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Should You Stay or Should You Go?

Should You Stay or Should You Go?

Magento 1 vs Magento 2

With just a year until Magento 1 reaches end of life, merchants still on the platform are facing a lot of tough decisions; including whether they should stay on Magento 1 (M1), replatform to Magento 2 (M2), or start using an alternate CMS.

Magento 1 was released March 31, 2008 – over 10 years ago. Since then, over 900,000 sites have gone live, and over 200,000 of those are still delivering excellent eCommerce experiences.

Yet for those still on M1, June 2020 will be a decisive date. As the platform stops receiving official support, merchants will have to decide whether to stay or leave. As we’ll look at in this article, while Magento 2 does offer benefits over Magento 1, making the move does not necessarily benefit everyone. So if it doesn’t benefit you, what are your options?

To help merchants make the right choice, this article will look at the differences between Magento 1 and Magento 2 and explore how those differences should be affecting what you do before next June.

Contents

In Numbers
Security
Performance
Software and Extension Support
Functionality
Cost
If You Decide to Stay on Magento 1...

Magento 1 vs Magento 2 In Numbers

Magento 2 was released November 17, 2015. Since then, adoption has grown steadily, but still hasn’t overtaken the number of live Magento 1 stores.

Magento 1 vs Magento 2 number of sites currently live
The number of Magento 1 and Magento 2 sites currently live.

For many merchants the issue is one of resources. Changes to the core design of Magento have made replatforming to version 2 a significant challenge. Costs associated with replatforming include development, hosting, and adapting to the new platform.

Security

Maintaining security is important when running an eCommerce store. Not only will vulnerabilities lead to breaches and customers not purchasing products, it can also have a widespread SEO impact.

Magento 1 security will be important with end of life

The core differences between Magento 1 and Magento 2 in terms of security are relatively small. Two major changes include that Magento 2 supports a strengthened hashing algorithm for passwords, and that admins can enable only one person to be logged in at any one time.  

The good news is that if you’re an M1 site owner and you’re worried about not having this functionality, it’s possible to add it to your store through extensions. The bad news is that there’s a much larger security threat looming.

The largest threat to M1 security is the fact that the platform will be officially deprecated in June 2020. This means that Adobe and Magento will stop supporting security updates and patches. Normally, this would leave merchants still on the platform exposed to vulnerabilities and attacks. However, some members of the Magento community have come together to try and prevent this.

Already, several developers and agencies have indicated that they will continue to support the Magento 1 platform after its official end of life. This provides a welcome safety net for M1 merchants so they can stay on Magento 1 after June 2020.

However, it’s still important for Magento 1 merchants to future proof their store. This means updating as much as they can without having to replatform.

It’s also important to work with a hosting provider that provides a monitored and regularly updated web application firewall (WAF). A good WAF will prevent the majority of attacks from being able to reach your store.

Performance

Magento 2 is the faster, more performant CMS. Some developers estimate by around 20%. This is not only because it’s newer, but also because of the range of technologies it supports.

Magento 2 performance is better but Magento 1 isn't dead yet

Some of the main performance boosting tech is caching technologies such as Varnish and NGINX. These allow for sites to store frequently used files to memory, allowing them to be delivered to customers faster. Considering that a 1 second delay in page load time can lead to a 7% reduction in conversions, caching plugins can easily give a popular Magento store an edge in terms of performance.

However, Magento 1 performance can still hold its own – especially when Varnish is enabled in conjunction with the Turpentine extension. Turpentine is a very-fast caching reverse-proxy. When first released, it saw significant performance improvements for Magento 1 sites. Turpentine is currently only compatible with Magento 1, so it’s also not something that can be activated on Magento 2 installs.

If you plan to stay on Magento 1, we recommend installing and using the Turpentine plugin as it will enable you to run a much faster store. Despite noticeable performance gains from Turpentine, your site’s code is still going to be one of the main factors in determining site performance.

Software and Extension Support

Until late last year, one of the main concerns for Magento 1 merchants was the lack of support for PHP versions beyond 5.6. This changed in September 2018 when Magento released an official M1 patch supporting up to PHP 7.2.

The main reason for this was that PHP 5.6 was deprecated in December 2018. With official M1 support still available until June 2020, it was important that the platform was still able to run on an up to date PHP version. Supporting only up to PHP 5.6 support would have meant merchants would have an increased vulnerability to PHP attacks.

This is one of the main benefits of replatforming to M2. Due to official support from Adobe and Magento, M2 will continue to support emerging technologies where M1 will rely on the community to build out this support.

A brief list of software Magento 2 supports that Magento 1 does not includes:

  • NginX 1.7+
  • Varnish 3.x+
  • Redis 2.x+
  • RequireJS / Knockout.js
  • Symfony
  • Composer
  • PSR – 0 / 1 / 2 / 3 / 4

This level of software compatibility lends itself to a number of functionality improvements. By leveraging a more advanced tech stack, extensions are also able to offer more to merchants.

That being said, for those on M1 looking to replatform, compatibility can be a problem. While it’s true that more than 80% of the most popular M1 extensions have received updates, this doesn’t account for extensions customized for individual stores.

Functionality

One of the big performance and functionality gains of Magento 2 was the addition of Ajax Add-To-Cart. In Magneto 1, when a product is added to the cart the page needs to reload. With Magento 2, cart updates can happen without the need for the page to reload. This has obvious UX and performance benefits.

Magento 2 offers improved functionality thanks to improved software support

Magento 2 takes this further and also offers improved checkout functionality by automatically recognizing inputted card types and users that are already registered by analyzing their email address. Again, this offers an improved user experience and for registered customers, it is up to 29% faster.

Finally, one of the big benefits of Magento 2 is dependency injection. This provides a solution to class files which are so large that it makes it hard to determine what their core functionality is. Dependency injection abstracts a class’s dependencies to make the process faster and easier.

If you’re looking for functionality, Magento 2 is the better option. As a newer platform with improved software and extension support, it’s going to offer a lot more than an M1 store. That being said, due to the nature of the platform, M1 developers are often able to implement solutions similar to M2’s functionality for you. If you don’t want to move but would like some of the functionality listed above, talk with your developer to see if they can help.

Cost

In terms of cost, there are three primary areas you’re going to have to invest in:

  • Development
  • Hosting
  • Support

The largest of these expenses will probably be development. This can easily eat up your entire budget if you’re not careful, and leave you with little room for other essentials.

For many M1 merchants, this is the primary barrier to entry for replatforming. That being said, it’s always good to know the potential cost of replatforming. For some merchants with relatively simple stores, it may be a lot less than they think.

Hosting is also going to take up some of your budget. Depending on the size of your store, this can vary from $50 to thousands every month. We recommend working with a hosting provider that offers an optimized Magento environment. This will help improve performance, security, and scalability, even if you’re staying on M1.

The final cost you’re looking at is support. Many hosting providers offer this as standard. Development agencies also often provide continued support for your Magento site. Otherwise, support can cost a lot, especially in the case of serious vulnerabilities due to falling behind with updates. Check that your site has regular backups and that someone will be available if your store goes offline.

Magento pros and cons

If You Decide to Stay on Magento 1…

If you’ve decided that staying on M1 sounds like the right choice, it’s still important for you to take steps to future proof your store.

Firstly, update as much as you can. That means bring your PHP version up to 7.2, bring your Magento version up to 1.9, and ensure that any extensions you have are also running the latest version.

It’s also going to be important to figure out where you’re going to get security updates from after June 2020. With official support disappearing, you’ll need access to a developer or agency that can help you to address security vulnerabilities as they are discovered.

In many cases, running a secure hosting environment with a well-configured Web Application Firewall can help to protect against threats by stopping dangerous traffic in its tracks. So it’s also important to host with a provider that keeps up to date with the latest threats to Magento sites.

In addition to keeping your site secure, these updates will also help increase site performance.

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An Introduction To Email Marketing For New eCommerce Retailers

An Introduction To Email Marketing For New eCommerce Retailers

An Introduction To Email Marketing For New eCommerce RetailersOnline retailers can bet on two facts. First, every customer has an email account. Second, they receive hundreds of marketing emails every week, most of which go unread. The first fact makes email a perfect marketing channel for eCommerce. The second fact means retailers have to work hard to get their customers to open marketing emails, read them, and take action.

There are over 3 billion email users in the world. According to Marketing Week, email generates almost $40 billion of retail sales each year. Three-quarters of marketers think email is the marketing channel with the most significant ROI. Over half of millennials prefer to receive marketing messages by email. Email should be central to your eCommerce marketing strategy.

Effective email marketing isn’t sending a monthly newsletter with a random promotion — although that might work to increase sales a little. The best email marketers build a coherent strategy, create content that meshes with that strategy, and relentlessly test the performance of content to discover opportunities for optimization.

Email Marketing: What Is It Good For?

Before embarking on an email marketing, ask yourself what you want to achieve. Increased sales throughout your store are the ultimate goal, but the aim of a marketing campaign should be more specific. You might consider:

  • Introducing customers to a new line of products.
  • Increasing sales of a subset of products.
  • Promoting discounts, product bundles, or cross-sells.
  • Asking shoppers to leave a review.
  • Informing customers about events, promotions, special occasions.
  • Increasing mindshare for your brand and advertising its unique selling points.
  • Promoting content, such as blog posts or white papers.
  • Asking customers to take part in a survey.

All of these are good uses of an email marketing campaign. Once you have decided what you want to achieve, it’s time to think about the best way to achieve it.

Types of Marketing Emails

There are several types of marketing email you might send a customer, each with a specific purpose and type of content.

The newsletter. The role of an email newsletter is to provide useful and engaging content to customers. The content should relate to products, but it should not be primarily focused on sales. Typical content for email newsletters includes news about the company, promotion for blog posts, product guides and introductions, original content (like a blog post but delivered over email).

Newsletters are all about engaging customers without the hard sell. If you push sales too vigorously, people are likely to unsubscribe. The email newsletter is the heart of your email marketing campaign.

Welcome emails. When a customer gives you their email or makes their first purchase, send them a brief welcome note, highlighting information about your brand, products, and services that may be useful to them.

Abandoned cart emails. Around 70% of carts are abandoned. Some customers fill carts as the online equivalent of window shopping — they had no intention of making a purchase. But a small percentage welcome a reminder of their incomplete shopping trip and will complete the transaction if prompted.

Leading eCommerce platforms, including Magento and WooCommerce, provide tools to automatically send emails to users who abandon their carts.

Promotional emails. Promotional emails, as the name suggests, promote products, events, sales, and special occasions. For example, Valentine’s Day is an opportunity to send users promotional emails that focus on products relevant to the holiday, along with other related content.

Devise An Email Marketing Strategy

A coherent strategy will help you to focus on what you want to achieve and the best way to achieve it. There are several frameworks around which you might design an email marketing strategy. One of the most common is the purchase funnel — an idealized journey that moves customers ever closer to making a purchase.

The purchase funnel is divided into stages: awareness, interest, consideration, intent, evaluation, and purchase. Content is created to move customers from one stage to the next. To put customers in at the top of the funnel — the awareness phase — a retailer might create interesting and valuable email content about a topic related to their products, but they wouldn’t target customers at this stage with hard-sell content about specific products.

The purchase funnel concept is handy when building an email marketing strategy. Track Maven has an excellent blog post that examines in detail each of the stages.

Time To Write

Once you have a goal, a strategy, and have decided what sort of email you want to create, it’s time to start writing. It is difficult to offer concrete advice because every retailer is different, but the following will prove useful:

  • Focus on the subject line. The subject line determines the success or failure of a marketing email. It is as — if not more — important than the content of an email. An unopened email is a waste of marketing money, and it’s the subject that influences customers to open. The subject line should be short, concise, and attention-grabbing. Good subject lines make customers curious about the content of the email.
  • Don’t forget about the preview text. The preview text is a snippet drawn from the body of your email, usually the first few words. It is displayed adjacent to the subject line in email clients. The preview text should support, expand, or respond to the subject line, strengthening the curiosity of the recipient.
  • Keep it simple. You have a fraction of a second to grab the recipient’s attention. Don’t try to be overly elaborate, funny, or clever.
  • Limit the sales patter. If your subject line reads “SUPER CHEAP CUPCAKES. BEST YOU’VE EVER TASTED!!!!” recipients will reject your email as spam. We all know what spammy subject lines look like, and you want to avoid pattern matching for spam at all costs.

We started this article with some statistics that showed why every retailer should invest in eCommerce email marketing. But we left the best until last: every dollar spent on email generates a $38 return — making it three times more effective than social media marketing.

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Evaluating eCommerce Product Ideas: Is There A Market?

Evaluating eCommerce Product Ideas: Is There A Market?

Evaluating eCommerce Product Ideas- Is There A MarketEvery product starts with an idea, but good ideas are rare. There is a long road between a spark of inspiration and a profitable product. Investing in a product idea that goes nowhere is dangerous. Few retailers can afford to manufacture or buy products that sit on warehouse shelves for months. For every dud product, there is a product which might have sold well if only the retailer hadn’t wasted their time and money on an idea that didn’t work out.

Product evaluation tries to sort the winners from the duds early enough to avoid a wasted investment.

Is The Product Idea Feasible?

Ideas may fall at the first hurdle because there is a challenge that is too difficult or expensive to overcome. It’s better to find these challenges in the early stages of planning, rather than later when money has been spent.

For example, you are inspired to build an eCommerce business around direct-from-the-farm strawberry delivery. There may be a market for fresh strawberries, but there are also challenges. Sourcing strawberries from farms is a complex logistical operation. Strawberries spoil quickly, so short delivery timelines are essential. They should be stored in chilled warehouses and transported on chilled trucks, which is expensive. It’s not a bad idea, but it may involve a substantial capital investment that makes it impractical.

Regulations can be a challenge to the feasibility of an idea. In some parts of the world, fireworks are heavily regulated. To sell fireworks, you have to carry out identity checks on buyers, apply for licenses to buy and sell commercially, pay for expensive liability insurance, and use secure storage. Compliance may make it difficult to sell fireworks at a cost that is competitive compared to industry incumbents.

When developing a product idea, it’s essential to establish that there is a market, but you should also ask whether you are best placed to serve that market.

Is Anyone Interested?

A product idea may not find a market. Perhaps it addresses a need, but customers aren’t prepared to pay enough to build a profitable or sustainable business. More likely, there is little interest. There are several ways to establish whether a market for a product exists. For a preliminary survey, Google Trends and the Google Keyword Tool are useful.

Interest over time in Strawberry delivery

Google Trends tracks the interest in search queries over time. Consider our strawberry retail idea. Google Trends shows that there is some interest in strawberry delivery, but it is generally low with a large spike. The spike occurs in February around Valentine’s Day.

Queries related to strawberry delivery

If we look at the related queries section of Google Trends, we discover that people are likely to be looking for “chocolate strawberry delivery” and “chocolate covered strawberry delivery.” That’s not our product, so some care has to be taken to understand what Google Trends is telling you.

Other strawberry delivery queries

Google Keyword Planner can help you to discover how many searches there are for a product keyword and what the competition is for that keyword. If we look at strawberries deliveries again, we see that there is a low number of searches, but competition for the phrase is high. Again, most of these searches relate to chocolate strawberries, not to our idea.

Let’s refine our keywords. If we look at “fresh strawberry delivery” in Google Trends, we see that there isn’t enough search volume to tell us anything.

strawberry delivery queries don't always work out

Google Keyword Planner tells a similar story. The number of average monthly searches for “fresh strawberry delivery” is low, but competition for those keywords is high. Google suggests alternative keywords that include “fresh fruit delivery,” which has a lot of searches and high competition. Perhaps an eCommerce business that focuses on delivering strawberries from the farm to the door isn’t such a good idea.

Keyword by relevance

It’s worth taking the time to try many different keywords to work out if anyone wants a product and what the competitive market looks like. Once you have established that you can implement your product idea and that there is interest in the product you want to sell, it’s time to consider its potential profitability and the competition. We will take an in-depth look at both in a future article.

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Hostdedi and BigCommerce Announce eCommerce Partnership

Hostdedi and BigCommerce Announce eCommerce Partnership

Hostdedi and BigCommerce Announce eCommerce PartnershipMay 2, 2019 – We’re proud to announce the addition of a new hosting solution to our lineup for merchants: BigCommerce. This new addition allows us to provide merchants with multiple options for creating, customizing, and delivering their online stores.

As a powerful, headless eCommerce solution, BigCommerce allows merchants to employ a powerful product catalog while maintaining the simple front-end capabilities of WordPress. To this end, BigCommerce accounts with Hostdedi will include a WordPress environment with the BigCommerce plugin pre-installed and pre-configured.

In additional to the same great optimizations you’ll find across all of our plans, you’ll also have access to our support team and auto scaling functionality.

Keep reading to find out more about how Hostdedi and BigCommerce can work together to power your eCommerce needs.

 

Why BigCommerce?

By 2021, eCommerce will hold 17.5% of the commerce market share. In 2018 it was 11.9%. Part of the reason for this growth is the number of options available to different merchants. More and more, merchants that lack technical knowledge and access to a developer are being provided with accessible eCommerce platforms.

In 2018, we already saw a significant rise in the number of eCommerce solutions leveraging the ease-of-use associated with WordPress. During this time, WooCommerce, another eCommerce plugin that runs on WordPress, saw an 86% increase in the number of services.

With BigCommerce, we hope to support these merchants, by providing them with the  functionality and ease of use of WordPress, as well as the powerful product and SKU management tools of BigCommerce. Together, we hope to empower merchants to create the professional, personalized eCommerce experiences they want.

 

The Same Great Support

BigCommerce merchants will still have access to the same great Hostdedi support they would with any other application. However, in addition to this, they’ll also have access to BigCommerce support ninjas.

Available 24/7/365, support for the new eCommerce solution is designed so merchants are never left in the dark regarding any part of their implementation. Key channels of communication have been set up to enable the best support possible for both the BigCommerce API, and the WordPress front-end.

 

BigCommerce Features

The new BigCommerce solutions come in several different forms, with three primary plans on the BigCommerce side: standard, plus, and pro. Each of these plans offer merchants an increased set of functionality.

All plans will include access to multiple sales channels such as Amazon, eBay, and social channels. Merchants will also have access to coupons, discounts, and gift cards, along with professional reporting tools, and multiple payment processor options such as Apple Pay, Google Pay and Amazon Pay.

Once upgraded to the plus plan, merchants will have access to advanced marketing tools for segmenting and targeting customers. Merchants will also be able to store credit card information within the BigCommerce API, and implement abandoned cart campaigns through their store.

For those that select a higher-tier solution from Hostdedi, they’ll have access to the benefits of the Pro plan. This includes an unlimited number of API calls. In conjunction with Hostdedi Cloud auto scaling, this means that merchants won’t have to worry about sales events and periods of high traffic. Merchants will also be able to implement advanced search, allowing customers to find products faster and more easily.

 

Commerce With a 0% Transaction Fee

One of the big benefits to using BigCommerce is that the eCommece platform has 0% transaction fees. This beats a huge range of other eCommerce platforms, and gives merchants a clear fee at the start of each month.

Similar to all other Hostdedi services, features such as auto scaling and dev sites will also be available at an additional price. A vital part of your move to Hostdedi is going through appropriate sizing with our team of experts. Get in touch to find out what size commerce is best for your store.

A Simple Migration Process

Making the move to BigCommerce is simple. As with all migrations to or between Hostdedi accounts, we provide full support from start to finish. However, from a preparation perspective, there are a few things you can go over prior to making the move.

Consider what vendors you want to use for different aspects of the commerce experience. Who will be your shipping provider, who will be your validation provider? If you’re content with the ones you have, that’s great, but see if there is anything you’re going to need to do to make the move as easy as possible.

We also recommend taking a look into the different options available for manual migration. BigCommerce offers a great tool for catalog transfer from Magento. Note that if you’re running a heavily customized storefront on your previous eCommerce platform, the migration may require more work.

 

Get Started with BigCommerce

Interested in seeing if BigCommerce is the right eCommerce platform for you? Solutions start from $58.95 for the XS cloud package with the standard BigCommerce plan, and scale with merchants depending on their store requirements.

Learn More

Start a conversation with our sales team to find out what size is right for your store, and how else Hostdedi can help you to provide your customers with the eCommerce experience you always wanted.

 

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How to Optimize Your Magento 2 Store

How to Optimize Your Magento 2 Store

The Definitive Guide to Optimizing Magento 2

When Magento was first released, it provided an eCommerce platform that offered functionality not seen before. It still does, but as Magento stores have grown, their requirements have changed. The platform’s functionality now needs to be delivered to an increasingly large customer base, and in an increasingly performant way. For this reason, we’ve made sure that our Magento solutions are optimized to make the best use of the resources available to them.

You’ve probably heard the statistic that “a 1-second delay in page response can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.” This may be overused, but it provides vital insight into what eCommerce customers expect. A single second can be the difference between a Magento store that drives traffic and generates as much profit as possible, and one that falls flat.

“Magento is capable of supporting eCommerce stores of any size, but making the most of that power requires careful optimization.“

Since Magento’s creation, Hostdedi has worked to increase performance and optimize Magento environments. Our first guide, released in 2013, helped developers to create incredible, high-performance Magento stores. Stores which beat out the competition when it came to speed, efficiency, and responsiveness.

Our newest guide brings things into 2018 (now 2019), with everything from PHP optimizations, MySQL recommendations, and notes on how to implement Varnish and full-page caching effectively. Moreover, we’ve included all of this in a convenient 68-page book available for any Magento 2 developer who wants to know how to optimize a Magento 2 site.

 

 

What Has Changed With Magento 2?

From a technical perspective, Magento 2’s performance has improved since Magento 1; especially with regards to PHP utilization. Changes in how the application handles PHP threads has led to noticeable speed gains and better memory utilization.

Some of the reasons for this performance boost are that Magento 2 supports full-page caching, database improvements, native varnish, a modern code base, and has improved CLI tools.

This may be why in 2018, we saw the average monthly growth of Magento Cloud solutions remain stable at 21%, while by the end of the year, 64% of all hosting solutions supplied by Hostdedi remained optimized for Magento.

Yet while the second version of the application originally brought the eCommerce platform in line with the increasing demands of a modern online marketplace, these demands continued to grow. Further performance optimizations have become essential to ensuring that eCommerce businesses are now able to keep pace with their competitors.

 


How Can I Optimize My Magento Store?

For a full list of Magento 2 optimizations, we highly recommend downloading The Definitive Guide to Optimizing Magento 2. We will cover only a few of the main environment optimizations here.

We also recommend checking out our article Four Ways We Make Your Magento Store Faster, for a more general overview of the techniques and technologies we use.

 

PHP Optimizations for Magento 2

 

We’ve discovered several PHP optimizations for Magento 2. These are specifically designed around increasing performance and load times for users.

From a high-level perspective, we’ve managed to improve Magento PHP performance even further by turning out back on mod_php, and opting to use php_fpm instead. Php_fpm allows for the serving of seperate php processes to serve dynamic requests, so further performance tuning means improved responsiveness and a reduced memory footprint.

You’ll also find recommendations on php version usage in our guide. With our cloud solutions, it’s possible to set your php version as far back as 5.6. We don’t recommend this as using a newer php version, especially 7.0 or later, will lead to performance improvements and can dramatically reduce memory usage.

At last year’s Imagine, a third-party patch was needed to make Magento 1 compatible with PHP 7.0. As of September 2018, Magento released an official php 7.2 patch, which can be downloaded here.

Some of the PHP optimizations you’ll find in The Definitive Guide to Optimizing Magento 2 include:

  • A PHP runtime limitation of 600 seconds.
  • A script memory utilization limitation of 768MB
  • A POST data size limitation of 512MB

PHP Opcache Optimizations for Magento 2

 

Opcache is a PHP-caching extension able to improve performance by optimizing what static code is stored in shared memory. This can improve PHP performance dramatically by skipping the intensive compilation process and reading files directly from memory.

By default, however, Opcache is not optimized for Magento. Instead of performance gains, you’re more likely to see performance losses. After careful testing, we found several settings that could easily be optimized by configuring the opcache.ini in the php.d directory.

Some of the Opcache optimizations we recommend are:

  • Set opcache.memory_consumption to 512mb
  • Set opcache.max_accelerated_files to 65407
  • Set opcache.revalidate_freq to 4

 

MySQL Optimizations for Magento 2

 

For Magento 2 database optimization, we recommend implementing and optimizing MariaDB as a replacement in the MySQL section of your stack. MariaDB is fast and offers a simplified deployment over CentOS 7.

In general, MariaDB, by default, allocates too many resources to database processes. We’ve found that these numbers can easily be reduced while still providing improved performance.

Some of the MariaDB optimizations we’ve implemented include:

  • Single server environments to incorporate a 50% buffer size pool. For systems dedicated to MariaDB this should be increased up to 80%.
  • Set query cache size to 2% of your available memory, or 127MB.

We offer a full list of the settings for MariaDB in our GitHub repository at https://github.com/nexcess/magento-whitepaper-april-2018

 

Further Magento 2 Optimization Recommendations

 

Tune Your Stack

A well-tuned stack means optimizing the technology that helps to deliver your Magento store. Simply enabling NGINX microcaching can double store performance with no additional modifications. For more information on the stack we offer, see our application stack page.

 

Enable Full-Page Caching

It was introduced with Magento 2 for a reason. Even if Redis is not available and you need to use local files for caching, full-page caching will pull load away from the PHP interpreter and MySQL, increasing site speed.

 

Run Modern PHP

With the official update for Magento 1, there is now no excuse to not upgrade to PHP 7.0 or later. If you’re unsure on how it will affect your store, try using a dev site to test and develop safely.

 

Hostdedi Cloud as Changing the Magento Environment

One of the biggest changes the Hostdedi Cloud has brought to Magento 2 stores is the inclusion of Hostdedi Cloud Auto Scaling. Auto Scaling is a feature which allows for your cloud account to scale the number of concurrent users automatically, whenever your Magento store picks up traffic spikes.

For instance, if you run a sales event which results in your store receiving double the number of guests it normally does, Hostdedi Cloud Auto Scaling will allow your store’s concurrent user capacity to increase. This means no rejected page loads and no loss of potential income.

 

Optimize Your Website

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Hostdedi Gets Ready to Party During Magento Imagine With NexcessLive

Hostdedi Gets Ready to Party During Magento Imagine With NexcessLive

Magento Imagine is less than a week away. Kicking off May 13th, this year promises to be a big one, with merchants exploring how to “Expand the Experience”.

And NexcessLive is back for another incredible party and the chance to talk with merchants about how we can help them to optimize the eCommerce experience.

If you haven’t already, keep reading to see what we’re going to be doing to keep the party going outside of the Wynn, and see if scheduling a time to talk is right for you.

 

The NexcessLive Party – May 13th

The Hostdedi Live Party is a chance for you to let loose and channel your inner golfer – regardless of how well you can actually golf.

Taking place at Topgolf Las Vegas, from 7:30 pm – 10:30 pm, enjoy complimentary drinks, hors-d’oeuvres, and take the chance to go club to club against the Hostdedi team. If golfing isn’t your thing, don’t worry. We’ll have a pro on standby to help you learn, or you can just enjoy the ambiance of the cabanas.

 

Hostdedi Live Party

 

Transportation will be provided from the Wynn at 7:00 pm and then back from Topgolf at 10:30 pm. All guests will also receive a bonus golf-themed gift set, with more than a few luxury surprises.

Sign Up

There Will Be Prizes

This year, we’re invited BigCommerce along, who will be providing a number of prizes. This includes:

  • A Nintendo Switch
  • A Moleskin Eclipse + Set
  • A GPS Golf Smart Watch
  • An Oculus VR set

Interested in getting your hands on one of them? Three will be raffled off and one will be offered to the winner of our golf-themed competition.

Reserve your spot on the guest list today. Places are limited.

The Suites Meetings – May 14th

Besides being a great chance to get off your feet during conference hours, the Suites Meetings let merchants demo new Hostdedi innovations and see how we can help you to realize the promise of Magento.

Interested in scheduling a time? Click here and let us know what works for you.

Make the Most of Vegas

You might be in Vegas for one of the biggest eCommerce conferences of the year, but don’t spend all your time with Hostdedi. Make the most of your time in Vegas by exploring a little. Swing by the casinos, view some of the city’s unique and interesting shows, and soak in the atmosphere of one of the world’s most luxurious cities.

We recommend taking a trip to see the Fountains of Bellagio for its incredible evening water show. If you’ve got the time, the Fall of Atlantis show at Caesars Palace is also something you don’t want to miss.

Unsure about where else to go? You might be able to get some good suggestions from the Hostdedi team on unique places which usually fly under the radar. Just ask. Rigo knows some great restaurants. 

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Four Ways We Make Your Magento Store Faster

Four Ways We Make Your Magento Store Faster

Four Ways We Make Your Magento Store FasterMagento is still one of the best eCommerce platforms available for merchants looking to optimize the eCommerce experience. Between incredible functionality and unrivaled product management, it provides the ability to create storefronts that can’t be created in other, comparable applications.

In 2018, we found that the top reason merchants chose Magento was functionality. Yet great functionality requires a lot of server resources. As a result, Magento is a known resource hog.

Luckily, with over 10 years of experience supporting Magento stores, we understand the application’s complex performance requirements. In fact, we even wrote the book on the subject. For this reason, merchants continue to choose Hostdedi for reliability, security, and performance.

Interested in learning more about how we create Magento environments you can’t find anywhere else? This article looks at four of our optimizations and how they make your store faster with Hostdedi.

 

PHP-FPM

PHP code lies at the foundation of Magento, and there are multiple ways that a web server can be configured to execute that code. Even minor changes to default configurations can lead to significant Magento performance improvements.

Usually, when you install PHP support on a web server, an apache module called mod_php is set up. This module offers a simple set of configurations that will provide a Magento installation with the type of performance you’ll see with any web host.

We don’t accept the default mod_php file configurations. Instead, we use PHP FastCGI Process Manager, commonly known as php-fpm, on our servers.

PHP-FPM allows Magento sites to make use of memory and CPU resources more efficiently than its mod_php counterpart. This helps Magento sites to better manage content and serve websites faster.

In additional, we optimize the mod_php setup so it makes the best use of memory and CPU resources. Usually, a mod_php setup is also configured so that each Apache httpd process also contains a copy of the PHP interpreter. This inevitably means a larger memory footprint – even for Apache threads serving requests for static assets.

Under our configuration there are separate PHP processes to serve dynamic requests so the web server can serve only requests for static assets. This also allows us to tune settings related to how these processes behave to improve responsiveness or reduce memory footprint.

 

A Fine-Tuned OPcache

PHP is an interpreted programming language. This means that when PHP code is executed it must be parsed by an interpreter. This interpreter organizes the code into an internal representation that can then be executed by the PHP runtime.

Parsing must take place within the interpreter before the code can even begin to run. Usually, parsing repeats every time a request is made. That means that every time someone visits a new page on your site, the parser kicks in.

This is where OPcache can help. OPcache helps by saving the internal representation of the code so it doesn’t need to be parsed for each request. For an application like Magento, which has tens of thousands of PHP files, this translates into a significant performance improvement.

As part of our strategy for optimizing performance for Magento, we’ve tuned the settings for OPcache to support a large number of compiled files. This translates to less time spent parsing PHP code and more time spent running useful code that helps customers access your Magento store.

 

NGINX-Based Cloud Accelerator

One of the biggest resource demands on any eCommerce store is the delivery of static assets such as images, CSS, and JavaScript. On default Magento configurations, these assets are delivered through Apache after reading the file on disk.

By implementing built in microcaching using NGINX, static assets can be stored and served directly from memory for a short period of time. This is particularly useful for highly trafficked stores that have a selection of very popular products, with NGINX meaning that each visitor page load is faster and uses less server resources.

Nginx also provides HTTP/2 protocol support, which allows for optimizations such as server push, where a web server or web application can tell a browser to download additional assets in response to a request.

Traditionally a browser would not start downloading additional assets until it encountered them during a page load. Server push means a browser can be told to download static and other assets immediately.

In addition to these optimizations, we also have compression enabled automatically for relevant assets. This means that instead of serving a raw JavaScript, css, or other test file, we transparently and automatically compress the file so the download becomes smaller. This results in a significantly faster overall page download time.

As an example, the latest version of jQuery, a popular javascript library, is 86 Kilobytes in an uncompressed state. Compressing this with gzip yields a 30 Kilobytes file, or savings of over 65%.

 

Automatic Processing Priority

All multi-tasking operating systems have a mechanism called a CPU scheduler. This component determines which tasks are allowed to use the CPU at a given time and to what extent. On Linux, this is done by assigning a “niceness” value to a process. The value is called this because it determines how “nice” the process is, or how big a share of CPU resources that process will get. The idea is that nicer processes use less CPU resources.

Hostdedi has created a system that automatically changes the niceness value of running processes so that web critical processes (NGINX, apache httpd, php, mysql, etc) get CPU priority over less critical tasks. (compressing files, backups, etc).

Additionally, we run most maintenance tasks with a low CPU priority. This helps ensure that your website responds quickly even when administrative or scheduled tasks are running.

 

Get Started With Optimized Magento

Magento optimization starts on the server and finishes in the application. Server optimizations can help to provide merchants with a solid foundation for creating the Magento experience they want, but the development process is still vital.

We always recommend testing new code and implementations on a dev site before you push to your production site. Dev sites allow Magento merchants and developers to test speed and performance in a secure environment.

Interested in learning more about how we help merchants to optimize the eCommerce experience? Visit our Magento hosting page to see what features come with a Magento install.

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Which eCommerce Platform Is Best?

Which eCommerce Platform Is Best?

Magento vs shopifyWhen it comes to selecting the right eCommerce platform, merchants have a lot to consider: Store size and number of products, payment and shipping options, and how they want the store to actually work.

At the center of these questions is an answer to which platform will do everything you want, while still being cost effective and providing the customer experience you’re looking for? Two of the main contenders are Magento and Shopify.

While both are able to create unique eCommerce stores, they differ significantly in almost all areas. As we’ll look at in more detail, Magento and Shopify have two different target audiences. Magento is aimed at larger, enterprise businesses, while Shopify is designed around small businesses looking for simple site creation.

We’ll explore several different areas and ask which platform is best for merchants in what ways. This article will try to answer:

  • How do Shopify stores work?
  • Can Magento handle millions of products?
  • Are Shopify stores SEO friendly
  • Why is Magento secure?
  • What is the final price of Magento?
  • Which is better: Magento or Shopify?

 

Contents

In Numbers
Pros vs Cons
Design and Templates
Ease of UseFunctionality
Extensions and Apps
Inventory
Performance
SEO
Security
Pricing

 

 

Magento vs Shopify: In Numbers

When it comes to numbers, Magento and Shopify couldn’t be more different.

In terms of number of sites, Shopify boasts over 880,000, which dwarfs the 245,000 Magento sites currently live.

Magento has 4x less stores than Shopify

Yet if we take a look at the percentage of those sites that have made it into the top 1m and top 10k sites, we begin to see a different picture.

According to BuiltWith, 6.2% of Magento sites are featured within the top 1m sites globally, compared with just 2.51% being sites that operate on Shopify. This trend continues into the top 10k sites, with 0.07% of Magento stores featured, compared with just 0.05% of Shopify sites.

This suggests that Magento is more likely to support enterprise level stores that are able to better hone in on personalized customer experiences.

As we will dive into later in this article, Magento is known for its incredible functionality and ability to customize the eCommerce experience. So it’s no surprise that larger online stores lean towards using it.

 


MagentoShopify
Number of sites245,000880,000
Number of extensions or apps4,7002,500
Monthly Cost$0*$29 – $2,000+

 

* Requires a hosting solution, which normally starts at around $29 per month.

 

Magento vs Shopify: Pros and Cons

 

Magento pros and cons

Magento Pros

Functionality

Magneto offers incredible functionality compared to almost any other eCommerce platform out there. This makes it one of the most versatile options for merchants looking to create personalized customer experiences, especially if they have a developer team behind them.

Advanced Shopping Cart Options

Shopping cart customization can make all the difference in terms of real ROI. As one of the most vital stages of a customer’s journey, the right options during purchase can be the difference between clicking cross and clicking buy.

Extension Expandability

Magento has almost twice the number of extensions as Shopify. And it’s not just quantity either. Magento extensions stay true to the platform’s reputation for flexibility by providing more in terms of functionality.

Great Community

An asset that is not talked about enough. Magento’s community provides the eCommerce web application with a lot of support that other non-open-source applications don’t receive.

 

Magento Cons

Difficult for Beginners

Magento was not designed for those looking to take their first steps into eCommerce. While there is a page builder in the works for open source, you still very much need either coding knowledge or a developer to get started.

Cost

While open source itself is free, hosting is not. This can cost many hundreds of dollars if you’re a large store. It can cost you more than the Shopify equivalent, but we would argue that you get more for your money by self hosting.

 

 

Shopify pros and Cons

Shopify Pros

Ease of Use

Shopify is designed to be a simple eCommerce platform that provides owners with an easy way to get started selling quickly. Pages can be easily customized, as can products. While this customization is nowhere near Magento’s, it’s enough to get started.

Free Themes

Shopify has several free themes available to get started with. They require no coding, are responsive, and look modern.

Inclusive

Shopify is all managed through a single point of contact. Instead of having to manage your store on multiple fronts, you’re able to access and do everything in one place.

Price

Once you’ve gone through all the additions you’ll have to add to your Magento budget, Shopify is often the more inexpensive option.

 

Shopify Cons

Transaction fee per sale

Each time you sell a product, you pay Shopify. With the basic plan, this starts from 2.9% + 30¢ per sale. If you use an external payment gateway, you can add an additional 2%. Learn more about Shopify’s transaction fees.

Lacks Functionality

As we’ll explore in this article, Shopify just can’t compete with Magento in terms of functionality.


 

Designs and Themes

 

In terms of design, both Magento and Shopify hold their own. From the get-go, Shopify does offer a better experience for beginners. The stock themes available come in both free and paid flavours, and provide a classy, modern look.

Shopify’s themes can also be tweaked to line up with your brand image. These tweaks can include, but are not limited to:

  • Changing color schemes throughout the site
  • Applying custom images to products and pages
  • Changing how newsletter signups work
  • Editing the action bar and navigation text

Mobile responsiveness is now more vital than ever. 79% of mobile users made a purchase with their mobile in 2018. For merchants, this means it’s important that their site looks good and offers a great user experience on mobile.

Both Magento and Shopify offer responsive templates by default. However, if you’re willing and able to develop your own eCommerce store, Magento really shines.

Creating your own theme in Magento can be a long process that requires coding knowledge. However, the rewards are multitude. A customized Magento build allows you to create a storefront unlike anything offered in Shopify.

This includes:

  • Cross-selling and up-selling blocks throughout your site
  • Advanced search functionality with tools like Elasticsearch
  • Featured product sliders and hero carousels
  • Expanded footer functionality including newsletter sign-ups
  • Advanced cart and payment integration

Which platform is better really depends on what you want to do with it and your experience level. Shopify is great for beginners, but Magento offers more experienced users a wealth of design and theme options you just won’t find in simpler eCommerce applications.

Winner: Draw


 

Ease of use

 

Straight out of the gate, Shopify takes the lead. Known for its ease of use and ability to create simple, easy to navigate online stores. It, without a doubt, is the easier application for merchants.

Shopify also features an easy to use drag and drop interface. This is something you won’t find in Magento and makes creating new pages much easier.

The Shopify Admin Panel for creating new pages

Shopify makes store creation simple with an easy to navigate admin interface.

However, with that simplicity comes a lack of versatility. Versatility that can be found and taken advantage of with Magento.

Besides offering a host of built-in customizations and functionalities, Magento also offers an extension marketplace with over 4,700 extensions available to download and add to your store.

Additionally, Magento’s recent acquisition by Adobe has already led to other added functionality and integrations for the eCommerce application. Integrations that Shopify simply can’t compete with for enterprise level clients.

If you’re looking for ease of use, Shopify is the way to go. However, if you’re willing to put in the time and energy needed to learn and adapt a Magento store’s customer experience, Magento is the application you should stay behind.

Winner: Shopify


 

eCommerce Functionality

 

Magento is known as an eCommerce powerhouse. Between built-in functionality and add-on extensions, it stands as one of the most adaptable eCommerce platforms available.

Yet Shopify does offer enough functionality for small and medium businesses to grow. The eCommerce application makes it easy to do a lot of things without having to code even a single line.

This includes:

  • Inserting custom images to create a personalized experience
  • Adding products and SKUs to your store
  • Setting up optimized payment options
  • Customizing the customer experience and the look and feel of your store

However, as you start to require more advanced functionality, your monthly premium will increase. You’ll have to pay more than $29 a month if you want to use gift cards, build professional reports, and implement advanced shipping options.

Magento, on the other hand, is engineered to allow merchants full control of the customer experience by default. This means creating and selling fully customizable products and managing them across multiple stores (if needed).

One of Magento’s greatest strengths benefits international merchants. Magento offers 148 payment processors, many of which come with support for different countries and languages. 60% of overseas, online consumers rarely buy from English-only websites. So being able to offer that international, multilingual experience is vital if you want to target this group.

Shopify does offer a limited number of translation apps, but they don’t provide the complete experience like Magento can.

Magento wins here. But we knew that before we even started.

Winner: Magento


 

Apps and Extensions

 

Once you’ve got your store up and running, you may find that some functions and features you want are missing. Advanced checkout, improved search, and expanded payment options, as a few examples.

Both applications have an answer to this, and it comes in the form of 1-click add-ons that can be purchased (in some cases), downloaded, and installed. Shopify call these Apps, Magento calls them Extensions.

Delving into the options available to merchants, it’s easy to see why Magento’s marketplace is praised, where Shopify’s app store is seen as more of a useful addition.

The first thing you might notice is the difference in the number of extensions made available for each. The Magento marketplace offers over 4,700 extensions, almost double Shopify’s 2,500.  And it’s not just the quantity of add-ons that make Magento so much more versatile, it’s the quality as well.

Shopify apps allow users to:

  • Integrate their store with social and shopping channels
  • Add additional shipping options
  • Make basic edits to SEO important data

Magento extensions make it possible to:

  • Add advanced pre-order functionality
  • Draw insightful analytics into how well a product is doing
  • Integrate marketing and analytics software into the eCommerce platform
  • Leverage powerful advertising tools both internally and externally.

A comparison of some of the more popular add-ons for each, shows that Magento truly is aimed towards delivering a custom user experience and that its extension marketplace only aids in doing so.


Magento pros and cons

Magento

Shopify pros and Cons

Shopify

Yotpo ReviewsFacebook Channel
Amasty Improved Layered NavigationInstagram Channel
Amasty Customer AttributesOberlo
Aheadworks Ajax Cart ProPoint of Sale
Aheadworks Add Free Product to CartMessenger Channel

 

Magento offers a huge number of useful and powerful extensions

Magento extensions can be found on the Magento marketplace.

 

Unfortunately, Magento’s extensions (in general) are costly compared with Shopify’s apps. Moreover, Shopify offers a lot more in terms of free add-ons.

Magento is the clear winner here. Despite costing more, the extensions available add more in-depth functionality and there’s a much larger range.

Winner: Magento


 

Inventory Size

 

Both eCommerce platforms allow for an unlimited number of products. They also both allow for you to integrate shipping and fulfilment extensions into your store so that inventory management is easy.

However, the larger your store becomes with Magento, the more likely you are to run into performance problems if you don’t upgrade your hosting account. Shopify has similar problems. However, because your store will be hosted by Shopify themselves, they will encourage you to upgrade your account before you start to experience slowdowns.

With Magento, we recommend finding a Magento-optimized hosting provider, as they will provide you with a fully managed service, similar to Shopify. In some cases, you may even find that your store is faster and more reliable than its shopify counterpart.

Shopify still wins this round, simply because it’s easier to manage performance and inventory through one point of contact, instead of having to get in touch with a developer, hosting provider, and the Magento community.

Winner: Shopify


 

Performance

 

Magento is a known resource hog, requiring a serious hosting environment to back it up. It’s common knowledge that a merchant’s hosting infrastructure can start to feel the strain as more product SKUs are added. Backed by over a decade of experience, we offer an optimized Magento solution that uses caching to improve the performance of Magento stores. Many of those optimizations you won’t find elsewhere.

Shopify, on the other hand, is a lightweight application. As a result, it runs quickly in most environments, and can hold a larger number of product SKUs on the same hardware that will only run a smaller Magento store.

However, Shopify doesn’t have the same level of functionality as Magento. Personalized shopping experiences with Shopify can be as much as occasional product recommendations and cross-selling.

The reason Magento is such as resource hog is because of everything going on behind the scenes. True personalization of the commerce experience with cross-selling, up-selling, customized shopping cart experiences, and more.

And Magento will run smoothly if the server is configured properly. In 2018, we saw 64% of our hosting solutions run Magento. When asked why they chose us for Magento, merchants cited uptime and functionality as the two main factors at play. Indicating that performance did have a part to play.

Magento scrapes by as the winner here. While Shopify requires less optimization, Magento reigns champion due to the added functionality that comes with it. Moreover, with customized customer experiences, it’s almost certain a Magento store will perform better in terms of ROI.

Winner: Magento


 

SEO

 

Both Magento and shopify are strong SEO contenders. In some research, Shopify comes out on top with an SEO score of 98, compared with Magento’s 95.

However, while Shopify is better from an absolute beginner perspective, those with some SEO knowledge will be able to get more out of a Magento installation. The primary reason for this is the extensions available and the ability to truly conform to coding best practices.

Magento doesn’t just let you edit metadata, it also allows you to make vital product and on-page customizations that can provide you with an SEO boost you won’t find in a SaaS product. Additionally, if you’re looking to start working in SEO longtail, adding a WordPress blog to your Magento store is a relatively simple process.

We’re setting Magento as the winner here, due in large part to the added customization options available for users and the ability to customize the SEO process manually.

Winner: Magento


 

Security

 

Security should be at the top of your list. According to the State of Hosting, 61% of shoppers will not purchase from a site that is missing a trust seal such as an SSL certificate.

With changes to the way Google handles security, sites that lack an SSL certificate will now be subject to unsecured site warnings before shoppers can proceed. 98% of shoppers will not proceed past these warnings.

While Shopify manages the integration of an SSL certificate, Magento requires you to purchase and install one separately. This process can be managed for you by a managed hosting provider, but you’ll need to find one first.

In terms of updates and patches, Shopify manages them for you. Magento requires you to do this manually. While Magento’s method requires more time investment from the merchant or developer team, it also provides more flexibility. This is, in large part, due to the incredible community behind Magento.

Magento frequently releases dedicated security patches that are the result of constant testing and development by a community of developers well-versed in the requirements of eCommerce stores.

Shopify, on the other hand, is only managed by in-house talent. This makes for a much smaller pool of resources working on creating and deploying fixes for security problems. While there is a Shopify bounty program that rewards users who find vulnerabilities, the fixes themselves are internal.

Finally, in order for merchants to process credit card data, it’s important for them to be PCI compliant. Shopify, again, manages this internally. However, once again, finding the right Magento hosting provider will make managing PCI compliance just as easy.

Magento is the winner here. While it’s true that Shopify makes security easier, Magento community support can’t be matched. Moreover, by searching for and finding the right hosting provider, managing security with Magento can be just as easy while still providing flexibility you won’t find with a SaaS platform.

Winner: Magento


 

Pricing

 

A quick look at the pricing for each eCommerce platform makes it seem as though Magento is the cheaper option. However, while Magento open source itself is free, there are numerous hidden costs.

As a Magento merchant, you have to consider hosting costs, security costs (such as SSLs), and developer fees. Developer fees can be the largest, with some Magento stores costing several thousand dollars in terms of development.

If you’re looking for a cheaper option, Shopify is the better choice. It’s also a lot more predictable, with a clear, monthly payment in addition to a transaction fee per sale.

Winner: Shopify

 

Magento vs Shopify: The Winner

So when it comes down to it, which is better: Magento or Shopify?

We’ve come to the conclusion that it really depends on what you’re looking for. Magento is better for those looking to create personalized customer journeys that visitors won’t find anywhere else. Shopify is good for merchants looking to create an eCommerce site with little coding or technical experience behind it.

If you do have either the technical experience or a team of developers, we highly recommend Magento. With functionality you just can’t find anywhere else, and an open source version driven by an incredible community, it’s hard to beat.

If, however, you don’t have the time or money to invest in creating these unique experiences, Shopify is going to leave you with a better storefront that serves customers that information they need.

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How To Prevent Data Leaks On Your eCommerce Store

How To Prevent Data Leaks On Your eCommerce Store

Data is one of your eCommerce business’s most valuable assets. But it’s not only valuable to your business. It’s also valuable to criminals, who use personal data for identity theft and credit card numbers to commit fraud. Over the last few months, several major eCommerce retailers and many smaller stores were targeted by Magecart, a criminal group primarily focused on scraping credit card numbers.

Magecart is the most prominent victimizer of eCommerce stores, but they are far from the only one. eCommerce store owners should be alert to the risk of data theft and know how to fight it.

Attackers like Magecart rely on malware injected into an eCommerce store’s pages. Malicious JavaScript code grabs credit card numbers as they are entered into forms, sending them to servers owned by the attacker, a typical cross-site scripting attack (XSS). Cross-site scripting attacks only work if attackers can execute JavaScript in the context of a store’s pages. They use several strategies to inject JavaScript, all of which depend on flaws in the store’s security.

Store owners fighting this type of data leak should focus on preventing the attacker from injecting malicious code in the first place.

Keep software up-to-date. Attackers frequently exploit vulnerabilities in older software. If an attacker can compromise an eCommerce store via a known vulnerability in the operating system, utility software, or the store itself, they will inject malicious code, which will run in shoppers’ browsers. Updating fixes known vulnerabilities.

Ensure the database is only accessible via the web store. Database misconfiguration is a common source of data leaks. An eCommerce store’s database should only respond to requests from the application, not to requests from the internet. It should be password protected to prevent any access from unauthorized individuals.

Use a web application firewall such as ModSecurity. A web application firewall can mitigate the risk of attacks against a store’s front-end, including SQL injection attacks and cross-site scripting attacks. Hostdedi uses the advanced ModSecurity WAF on Magento and WooCommerce hosting accounts. To learn more, check out our post on Why ModSecurity Should Be Your Web Application Firewall.

Use two-factor authentication on your Magento or WooCommerce store. The easiest way for an attacker to breach a store’s defenses is to guess the right password. Simple passwords, popular passwords, and passwords based on dictionary words are easy to guess. Long and complex passwords are difficult to guess, and the longer they are, the more difficult it becomes. However, we can’t always trust users (or even developers) to choose a long and random password. Two-factor authentication, as provided by Hostdedi’ Sentry extension for Magento, helps to protect stores from poor password practices.

Disable unused store and server passwords. Unused accounts serve no purpose and increase the surface area of a store that can be attacked. Audit the user accounts on your store and server, deleting those you no longer need. On a related matter, when giving an employee or third-party access to your store, use a unique account created for the purpose. Once they no longer need access, delete the account.

Be aware of supply-chain attacks. The Magecart malware often finds its way onto eCommerce stores via a supply-chain attack. Instead of attacking stores directly, criminals target software used by stores: JavaScript libraries, extensions, themes, and so on. When the eCommerce store is updated, the compromised software is installed and the malicious code injected. Supply-chain attacks are difficult to defend against, but store owners should exercise caution when sourcing software. Use extensions from official repositories or trusted developers. Keep an eye on vulnerability reports for software downloaded from third-party sources, such as CDNs or GitHub. Consider implementing Content Security Policy and Subresource Integrity on your store.

If attackers can’t infect your store with malicious code, they can’t steal your shopper’s details or credit card numbers. By following a few security best practices, you substantially reduce the risk of data theft.

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Magento vs Prestashop: The Best eCommerce Platform

Magento vs Prestashop: The Best eCommerce Platform

Magento vs PrestashopWhether you’re new to eCommerce or looking to see if there’s a better option for your growing store, choosing the right web application is important. There are several different options out there for merchants. This article looks specifically at Magento and Prestashop.

Both of these applications are open source platforms that allow merchants to start, maintain, and manage their online store. Both offer unique customization features, and both have been adopted by large audiences of both developers and merchants.

Yet the online eCommerce landscape changed in 2018. Multiple applications adapted to evolving merchant demands, as existing and new users moved to platforms that better suited their requirements. Moreover, with continued development of headless in mainstream eCommerce circles, merchants found they were no longer restricted by the eCommerce API they selected.

Internally, we’ve seen continued success and growth by Magento stores. According to our research, Magento cloud solutions grew by an average of 18% per month in 2018. Prestashop, on the other hand, boasts that over 270,000 stores run on it worldwide. However, looking a little deeper shows that this number may not be what it at first seems.

 

In Numbers
Design and Templates
Ease of Use
Functionality
Modules and Extensions
Inventory
Performance
SEO
Security
Pricing

 

Magento vs Prestashop: In Numbers

Before taking a deeper look at the differences between Magento and Prestashop, we’re going to see how they rank in terms of numbers.

Magento has 3x the number of sites Prestashop has

In a comparison of all sites that use Magento and Prestashop, 76% of sites use Magento. While this tells us about the number of sites that use each eCommerce CMS, it doesn’t say anything about the quality of those sites.

When we only consider the top 1 million websites worldwide, we see a similar pattern emerge. 1.5% of the top 1 million sites worldwide run Magento, compared with just 0.4% that run Prestashop. Let’s take a look at some more specific numbers.

64 percent of hosting solutions run on Magento

Internally, we’ve seen Magento dominate the eCommerce web applications market. 64% of our hosting solutions run optimized Magento environments. Asking clients why they have made this choice, frequent responses include functionality and the ability to implement development processes easily.

MagentoPrestashop
Number of sites850,000270,000
Number of plugins or extensions4,7003,900
Monthly Cost$0$0 – $22

 

Now we’ve taken a look at the numbers, let’s look at some specifics.

 

 

Designs and Templates

A good looking eCommerce store is important. According to Blue Corona, 38% of visitors will stop engaging with a site if they don’t think its design is attractive, and 48% of visitors believe that a website’s design is the number 1 factor involved in determining credibility. For these reasons, design and template functionality have made it to the top of our list.

Prestashop does have a large number of free and paid templates available. In addition to those available through Prestashop, there are numerous development agencies that also offer templates for a fee. In general, these templates are able to provide most merchants with an attractive, fast site design that can easily be adjusted to fit their unique business. Merchants can also make simple adjustments to the color scheme, responsiveness features, and more through the Prestashop’s UI.

Magento, on the other hand, offers merchants the opportunity to create something unique and individual. While there are numerous themes available through the Magento Marketplace, they are limited and will cost money.

For this reason, most Magento merchants opt to either hire a developer or learn how to design their site for themselves. This allows them complete freedom in regards to how their site looks and performs. Everything can be customized, from responsive design delivery to core layout options. Advanced Magento developers are also able to take their store headless and implement PWA, whereby Magento serves as the back-end for a separate front-end.

Winner: Magento

 

Ease of Use

Ease of use is where Prestashop and Magento differentiate themselves. Prestashop is aimed at beginners and less technical users. While this is great for getting started with eCommerce and simplifying daily management and maintenance of a store, it does have its drawbacks.

At the time of writing, Magento is one of the most flexible eCommerce web applications available. Merchants are able to implement a near-infinite number of capabilities. Moreover, with the continued development and integration by Adobe, we’ll likely see this functionality only increase.

Regardless, if you’re looking for ease of use, Prestashop beats Magento. If, however, you’re looking to create an online store with unrivaled functionality, Magento’s learning curve is probably worth it.

Winner: Prestashop

 

eCommerce Functionality

Magento’s main strength is its functionality, and while Prestashop does an admirable job of trying to keep up with a number of optional modules, it just can’t compete.

Prestashop does include integration with other popular eCommerce platforms such as eBay and Amazon. It also offers its own internal analytics system for gaining insights into your audience.

Magento, on the other hand, offers an extensive list of functionality. This includes, but isn’t limited to:

  • Dynamic rule-based product relations
  • Visual merchandising page optimization
  • Customer segmentation and personalization
  • A powerful admin experience
  • B2B integration through custom catalogs, price lists, and more
  • Powerful search integration

One of Magento’s biggest strengths is its Elasticsearch integration. Elasticsearch is a powerful search engine capable of providing customers with results they’re looking for quickly and effectively. According to Moz, on-site searchers are 200% more likely to convert than non-searchers.

While Elasticsearch can be implemented with Prestashop installations (there is a connector module), it doesn’t run as efficiently. With Magento increasing focus on user experience, search has taken a dominant position within the eCommerce application’s ecosystem. The same can’t be said for Prestashop.  

If you’re looking for functionality, without a doubt, the winner is Magento.

Winner: Magento

 

Modules and Extensions

Magento offers over 4,700 extensions, about 25% more than Prestashop’s 3,900 modules.

Some of Prestashop’s most popular modules includes Amazon Market Place, SEO Expert, PayPal & Braintree, the Google Merchant Center, Advanced Search, and Abandoned Cart Reminder. These modules add a lot of functionality to stock Prestashop, allowing merchants to improve conversion rates and customers experiences.

Magento’s most popular extensions include Yotpo, Add free product to cart, AJAX Catalog, Improved Sorting, and Advanced search. Immediately, a difference can be seen between what merchants are adding to their stores. Magento merchants are looking for added features, where Prestashop merchants are more interested in integrations.

It’s a tough choice here, as both have their advantages. Prestashop is great for beginners and the add-ons allow for site owners to easily integrate other eCommerce products into their store. However, Magento offers even more functionality (on top of already impressive functionality).

Winner: Draw

 

Inventory Size

Both Magento and Prestashop theoretically come with the ability to host an unlimited number of products. However, if not properly optimized, stores with more than 100,000 products can start to slow down.

With Magento, a number of hosting providers and developers have developed and released information on optimizing the Magento environment to ensure that large stores do not slow down. We should know, we wrote the book on it for Magento 2. Prestashop hasn’t managed to attract as many large stores (as indicated above), so isn’t quite on par in terms of optimization.

If you’re looking to run a large eCommerce store that can maintain good performance, we recommend Magento. Even for smaller stores, Magento environments can be optimized to be blazing fast.  

 

Winner: Magento

 

Performance

Magento is a known resource hog and requires a powerful environment to run. Users often complain that Magento’s back-end can cause slow downs. For these users, the applications functionality is much more of a draw than its performance.

However, Magento doesn’t have to be slow. Often, slow sites are a result of either poor development or unoptimized hosting. See if your environment is optimized before migrating to another application. Optimization is a lot faster than a site redesign… and less costly.

Prestashop is much more lightweight, so there are usually no issues with site speed. Despite this, as we mentioned above, the eCommerce platform does experience slowdowns when too many SKUs are added.

We’re going to call this one a draw. Prestashop is more lightweight, but it also suffers from slowdowns when too many products exist.

Winner: Draw  

 

SEO

In terms of SEO, Magento and Prestashop are in two different leagues. In research conducted by eCommerce Platforms, the stock SEO capabilities of Magento outrank Prestashop in almost every area. In fact, Magento came 4th in a list of the top 16 eCommerce applications available, in terms of SEO value, with a score of 95. Prestashop only scored 40.

Prestashop only has an SEO score of 40
Reasons for this disparity include Prestashop’s need for additional modules to serve simple SEO requirements. For example, you cannot add alt tags to images without installing a module first. Magento, on the other hand, comes with a powerful suite of SEO tools from the outset; including dedicated SEO content sections for products.

Magento wins in this category hands down.

 

Winner: Magento

 

Security

Security is vital for eCommerce stores. Customers only shop with merchants that they trust.

So it’s unsurprising that both platforms offer great security features and have a history of reliability. Both have also been the victim of security breaches.

However, as with any website and its security, infrastructure is as important as the application itself. Important features to note are a web application firewall (WAF), whether the hosting provider is PCI compliant, and what else the provider proactively does to keep a site secure.

Magento is often optimized for its environment and so comes with a level of security you don’t see with Prestashop. Moreover, with a large number of dedicated providers offering platforms to develop on and great public documentation, most providers have more knowledge of how to secure and maintain the application itself.

While there is a self-hosted version of Prestashop available for download. A large number of users host their site with Prestashop. If you want your eCommerce store to remain secure, it’s usually better to have control over the environment and access to a support team. For this reason, we recommend a self-hosted solution regardless of which application you pick.

 

Winner: Magento

 

Pricing

Both Prestashop and Magento offer free, open source options for merchants. However, to support these you will need to pay for hosting. Hosting costs vary by provider. We offer optimized Magento hosting solutions that enable merchants to create scalable and powerful eCommerce stores on a secure platform.

As a result of the incredible functionality that comes with it, Magento can be resource hungry. For this reason, we recommend only opting for a hosting provider that optimizes specifically for Magento. Prices for a stable provider start at around $20 a month and scale to several thousands for a dedicated cluster environment.

Prestashop, on the other hand, is not as resource intensive, and can be installed on a flexible environment without any needed optimizations. Flexible solutions can start from less than $20 a month, but they usually limit the number of monthly visitors substantially. The lower your monthly visitor capacity, the lower your likely revenue.

If you’re looking for a cheaper solution, Prestashop is likely the right choice. However, if you believe your store is going to grow and want to invest in a scalable solution now instead of later, Magento should be your eCommerce application of choice.

 

Winner: Draw

 

Magento vs Prestashop: The Winner

Both web applications provide merchants with a secure eCommerce environment. However, at their core, they are aimed at different types of merchants. Prestashop is aimed at merchants with smaller eCommerce stores and that require much less functionality. Magento, on the other hand, is aimed at merchants that require more advanced eCommerce functionality and are looking to optimize their conversion rate.

From a merchant perspective, if you’re able to invest enough time into a proper Magento implementation, then it offers much more than Prestashop and you’ll like see higher ROI. If, however, you’re looking for an easy WYSIWYG and don’t necessarily require some of the basic functionality that comes with Magento (such as advanced customer connection tools or SEO tools at the core) then Prestashop may suit your business model more.

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eCommerce, Magento

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