The good: One-click deployment; multiple cloud hosting platforms to choose from; high affordability.
The bad: Will make you lazy
Whether you are a seasoned entrepreneur or just starting your first ecommerce store, choosing a reliable hosting provider should be your top priority.
I was in your place a few days ago. When I started my first ecommerce store using Magento, my first concern was to choose a hosting solution that doesn’t ditch me during the holiday sales season. I was confused.
Two types of best Magento hosting solutions really attracted me: One was VPS, the other one was cloud hosting. Both seemed perfect for the type of store I wanted. However, VPS was costing me a major chunk of my budget. In comparison, cloud hosting was nominal. It also offered me with auto scaling. So, there wasn’t an option left to choose. I went with it and never looked back. This brings me to: Why I am writing this review?
One of the reasons of writing this review is to help beginners who have no idea about what will be a suitable hosting plan for their ecommerce business.
I will show my example as to how I was able to select a hosting solution for my Magento ecommerce store and where it took me.
The review will focus on:
- What hosting factors can affect a website performance and how to overcome them
- What features are essential for hosting an ecommerce store and how to check them
In an online business, whether you’re selling a service or a product, your store needs to be online all the time. This means you will have to host your website with a hosting provider that can at least guarantee 99% uptime. Just think: What if you are getting a consistent stream of orders and suddenly your Magento website crashes? What will you do? You may call the support. But that stream of customers will vanish and it isn’t going to return anytime soon. Moreover, this crash can also cause a major disturbance in your SERP results.
Why Magento needs a better hosting plan?
Almost every ecommerce platform requires a better hosting plan. However, Magento is more complex. It offers a suite of features that makes the whole ecommerce integration process seamless. This is why the top companies of the world like Coca-Cola, Walmart, and numerous others use Magento for one or more of their ecommerce websites.
According to research, visitors will leave your website in first four seconds, if it is slow, or not attractive. This is a major reason many ecommerce stores lose their business to visually better appealing web stores. You must try to spend money on a good hosting provider because your brand image depends on it.
Magento platform offers multiple features for users to enhance the layout of their ecommerce stores. These include advanced cache technologies, like full page cache and Varnish cache to boost page speed. These allow the websites to load faster by creating a bundle of pages that visitors view more often, instead of loading them from the server. Thus, the visitor gets the information that he/she wants without sending a request to the server.
Moreover, an ecommerce store is required to handle the confidential customer data with utmost care. To keep it out of the hands of hackers, it requires a secure and private hosting service that doesn’t share customer data with other users, uses it for its own promotions, or has a loophole/backdoor that leaks the data out.
The key points to note here are:
- Website speed depends on the type of hosting it uses
- Website can crash during peak hours if the web host isn’t reliable
- Magento based website can load even faster with advanced cache technologies
- Website requires a secure hosting solution to avoid data leak
With these points in focus, I started searching for cloud platforms that could fit my budget. My initial thought was to get either DigitalOcean, AWS, or Google Cloud and start the business. But they didn’t offer the much needed 1-click app deployment feature. Moreover, I had to install everything from scratch including the OS, app, extensions, themes, and plugins, which was time consuming.
What I was looking for was a managed cloud hosting platform that provided everything in-built. I just had to signup, re-route my domain, and start adding products.
This is where I came across Cloudways.
Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting platform that offers cloud hosting from its partners including Digital Ocean, Linode, AWS, Google Cloud, and Vultr.
After signing up on the platform, you get a dashboard from where you can select the type of package that will suit your needs.
Once the package and cloud service is selected, you get the option to select an app to deploy. Cloudways has all essential apps one may need including WordPress, WooCommerce, Magento, Drupal, PHP Stack with Laravel, Prestashop, Joomla, Moodle, and many others.
The whole process took me around two minutes to complete. It will take you a few more minutes to launch the server. Once that’s done, type the URL of your website and it will be ready.
Putting it to test
Well, I had the store, I had the hosting. Now what? Time to test the limits of the hosting service. Cloudways offers full page cache for all Magento 1 stores. So, I put that to test.
Here are the results before enabling the full page cache.
You can see that it took six seconds for the website to load.
Now, let’s enable full page cache on the store.
That’s only one second for page loading – a 5x speed improvement in website performance.
Essential Features for Magento Hosting
One thing that I liked the most about Cloudways hosting platform is that it offers a ton of features for the ease of its users.
Everything on 1-click
While the process of setting up a server is cumbersome, with Cloudways you don’t have to worry about it. You get a dashboard with multiple selection options. You can install an app on a single click. In fact, if you are technically not savvy, Cloudways also offers you a step-by-step installation of each platform for efficient ecommerce store performance.
Further, you can install SSL certificate for the whole domain using WildCard SSL feature, add Cloudways CDN for giving your Magento website a performance boost, and share the server with your team through team member access tab.
Even if you are working for a client, Cloudways makes it easy for you to clone the server to a new account that they can privately access.
Free Trial for Everyone
Another aspect that I was very much impressed with was that Cloudways doesn’t ask you to pay upfront. Instead they let you check the whole platform through a trial account. This is perfect for Magento store owners who are trying to get the real feel. By testing, they will be able to know how the platform works and what its drawbacks are. This can help them make a decision based on facts instead of regretting later, if they made the wrong choice.
Note: Cloudways also offers a full refund for the amount depending on certain conditions. Please check out the Cloudways refund policy.
Optimized Stack for Performance Boost
Magento 2 now comes with an optimized platform stack that makes it a ready-to-go platform from the start. But, as 80% Magento users are still on Magento 1, and an un-optimized platform stack can literally kill their performance. That’s where the Cloudways ThunderStack comes in. It is optimized with advanced cache technologies such as Redis, Varnish, and PHP-FPM that not only enhance the performance but also keep the server load balanced.
Security – Top priority
Security is a top concern of most online stores. This is because today, data is the key to revenue. The more data a store has about its customers, the better it can optimize the website as per their needs. This will then translate to business growth and profit.
When I installed Magento app, I was looking to get an SSL certificate that could keep my data secure and private. But since Cloudways already offers a Domain-level SSL for free, this search ended instantly.
Apart from SSL, Cloudways also offers dedicated firewalls, regular security patching and two-factor authentication of user account.
Pay As You Go Model
And, unlike a VPS or a dedicated server that charges the user on a monthly basis, users can pay for only the resources they use on a Cloudways managed cloud hosting platform. This automatically slashes most of the server cost because the billing doesn’t include the unused resources.
Cloudways also offers a highly profitable affiliate program that lets users earn almost $6000 per month. I haven’t tried it yet, but it looks promising because of the per slab increment.
For more details just check out Cloudways affiliate program.
My Verdict – Yay or Nay?
I am already using Cloudways, so that is a ‘Yay.’ From my experience, I can say that it is a perfect Magento hosting solution that offers reliable hosting package with guaranteed uptime. Plus, it also offers a flexible auto-scaling option through some of its cloud partners. This can come in handy especially for seasonal ecommerce stores.
In the end, the choice is yours to make. You can try this managed cloud hosting platform for a 3-day trial for free.
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