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Magento Web Hosting Services & Providers

What is Magento- Magento is one of the most popular and leading software application that is used to build ecommerce websites. It is an open source project and has been developed in PHP scripting language and supports the use of MySQL as the database. It is quite versatile and flexible and easy to use software for building highly customized ecommerce websites. There are other such software available in the market such as osCommerce, PrestaShop however Magento is quite popular as it offers wide range of features and functions.

If you are a seller and willing to sell anything for that matter be it digital product or a physical product you can do it with Magento.  

The Magento platform is one of the most popular ecommerce platform available and is backed by one of the largest retail companies eBay. So it is obvious as why it is so popular.  Magento will work for you irrespective of what type of product you are looking to sell.

The software is available as open source version as well as enterprise version (for larger group businesses).

What are Magento Hosting Requirements?

Magento has been developed in PHP scripting language and supports the use of MySQL as Database. These are very common hosting requirements which are not hard to find and is available with almost all the hosting providers. It has been optimized to be used with LAMP stack on latest modern server however it can run on Windows as well as PHP is supported. The server should also be supporting the use of SSL as well as should have dedicated IP in order for SSL to work. Siteground is one of the best options to be used for Magento software.

Magento's Key Features

Magento is loaded with features which are perfect fit for modern level shopping websites and it supported by e-bay which is one of the largest e-commerce players across the globe. Some of the features highlight include:

- It is an open source platform and support all features required in order to run a successful ecommerce website.

- You are able to do almost everything that can think of in context of e-commerce website.

- It comes available in both open source free version as well as the paid version which is suitable for enterprise level websites.

- It offers a full suite of marketing as well as promotional tools which are quite essential to running a full fledged online shopping website.

- There are a bunch of tools offered to enable seller grow and promote their website. some of the features include:

.  Showcase products related to the product you are viewing

.  Ability to add products as upsell as well as cross promotion

.  Complete couponing system to enable you to offer various discounts or offer special pricing

 Ability to offer discounts on bulk buying and configure tiered pricing

 Enable you to create landing pages’ basis various categories

.  Packaged products and bundling

.  Showcase recently viewed items to users

.  Ability to promote new items

 Various shipping options as well as free shipping

.  Function to create polls or surveys to get feedback from the customer to improve overall customer experience

.  Newsletter or notification system for subscribers

.  Wishlist function for customer as well as sending to a friend capability

- Training: In person training available as well as video training available on YouTube so you can learn to work on Magento.

- Inbuilt SEO function: SEO is one of the important features and is an essential one for your overall online marketing strategy. It offers onsite SEO features to be incorporated for your e-commerce website such as creating search engine friendly URLs for your product pages as well as ability to update metadata for search optimization. Magento offers XML sitemap to be integrated on the site. Popular search terms pages to be created. Google Content API supported.

- Easy Site Management: A very easy to use site management which can save you time and help you work efficiently. There are quite simple to use admin tools that makes the life easier for the admin to work with Magento. Some of the tools integrated include:

 You can manage more than one sites using single admin login

 You can user permissions in order keep a security control so that a user with set permission is able to view only what he/she is supposed to

 A lot of themes or templates available to choose from to give a customized look to your website

.  Support for various languages as well as currencies to enable you to internationalizing your website

 Capability to support for 3rd party integration using web services API

 You can import as well as export all data including customer’s data, products data and orders data

.  If you are willing to add blog or pages to your website then you can do so as it offers the function of CMS so you can create posts, landing pages as well as content in the website

.  Function to calculate tax basis multiple areas as well as customer type

 CAPTCHA to deal with spamming

- Catalog Management: catalog management is how you wish to display various products on your website and is one of the key tools to manage your shopping website. Magento offers fairly wide range of catalog tools to manage your website catalog:

 You can configure product groups or variations with ease

.  Ability to set differential payouts basis the the type of customer as such retail or wholesaler, member or a visitor etc.

 Support for digital/downloadable products as well as sample pieces

Unlimited product attributes

.   Ability to create similar products with various attribute grouping etc.

 Comprehensive inventory management tools and support for RSS alerts.

.   You can update product groups in batches

 Ability to image resizing automated

  Various pricing options and rules for special prices with multiple options 

.   Search term rewrites and result-page redirects

 Ability to create crowd-sourced tags

.   Full support for reviews with moderation capability 

 Personalized products also supported such t-shirt or mug printing etc.

.   A number of options for customer feedback

- Browsing Product Features: a well maintained as well as an intuitive display of products can make difference for your business as users appreciate a catalog which is easy to browse with visually attractive options. Magento offers a wide range of options and tools to make it easy to catalog browsing:

.   A navigation with search results and product categories

.   Filtering options basis price range as well other options such as color, casual/formal, man/woman, size, brand and much more

.   Option to compare products to provide advance level or experience

 Search capability with auto suggest function for various products or category

.   Breadcrumb navigation

.   Option to create special pages for a product or a category

- Product Display Options: an e-commercemust have various visual tools to make it look attractive and more visible so that customer can satisfy himself with the look before going for purchase. Magento comes with many such features that make it look more attractive and the product is displayed well as desired:

 Support for more than one image of a product with various angles

.   Zoom in capability to view image more clearly or in detail

 Option to show the availability of the product

.   Pricing upsell options with product addition

 Various Product options

.   Related Items

.   Recently viewed Items

.   Grouped products

 Wishlist

.   Send to a friend

.   Share to social media

- Checkout, Payment, and Shipping: these are essential features for any kind of e-commerce website as it enables the user to go for variety of payments as well as shipping options such as payment by credit card, debit card, pay pal, mobile wallet, cash on delivery etc. the checkout or payment options should be well secured so that the user can proceed to pay without any fear of using their sensitive finance details. Shipping options such as the delivery of the product duration as well as whether it is deliverable at the specific location or not. Some of the features or tools offered by Magento include:

.  Single page checkout so that customer does not have to hop onto various pages before checkout

Checkout option as guest or using a registered account

.  Shipping to more than one locations in a single order

.  SSL / HTTPS support for orders to provide a secured environment for payments

.  Option to save products in shopping cart for future action

.  Customized gift packing with message on the gift option

.  Shipping as well as tax calculations

.  Payment gateway integration with multiple options including PayPal, Authorize.net

 Cash one deliver option as well as check payment or money order to DD

.  “Bill Me Later” option

.  Free shipping or flat fee options

.  Calculation of shipping rates basis weight, volume, location etc.

 Order tracking tool for easier update of order dispatch history

- Order Management: Order management options include a wide range of tools to ensure accuracy and reliability of the purchase process:

.  Ability to create, view or editing from the backend for an order

.  More than one invoicing options for single order

.  Shipping options include integration with real time rate or pricing from UPS, USPS, FedEx, and DHL

.  Call center order tracking interface

.  Ability to setup order statuses

.  Order duplication and re-ordering

 Order notification system using email or RSS

- Customer Accounts: customer accounts are must to be created for the order management and giving customers an ease of use with customer account section. Magento offers a wide range of tools to administer and manage customer accounts:

.  Options of adding more than one shipping address with a default selection

.  Wish list supported with commenting

.  Order Tracking

.  Order status and history

.  Option for Reorder

.  Email newsletter for subscribed users

Product reviews

.  Access to downloadable products

- Support Customer Service: Customer service is one of the key factors that is a key differentiator between you and your competitor. If you have a good customer support, then you will have your customers working as marketing or sales team for your company and the reverse is also true. So it is quite essential to have tools in place to extend a seamless support your customer. Magento’s features include the following customer service tools:

.  Contact form to be able to send feedback or raise issue

.  Cancel order to reorder from the customer account

.  Create and edit orders as admin

.  Order tracking from an account

.  Ability to reset password by admin as well as front end 

.  Email system for any activity such as placing order or cancelling order to order dispatch or any issue for that matter. This is all automated so not manual intervention is required.

- Analytics and Reporting: this is the ultimate feature and a very crucial one for your business as you can do a health checkup of your website as well as your business as a whole. You will need to look at various reports or metrics in order make sure or improve on your business or website. Magento offers access to data though various tools and analytics integration such as:

 Google analytics integration with ease

.  Admin reports through dashboard

 A detailed reporting to view multiple aspects of your website or visitors such as sales volume and numbers, tax calculation, cart bounce off, most viewed pages or products, top performing products, search terms, review activity, inventory, use of coupon, refunds, revenue, and invoicing.

Magento Enterprise Edition

As mentioned above as well that Magento comes available in both community edition as well as enterprise edition for large business requirements. If you think community editon does not fit into your requirements or you are not able to find features enough for your website, then you may like to look into the enterprise edition of Magento which is specially designed to meet the needs of enterprise level shopping website and advanced support.

Benefits or Features of Enterprise

With the enterprise edition, though will have to pay for the premium, you will get a dedicated support from the experienced team available 24x7 in the event you come across any issues. You will get some additional feature which are not present in the community edition. You will get your self rid of the doing it all yourself and focus more on your core business. If you are ready to take the cost with additional advantages Magento enterprise is the best choice to go for. Below are some of the features which you wont find with the community or free edition. These are especially available to Enterprise Customers:

- Customer Segmentation: this feature allows you to group your customers base on the basis of purchase behavior, demographics and send them targeted and customized promotions as well as other communications to convert them into a regular buying consumer.

- Dynamic Rule-Based Product Relations: the community based feature that lets you provide product based upsell feature has been expanded in the enterprise edition where in the customer as well as shopping cart attributes are also added to create related products rules.

- Persistent Shopping: capability to enable user login as long as the cookie remains in the browser so customer does not have to login again and again offering enhanced user experience.

- Abandoned Cart Recovery: it allows automated or customized emails to be sent to users who added to cart however did not complete the purchase. This improves in the overall customer experience as well as website conversion rate.

- Private Sales: as the name suggests “Private” means you are able to offer special deals or products to limited number of customers or group of customers only.

- Page Caching: this is for the improved site as well as customer experience as it enables the caching of content which is not dynamic (or called by user action) such as menu, footer, sidebar etc. can be put in cache so that every time the page is called, some part is already there in the browser cache.

- PA-DSS Certified Payment Processing: this is Magento’s own payment gateway which is fully integrated so you don’t have to o any extra effort in order to make it work.

- Gifting Options: it enables the display of physical as well as virtual gifts or gift cards with gift wrapping options at the customer checkout.

- Additional Features:

Integrated features of rewards Points and customer loyalty programs

Store credit

Multiple wishlists

 Management of product returns

Improved and advance CMS features

.  Scheduling of data import and export

.  It offers the ability to backing up and rolling it back in the event of website getting hacked or any performance issues arises

.  Capability to test on staging and then rolling it back on the live website

 Log of admin activity on the website

 Better and improved search functionality

Magento's Hosting Requirements

Magento (the community version only) is available as one click installation from most of the web hosting providers. If that is not the case then you will have to manually install the application. In such case you will have to make sure that the host supports the server requirements as under:

- Linux: x86-64

- Apache: 2.x

- Nginx: (alternative to Apache) 1.7x

- MySQL: 5.6+

- PHP: 5.4+

- SSL

- A dedicated IP address

What hosting plans are suited for Magento hosting?

It is not at all suggested to go for a shared hosting plan as the performance of shared hosting will suck and is not meant to be used for e-commerce website as e-commerce website are required to manage high traffic loads and security also is key factor which is not the case with shared hosting. So you need to go with VPS at the minimum and you may choose to go with dedicated server plan if your traffic requirement grows further.

With VPS or dedicated you will have better security as well s better performance of your website and overall full control on your hosting requirements.

What are the Pros and Cons of Magento?

Pros:

- It is available as free as well as enterprise edition which caters to both small as well as large business groups requirements.

- It is available to be installed as one click on most of the hosting websites (the community or free edition) enterprise edition is available on the official website only.

- Hosts to offer the configuration of server to extend maximum performance on the software.

- It does not require any sort of additional software or plugin on the server to get the simple website live.

Cons:

- If the server performance in low Magneto will slow down the site.

- It is a complex software so learning to work on it is not as easy as it may seem. It will require a steep learning curve to get your hands on it.

- In order to stay safe from security threats you need to have an updated version of the software as soon as it is available.

Magento Hosting Frequently Asked Questions

What is Magento?

Magento is a software application which is built and developed in PHP with support for MySQL. It is a stand alone software for ecommerce website development and offers all essential features to run your own e-commerce website. it comes available in two editions; one is open source free version while the other is enterprise edition to cater to enterprise level website. There are many feature common and all free software feature are available in the enterprise as well as some additional features to make it more advanced with advance level of support.

Is Magento free or open-source?

Magento is both free as well as paid, the fee version is called the community edition and the paid versios is the enterprise edition primarily built to cater to enterprise needs. The enterprise version is available for an annual license fee whereas the community version is free to download and is available as one click installation from many web hosting providers.

How is the Magento Community addition feature wise?

It is a very common question as the free version or the open source version is released just for the sake of it so that it becomes more popular and some customers could be converted to paid by offering rich features. When it comes to features offered by Magento in the community edition it is at par with most updated features and is not perceived to be a freeware. It comes with full-fledged features which are available with an advance level of software. You are able to do almost everything with Magento software right from uploading products to order management, tracking order, catalog management, admin management, invoicing, billing, customer support, and much more offered within the free version.

What is the need to have an enterprise edition when all the features are available with open source version?

Although open source version of Magento offers all feature essential for a taking an ecommerce shopping website live yet it lacks advance features along with the support which is only available with enterprise level application.  

The kind of support you will get with enterprise edition is the most crucial for your business so you can get rid of yourself of do it all yourself thing.

Apart from that there are many advance features which are meant to extend more functionality to your website as well as you as an admin of the website and a business owner. It offers you to perform behavior analysis, audience segment, promotional tools, advance analytics and much more.

The enterprise edition comes with many additional features that include:

- Customer Segmentation basis various parameters

- Product suggestion or show related items based on dynamic rule based relations

- Persistent Shopping

- Email marketing automation for order completion as well as reminders

- Private Sales, Gift Registry

- Gifting function

- Reward Points

- Customer Loyalty Programs

- Store credits

- Multiple Wish Lists

- Return Management

- Advanced Customer Attributes

- PA-DSS Certified Payment Processing.

Is there one-click installation available for Magento?

The community edition of Magento software is available to be installed as one click install by many of the web hosting providers.

What are other options to consider instead of Magento?

There are many other options for ecommerce platform out in the market and you can choose any of the options however in the open source community ZenCart as well as osCommerce are the popular options to consider. It is also possible to build shopping website function with popular CMSs such as WordPress, Drupal, Joomla however they are no standalone software for e-commerce solutions. You have other options as well such as Shopify if you are looking for a readymade solution without even the need of much customization. Everything is just built-in and extra functionality is available through plugins.

What hosting is suggested for Magento?

There are many options available for hosting Magento and the community edition is also available as one click install. The most optimal solution for Magento is VPS hosting as shared hosting will not suffice the requirements due to higher resource requirements. Shared hosting may crash and result in lower performance of your website or it may not even work. If the traffic requirements increase, then you may even think of a dedicated server plans as well.