One of the most talked about topics of the technology industry in the last few years has been all things to do with the ‘Cloud’, whether that be data storage or utilising virtual IT resources via the internet. Cloud services platforms, for a lot of businesses, can provide them with almost instant access to flexible and cost-effective resources that don’t incur the same upfront costs of purchasing physical hardware. This also applies to hosting solutions such as Amazon’s Web Services (AWS) platform, the global leader in Cloud Infrastructure that boasts to be extremely scalable and high-performance. But what does this really mean for your hosting solution and in turn your ecommerce store?
The Main Benefits of AWS
- Easily scalable for busy periods
- High-performance infrastructure
- Remove traditional restraints associated with physical hardware
- Take on any current or short-term capacity needs
Flexible by Design
While the web development and business world have embraced agile workflows, traditional hosting solutions like dedicated servers offer less agility to match. Physical hardware requires physical changes to amend available resources, so you will need to move to another server or accept lengthy downtime if you want to, for instance, upgrade your disks on a dedicated server.
As a result, merchants and hosting providers are always keen to make sure their dedicated servers have surplus power to allow for growth. This does, however, mean you may be paying for resources you simply don’t need all the time. By hosting on Amazons’ AWS Cloud, you can upgrade your resources, quickly and easily, with only a brief moment of disruption to achieve the upgrade.
“Cloud infrastructure provides Merchants with exceptional performance, unrivalled flexibility, agility and resource availability. In an increasingly agile business world we think that AWS ecommerce hosting is the future.” Tom Ashworth, Technical Director
Clouding Your Judgement: The Unforeseen Costs of Traditional Hosting Platforms
A dedicated server can serve its purpose for ecommerce stores with steady or predictable growth and consistent transaction levels, but merchants experiencing high growth, who operate on a fixed resource server, can incur unforeseen costs due to their inability to quickly respond to traffic demands. You may lose uptime and customers due to downtime for server upgrades or migrations; you may have to pay extra for developer resources during this period; not to mention the knock-on effects of a stressful, difficult period while your store struggles to cope with demand. These can all be unpleasant surprises and can have a knock-on effect on your growth and business.
Cloud platforms such as Amazon’s AWS bring a greater level of agility than is possible with most traditional datacentre hosting options. They can provide rapid server scalability to resource levels previously only available to the largest global enterprises. With Nublue’s new hosting solution, we are making these extensive resources more readily available to the everyday ecommerce professional. Using AWS ecommerce hosting you can be upgraded in a moment, allowing near-immediate access to the additional resources your store needs.
With this simple powerful flexibility, you can quickly upgrade your hosting platform to prepare for or react to increases in growth and client footfall. You can be ready for Black Friday, prepare for the Boxing Day Sales, or respond to that celebrity endorsement with ease. If you expect traffic to reduce at a later date you can simply scale your resources back to a lower level. This means that, unlike with traditional physical hosting, you can pay for what you need with confidence, instead of paying for more than you require.
Surely There’s A Catch?
Of course, every platform has downsides, and hosting an ecommerce site on AWS is no exception. The downsides range from what most would consider negligible to more significant.
The most significant downside to hosting an ecommerce site on AWS is that doing so requires a great deal of knowledge of Linux, web servers and hosting technologies as well as constant monitoring and updating of these systems. AWS is also a complex and intricate system that is not very user friendly if you don’t know what you are looking for, or what you want to get out of it. There are many qualifications and training courses that are available to make you proficient and confident on all aspects of the AWS platform but they, of course, take time and expertise to complete and utilise effectively.
Merchants trying to run their own hosting platform may find they end up embroiled in hosting issues, perhaps with nowhere to turn depending on their experience and their hosting provider – and this can change your view on platforms and products, regardless of their actual worth if used effectively. If you are looking to manage the hosting of your ecommerce site on a cloud platform it is important that you have inhouse server administration skills, along with a strong knowledge of the relationship between your website and your hosting. If you don’t have this resource, it’s essential that you find a company that can manage your AWS cloud hosting for you and has experience of your ecommerce platform.
“By marrying the advantages of hosting your website on the AWS Cloud with Nublue’s advanced management and excellent customer support, you gain the benefits of hardware redundancy and swift resource upgrades to meet your business needs.” Ewan Macleod, Product and Support Manager.
At Nublue, we have Linux certified hosting experts which have over a decade experience providing optimised and secure ecommerce hosting solutions. This means we can expertly manage your hosting for you; monitoring your solution 24/7, handling your resources up and downgrades, resolving any security problems or compromises daily, all while keeping the server up to date so you don’t have to worry about any of these complex processes. On top of this, we are also an Agile agency with vast experience with ecommerce platforms such as Magento, so we’ll always be able to offer you the expertise required to look after your ecommerce store. Ultimately, this lets you gain the benefits of AWS and Magento without having to manage the platforms yourself – leave us to look after your hosting for you, handling the complex systems on your behalf, so you can focus on the success and growth of your ecommerce store.
When it comes to deciding if cloud hosting is right for your ecommerce store, in our view, you need to decide if there are good reasons to not use cloud hosting. Cloud hosting is particularly well suited to fast growing stores or stores with big seasonal fluctuations as it can be scaled up and down with ease in comparison to a dedicated server, which can’t. If you have relatively steady levels of transactions for most of the year and only moderate fluctuations at times such as Black Friday and Christmas, a dedicated server may be comparable or even slightly more cost effective than managed AWS hosting. However, we feel the benefits of extreme flexibility to scale as required and AWS’s proven infrastructure makes cloud hosting a great proposition for most growing merchants or those prone to big changes in traffic at specific points in the year.
If you want to know which hosting platform your store is best suited to please get in touch and one of our experts will be happy to advise.