The platform Magento e-commerce provides a powerful environment that is flexible and equipped with marketing tools and a host of features. It is a popular CMS, capable of handling very large catalogs of articles and a very large number of simultaneous visits.
What is Magento?
Magento is a powerful and versatile e-commerce platform, based on the Zend Framework. The platform was created in 2007 by the company Varien. After being bought by eBay, it became the property of the Adobe company in 2018.
Two main versions of Magento are distributed:
Open Source Edition is a free, open-source, and free downloadable version of Magento. Users of this version are free to configure and modify the software according to their specific needs. This version is further supported by a large, active, and very helpful community.
Magento Commerce Edition is the paid version of the platform. It is designed on the same basis as the Open Source Edition, but benefits from various optimizations and improvements in terms of performance and various other functionalities such as customer management, sales promotion or even catalog management.
Magento is an ideal solution for medium and large eCommerce sites. It will perfectly meet your expectations if you have a large database and/or a large catalog of products. It is also the CMS (Content Management System) that you need if you have great ambitions for your eCommerce. This platform adapts to almost all needs and will not block you in your development.
Highly flexible, efficient, and endowed with almost endless functionality, Magento can be used for types of eCommerce as varied as online printing, wallpaper, chocolate, hardware, IT, and even electronics.
Magento gives its users control over all aspects of online commerce, from marketing to merchandising, promotions, SEO, catalog management, and more.
The different versions of Magento
Magento is available in a free version with its Open Source Edition and a paid version with Magento Commerce Edition. Since the release of its version 2.2, the CMS also accommodates B2B functionalities in order to meet the needs of the market.
Magento Open Source Edition (Magento Community)
Magento Open Source: This version, which was previously known as Magento Community, is distributed free under OSL and AFL free software licenses. It is versatile, flexible, and feature-rich software that you can modify to suit your needs.
This solution will provide you with all the tools you need for your online store to run smoothly unless you need some advanced features that are only available in Magento Commerce Edition.
However, be aware that the learning curve for mastering software configuration and optimization is relatively large. In addition, if you have a large catalog, a highly visited site or need to integrate customizations, you will need the support of developers.
Magento Commerce Edition
Magento Commerce: This is the new name of Magento Enterprise Edition. It is a paid version of Magento which is developed on the same basis as the Open Source Edition.
In addition to the additional features, performance and optimizations that you will benefit from using this version, Magento Commerce Edition gives you access to Premium support.
Note that over the past two years, Magento Commerce has been enhanced with a large number of native features that now provide businesses with professional tools out of the box.
Magento B2BIt is a suite of modules designed to provide B2B buyers with a shopping experience as simple, intuitive, and fast as what is offered to mainstream buyers. These tools will allow your B2B customers to manage their own accounts. They will be able to define levels of buyers to which they will assign specific roles and permissions as well as a multitude of other tasks, without having to ask you.
In particular, you will be able to personalize catalogs and prices according to customers, distribute targeted content taking into account different segments or even manage stocks intelligently.
In addition, extensions and robust APIs have been developed and are now ready to use to facilitate the integration of Magento B2B into your structure.
The customization of Magento
The different versions of Magento offer possibilities for customization which are practically limitless. This via its modules, themes/templates and its Marketplace, which is none other than the official CMS extensions store.
The Marketplace provides access to thousands of free or premium extensions, designed to extend and improve the performance and functionality of your Magento store. Over 450 developers actively fuel and maintain Marketplace products and services.
Marketplace extensions are carefully selected on the basis of extremely rigorous quality criteria. They also receive customer reviews resulting from relevant analyzes to help you select the extensions that will best suit your digital business.
Magento has a modular system, in which the modules are composed of one or more specific functionalities. These features are grouped together logically. Each extension is independent and preserves this independence while working in close communion with all other active extensions.
Free or paid, these modules provide users with a wide variety of customization solutions such as expanding payment functions, simplifying site navigation, customizing the administration of your online store, etc.
Magento themes and templates
You will find on the Marketplace - and on many other sites specializing in this field - a wide choice of Magento themes and templates, free or paid.
The theme of your online store will be the main tool you will have for visual personalization. The choice of your template should therefore not be done lightly and this for various reasons.
The theme is at the forefront of your reputation because it gives the first impression on your business. It must therefore be pleasant and have intuitive navigation. It should also be properly optimized in order to offer your visitors the fastest possible load times for product pages.
The advantages and disadvantages of Magento
Magento is a powerful, robust, modular, and very customizable CMS. It has a very large number of other strengths, but it is not perfect, however. Let's take a look at its advantages and disadvantages.
Extensible and flexible.
Can handle very large catalogs.
Can handle large volumes of orders.
Integrates marketing and promotion tools.
Very advanced management of the product catalog.
Very powerful SEO optimization tools.
Multi-language, multi-currency, and multi-site functionality.
Excellence in the management of orders and shipments.
Analysis and statistics tools.
The rapid evolution of CMS.
Administration interface can be difficult to learn.
Requires computer and development knowledge.
Perhaps very resource-intensive (Large catalog, many visits).
Migration between the two major versions can be complex and problematic.
What is Magento hosting?
A Magento hosting must provide the prerequisites for hosting this CMS but also various additional services and features. Magento hosting must therefore meet certain criteria of performance, availability, security, and ease of installation. For example, we will appreciate the presence of certain server optimizations specific to Magento as well as the possibility of performing a one-click installation.
The minimum configuration required to host Magento
Magento works exclusively on LAMP type web hosting (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP). It is compatible since version 2.3 with PHP 7.2 and later versions.
You will also need to make sure that certain extensions are present and that you can make PHP settings. As we wrote before, Magento is resource-intensive. We, therefore, advise you to deploy it on a server with a powerful processor, at least 1 GB of RAM, various security mechanisms, and capable of receiving quality SSL certificates.
What are the reasons for choosing optimized hosting for Magento?
Choosing an optimized hosting for Magento is necessary to start the development of your online store. There are many optimizations that can be used to improve security, performance, page load speed, and ease of use.
Data security and SSL certificate
Prefer hosting providers using the most recent versions of software installed on their servers. Your web host will also need to provide strong protection against DDoS attacks and have a strong firewall and antimalware strategy in place.
Do not hesitate to ask questions about the various security measures in place because with online shops security should never be neglected.
Also, make sure that you can install quality and robust SSL certificates that will allow you to provide your visitors with secure browsing on the pages of your site, and guarantee you compensation in case the encryption of your site's data is compromised.
One of Magento's biggest weaknesses is the time it takes to load its pages. The speed of uploads greatly influences your conversion rate as well as your positioning in search engines. It is, therefore, crucial to select the hosts offering the best performance.
Note that it will be essential to check for the presence of certain optimizations, such as a powerful caching system and a CDN service, which will significantly improve load times.
A Magento site requires a powerful server to function correctly and to offer good loading times. It is therefore advisable to opt for configurations with powerful processors with a minimum of 1 to 2 GB of RAM allocated to your site as well as SSD disk storage for your content and your database.
Some web hosts offer additional optimizations at the server level that can also improve the performance of your online store significantly.
Server availability aka Uptime
People often go to an online store with a desire to buy, as they do with a physical store. And in both cases, if they find the door closed, without any prior warning, there is a good chance that they will go shopping elsewhere.
To preserve your reputation and your turnover, your store must be accessible online 24/7. You must therefore be extremely attentive to the uptime of your host's servers, which must be at least 99.9%.
Ease of installation and maintenance
Magento can only be installed on a LAMP environment (Linux, Apache, MySQL, PHP), which is the type of environment most used by web hosts. You will therefore not be able to use Windows hosting, even by activating the PHP extension.
Installing Magento is not difficult. In addition, a large number of hosts offer a simplified one-click installation of the CMS.
Maintenance is also relatively easy. However, for major updates, the migration from one version to another requires the intervention of experienced personnel. The process takes a long time, moreover, Magento 1 extensions and themes do not work with Magento 2.
What to look for in Magento hosting?
Magento is a very complete CMS, but its hosting requirements are higher than those of its competitors. The main advantages of Magento web hosting are performance, security, ease of use, and the availability of specialized and responsive technical support.
The ease of administration, installation, and update
Prefer hosting providers offering an easy-to-learn administrative interface, as well as a one-click installation of Magento.
Your time should be entirely dedicated to running your store, so you shouldn't have to spend too much time on administrative tasks related to hosting.
Alternatively, some hosts offer outsourcing services. These services take care of the management of all the technical aspects of hosting your site. They take care of security, updates, and the implementation of optimizations for you.
Infrastructure and data security
As the owner of an online store, you are responsible for securing the personal information of your customers. You must therefore make sure to use the services of a web host, aware of this responsibility and the measures that must be taken accordingly.
Give your preference to hosts who own their own data centers and who do not use third parties for the maintenance of the installations. The host's infrastructure must be TIER III certified.
In addition to the physical protection of establishments, various software protection mechanisms must also be implemented in order to protect your accommodation against any hacking and theft of sensitive data.
The efficiency and availability of technical support
An e-commerce store never closes its doors, there are generally no opening and closing hours. When a problem arises, you should be able to reach out to the technical support team day or night. It is essential to be able to count on an available team, responsive and perfectly mastering all the workings of Magento.
In addition, the problems affecting an e-commerce site can be very technical, we sincerely recommend that you opt for a host offering technical support in French if you are not perfectly English-speaking. You will see, this will save you a lot of setbacks related to the language barrier!
Type of storage and available space
For a Magento site, storage on SSD media is essential, as this will directly affect the performance and page load times.
Disk space is also an important element depending on your project and the number of articles you plan to put online. Magento is powerful and has the advantage of being able to manage very large catalogs. Each item sheet is generally composed of texts, images or even animations that occupy significant space. The more there are, the more storage space should be.
If your catalog is large, or if you plan to add a very large number of items, you will need to plan for significant storage space.
For an e-commerce site, the cost of bandwidth can be very important if its traffic is very high. However, things have changed a lot in recent years and most web hosts offer their services with unlimited bandwidth.
However, it is advisable to check the conditions of use of the accommodation in order to ensure that the use of this unlimited bandwidth is not linked to certain restrictive conditions.
The quality/price ratio of the service
All at a price of course, and insofar as we are looking for efficient hosting and offering different quality services, we are necessarily moving towards hosting packages a little more expensive than for other CMS. However, some hosts excel in providing optimized and efficient solutions, for contained and affordable prices. Our team of experts presents some of them to you here!
The different types of Magento hosting
Most hosting companies offer Magento hosting offers on shared, VPS, cloud or dedicated servers. But as we have seen previously, only VPS, dedicated and cloud hosting are able to provide the resources necessary for the exemplary functioning of a Magento site.
Shared Magento hosting
Magento Shared hosting: in general, the resources allocated to shared hosting are not sufficient to ensure the proper functioning of the CMS. Unlike regular websites or blogs, a Magento store can very quickly and frequently exceed shared memory allocation limits.
This type of hosting is not advisable, even if you are just starting out, as all the restrictions and limitations of shared environments could be a drag on your store's growth as it begins to gain popularity.
Magento VPS hosting
Magento VPS Hosting: VPS hosting is one of the most used options for Magento hosting. It makes it possible to separate the resources of a physical server between different users by creating virtual servers.
It is an intermediate solution between shared hosting and the dedicated server. Magento hosting on VPS is ideal for owners of stores whose size does not require a dedicated server, but for which shared hosting is not up to the task.
Dedicated Magento Hosting
Dedicated Magento Hosting: With Magento hosting on dedicated servers you take full control over your hosting resources. This type of hosting is usually required for high-end or high-traffic Magento stores.
With dedicated server hosting, you usually have to take care of a lot of aspects of managing and configuring your server. If you are not comfortable with Linux and the technical aspects of hosting, you can turn to a hosting provider offering to outsource, for a monthly fee in most cases ... however hosting companies are the exception. the rule and outsourcing offer in all their offers!
Magento Cloud hosting
Magento Cloud Hosting: The cloud server is the best compromise between solutions on VPS servers and dedicated servers. With a cloud server, you have access to the best of both worlds. Cloud servers are virtualized servers like VPSs, but they use different virtualization technologies that allow them to have their own processor and memory resources, just like a dedicated server.
The Magento cloud server, therefore, allows you to benefit from all the advantages and performance of a dedicated server, at a controlled cost close to that of VPS servers while being much more flexible in terms of hardware.
What about free Magento hosting?
Well-performing shared hosting clearly does not provide enough resources to properly host a Magento site. So there is nothing to expect from free Magento hosting.
Indeed, even if you manage to deploy Magento on this type of hosting, it will not be of any use to you. Because not only will it not have the necessary resources, but you will also not have access to the PHP configuration files or the options to optimize the server.
Even if you plan to use free Magento hosting as a test environment, the performance won't give you a real idea of how it works. For a test environment, you will be better off opting for a local LAMP server (Xampp, Mamp, Laragon).
Magento is a robust and efficient CMS that includes a wide range of tools designed to meet the professional needs of businesses. It is a powerful and flexible solution that is able to grow by supporting the activity and the growth of the company without any problem.
The choice of Magento hosting must be made on criteria of performance, security, quality of service, but also taking into account the capacity of the host to provide solutions and resources adapted to the evolution of your Magento store.