Your eCommerce business is starting to come together. You have your business plan and an idea of what the design of your eCommerce website will look like. But you still need to figure out the right eCommerce software and web hosting plan to get your eCommerce website working and ready for business.
When considering your web hosting options, you may come across an option that addresses both needs in its focus: Magento hosting.
What Is Magento?
Before you can know if Magento hosting is right for you, you need to decide whether you’ll use Magento for your website. Magento is the third most popular eCommerce platform on the market (falling only behind WooCommerce and Shopify). It supplies the main functionality you need to run an eCommerce site, namely:
- A shopping cart
- Check out functionality
- Account creation and guest check out options
- Integration with payment processing apps to accept payment
- Ability to list your products and track availability
Those are the basics you need, but Magento has a vast array of features that go beyond the basics. Between the core functionality of the platform itself and the extensions you can add to it, the software packs a lot of power into the framework it provides for your eCommerce store.
Why You Need eCommerce Software
You know now that Magento is a type of eCommerce software, but maybe you’re wondering if you can get by without an eCommerce platform to begin with. eCommerce websites have unique needs that won’t be served by a web hosting plan or content management system alone. If you want to make sales through your website, then you need a way to list your products, track inventory, provide a secure checkout, and accept payments.
If you think about the online stores you buy from the most often, they probably have additional eCommerce features like the ability to set up a wishlist, mark your favorites, set up subscriptions, or take advantage of coupons. For all of that, you need the right software. If you’re building an online store, consider eCommerce software a necessary part of the process.
12 Reasons to Use Magento for Your eCommerce Website
Magento isn’t your only option, but it’s one of the most popular CMSes for eCommerce websites for a number of reasons.
1. Magento is free.
Few things in life are free, and it’s even rarer for something with as much usefulness as Magento to be free. But the Magento core is freely available for anyone to use. You may incur some costs for extensions you add on, or for developers you hire to help you use Magento. But the platform itself won’t cost you a thing.
2. It’s open source.
Magento is open source software which means that anyone with the skills to develop a new module or extension can do so. Magento boasts a community of over 300,000 developers. They have an active forum with thousands of contributors, all working to make Magento do as much as business owners need and want it to.
One of the nice things about using an open source solution is that you can count on it to improve in quality and functionality over time as people work to make it better for the benefit of all users.
3. Magento’s advanced security is ideal for eCommerce.
Website security is important for all website owners, but when you run an online store that regularly takes sensitive financial and personal information from customers, security takes on an extra level of necessity.
In the eCommerce community, Magento is widely considered a strong choice for security. And while the core software provides security against hackers, you can make your Magento website more secure with any of the hundreds of security extensions available.
In addition, Magento lets you control how much access you allow each person who updates your website to have. Security permissions help you limit the risk of an angry employee making malicious updates to your website, or someone accidentally breaking something on the site due to ignorance.
4. Magento supports huge eCommerce product catalogs and order volume
It’s understandable to wonder just how much a free product can actually do, especially if you have big goals and expect to see significant traffic numbers or list a high number of products. Magento really can handle a lot. You can add up to 500,000 products to your store on one Magento site. And the platform can handle over 80,000 orders every hour (as long as your web hosting plan is also up to the task).
Plus, Magento’s reporting dashboard shows you at-a-glance how those sales are translating to your bottom line:
That means it should work for you in the early stages of building your business, and allow you tons of room to grow as your sales and customer numbers increase.
5. Magento’s flexible extensions make it easy to customize your online store.
Magento is extremely customizable, especially when it comes to the changes you can make using the large library of extensions. You have a lot of power to make the backend of your website look the way you want it, as well as making the website itself intuitive for your visitors. And Magento has a lot of different features you can choose to incorporate if you so desire, such as using categories to better group your different products, allowing different payment options, and letting you manage orders through the platform.
With Magento, you can configure your website to have the features you want it to, both on your end and the user end.
6. Magento’s shopping cart functionality is responsive.
With over half of all web use now happening on mobile devices, it’s integral that all online stores make their website mobile friendly. Magento’s shopping cart functionality is fully responsive, which means it works just as well on tablets and smartphones as it does on desktop computers.
The last thing you want is for half of your visitors to bounce because they find your website difficult to use on their particular device—or worse, bounce right before a sale because the checkout process is a pain on the small screen. Magento will help you avoid that fate.
7. Magento’s powerful product search helps customers quickly find what they need.
Nothing else about your eCommerce site will matter if customers find using it more difficult than it’s worth. Your website has to provide an experience that’s intuitive and pleasant from the moment they first land on the site, to when they complete their purchase.
Magento helps you realize that by letting you organize your products in user-friendly ways, so visitors can browse and filter results based on their particular preferences.
You can enable features like auto-suggestion for search terms or display popular search term clouds that can further help customers find what they need. And you can load multiple high-resolution images for each product to help customers make a better decision.
8. Built-in features are designed to boost your conversion rate.
Magento also has a number of options you can use to increase conversions and upsells. You can offer free shipping and discounts to incentivize sales. You can also add in areas for customers to add their own promo codes at checkout:
You can enable one-click purchases (just like Amazon!) with their Instant Purchase feature:
You can set up your website to display recently viewed products, so customers are more likely to go back and buy items they’d considered. You can have your website show related products, or items commonly bought together, to encourage customers to buy more products at once.
Finally, you can make it easy for customers to share items they like on social or with friends.
9. Magento follows SEO best practices.
The minds behind Magento knew the importance of search engine optimization (SEO) for a website and built a platform that made optimizing your pages for search simple. You can easily customize your URLs, fill in the relevant meta information on each page, and create an auto-generated sitemap to submit to the search engines.
10. Magento enables personalization.
Personalization is an eCommerce tactic gaining steam and showing significant results. Magento’s core platform provides some personalization options, but you can go even further with tailoring the way customers experience your website with extensions that offer additional personalization features.
With the Magento core, customers can create unique accounts so you can better track their behavior over time and show them products and ads based on past purchases or views. You can automate the process of serving up personalized recommendations for each visitor. With extensions, you can generate automated recommendation and reminder emails based on their past behavior and deliver personalized ads across other sites to help get past visitors back on your site.
11. Magento works with third-party applications.
Magento helps power a lot of useful features and functionality on your own website, but what happens on your own website is only part of running an online store. You also need to think about marketing your store in various channels around the web to get customers to your website to begin with. Not to mention all the work you have to do to keep up with your business’s finances.
Magento is compatible with a wide range of third-party applications that help with those parts, including email marketing software, Google analytics, accounting software products, and payment processing apps. Easy integration with the various apps you need to run your business make all the extra business tasks you have to take care of easier.
12. Magento tutorials abound online.
Nothing is perfect, and one of the downsides of using Magento is that it has a learning curve. If you’re not a professional developer, or you don’t have the budget to hire one, learning the ropes of using Magento can take some time and work. But you can find a lot of useful information to help you get started online.
What is Magento Hosting?
Magento hosting is a web hosting plan that provides compatibility with the eCommerce software Magento. While Magento is free and provides a lot of useful features for running an online store, one thing it notably doesn’t provide is web hosting.
Magento hosting plans will often provide the additional important business features an eCommerce website needs such as an SSL certificate and compatibility with third-party solutions commonly used by businesses, such as email marketing and Google Analytics.
While many web hosting plans that aren’t specifically Magento hosting may make it possible to use Magento, an application web hosting plan that provides specific functionality related to using Magento can often better meet the needs of eCommerce stores that depend on the shopping cart software.
5 Benefits of Magento Hosting
When choosing the best web hosting option for your eCommerce store, you’ll benefit from prioritizing Magento compatibility upfront. There are five main reasons to specifically seek out an application hosting plan that works with Magento specifically.
1. Easy installation
With a Magento hosting plan, you can trust that adding Magento to your web hosting account will be quick and easy. With HostGator’s Magento hosting, you can add the application in one click once you’re signed into your web hosting account.
You can focus your time on building your website, rather than figuring out how to get your eCommerce software and web hosting service to work together.
2. Assured compatibility
If you’ve already made the choice to power your eCommerce options with Magento—and especially if you’ve already put the work into using it in designing your website—you really don’t want to realize after you sign up for a web hosting plan that there are compatibility issues in getting Magento to work right with your plan.
Save yourself the trouble of having to work to get the two programs to support each other, or worse, having to switch over to a new web hosting provider after you’re already eager to launch. Start with a plan you know will work seamlessly with Magento from the get go.
3. No performance issues
One of the complaints you’ll occasionally see about Magento is that some sites face performance issues, such as slow loading times. In fact, the issue isn’t usually Magento when that occurs, it’s that the website owner went with a web hosting plan that wasn’t up to the task of running the Magento site.
To avoid performance issues, find a Magento web hosting plan that provides the degree of power and bandwidth you need.
4. No hidden fees
Some web hosting plans will advertise an upfront price, then hit you with unexpected fees when it comes time to add the apps you need to your account. With Magento hosting, you not only know that your web hosting plan will be compatible with your Magento site, you can also trust that you won’t have to pay anything extra to use Magento with the plan you buy.
5. Proper security
As we’ve already established, security is paramount when you’re running an online store. Choosing a secure web hosting provider like Magento is one step to making your eCommerce site secure. Finding a web hosting plan that also promises top-notch security is another. A good Magento hosting plan will have strong firewalls in place to protect your website from hackers and offer additional security features, like an SSL certificate and security software you can add to your website.
Get Started with Magento Hosting
Starting an eCommerce website is a big deal. If you make the right choices, it can put you on the path to big profits. Early on, two of the most important choices you can make are which eCommerce software to go with and which web hosting plan to choose. If you go with Magento, picking a Magento hosting plan to go along with your choice just makes sense.Get started with HostGator’s application hosting.
Kristen Hicks is an Austin-based freelance content writer and lifelong learner with an ongoing curiosity to learn new things. She uses that curiosity, combined with her experience as a freelance business owner, to write about subjects valuable to small business owners on the HostGator blog. You can find her on Twitter at @atxcopywriter.