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  • Why I think is the best choice for Magento

    Why I think is the best choice for Magento Commerce hosting on a shoestring budget…

    Magento Commerce is a recently released open-source e-commerce solution by the good people of Irubin Consulting, Inc. As someone who has been involved in many e-commerce solutions (open source and paid) over the years, I can confidently say that MC is by far the best e-commerce solution out in the market for small to mid size businesses. MC’s feature set is pretty impressive and the price can not get any better. How about FREE. (Visit for more information.) There are still some functionality that needs to be perfected like bulk product import, Google site map integration etc. but overall everything is very satisfactory.

    Personally I choose Search Engine Optimization (SEO) over functionality any day when it comes to e-commerce. Nice features do not mean anything if potential customers can not find your site. MC is by far the best SEO e-commerce solution I’ve ever used and over the years I tried many. Here is a brief overview of the programs I’ve tested.
    Able Commerce is not bad at all. It comes with most of the functionality you may expect from an e-commerce solution. but licensing fee is a problem. $1000 for the first store and $500 for additional stores. It is not a true open-source product also. Comes with lots of .dlls. Customer support is not very responsive unless you pick up the phone and call them. Every time I called or emailed, a person named Mike helped me, so you figure how many people they have for their customer support department. Site templates that come with the product are terrible. You can customize the look and feel but be prepared to spend tens of hours. Overall I give them 3 out of 5.
    I have no idea how this company is still in business. I have no idea how they are making money. I spent months with this product and did countless phone conversations with their customer support people and I can confidently say that this is the worst e-commerce solution of all time. The feature set of Storefront is extremely basic. It has zero SEO support and the admin user interface is terrible. They ask close to $1000 for licensing fees. If you are a customer, make sure that you test MC’s features before renewing your licensing with LaGarde. I give them (minus five) -5 out of 5. – Network Solutions
    I was a big fan of before they were acquired by Network Solutions. Their feature set was superior to other products and they were one of the first e-commerce companies that paid attention to SEO. The problem with them is that they are greedy. They have two plans, Standard ($50) and Pro ($100) but the way “Standard” is configured, there is no way you will be satisfied and you will be forced to choose the Pro version which is the most expensive plan (of course). But it will not end here. They will ask additional money for SSL, Site Export, Bulk Product import etc. For short, you will end-up paying close to $1500-2000 a year for a solution that you can practically get for $84/ a year. How? Read on.
    Cactushop is a very nice, cute and a cheap solution (Cheap compared to Ablecommerce, Storefront, Monstercommerce). Purchase it and host it anywhere but the problem is: It still uses ASP 2.0 and feature set is not as extensive as MC or AbleCommerce.

    Now that you have an idea of what are out there, let’s dive into MC hosting options.

    MC requires Linux servers with PHP 5.2 and above and MySQL 4.1 or newer. Almost any hosting company would support this configuration. So you shouldn’t have a problem in this department.

    Biggest question is where to host your MC setup? In order to find an answer to this question, I did search MC Community Forums. I read almost every posting that mentioned the word “hosting” in it. Based on what I read, I did come up with the following list:

    1- Media Temple –
    2- Helping Hand Host -
    3- Simple Helix Hosting -
    4- Crucial Web Hosting -
    5- –

    So let’s start reviewing above companies.

    1- Media Temple
    Media Temple’s admin user interface is very intuitive and very easy to navigate. You can easily spot whatever you are looking for, but the problem is that their servers are too slow for MC. I did get a Grid Server account and used their 1-Click install to test my MC setup. My site’s load time was too slow, there is no way it is acceptable. Their customer support is also not very responsive. Be prepared to wait 24 hours for a canned email response and tens of minutes on the phone to talk to a human being. But the price is not bad at all, you pay $20/month for up to 100 web site hosting. Including SSL, email, SSH access. If your site is not MC then you may find the load speed satisfactory. So overall:
    Speed: 1 out of 5
    Customer Support: 2 out of 5
    Price: 4 out of 5

    2- Helping Hand Host
    HHH is one of the hosting companies that are recommended by other people in MC forums and I have no idea why. For starters they don’t have a customer support phone number meaning that you are stuck with email. Anyone who used email to solve technical problems know that you go back and forth for days just to fix something very small. HHH name servers and DNS go down frequently. During my one month long test, their DNS servers went down 4 times and all they did was to send me apology emails. If you get lucky and have a MC site up then the speed is satisfactory, 10 times faster than Media Temple, I can guarantee you that. Overall you pay around $30 a month to host your site (including SSL and dedicated IP). If you like torturing yourself then here is what I recommend. Purchase a store and host it at HHH. ?
    Speed: 4 out of 5
    Customer Support: 1 out of 5
    Price: 3 out of 5

    3- Simple Helix Hosting
    These are nice people and their Customer Support is very responsive but the same problem with HHH exists here, too. Which is they don’t have phone support. Phone support is very important for me as I hate explaining technical problems using email. When I asked them why, they told me that their VOIP connection went down and it will be back up soon. It’s been 2 months and they are still waiting for their connection to be back up. Anyway, the truth is that they are small players like HHH and they can not effort phone support personnel. Your MC site will run fast though. You pay around $20/month for hosting and $84/year for SSL. You also pay additional for dedicated IP which is required for SSL anyway.
    Speed: 4 out of 5
    Customer Support: 2 out of 5
    Price: 3 out of 5

    4- Crucial Web Hosting
    Honestly I haven’t tested Crucial, the reason is that I simply can not effort $100/month plus additional fees. Based on their demo store, MC performance is quite satisfactory but as I said monthly expenses are way above my budget.

    5- has been around since 1997 and they have everything you can expect from a hosting company. They are definitely not small players like other companies and they will definitely be around as long as you need them. recently added a 1-Click install for MC and the whole setup process runs very smoothly. Your site speed will be similar to HHH and SimpleHelix but not as fast as Crucial. You will always be able to reach Customer Support simply by dialing their phone number and I can guarantee you that you will talk to a human being after an acceptable wait time. has a Support Wiki ( and User Support Forums ( in case you need additional support. They have a dedicated person whose job is to watch forum postings and to respond to urgent messages as quickly as possible.
    Best part of is that you can host your site for $7.95/month and if you do a year contract than the price goes down as low as $6.45/month. They also give you a Vanity SSL Certificate ( for free. I am not sure if it gets any better than this.
    Speed: 4 out of 5
    Customer Support: 5 out of 5
    Price: 5 out of 5

    This concludes my review of e-commerce solutions and hosting companies for MC install.

    Let me know if you have any comments.

    Thank you,
    Jack Dorris.

  • #2
    Re: Why I think is the best choice for Magento

    I'm considering Magento right now for my website and looking for a good hosting provider. I'm also in Canada and notice that is a Canadian company. What I would like to see is a site that is running Magento in Canada on a server so I can see for one how it performs and two how this shopping cart works for Canadian buyers with regards to shipping / taxes etc.



    • #3
      Re: Why I think is the best choice for Magento

      Originally posted by spudz72
      I'm considering Magento right now for my website and looking for a good hosting provider. I'm also in Canada and notice that is a Canadian company. What I would like to see is a site that is running Magento in Canada on a server so I can see for one how it performs and two how this shopping cart works for Canadian buyers with regards to shipping / taxes etc.

      Why look? you've already found the right place. ;-p