In April of 2016, Magento, acquired by Adobe, announced the launch of Magento Cloud Edition. Magento Commerce, formerly known as the Enterprise Edition (EE), has now been bundled with hosting into a single product. Magento continues to hone this combination and is currently pursuing Magento Commerce merchants to upsell them whenever possible. However, the Magento Cloud simply isn’t the right fit for everyone with a Commerce license.
While the Magento software is unique in its space, there are many excellent hosting options in the Magento ecosystem, each with unique strengths and advantages. There are exceptional web hosts that remain committed to meeting the evolving needs of merchants on both Magento Open Source and Magento Commerce, in essence doubling down and taking extra steps to ensure that they’re setting themselves apart by providing solutions that Magento’s Cloud offering does not. Case in point, at JetRails, we’ve experienced a steady increase in demand and sales in recent years, including merchants that are comparing solutions directly with Magento’s Cloud. In some cases, these may even be merchants that have already used Magento’s Cloud, and that have been compelled to return to an independent host. Below are some of the most common factors that are drawing merchants to specialized ecommerce hosts.
Magento has built a cloud offering that includes a great technology stack. They have partnered with many industry leaders when it comes to infrastructure and content delivery. However, this stack can be a deal-breaker for many merchants that want or need a more tailored hosting environment. At JetRails, we’ve taken more of a hybrid approach. We start with our own recommended advanced-stack which includes systems like Cloudflare’s CDN and WAF. However, we’re here to make sure that your team, including your developers, have what they need and want in order to bring you success. Our provisioning and onboarding teams love to collaborate with our customers and dev partners alike to create the ideal hosting environment for a particular instance of Magento. The variety of options when it comes to architecting a fast and stable hosting environment are endless. At JetRails, we see this often come into play with customers in our managed AWS environments. Services that might not be available on Magento’s Cloud, such as the Amazon Simple Queue Service (SQS), Amazon Simple Email Service (SES), and the Amazon Elastic File System (EFS), can be utilized in a JetRails account. If your Magento instance doesn’t require some of these more elastic hosting features, many hosts will provide managed hosting on bare-metal equipment in their data centers where you can continue to grow without paying the premium for hosting on a cloud, like AWS.
Hosts with consistently good reviews typically offer phone support and respond to tickets quickly and meaningfully, such as within a 15-minute window. Some even offer dedicated account managers for periodic reviews – someone who knows you and your business and wants to make sure that your site is fast, secure, and scalable. This is quite different from Magento’s support SLA and most general hosts, which often can’t meet the IT requirements of many merchants, whether small or large. Below is a screenshot of what Magento’s support SLA as seen from Magento’s support services terms and conditions:
You may notice that “Magento’s toll-free Support telephone line is reserved for Priority 1 Incidents only.” A Priority 1 incident is an outage. While an outage would be the highest priority when it comes to triaging support requests, there are many other revenue impacting issues that a phone call could help quickly address. Magento handles all other requests as tickets, and tickets can take up to 5 business days to get a written response depending on their prioritization. At a host that traditionally provides mission-critical support, any issue that is affecting revenue and sales is considered a top priority.
With Magento’s Cloud, you’re committing to a long-term agreement side-by-side with your Magento Commerce license. On the flip side, there are top-rated independent Magento hosts that offer month-to-month contracts for anything from dedicated servers and clusters, to AWS management. Such hosts continually earn the patronage of their clients by being proactive and providing stellar service and results. In general, long-term contracts don’t offer any additional incentives for your host to go above and beyond in maintenance or support.
Magento Open Source
Magento’s Open Source Edition (aka. Magento Community Edition) continues to support a much larger user base than the paid Enterprise version. Independent Magento hosting companies are still your only choice for an elevated experience with a managed hosting environment for Magento Open Source.
It’s not only the level of support that sets independent hosts apart from Magento’s offerings. It’s, of course, a standard for hosting companies to be monitoring the network and infrastructure that they’re using to host your site, but a good host will also monitor your store’s uptime and performance, alerting you of anomalies and suggesting remedies.
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If you’re a company that requires specific compliance certifications for your technology operations, then Magento’s Cloud might not be right for you. Examples of this would be HIPAA compliance for businesses selling health and medical products or services to consumers that fall under specific guidelines. In such cases, you’ll need to find an independent host. Magento’s Cloud does not meet the needs of companies that need to adhere to specific compliance standards.
In the end, there is never a one-size-fits-all solution, and you should always look for a hosting solution that best fits your business. Some of your selection criteria will come down to hard requirements, like elasticity needs. The rest will boil down to your preferences and personal priorities. While Magento Cloud may continue to be a great fit for many, be sure to keep an eye on other hosts that are active in the Magento Community. Such hosts have been successful in meeting the needs of merchants, both large and small, with various unique needs, for many years.