Archives For Hosting

I review hosting for web stores, particularly Magento hosting reviews. If you would like me to review your hosting contact me.

I’d recently seen a few people mention Digital Ocean, and their $5/month SSD-based VPS offering. I read about it, and was interested to know if Magento would run on their plans, and how well. But at the time I couldn’t be bothered actually doing any testing.

However, thanks to the wonders of Google’s re-marketing every site I visited on the internet for the next couple of weeks reminded me about them and so I finally decided to throw up a quick test site and run some benchmarks.

In this post I’ll run through a quick setup guide using Digital Ocean to run Magento, and then the results of a few simple benchmark tests using my Magento Speed Test service.

Digital Ocean
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In my previous post I weighed up the benefits and limitations of Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk hosting environment for Magento and took a very vague look at the costs. In this post I will run through the actual setup of a very basic Magento install ‘in the cloud‘ and the process of deploying changes. The goal for this initial setup is to keep everything bone stock as possible, we want minimal maintenance effort and an automated environment.

If we have some time at the end, we’ll do some stress testing of the platform to see how it handles customers. Benchmarks will have to wait, stay tuned.

The Tools

For this tutorial we’ll be working in a linux environment. I used a small EC2 server with the AWS default Linux AMI as the setup box, it’s nice and fast being on the same network as the Beanstalk platform. Make sure you have the following installed.

  • AWS EB tools, and the getting started guide
  • git, sudo yum install git
  • ruby, sudo yum install ruby
  • python 2.7, sudo yum install python27 – this one is a bit of a pain on the AWS default Linux AMI, you’ll need to hack in explicit use of the 2.7 binary in the AWS scripts. Or, heaven forbid, set it up properly and compile from source…

Once you have those in place, you should be ready to get Magento and the Beanstalk environment setup.
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In this post I’m going to introduce Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk PHP environment as a platform for Magento. In particular I’ll cover the mechanics and economics of hosting Magento, along with it’s benefits and limitations as a platform. The goal here is to create an auto-pilot environment providing high availability and scalability.

But first, the background. With World Wide Access, we’ve always run our own EC2 instances, ELBs, database servers and memcached. We scale up the instance sizes or counts manually when required. When we started using AWS (in 2008) Elastic Beanstalk was not yet on the scene so we had no choice but to do it that way. But now we do have a choice and, thanks to some downtime in the last week, I’m prompted to gather some thoughts on a migration to a fully auto-pilot set-up. This post is my notes on Elastic Beanstalk and Magento with git for deployment. I’ll add a more detailed setup guide and some benchmarks in a future post – this one will be a bit more abstract, so go make yourself a cuppa.

About the Amazon’s Elastic Beanstalk

Beanstalk brings together various parts of Amazon’s infrastructure: AWS servers, scaling, load balancing and high availability, to give your applications an automated environment to run in with flexible server sizes and instance counts that make growing easy. You can do all the things Elastic Beanstalk does, by combining the separate parts yourself, but this is much easier, trust me.
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I haven’t reviewed a Magento host on my blog for a long, long, time. That’s not because I haven’t had a bunch of companies ask me to, but because none of them offered anything really compelling or different to my go-to-magento-hosting-recommendation, Nexcess.

Well, that was until a few weeks ago when MageMojo set me up with a demo account and invited me to take a test drive of their new Magento optimized hosting environment. A few features the Mojo team mentioned piqued my interest, so here I am, putting their Magento hosting platform to the test and reporting my findings.

Oh, and the free hosting, MageMojo have offered to give away 12 months of free Magento hosting as part of this review, that’s over $700 worth of magento hosting, quite a generous offer. Seeing as there’s a few hundred eager Magento users and developers that come by here, I thought it’d be a great prize to offer all of you. You have to read to the end to find out how to win it, hah!
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I received an email from a fellow Magento developer asking about hosting Magento in New Zealand – this post is about that email and my response because I think it will be useful to others asking the same questions. All of the Magento stores I’ve built to date have been overseas (read: not in New Zealand) – my experience so far has only been with building low latency sites for American customers and UK/Europe customers. The reason for this is that at World Wide Access we recognize the importance of an in-country webstore presence to customer experience (bandwidth and latency).

It was a little ironic then, that an American developer, Justin from Unify Digital contacted me for advice about building a Magento store for New Zealand customers – for the same reasons that we build our stores offshore. Here’s what Justin had to say:
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