In my last post I explained why i chose Magento Community Edition (see here),†† in this post I’ll share how i got started.
First things first. Find a Webhost!
There are hundreds of bloggers ranting about how unstable Magento is and how resource heavy it is.† Yes Magento is a resource hog, but if your† hosting is setup correctly, there is little chance of your store crashing.
Ideally a dedicated server is great, but this comes a price and with a startup store, funds are limited.† I’d recommend and am currently using a Shared Hosting platform, however I’ve ensured the webhost is familiar with Magento and the necessary requirements. In fact most, if not all Magento specialist stores off it as a “one click” application. Saving you the trouble of uploading and manually installing it.
Where does one find such a host?† Look at www.MagentoEcommerce.com – the official Magento website and my new favorite website.
Navigate your way to their Solution & Industry Partners, also look at the Magento Wiki
The two companies listed under South Africa did not inspire much confidence. I chose to go with Nexcess, an American based hosting company with servers in USA and the UK, additionally† they are an official Magento Enterprise Partner. This was the deal clincher for me.
While not as cheap as your typical $9.95 Dreamhost package, these cost a little more but offer a stack of Magento optimized features and more† importantly their Magento certification means they can assist when things go pear shaped. At the end of the day you need to decide how important and serious your ecommerce project is. Spend a little extra and save in the long run with stability, speed and security.
I opted for the USA Based Magento Package, and hosting multiple stores i went with their SIP-200 Package for $79.95/month. I suppose for a single store you could go with their $29 solution.
Their service is nothing short of exceptional,† pre-sales questions and general setup questions where resolved inside of an hour or at times after a few minutes. All the other hosting bells and whistles are included (control panel, email, etc) In our case we use Google Apps to manage our email, Nexcess support staff setup the correct DNS & configurations in less then 10 minutes.
I† highly recommended Nexcess.net
When it comes to Magento hosting in South Africa, unfortunately I have not come across South African hosting companies who are geared up to host Magento or offer Magento optimized servers and hardware.
Currently i have 2 public Magento stores (ie. TerrificTrophies & BLKcherry) running on the Nexcess SIP-200 package. Each site has approximately 120 products.† Our combined bandwidth usage is approximately 20gigs a month and the stores combined receive about 12 000 unique visitors a month.† So far we have had zero downtime and speeds (for an internationally hosted website) is pretty impressive.
For larger stores (upwards of 1000 products and receiving 100k+ visitors a month) logic would dictate one to utilize a dedicated server and consider content delivery networks or some sort of clustered server solution to manage your traffic.
Next post will deal with store front design and themes.