen to operate flagship Magento Enterprise Cloud Edition
|ZeroLag||SMB||Select Technology||24/7||Request Quote||Yes|
|Platform.sh||SMB||N/A*||Chat & Email||From $50/month||N/A|
|AlphaHosting||SMB||N/A||24/7 - No phone||From $10.80/month||Yes|
|JetRails||Medium/Large||Magento Marketplace||24/7||From $350/month||Yes|
Best Magento Hosting Providers: Small to Medium Sized Businesses
ZeroLag (by TotalServerSolutions)
ZeroLag offers fully-managed hosting for Magento webstores. They are a Magento Select Technology partner and provide services for Magento Enterprise and Magento Community. Their hosting environments are custom-configured for your business requirements and accommodate businesses of all sizes. Learn more about Zerolag.
Platform.sh provides cloud hosting for Magento Commerce 1 and 2. PHP developers will enjoy that their main API is Git, you can manage projects within your terminal, and they have built-in composer support. You can start a 30-day free trial with Platform.sh or plans start at $50/month per site. Learn more about Platform.sh.
When it comes to medium sized businesses, Nexcess is by far the favorite among users. They offer reasonable prices, but what’s even more impressive is their dedication to their customers.
I read in many places that when customers dealt with Nexcess it felt more like a small company rather than an enterprise and that their customer service was outstanding. I even saw that Nexcess took the time to answer their customers’ questions in a Reddit AMA. They’ll be able to handle any Magento based questions you have. As far as medium sized businesses go, you’ll be hard pressed to find a better Magento hosting provider. Learn more about Nexcess.
AlphaHosting (by SimpleHelix)
Formerly Simple Helix Hosting Solutions, AlphaHosting is a fully-managed hosting provider that offers shared, cloud and dedicated hosting plans. They currently power 30,000 Magneto webstores and over 100,000 domains. They also offer 100% U.S. based support staff. More recently, Alphahosting has stopped offering phone support, which could be a deal breaker for some merchants. Learn more about Alphahosting.
MageMojo specializes in dedicated hosting for Magento webstores only. They use the Amazon Cloud to host their servers. Their plans start at $300/month and include a free migration, 24/7 Magento Expert support, dedicated IP addresses and SSH access. See comments below for positive feedback about MageMojo. Learn more about MageMojo.
Best Magento Hosting Providers for Medium to Large Companies
JetRails (by eBoundHost)
JetRails provides a fully-managed Magento deployments in the Amazon Cloud and on dedicated servers. They’ve been around for over 20 years and promise 100% network uptime. As a fully-managed service, they reduce your operational burden by handling the technology for you. If you’re looking for Cloud hosting, then JetRails, a Magento Marketplace Partner, could be a good option for you. Learn more about JetRails.
Anchor is a Magento hosting and deployment system that ensures your Magento webstore stays up and running. They provide fully automated code deployment, simple self-service roll back and environment cloning. Customers only need to issue a single command to deploy your Magento code into one or more sites. Their plans start at $700/month. Learn more about Anchor. Please note that Anchor is out of Australia and seem to primarily focus in that region.
Tenzing provides hosting for Oracle, SAP Hybris and Magento. They optimize hosting on bare metal infrastructure as well as scalable cloud hosting in the Amazon Web Services Cloud. With Tenzing, you only pay for the infrastructure you use, allowing for scalability during your busy periods. They are a Magento Silver Partner. Learn more about Tenzing.
Last but not least…
The right Magento hosting provider for you is going to come down to exactly that, you. Different people will have different expectations for their providers. These providers are simply the best place to start. Don’t immediately sign into any long term contracts. Try whichever provider you think will work best, and if you like it, great! But if your store is running slowly or the support is lacking, you can always switch providers. Many of the companies even offer free migrations from one provider to another.
And as always, when you get your store up and running, don’t forget to integrate it with your ERP system, Amazon, eBay, and more.