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I'm new to magento and am confused about installing it (community ed.). My web provider (123 reg) are saying I need to buy a virtual private server because the memory requirement needs to be on a server of least 256MB. Do i have to pay for vps hosting to get it to work, or is there another way? i thought magento was potentially free

I probably haven't explained the problem very clearly, but here is what 123 reg support said:

"The Magento application is a heavy eShop to maintain on a shared hosting plan where the memory output is 128Mb, if you check the system requirements Magento needs to be hosted on a server with at least 256 Mb: http://magento.com/resources/system-requirements

This being given if you ought to upgrade from a shared plan to a VPS it would be possible to host the eShop there, please see our offers page if you are interested to purchase a VPS, this will also offers database management where you can import a SQL file with no size limitations: https://www.123-reg.co.uk/vps-hosting/

Even if was to run on the current plan you have it is not recommended as it will constantly go offline due to insufficient resources."

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Short Version: Yes, you'll need a VPS to run Magento.

The source code for the community edition of Magento is open source, so the software is free. It's not like Adobe software, or Apple's App Store, or Microsoft Office where you need to pay for a license. Anyone can download and use the Magento software for free. Grab Magento, Grab PHP, Grab MySQL, install them on your computer, and you can use Magento all you want.

What's not free, however, is putting that computer on the Internet, or buying a computer to run Magento on. So in that sense, Magento's like any other PHP based software package — if you want your store on the internet you need to buy a hosting plan.

Many hosting companies offer very basic hosting plans for free. Magento has a unique performance profile in the PHP application world, so it doesn't perform well on cut-rate or free hosting plans. For a basic shop you're looking at $25 - $75/month.

  • I will simply add that this requirement is meant for a production environment. If you are simply wanting to get it up and running to play around with in an isolated environment, you can get away with a much less powerful server. I run multiple development environments on a 512MB instance on Rackspace with only very minor performance issues. This server runs me about $15/mo (June '14). Additionally, there are some hosts that offer affordable shared plans that are better tuned for Magento. – pspahn Jun 17 '14 at 19:42
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While Magento runs on many virtual servers, it's most definitely NOT the hosting you're looking for. Magento requires memory limit of at least 256MB, 512MB being recommended value and even then people often set limit to 2GB.

Virtual server are by definition too unreliable to run anything more complex than WordPress, which by the way includes Magento.

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    — I think you may be mistaking cheap shared hosting on virtual servers with a dedicated virtual server. Some of the best Magento hosting companies around offer tuned VPS servers that do great with Magento – Alan Storm Jun 18 '14 at 2:14
  • No, I don't. VPS-s are NOT virtual servers, they are virtual PRIVATE servers, with dedicated resources and that's something completely different. – Pronto Jun 18 '14 at 6:59
  • @Pronto, I think you're contradicting you yourself in that last comment. "VPS-s are NOT virtual servers", followed by "they are virtual PRIVATE servers". First you're stating they're not virtual, next you state they're virtual. My company offers hosting services and we have numerous virtual private servers that we manage. They are virtual servers--there is no individual box out there, for each individual machine. They run on top of a hypervisor that allocates them a resources to the specifications we've setup. All but our heaviest traffic Magento sites run on our shared VPSs just fine. – Darren Felton Nov 17 '14 at 19:36
  • It's because unless people allow themselves to be mislead by word "virtual" they must understand that virtual servers and virtual private servers are two totally different things. Virtual servers are created on http server (such as Apache) level while Virtual Private Server is created on system (such as Linux) level. VPS-s use system virtualization to create dedicated resource containers while virtual server just adds another domain to already existing web server (sharing its resources with other domain). – Pronto Nov 18 '14 at 13:56
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Alans comment is right (of course) however if you have a good host that knows magento it can be ok. i ran my shop (about 1500 SKUS) on shared hosting with nublue for 18 months with decent results.

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I would say no with vps in the first time, since you don't know how to configure your vps to work well with magento, the way to buy a vps is too expensive to run and maintain. It 's easy to take you > 100$ to run a simple shop. As my experience, for a good server provider, you have to use at least 512MB RAM to make sense to get magento normal (not fast).

But when you come with shared hosting plan, they always invest a very big server hardware support and optimize their server for the best performance and what you need to know is they do it for magento. In this case, you only pay a little money monthly but you get a very service back without any risk. I mean they will care for you the backup, security, performance, SSL... And if you don't know who provide a good magento hosting plan, you can check this http://magento2x.com/fast-magento-hosting/

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