Few topics create more debate in the Magento community than the issue of whether to choose dedicated or shared hosting for Magento online stores. The issue is not as clear cut as it might appear, and both options have their pros and their cons.
The advantages of dedicated Magento hosting
If budget permits, opting for dedicated Magento hosting would seem to be a no-brainer for any company that has big e-commerce ambitions. Magento is a notoriously resource hungry application, so there is always a risk when sharing hosting resources with other sites that your site will experience less-than-optimal performance. A poorly performing Magento site will negatively impact the online user experience and result in lost sales. Customers who abandon their cart due to poor site performance are unlikely to come back, so trying to get by with shared hosting may be a false economy.
Despite the advantages of dedicated hosting, many users cannot justify the cost of dedicated Magento hosting. Some of these merchants focus on a specialist niche and only get a few orders a day. Others are start-up ventures, and it can take some time for e-commerce traffic to grow to significant levels. For these users, shared hosting is a much more cost-effective choice.
Ask the right questions about shared Magento hosting
But shared hosting involves compromises and trade-offs, so it’s important to ask the right questions of a hosting comany. For example, what’s the maximum number of Magento stores operating on a shared server? A prospective Magento hosting provider should be able to give you a specific answer to this question, and the number should be a relatively small one – in the range of 6 to 12 stores. No matter how robustly configured, a shared server cannot adequately support more than a dozen or so Magento stores.
If too many Magento sites are hosted on a single server, there is the risk that peaks in visitor traffic to one of the sites will negatively impact performance of the others. Another risk is that if one site is is subject to a cyber attack or malware infection, the performance and security of the other sites hosted on the server could be compromised. Hosting providers with Magento expertise take numerous measures to minimize these risks, including the deployment of intrusion detection systems (IDS) and real-time server and network monitoring.
In the end, only you can decide what’s best for your business. But no matter which choice you make – shared or dedicated Magento hosting, be sure that you understand all the trade-offs and make a well-informed choice – the success of your online store depends upon it.