¿Which PrestaShop hosting to choose and which to run away from?

NOTE: This post is about how to choose the right hosting shops using PrestaShop. If you are looking for hosting for other online shops, read this post.
If you know that you are going to use PrestaShop, then keep reading! 😉
Easy question: if you were to start a physical shop…

Would you prefer for it to be located in a chaotic building full of other small businesses with questionable reputations, or would you prefer for it to be in a big clean building shared with just a few and completely trustworthy neighbors?

It’s obvious, isn’t it?
Well, the comparison with online shops is simple. The first situation would be like having free hosting and the second one would be quality hosting on par with a serious project such as PrestaShop.
But, as with everything in life, it’s not always black and white. That’s exactly why in this post we are going to talk about all the options that you have to consider before choosing the best hosting for PrestaShop.
IMPORTANT: This post does not contain affiliate links. Our opinion is based on our own experience.

The importance of good hosting for PrestaShop

We are not going to reveal some secret formula telling you that having quality hosting is important, but it’s always useful to be reminded. We’re also going to continue using the analogy with a physical shop to make it easier to understand.
When people start an e-commerce shop, the first doubt that goes through their head is which CMS to choose. And after deciding among WooCommerce, Magento, PrestaShop, and others, the second question is usually about which hosting supplier they should use.
Here you have an overview of a few reasons why making the right decision about your website hosting may be the key to success when setting up your PrestaShop shop.

  • Load speed: You have heard about how important it is to have a fast website on countless occasions. Going back to the previous example, good hosting allows clients to get to your shop more quickly and directly. Bad hosting is located far away from the entrance and clients will have to go through high hills and up dirty stairs to get to it. Which shop do you think would get more visitors?
  • Traffic peaks: Certain special dates like Black Friday or Christmas holiday may mean increased visits to your shop. Good hosting will make your door bigger and will provide more employees to assist clients. Bad hosting cannot assist those clients and instead just closes up shop and shuts the door.

  • Security: We are not going to analyze some of the benefits such as backups or anti-hacks, but we can highlight that good hosting eases the process of installing an SSL certificate. This means that your website will have an image of a secure lock in the browser and you will be able to use payment gateways such as Stripe.
  • Support: We left it for the end so you’d have time to digest all of the information. Have you ever tried to cancel your mobile phone subscription? Talking in circles, countless calls, hours and hours wasted while you wait listening to the annoying hold music… Well, that’s nothing compared to how bad cheap hosting such as 1&1’s customer support service can be. It could provide enough material to film a TV series called “Support Nightmares”. Get away while you still can.

To sum up, good hosting, in addition to allowing you to live without the fear of having a website that could collapse at any moment, provides a better user experience. And that means better metrics, which at the same time means that your PrestaShop shop will be better positioned on Google.
And all that means selling more, which is what we are here for, right?

Characteristics of good hosting for PrestaShop

We’ve already talked about different types of hosting for e-commerce:

  • Shared
  • VPS
  • Dedicated hosting

If you don’t know about them, have a look at this post.
For PrestaShop, the arguments are the same:

Start with shared hosting if you are starting out slowly or go straight to VPS if you expect your project to grow quickly.

If you have any doubts, these are the technical requirements that we recommend:

  • Disk space: 5GB SSD, although 3 or 4 may also be enough. It is quite literally the size of the premises, and it only matters if you are going to share it with someone else. All of the disks are normally solid, but just make sure that you get an SSD and not an HDD.
  • RAM: Take this into account if you are going to use VPS. It has a direct affect on the speed.
  • Monthly transfer: Limited to no less than 120GB per month. You don’t want any surprises.
  • Number of products: Many of the hosting services that specialize in PrestaShop limit the number of items. Unless you have a mega shop, the 1000-item limit won’t affect you.
  • Support: Some basic plans only include a support forum. Make sure that you can open a ticket and get direct support. This doesn’t mean that some forums such as the Webempresa one aren’t useful – they are – in fact, they can normally solve the most common doubts.

Now that we’ve made this clear, let’s go a step further. A small but important step. 😉

Is free hosting worth it?

No, no, and no.
Going back to the previous example – do you think anyone would rent a decent place for 0 euros per month?
Of course not! If it doesn’t happen in real life, why would it happen online?
There’s no such thing as a free lunch. If you aren’t paying with money, you are paying with other things. There is this saying that goes, “if you’re not paying for it, you’re the product.”
While this isn’t 100% true in this case, you will have to pay the “fee” of having an added business’ name in your domain and lots of other limitations that don’t go well with a serious project.

Remember… free hosting for PrestaShop? No, thanks.

With that out of the way, let’s analyze the payment options.

Important note about our comparison of PrestaShop hosting companies

In the complex world of hosting comparisons, it is not always easy to reach a conclusion. There are many aspects to be analyzed, many of which are quite technical, and at the beginning it’s tough to know what exactly you should focus on.
In addition to that, there is another aspect to take into account.
As soon as you type “best hosting for PrestaShop” or “cheap PrestaShop hosting” into Google, you run into a bunch of lists and tables comparing them and, of course, affiliate links to the different options.
Of course some of the reviews are really good – others, not so much.
What are those comparisons lacking?
Besides fake recommendations, some products just can’t really be compared. If you are going to follow their advice, make sure they are not comparing apples to oranges.
This means that the first thing you need to establish, as we have seen, is what you need. Only at that point will you be able to look for the best shared hosting for PrestaShop, or VPS, or whatever the best option for your project happens to be.
You may even realize that there are CMSs other than PrestaShop that better suit your needs.
However, it shouldn’t take you too long; most of the popular hosting services offer more than enough guarantees and almost any of the ones from the top sales list will do.
Bear in mind that almost all of them are resellers of bigger suppliers, such as OVH. If the main supplier fails, the hosting you choose won’t matter – your website is going to collapse.
FYI: There are more than 400 OVH partners in Spain.
However, here you have a list of the existing offer.

Recommended hosting based on our experience

We deal with lots of clients and we know the e-commerce world inside out. Keeping in mind both our experience and clients’ opinions, these are our recommendations, in order.
Nevertheless, remember to compare similar products and that the most important thing is to know what your specific needs are.

  1. Professional Hosting: They have a product called “Green Hosting” that uses renewable energy sources and that offers really good support. If you care about the effect of your actions on the environment, have a look at this one.
  2. Webempresa: Their forum is the most useful one that you can find online (in Spanish) to solve the most common problems you’ll run into. They also have products and support specialized in PrestaShop.
  3. SiteGround: They are experts and specialists in hosting – a winning combination.
  4. Raiola Networks: Hosting in Spanish with competitive prices and VPS specialists.
  5. CDMON: Another Spanish company with competitive prices and good reviews.

Obviously, there are many more options on the market.
In fact, the PrestaShop website itself offers a list of partner suppliers including 1&1, Loading, A2, and Microsoft Azure’s cloud hosting.
That said, remember what we said earlier about cheap options before choosing a host.

The cloud hosting option

One option that is attracting more and more fans is to host your website in the cloud instead of keeping it in a third party’s space. This option involves offering PrestaShop’s installation as SaaS (software as a service), which means that, for instance, you can be assured that traffic peaks wouldn’t be a problem.
For Google and cloud hosting fans, Google Cloud is a great option that also happens to be free for a year. Of course, after that first year it will be a bit more expensive, but it’s a good option for bigger projects.
Shh! Super secret: Our website is hosted using Amazon Web Services and it works perfectly. 😉

How to install PrestaShop on the server

Let’s wrap up this post by answering one of the most common questions: how do you install PrestaShop?
Luckily, the answer is pretty simple.
If your supplier offers the option, you can use an auto-installer and with just a few clicks it will be ready. Check for that option when comparing what each host offers.
If they don’t offer an auto-install, you will have to follow these steps:

  1. Download PrestaShop from the official site.
  2. Create a database from Plesk or cPanel.
  3. Upload it with FTP or with the file manager.
  4. Execute the installer and follow the instructions.

Don’t fret – it’s easier than it sounds.
Now you just have to choose the hosting that best meets your needs and get your PrestaShop ready. Don’t let anything or anyone get in your way!