The best Magento hosting is an
unmanaged hosting service like DigitalOcean or Amazon Web Services
as they are usually more cost-effective, have higher quality infrastructure, and allow you to
have complete control over your server and its software components. However, to work with an
unmanaged host, you must possess the technical knowledge required to configure, maintain, and
secure a server. Technically challenged business owners seeking simplicity should opt for a
managed Magento host like Nexcess or MageMojo as they take away a lot of the stress of managing
a server. While both options have their pros and cons, choosing between the two is often a
matter of cost versus benefit for an individual or business.
Every hosting plan comprises two components: the server resources
provided as part of the plan and additional services that may come with it. A majority of the
popular unmanaged hosting service providers offer only a basic control panel as part of their
service in addition to access to their servers. A managed hosting company will provide the
server resources, a control panel, and additional management services that take away the burden
of having to optimize, maintain, and update a server from time to time. Naturally, this means
that you pay for the additional services they offer, and when compared to an unmanaged hosting
plan, a managed one will always be more expensive.
Managed hosting is often twice the price of unmanaged hosting,
depending on the server’s size, configuration, and services offered by the host.
Generally, the most common services covered with managed hosting plans include automated
backups, performance monitoring, software updates, server security management, technical
support, and other on-demand services. Such hosts provide their customers with ready-to-use
Magento installations that only require customization before live deployment. Having a
ready-to-use Magento installation significantly reduces the time needed for a store to go live.
But it’s not all sunshine and rainbows. Managed hosting plans
often come with certain caveats like limited control over choosing the versions of software
running on the server and even limits on how much control you have over server resource
Another significant downside is being dependent on their support for the simplest of
things. Since everything is essentially black-boxed, your ability to troubleshoot and diagnose
is limited when things go wrong. Your only option is to submit a support ticket that passes
through a chain of internal support staff before reaching the person who’s capable of
implementing a solution to fix your issue. You often have to waddle through an ocean of preset
responses before you’re able to get someone to address and resolve your issue.
Unmanaged servers usually come with an operating system pre-installed
and a control panel to help with basic tasks like turning the server on or off, taking snapshots
or backups, etc. Everything else needs to be configured manually from the command line,
including installing and configuring all supporting software required to run a Magento store.
Building a store from scratch is perfect for monitoring things like server resource utilization
and controlling resource allocation for optimum performance.
But this degree of control comes with its share of responsibilities.
You are responsible for the maintenance and security of your server. Without automated backups
and proper security configurations, your store is vulnerable to bots and hackers trying to
access it from all over the world. While using iptables or Fail2ban can help mitigate things
like DDoS and brute force attacks, something as simple as setting incorrect file permissions can
compromise your website’s security.
While unmanaged servers are susceptible to compromise, so are managed
servers. Although they have teams responsible for ensuring server security and have
well-configured firewalls, end-user errors still make them susceptible to compromise. Both types
of hosting have their pros and cons when it comes to server security. However, considering all
factors, unmanaged hosting is far cheaper and superior to a managed hosting plan for those
capable of handling a server.
When searching for the best Magento hosting, you should consider four
critical factors when making your decision — scalability, security, support, and
affordability. Whichever option ticks all four boxes for you, will be the best hosting option
for your business. If you’re looking for simplicity and ease of use, a managed hosting
plan will allow you to delegate your server’s configuration and maintenance to a third
party. However, if you prefer having control over all aspects of a server, including managing
and maintaining it’s software components, an unmanaged hosting plan will work wonders for