MageMojo Blog
  • Magento 1 to Magento 2: Five Reasons to Upgrade


    Magento is the best ecommerce platform, and Magento 2 offers even greater benefits including better speed, performance, features, ease of use, and customer experience. If you’re setting up an ecommerce store on Magento for the first time, using Magento 2 right out of the gate is a no brainer, but for those already set up on Magento 1, here are reasons to consider migrating to Magento 2.

    Magento 2 is everything Magento 1 was and more. It adds a plethora of new features, while maintaining enough familiarity to ease the transition for long time users of Magento 1. Upgrading is something everyone should do, and with fast high quality hosting such as MageMojo, the benefits stack up.

    Improved Performance and Speed

    First, Magento 2 offers significant speed and performance boosts by adopting Varnish and PHP7 technologies. The lower page load times are due to full page cache on both Community and Enterprise versions of Magento 2. Improved performance directly leads to higher revenues. The faster customers can get to your catalog and products, the more likely they are to buy something. Stores upgraded to Magento 2 show higher revenues and conversion rates than slower Magento 1 stores.

    PHP 7, is the latest version of the most popular web programming language and is much faster in execution than PHP 5.x. It even outperforms or hits parity with HHVM (Hip Hop Virtual Machine). HHVM also required a lot of extra work to configure for Magento 1 and the built-in Full page cache (FPC) supports Varnish out of the box.

    Magento 1 required a 3rd party extension to incorporate Varnish cache which was difficult to use. It also required an experienced (expensive) hand to get custom themes working correctly. But with Varnish cache the time to first byte goes from half a second or more down to only a couple hundred milliseconds. And total page load may be less than a second total.

    In Magento 2, a simple click in the backend creates a Varnish configuration file for you customized to your store. Varnish and PHP7 together provide faster load times with lower effort than ever before in Magento. Coupled with Magento specific hosting, such as with MageMojo, and you'll have the best performing ecommerce site available.

    More Streamlined and Easier to Use

    This aspect is great for both merchants and developers since the ease of use means you can easily customize and edit things without a developer, and even with a developer the chances of issues cropping up is greatly diminished.

    • The new Visual Editor allows for “drag and drop” customization to the site, making it easy for non-developers to build a site on Magento 2. Along with beautiful new themes which are now organized by vendor and easier than ever to find and access, you can play around with how your front end will look to your heart’s content. Cleaner and simpler organization also makes it faster and easier for both developers and merchants to manage content.

    • Quality of life improvements simply abound in Magento 2. Filterable dynamic grids have been added to many sections like the catalog and order listing. Your store data can be searched and queried quickly and efficiently without the need for 3rd party tools. The admin is also simply arranged with a clean left-hand navigation menu. The backend is overall much faster than Magento 1, where many backends suffered from long load times for basic changes such as managing categories.

    • The new step-by-step product creation tools allow you to more quickly and accurately add products to your store. This tool makes adding products up to 4 times faster in Magento 2. Plus, customizing themes and modules is easier and more streamlined for developers and incorporates modern responsive design.

    The best part? No extensions are required for payment gateways such as Paypal and Braintree, which are all automatically integrated into Magento 2.


    Better Customer Experience

    Even more improvements were put into the frontend. The customer experience is the most important part of any store, and Magento 2 adds features that shoppers expect on a modern website. The checkout, cart and registration are all streamlined, faster, and much easier for customers to use, reducing cart abandonment. The cart is now Ajax to reduce loading times (meaning no full page refresh is needed after adding a product). The catalogsearch is also faster and on Magento 2 Enterprise supports Elasticsearch by default and shipping configuration is simpler as well.

    The above changes on the frontend extend into the mobile realm, as almost a majority of shoppers today are using mobile devices. The faster search improves conversion rates for mobile users who rely on it in lieu of navigating through an extensive catalog listing.

    Improved Features

    On the development side, Magento 2 uses HTML 5 and a responsive default theme, to bring everything up to date to modern web standards. The new marketplace and integration of tools like composer also make upgrading and installing new modules more manageable than Magento 1.

    Here are some highlights:

    • Making custom code is easier for developers with higher quality and lower maintenance
    • More in depth review and testing of extensions, extensions that make it to the official Magento Marketplace are proven to work and are better quality. They are also vetted for security.
    • The theme improvements also enter the mobile realm. Themes are now mobile friendly, which is better for SEO now that Google ranks up mobile friendly stores higher

    Magento 1 will only stay up to date on security patches for another 3 years, so it’s good to start planning the move to Magento 2 at some point, especially given the major performance boosts it offers. It is also more secure using more modern coding paradigms. The development community will be focused on Magento 2, so Magento 1 will not see much attention anymore. You don’t want to get left behind and this is a fantastic chance to make improvements to your site and usability in the process.


    Migrating to Magento 2 is Easy

    The Migration Tool makes moving from Magento 1 to Magento 2 easy and simple. Custom code, themes, and extensions will have to be redone, but this gives merchants a chance improve your code, add better, tested, extensions and upgrade your site’s theme. Customer and product data can also be directly imported with tools from Magento.

    Moreover, when upgrading Magento 2 between versions, it makes sure modules are compatible and if they are not, the upgrade stops. Gone are the days of hoping your upgrade works from Magento 1.

    Starting the upgrade is a no brainer. All stores will eventually have to switch to the newer platform so it’s a good idea to start planning the move now, especially so you can maximize on the benefits that much sooner. In the competitive world of ecommerce, you don’t want to get left behind. Better yet, upgrading sooner than later will put you ahead of the curve and give your shop a leg up on the competition. To maximize on this you'll want the best hosting available as well, such as MageMojo which is the number one Magento specific hosting service.

  • Best Solution for eCommerce [7 Reasons Why Magento is Superior]

    Choosing a platform for your online business is a major decision, but for any ecommerce business, large or small, Magento is a great choice. Roughly a quarter of all ecommerce sites worldwide use Magento as it is agile, flexible, and full featured.

    From small to big companies, there are millions of businesses on the Magento platform. Some of the biggest brands including Samsung, The North Face, Ford, Fox Connect, Lenovo, Olympus, Men’s Health, Vizio, Nestle Nespresso and Nike use Magento and so do millions of small and midsized ecommerce companies around the globe. Coupled with powerful hosting like Mage Mojo, the potential of Magento is limitless.

     

    Here’s why Magento is such a great platform for ecommerce businesses.


     1.  Magento is Fully Customizable and Adjustable

    The community marketplace allows you to download extensions to customize your store. Open source means anyone can add to or extend Magento to their needs. And the continued use of open source licensing in Magento 2 shows Magento’s own commitment to the community alongside their Enterprise offerings.

    As an open source project, extensions are widely available, both paid and free, for Magento. Just about anything a merchant would need that is not included in Magento can be found with a simple click. Even the software requirements for Magento are all open source (Apache/Nginx, PHP etc) creating an entirely open stack for eCommerce. And many features available to customers, were re-created by community developers, namely the Full Page Cache (FPC). For hosting companies like MageMojo, open source allows their support to recommend free extensions for customers who may not want to spend $100 or more dollars for Full Page Cache capability.

    Search is another area with a lot of extensions. Magento 1 and 2 both use MySQL to store search data for the product catalog. Though Enterprise has always had more search options (Apache SOLR and Elasticsearch), commercial modules are available to bring similar solutions to the Community edition. And for many of the features available in extensions, the price is modest compared to the cost of a developer to make a custom module for you.

    2.  Magento is Always Evolving

    This means developers can modify the source code to your heart’s content, adding or creating extra features, add-ons, or plug-ins as necessary. This makes Magento an immensely powerful and versatile platform like no other.

    As an open source project, Magento is continually reviewed and improved by thousands of developers. It only continues to get better with users seeing constant improvements. These contributions have created an incredibly stable and secure platform for online stores. The Magento Community Edition is also free! The benefit of Magento’s community is immense as security updates are released often as a patch for everyone to secure their stores.

     

    3.  Magento is Highly Scalable from 1 to 1,000,000,000

    Magento is built to run on established technologies: Apache/Nginx,PHP and MySQL. They are very stable and side effects from the hosting stack are reduced. Plus they are all very scalable to handle. Whether your online store services one town, a whole state, or country, or operates internationally, Magento and its plethora of features can handle it with ease. This ability to grow is why so many businesses choose Magento right from the start.

    This scalability extends into the hosting industry. Merchants can choose from a variety of hosting environments, platforms, and other offerings for their store. With the right hosting, such as Mage Mojo, Magento can handle even the Superbowl and other television promotions. It’s no wonder so many Fortune 500 companies choose to run on Magento.


    4.  Diverse Community Offerings

    The Magento community is worldwide and ranges from the tiny freelance developers to large web agencies and no matter the size, they all contribute with open source modules and improvements for Magento. Anyone can get help when they need it from helpful communities at the official Magento forums and sites like StackExchange. And with Magento 2 on Github, issues are constantly being reported and discussed. Many are resolved with new contributions for the next release. Hosting sites like MageMojo consistently contribute and work with the community to integrate the latest practices and fresh feedback to make their hosting better.

    This means the speed, functionality, and security of your site is forever being improved and new features are constantly being added. This readily available support makes Magento especially appealing for non tech/code savvy business owners.

    In fact, as an ecommerce business owner you can meet this community of developers in the flesh at Magento events such as Meet Magento which will be hosted in New York City by Mage Mojo. Not sure what features Magento offers? Still have questions? This is a great place to talk to experts who know everything there is to know about ecommerce solutions and find great inspiration for your own store!


    5.  Limitless Ways to Integrate External Elements into Your Website

    Many merchants also have brick and mortar operations or other external systems particular to their market. Trying to integrate them into other platforms can be a mess, if it is even possible. You may need to track inventory between Magento and your point of sale systems at various franchise locations.

    With Magento’s API you can keep your physical and digital locations in sync with ease. The most popular platforms tend to already have modules available for Magento (like Amazon, eBay, and ERP software). For example, a merchant has physical locations along with sales on eBay,Amazon, and their Magento store. Through the Magento API and a few modules, their inventory at their warehouse is synced across all of them automatically and their Magento store doubles as the overall source of truth for all revenues and order processing.

    This seamless integration is a major benefit. But even if your shop is purely online, Magento allows for integrations with any third party extension such as payment gateways like Paypal, database applications, shipping, shipment tracking, and has built in integration with Google Analytics and Google Base. Magento is an all in one solution for everything your business needs.

    6.  One Online Store Not Enough? Free Multistores

    Unlike most other platforms out there, Magento doesn’t limit you to using a single online store. Instead, you have the capability to run multiple stores from the same backend interface, with all of the information for all of your stores available on the same admin panel. Multistores lets any merchant host several domains while conveniently sharing information between them, such as customer data and product catalogs.

    Managing a diverse collection of sites has never been easier. With Magento, the hassle of multiple backends and duplicating content throughout your stores is no longer a problem. For example, a site hosting many different brands of the same style of shirt, such as for college sports teams, can re-use content across multi-stores without having to manage dozens of Magento instances. Or many different stores can be used to be region specific, with their own language and products to fit the demographic. From a single admin dashboard, you can control the inventory, billing, and records for all of your stores.

     

    7.  Very Flexible Stock & Inventory Functionality

    Out of the box Magento packs a ton of features and more than enough to get started for any new merchant. A store can get up and running in no time without the need to install dozens of extra modules. With a low barrier to entry, Magento fosters online competition without excessive risk and merchants have flexibility to try new ideas. We have seen many dropshipping sites get up and running with off the shelf parts - themes and extensions - in less than a week from installation to going live. Magento is user friendly, mobile optimized, allows for search engine optimization and analytics, and is specifically designed for ecommerce.


    Coupled with powerful hosting, the possibilities with Magento become limitless. If you’re still unsure, we suggest you attend a Magento event and meet with other ecommerce business owners and developers.

    The next Meet Magento event is sponsored by the industry’s leading Magento hosting companies, Mage Mojo in New York City. Innovators and veterans, will be present for you to learn about ecommerce and ways to improve your sales. You can learn about others who have found success with Magento, what features they used, what features are available, glean inspiration, and find out how the community is always integrating the latest tech and improvements. Further details are coming soon, so keep an eye out!

  • Change Improvement Plan

    Many changes happen on the servers, from nightly yum updates, to our security scanner updates, to our server configuration updates. In order to improve our change management process we promise to do the following:

    Classify change types into categories with specific notification requirements

    • Identify every change that is made and classify the change
    • Write a change policy for each change
    • All changes must happen outside of business hours Pacific Time
    • Green changes are routine maintenance and can be scheduled 12 hours in advance
    • Yellow changes are changes that might affect customers and must be scheduled 7 days in advance
    • Red changes are changes that will affect customers and must be scheduled 2 weeks in advanced

    Standardize release days and times

    • Server releases will be tested on internal servers on Mondays during a standard time window 4am to 8am
    • Server releases will be released to customer servers on Tuesdays during a standard time window 4am to 8am
    • Network changes will happen after 9pm

    Notify customers ahead of time

    • A status page was created for both scheduled and unplanned events
    • All customers primary email, alert emails, mojo developer emails, and additional emails are subscribed
    • Customers can also subscribe by phone number for text alerts
    • Customers email/phone are synched to all components on status page they are using including physical hosts and racks
    • Every time we touch the infrastructure, even if routine, we will schedule in advance based on classification type

    Validate releases thoroughly

    • Server releases will be released and tested on incremental groups of internal servers
    • Server releases will then be released on incremental groups of customers servers

    Open communication during events

    • We will proactively notify affected customers
    • We will provide status updates every 30 minutes until resolution
    • For customers with special configurations (ex clusters) we will have a team lead available to communicate with directly

    Provide a full transparency of all changes

    • Any change that applies to more than 1 customer will be listed on the status page
    • Nightly yum updates will be listed in mhm log
    • Saltstack changes to servers will be listed in mhm log
    • Internal and external servers users commands will be listed in mhm log
    • Server config change diffs will be listed in mhm log
  • MAGETITANS UK 2016

    principal-small We recently hopped on a plane to the historic city of Manchester to rub shoulders with great names in the Magento World at MageTitansMCR in the UK. Technically, our CTO, Marty Pachol hopped on a plane and promptly hopped off the plane only to get on an annoying call with the airline that had cancelled his flight while it was on the runway, ready to carry him to an amazing destination. The rest of our crew got to enjoy the posh hotel he so carefully selected, and wait on his arrival the following day. The Principal on Oxford was a real treat, complete with a giant horse sculpture in the lobby, the most luxurious carpeting we have ever seen and a shower that needed an instruction manual. Yes, at least 2 of us got cold water dumped on our jet lagged heads from one of two shower heads placed directly overhead :) Isn't it incredible how many variations there are on a seemingly simple contraption? This begs for an entire blog post, website, coffee table book... lock-91-copy We greeted Manchester with a trip past the University of Manchester down to curry mile which was highly recommended. We were not short on options and were happy to experiment with yummy food in a bustling atmosphere and encouraged other titans to head over. We were silenced as the smell of curry filled the air. We probably all had one thought in mind. A nap was in order to prepare us for the pre-party at Lock 91, Black Dog NWS, Grosvenor casino and…well you get the idea :) We met amazing folks at Lock91 who were happy to share their experiences with Magento, the UK and their amazing companies and prepare us for the day ahead. We had lots of laughs comparing American and English vocabulary. The funniest moment was one of our English colleagues referring to the popular rap artist Jay Zed (Jay Z). We also got to witness England beating Scotland in a nail biting game. Lock 91’s happy hour was helpful indeed.

    Back at the Principal one of our rooms had a heating malfunction which meant a move to a new room. Surprise, surprise, the shower controls were reversed at the new room so you guessed it, another cold overhead splash. Now if that doesn’t wake you up..! Over to the Comedy Club on day 2 of this adventure for MagetitansMCR 2016. Great talks with lots of follow up scheduled with a star studded cast including Fabian Schmengler, Fabrizio Branca and Anna Völkl. Space48 and Manchester Digital did a great job with an amazing speaker lineup. The Comedy Club also has balcony seating - great way to make sure you get a good view and pics too. We thought its was fitting to end an amazing event by sponsoring the afterparty at Blackdog’s Bunker. Great food and music, a gaming station and a giveaway of 20 rpi3s made for an exciting few hours.

    Here are a few of our lucky winners.

    The Photo Booth came with props and allowed rockstar Magento developers to truly look like rockstars and capture this for all time. Like it or not, we have all the pictures, hahaha.

    We simply love after parties. This is a great time to unwind and truly get to know the Magento community. We have made some  great friends. We also have more insight on who can stay standing the longest, but we will not mention names, Eric Hileman.
    We said goodnight to the Bunker at midnight but the party was not over - after afterparty at the Arora Hotel bar. Time for some grown up cocktails made by the self proclaimed Mr Awesome! He truly was an incredible bartender with great personality. We wish we could have stayed longer and spent more time in Manchester. Events like MageTitans bring together so many experts and there is never enough time to share experiences and insights.  It was wonderful to get to know these folks better. We truly look forward to hearing from them more often, even its just the random note to say hi. What an amazing community!


  • Post Mortem - October 26, 2016

    EDIT: Please see our status page for more information and for future updates.

    Summary of Events

    On October 26, 2016, at around 2 PM ET we received an alert that a WAN uplink in one of the core routers was down. We determined the optic was failed and needed replaced. A technician was dispatched to replace the dead optic. At 4:05 PM ET, upon inserting the optic in the Secondary router, the Primary router panicked and rebooted into read-only mode. Our tech and network operators immediately restarted the Primary. The reboot took 8 minutes. By 4:15 PM ET the core routers had re-initialized were back online. Our monitoring systems cleared up except for a few servers.

    We immediately noticed that our server for magemojo.com was experiencing about 50% packet loss on its internal network. We continued to receive a few customer reports of problems. We scanned the internal network for all customer problems and isolated the packet loss to one /24 VLAN. We thought the problem was related to the abrupt failover of the core routers and decided it was best to try switching back routers to the first Primary. At 6:40 PM ET we initiated the core router failover back to the previous Primary. The failover did not go smoothly and resulted in another reboot which caused another 8-minute network disruption. The core routers returned with the old Secondary as Primary, and the problem remained.

    We reviewed the configuration to ensure there were no configuration errors with the new Primary but did not find any. We ran diagnostics on all network hardware and interfaces to identify the problem. We found no problems. We ran diagnostics a second time to check for anything we might have missed. Again, we found no problems. At this point, we started going through the changelog working our way backward to look for any changes that could have caused the problem. We found a change from September that looked possibly related to the packet loss. We reverted the change, and the packet loss stopped at 9:10 PM ET. The core continues to remain stable with the new Primary.

    THE NITTY GRITTY DETAILS

    Our core network uses 2 x Cisco 6500E Series Switches each with its own Supervisor 2T XL. Both Sup2T's are combined using Cisco's Virtual Switching Solution (VSS) to create a single virtual switch in HA. Each rack has 2 x Cisco 3750X switches stacked for HA using StackWise with 10G fiber uplinks to the core 6500's. Servers then have 2x1G uplinks in HA, 1 to each 3750X. Our network is fully HA all the way through and at no point should a single networking device cause an outage. We have thoroughly tested our network HA and confirmed all failover scenarios worked perfectly. Why inserting an optic into a 6500E blade would cause the other switch, the Primary, to reboot is completely unexpected and unknown at this moment. Why a single switch rebooting would cause both to go down is unknown. Why the previous Primary failed to resume its role is also unknown. We have Cisco support researching these events with us.

    The packet loss problem was challenging to figure out. First, it wasn't clear what the common denominator was among the servers with packet loss. Packet loss happened on servers across all racks and all physical hardware. We thought for sure the problem was related to the abrupt switchover of the core. We focused our search isolating the packet loss and narrowed it down to one particular vlan. Why one vlan would have packet loss, but not be completely down, was a big mystery. We thoroughly ran diagnostics and combed through every bit of hardware, routing tables, arp tables, etc.. We isolated the exact location the problem was happening but why remained an unknown. Finally, we concluded the problem was not caused by the network disturbance earlier. That's when we focused on the change log.

    The change was related to an "ip redirects" statement in the config and how we use route-maps to keep internal traffic routing internally and external traffic routing through the F5 Viprion cluster. During tuning of the Sup2T CPU performance, this line changed for one particular vlan. At the time it created no problems and packets routed correctly. However, after the core failover, the interfaces changed and subsequently the F5 Viprion cluster could not consistently route all packets coming from that internal vlan back to the internal network interface from which they originated.

    WHERE WE WENT WRONG

    Honestly, we did few things wrong. First, we should not have made any changes to the core network during the afternoon unless those changes were 100% mission critical. Second, we jumped right into fixing the problem and replying to customers but never publicly acknowledged the problem started. Third, our support desk overloaded with calls and tickets. We tried very hard to respond to everyone, but it's just not possible to speak to 100's of customers on the phone at once. We were not able to communicate with everyone.

    HOW WE'RE DOING BETTER

    We're re-evaluating our prioritization of events to reclassify mission critical repairs. All work, even if we think there is zero chance of a problem, should be done at night and scheduled in advance. Customers will be notified, again, even if we don't expect any disruption of services.

    We also know that we need to post on Twitter, our status page, and enable a pre-recorded voice message that says "We are aware that we are currently experiencing a problem and we are working on the issue." as soon as we first identify a problem. We're working on setting up a new status page where we can post event updates. We're also working with our engineers to guide them on how to provide better status updates to us internally so that we can relay information to customers. Unfortunately, during troubleshooting, there is no ETA and any given ETA will be wildly inaccurate. But we understand at the very least an update of "no new updates at this time" is better than no update at all.

    Finally, we're working with Cisco engineers to find the cause of the reboot, upgrade IOS, and replace any hardware that might have caused the problem.

    THANK YOU

    Thank you for being a customer here at Mage Mojo. We want you to know that we work incredibly hard every day to provide you with the highest level support, best performance, and lowest prices. Our entire team dedicates themselves to making your experience with Magento a good one. When something like this happens, we hope you'll understand how hard we work, and how much we care about you. Everything we do is for you the customer and we appreciate your business. Trust in us to learn from this experience and know that we'll grow stronger providing an even better service for you in the future. Thank you again for being a customer.

    Update Nov 8, 2016

    We are scheduling a network maintenance window on Thursday November 10th 2016 from 12AM ET to 1AM ET. During this window will replace a faulty line card in our core network and upgrade our version of the router software. This line card is partially responsible for the outage that occurred on Oct 26th. The other problems were two bugs identified in ios CSCts44718 and CSCui91801.

    For this replacement, we are hoping to be able to replace the card with only minor network interruption of a few seconds, but due to the state of the card, it may require a reboot of the network routers which would require approximately 15 minutes of downtime. After replacing the line card, we are going to perform an in-service software upgrade (ISSU) which should not cause any downtime. We do not anticipate a network disruption during the full window, but we are scheduling an hour window in case we run into any unanticipated problems.

    Ref:
    https://tools.cisco.com/bugsearch/bug/CSCts44718/?reffering_site=dumpcr

    https://tools.cisco.com/bugsearch/bug/CSCui91801/?reffering_site=dumpcr

  • MEET MAGENTO VIETNAM 2016

     

    The second Meet Magento Vietnam conference in 2016 took us to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam in October of 2016. 

    We were grateful for a relatively uneventful trip through Shanghai, but left the airport much lighter than expected - our luggage had not yet arrived! Not that we could clear the customs check though. The airport had a power outage which took all of the equipment down. That guaranteed a quick exit from the airport, without local currency, since ATMs went down with the power out. Yay for cellphones  - we were still able to get an Uber to our hotel. The complimentary dressing gown in the closet was a blessing since that was the only clean piece of clothing  we had :)

    We finally got some Vietnamese dong and were instant millionaires. With the exchange rate at about 22 500 to the dollar we were walking around with more than a million dong! We were all set for a colorful trip to the local markets to hunt for anything worthy of a conference attendee. We would have been happier exploring the city and meeting others in town for the event but it was intriguing to pick up some local traditional stuff for the event the next day. Besides traditional gear was the only practical choice - it seemed that dresses in Vietnam were typically shorter and quite comical on someone of my height.  The best items are usually ordered in advance and tailor made to fit. No time for that though. The quick and easy tourist options would have to do. I got all primped the next morning with my Aodai over a pair of jeans, only to get rained on, on the way to the event. All that trouble only to arrive looking disheveled anyway!

    It was amazing to meet a whole new subset of the Magento community as well as lots of really keen students. We made great friends who also made for wonderful networkers, tour guides of Ho Chi Minh City, its hottest club spots, dinner haunts and of course coffee shops. Vietnamese filter coffee is not for the faint hearted! This flavorful strong brew is bound to keep you alert for many hours! One of the highlights of this event was getting to know Thomas Goletz and watching him interact with the community. It was truly inspiring. Pictured here is Tra My Nguyen, one of the conference organizers, towering over Thomas Goletz. The conference venue was well set up with enormous screens which were great for large audiences.

    Since we commented on the showers in our  blog post covering Magetitans UK, we felt it fitting to offer a detailed account of the bathrooms we encountered in Vietnam. They are often appropriately called wet bathrooms. Sure enough, taking a shower gets everything wet. Bath tubs and shower cubicles are often not common place. Many shower areas we encountered doubled as the area with the toilet and basin. The shower head simply protruded from the wall in that room - really efficient use of space.

    We made sure we had time to explore the many charms of this amazing country. Apart from museums, street food and cafes, we wandered over to Bui Vien, a densely populated tourist and backpacker area which appeared to be alive all night. It was a great place to hang out outdoors and people watch. It was also a great place to make friends and enjoy local delicacies prepared in front of you in a matter of minutes. We very quickly found our favorite locales for great coffee, meals and cocktails and were always amazed at the enterprising, friendly and hardworking nature of folks who we miss dearly. A warning though, the electrical wiring would make anyone cringe. No, this is not your typical data-center wiring standard!

    Hahn at the restaurant a few doors down from our hotel, was always happy to see us and continued to surprise us with amazing dishes that were not even available on her menu. She was even happy to leave her restaurant just to walk with me through winding alley ways off the main drag so we could find fresh fruit.

    I was able to establish a routine in the craziness of Bui Vien as if I had always been there. We found a charming hotel managed by 2 young men who filled the roles of concierge, porter, hotel reception, tour and travel office, cleaning staff and all round great guys. Our first floor room was carefully chosen with large windows so we could always feel like we were a part of the daily activities, which were distinctively different at various parts of the day. The breakfast period was perhaps the calmest but by no means quiet. Various store fronts and road side vendors popped up almost everywhere with motorcycles, bicycles, taxis, Ubers, and pedestrians buzzing around with no clear demarkation of sidewalk and roadway. Stores and street vendors set up little plastic stools or a rolling cart on the roadside for a breakfast of banh-mi (sandwiches), soup, rice porridge or Vietnamese omelettes. Many of these vendors vanished until lunchtime and vanished again until dinner, not there there was ever a shortage of delectable food options or a welcoming smile. We once popped our unannounced heads into a language Institute that seemed to be preparing for Halloween. The students welcomed us as if they were expecting guests. We wandered through the scary maze they were setting up left and left after  great conversations and lots of pictures.

    We were always amazed by the incredible friendliness and perseverance of folks everywhere. One of our favorite things was offering larger than usual tips to various people when the opportunity arose. It was so easy to communicate with as little as a smile and gratitude so it was wonderful to add a token of appreciation.The exchange rate was so heavily in our favor and what is a small token of gratitude in the US, seemed to make someones day in Vietnam.  Our oarsman in Ha Long Bay certainly made our day, as did everyone we met in business and social interactions. He was great at finding the hot picture spots and directing us into appropriate poses using hilarious gestures. He would maneuver the boat with an oar in one hand while taking pictures of us with the other. He seemed to be skilled at using absolutely any phone or camera handed to him while still rowing with one arm :) Much to the amusement of us all, he also scolded me for my meek attempt at a smile when  he tried to take my picture :D

    One rule of survival was to quickly learn how to safely cross the street. I thought I has conquered this as a kid :D Stepping into traffic and maintaining a constant pace was the safest so motorists could anticipate your your next move. The throng of motorbikes, bicycles and larger vehicles simply buzzed around pedestrians and we did not observe a single accident involving a pedestrian. It amazed us, that even larger and fragile items like construction material, floral bouquets, and multiple trays of eggs and were all safely transported by bike. This was perhaps a common theme - things that may have seemed daunting or not possible back home were regular occurrences in daily life. We were sad to leave all this behind and hope to return many times. We keep in touch with friends made along the way and look forward to visiting in the future. Perhaps someday we can host some of them in the US.

     

     

     

     

  • What's New with Magento: 30 Recent Magento Websites

    MageMojo-Roundup-Illustration

    Magento is constantly evolving. Agencies everywhere are pushing the bounds of what can be done within a website. Magento 2 is gaining momentum, and we couldn't be more excited for what the future holds for Magento. By piecing together a collection of recent Magento websites we are looking to paint a picture of where the Magento world is at and where it is going. Here are some amazing Magento websites built by agencies around the world:


     

    Agency: Inchoo        Website: zeeandco.co.uk

    Zee and Co

    Zee & Co is a sharp looking site built by the amazing team over at Inchoo. What started as a project to make the site responsive and more mobile friendly turned into an entire site revamp. Their rebuild consisted of moving Zee & Co over to Magento enterprise edition while adding smooth real-time integration between Magento and various ERP systems. A few other highlights include custom solutions for sending mass e-newsletters, affiliate program integration and our personal favorite—Click & Collect, enabling customers to buy online and pick up their purchase at their nearest branch. Overall this site has a sharp design and a smooth interface that has lead to a 30% increase in traditional eCommerce conversions and 47% increase in mobile eCommerce conversions.


     

    Agency: Virtua Software       Website: SchwungHome.com

    Schwung Home

    With a custom interface and sharp design, the Schwung Home website is a crowd pleaser. Built by Virtua Software, this website has a few characteristics that show what there is to love about current Magento design.

    • Adding a unique login modification allows users to register on one site with the ability to login between two different sites without a hitch.
    • Integration with a Polish ERP system called “Subiekt” which required the installation of a web server with custom built raw pap scripts created to communicate with Magento inside a local network.

    Overall, this combo of front-end finesse and backend mastery is why the new Schwung Home website stands out.


     

    Agency: Jamersan        Website: Tikibrand.com

    Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 12.16.40 PM

    Jamersan engaged with world-renowned branding agency Cramer-Krasselt to launch Tikibrand.com using Magento Enterprise Edition.

    The first thing you notice on the site is the homepage that uses embedded background videos. The videos on this page are lazy-loaded after other crucial page elements, which allows the site to maintain its speed without sacrificing the video-powered effect that Tiki wanted to showcase their brand.

    Jamersan worked with Tiki’s in-house development team to fully automate the bi-directional flow of information from the Magento website into Tiki’s back-office suite. Tiki’s back-office suite is currently in a state of flux for product information (PIM) and order management  as they move from several third-party and custom written systems to SAP. As a result, the integration utilizes numerous custom written APIs. These APIs allow their in-house development team to incrementally migrate back-office functionality by simply updating APIs instead of modifying code on their eCommerce site.

    Jamersan is working on a perpetual basis with Tiki to identify areas of refinement and additional functionality that enables them to grow their brand.


     

    Agency: Space 48        Website: CharlotteTilbury.com

    Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 1.03.31 PM

    From the first impression CharlotteTilbury.com demonstrates the value of focusing on the small details. From the site’s mobile friendliness to tools that help you find the perfect product, the team at Space 48 covered all ends.

    • Separate sites for US, Australia, Canada, Holland, and Ireland all on the same Magento instance
    • Built-in active response to the different tax regulations between states and countries
    • Foundation Finder, an interactive process to help customers determine which foundation in perfect for their skin
    • Responsive shipping information factoring in separate warehousing for US sales

    With a lot more features we could talk about the folks over at Charlotte Tilbury must be ecstatic about beautiful site—inside and out.


     

    Agency: Imagination Media        Website: OhMyGauze.com

    Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.40.12 PM

    Oh My Gauze! is the perfect example of a brick and mortar store that has expanded online in the right way thanks to the crew over at Imagination Media. We really like this site because it shows the power of mixing form with function, much like the clothes they sell. The website is easy to navigate, and with what seems like a million options for different colors it's easy to quickly find what you want. One of our favorite features about the website is how the inventory backend integrates in-store sales with online sales. By integrating Microsoft Dynamics RMS with Magento, Imagination was able to utilize the same inventory and product data from the stores on Magento as well as Amazon and Ebay! 


     

    Agency: Peacock Carter        Website: Cleva-UK.com

    Cleva

    Cleva-UK.com is far from what you would expect of a vacuum website, i.e. it doesn’t suck. Okay, that was a pretty rough dad joke but all jokes aside we really love this build. The site is simple, clean and easy to navigate with some awesome backend additions that make life easy for Cleva. By adding a custom ‘feature’ section, the folks at Peacock Carter were able to give the ability to easily swap out featured videos or GIFs. This gives Cleva flexibility to updated their site often without constantly having to go to a developer. We find the GIF function extra interesting because by default Magento only shows the first frame. The last backend feature we really enjoyed was giving Cleva the ability to upload PDF’s with new specifications for products, warranties, and other documents. Cleva-uk.com is a great example of a website built with the customer’s needs, as well as the client’s needs, in mind.


     

    Agency: Swift Otter        Website: GraciousMay.com

    Gracious May

    Every website needs good visual assets to make for sharp design. In the right hands good assets become great assets and that’s what we have with Swift Otter’s work on the Gracious May site. We love the frontend and how the site connects with other sites owned by the same company, but the real gem is hidden behind the scenes. Wanting a new blog, the team at Swift Otter was able to build a Wordpress site hosted on a separate server with a connector to interface between Wordpress and Magento. This connector prevents the ability for a hacker to compromise the Magento site if they somehow break into Wordpress. Along with some custom streamlined checkout features GraciousMay.com is a good example of all around quality.


     

    Agency: Rocket Web        Website: Squix.com

    Squix

    The clean look of the Squix site really matches the clean products they sell. Rocket Web launched squix.com in Jan 2016 on Magento Enterprise Edition. Squix is a new brand and the only retailer of curated, anti-germ products with a focus on subscriptions.

    Customers are encouraged to sign-up for a QBox subscription where they can get 3 full size products along with some samples every month. Customers answer a few onboarding questions to help build their product selection then they are able to change products in an upcoming box if they don't like the pre-selected options. This is a great aspect of customization that changes what actually goes into the box.

    Rocket Web’s NetSuite Connector for Magento is used to tie Magento in with NetSuite. And with Sweet Tooth’s incentives, customers are sure to keep coming back.


     

    Agency: Pinpoint Designs        Website: SpecialisedCovers.com

    Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.40.51 PM

    This site is hot off the press and as sharp as can be, but you'd expect nothing less from the guys at Pinpoint Designs. Launched around 4 weeks ago, SpecialisedCovers.com features a stepped buying process which allows customers to select options to customize every part of their car covers. In the admin panel, they have created an individual order items grid which splits orders down into the individual items which have been purchased. From here, each item can be tracked through the stage of manufacturing so that customers can receive updates on how their order is progressing as it is being built. With functional and unique features we're blown away by the work here.


     

    Agency: Blue Duck       Website: Amooti.org

    Amooti

    Amooti is a new marketplace for unique African products. By allowing anyone to create a free seller account they have built up a huge variety of products, all African inspired. This site makes shopping easy and selling even easier. The team at Blue Duck built custom UPS functionality that allows sellers to request a pickup and be billed by Amooti similar to function found on Tradsey. We look forward to seeing the Amooti catalogue grow. It already has a great foundation.


     

    Agency: InteractOne      Website: Watsons.com

    Screen Shot 2016-06-22 at 11.21.40 AM

    InteractOne recently launched www.watsons.com, a responsive Magento website devoted to indoor & outdoor entertainment products for the home. This was an interesting build because Watson’s is first and foremost a brick and mortar store that is expanding online.

    • A focus on strong images with detailed descriptions of the massive inventory to give customers a similar experience to in-store.
    • Special focus on easy navigation. Specifically, a left column with attributes to make filtering easier.
    • A dependable and flexible content management system that was easier to manage in house. With quick product turnover and ever-changing seasonal promotions, their in-house staff needed the ability to make quick and easy updates to the website.

     

    Agency: Nano Web Group     Website: Phigora.com

    Phigora

    Nano Web Group creates custom eCommerce experiences and their work with Phigora is no exception. Phigora.com was a complete build out from scratch including UX/UI design. Focusing on buying and selling luxury goods they needed a site whose quality matches their products. With backend integration connecting with Marketplaces like Amazon, EBay and 11Main they greatly expand a seller's potential customer base. One of our favorite features is the form that allows customers to submit an offer for a product rather than only having the option to buy. Along with custom layered navigation and elastic search this website is as complex and fine-tuned as the Rolexes they sell.


     

    Agency: JH       Website: 5Pointz.co.uk

    5 pointz

    5Pointz.co.uk really stood out to us due to sharp design and a unique backend created to handle customer’s habits. With limited shoe releases you can see thousands of people trying to get their hands on a pair of shoes when only 100 are being released. Traffic spikes can often be a pain in the neck for websites but JH has done a great job with 5 Pointz by building a site taking into account how they can make sure a customer's shopping experience is as stress free as possible.

    • A unique system to handle large quantities of customers trying to buy from a small release
    • Multiple upcoming item features making it easy for 5 Pointz to customize their release schedule
    • API-integration with Trustpilot
    • Bespoke Wordpress integration created so data is securely shared without sharing databases or any of the ’typical’ methods of doing it
    • Data-api-exchange method that allows Magento and Wordpress to integrate well for the front-end user

    Overall we love what the team at JH has done with this site and know where to look next time we need a fresh pair of kicks!


     

    Agency: Anatta Design     Website: DanielleLaporte.com

    Danielle Laporte

    DanielleLaporte.com is a beautiful website that breaks a lot of conventions and does so with grace making the site easy to navigate and understand. The home page features two vertical scrollers separated by a stationary image.

    • Pay what you can products
    • Installment payment features along with tiered subscriptions
    • Magento session sharing on Wordpress pages

    With tons of unique content the website is still easy to navigate and intuitive. When all is said and done this site looks great, has a unique feel, and functions incredibly well.


     

    Agency: MeanBee       Website: IrregularChoice.com

    Irregular Choice

    With an incredibly unique brand like Irregular Choice, MeanBee was able to find a balance between eccentricity and creating an effective ecommerce experience. If you get a chance to check out their gold Darth Vader heels, it is life changing.

    By using widgets to manage the different types of CMS content Irregular Choice could focus on the quality of content they were adding without needing to worry about breaking the layout or style.

    With a loyal customer base, each launch of new shoes produces a great influx of customers. Ensuring a smooth functioning website in these situations needs particular attention and care to optimizing performance which has been done with high quality underlying code, full page caching and Cloudflare. To top it all off they have integrated a queuing system for busy launch events to ensure customer experience stays on track.


     

    Agency: Something Digital       Website: PapyrusOnline.com

    Papyrus

    With over 100 stores across the United States and Canada and the need for more in-store integration we feel like papyrusonline.com is an incredible example of what can be done with traditional commerce and eCommerce integration.

    The site looks great, is incredibly fast, fully responsive and has very intuitive navigation. We love that we can order cards online directly from a desktop or mobile device and it's printed and mailed to us with beautiful inks on glamorous paper

    While these are all great facets of the Papyrus build, the most impressive thing we have found is how the site connects with the stores. Rewards points track in store purchases as well as online purchases and you can reserve your purchase from any of the 100+ stores they have around the country. Accessibility was also a major part of this build. They worked to ensure anyone could have access to the products and services for sale. Overall the team at Something Digital really knocked it out of the park on this site.


     

    Agency: Classy Llama       Website: ForTheChef.com

    For The Chef

    FortheChef.com was the first eCommerce site for a new business venture. They wanted to create a sharp looking and smooth functioning site to allow for a great eCommerce launch. They also were focusing on establishing a foundation for future growth and scalability.

    • Custom-created design that provides a curated shopping experience for customers based on their individual preferences and needs
    • Implemented Nucleus Commerce to provide features that enhance shopping experiences for customers and made it easier for internal management of the site
    • Determined SEO content, strategy and approach
    • Responsive Web Design that offered the ultimate experience on all devices
    • Integration with marketplaces, in order to: sync product catalogs, automatically retrieve orders into Magento for processing, and send shipment data back to the marketplace

    With all of these features in place and great looking design it seems as though the team at Classy Llama has built a foundation to ensure For the Chef will be a great success.


     

    Agency: Farin Innovations       Website: 22DaysNutrition.com

    22 Days Nutrition

    Simply visiting the site will leave you feeling healthier and happier. When it comes to a building a site for subscription based business model Farin has knocked it out of the park. The work they have done on 22DaysNutirion.com is truly designed to keep their customer happy and coming back for more. With a custom built “My Account” feature they can accommodate all of the personal needs of each recurring customer. Along with personalized accounts they have heavily incentivized customers with a great affiliate program that is integrated seamlessly into the website. Paring these factors with super sharp visual design makes for an enjoyable experience on every visit.


     

    Agency: Sellry       Website: BulkHerbStore.com

    Bulk Herb Store

    Sellry has really been enjoying getting into the groove with Magento 2. After talking to quite an extensive list of agencies they really seem to be on top of getting M2 sites live. Their first M2 build went live in February; it was a fairly conservative build. Sellry did the theming plus a few third party plugins thrown in, including Nucleus Elements for easier CMS editing. With unique design that seems to flow through the site and very smooth functions we are happy to see what is being done with M2. Sellry is also a few weeks away from launching a quite ambitious M2 build, a children's apparel marketplace featuring brands and boutiques worldwide. The project if full of complex custom features including multi-vendor inventory import, vendor decision logic and split fulfillment.


     

    Agency: Inviqa       Website: Byredo.com

    Byredo

    From the second you arrive at Byredo.com you know there is something special. When working with a company that has such beautifully designed products there is always the possibility of site design not quite matching up. The team at Inviqa didn’t have to think twice to know that wasn’t a possibility with them on the job. This site is so clean and visually appealing the web design alone makes me want to buy things. Outside of the visual aspects, the site has great responsive features giving it the ability to feel great on any size of screen. We also love the unique layout for products that feels more alive than your standard shopping page. Oh, and did we forget to mention that this was one of the UK’s very first M2 sites to go live?


     

    Agency: Demac Media       Website: EverythingWine.ca

    Screen Shot 2016-06-24 at 12.41.26 PM

    The Everything Wine site is a Magento build that is truly designed to make for a more efficient and profitable business. Demac Media included order routing logic to support omnichannel initiatives right into the platform, without the use of an OMS.

    • Order routing logic to support omnichannel initiatives right into the platform, without the use of an OMS.
    • One of their locations (and fulfillment centers) is located on an island. The website has logic that limits the catalogue based on the customer’s location so shipments to the mainland are profitable.
    • The customized “Wine Cellar” subscription program enable customers to save preferred wines, see their reviews of other wines, view their invitations to Everything Wine events, and more.
    • Everything Wine Unlimited Program, similar to Amazon Prime, gives customers free shipping on all orders for $79 a year; as well as pick-up in store capabilities. All of which have been built exclusively in Magento without the need for an OMS for the omnichannel capabilities.

     

    Agency: Customer Paradigm       Website: JoyFolie.com

    Joyfolie

    Customer Paradigm recently designed and built the JoyFolie Magento eCommerce site on the Magento Community Platform. When you arrive at the site you immediately get a handcrafted feel that matches the quality of JoyFolie’s products. The site is fully responsive for Desktop, Laptop, Tablet and Mobile views. The home page features moving sliders, full width hero images, and products as well. Each page of the Magento site seems finely tuned to make sure that the end customer experience would convey the same attention to design and details that they feature in their products. Buttons were customized, and the navigation was designed in a way that mobile users could easily browse the site and place an order from their laptop later. Ultimately, JoyFolie teaming up with the team at Customer Paradigm seems like a match made in heaven.


     

    Agency: Mediotype    Website einvite.com

    Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 12.16.17 PM

    For a website that makes custom physical invitations for weddings, birthdays, baby showers and much more, you know they need a site that meets the quality of their invitations. We really like sites that are built with the tangible end product in mind and eInvite.com is a perfect example. The backend is fully integrated with the businesses manufacturing and fulfillment process to avoid any unnecessary complications. Along with including custom admin features in angular.js, the site is incredibly fast considering the tens of GBs of media being heavily processed. Mediotype’s work rests perfectly at the corner of form and function.


     

    Agency: Inverse Paradox        Website: Jofit.com

    Screen Shot 2016-07-12 at 12.17.01 PM

    Nothing proves the success of a website like tangible growth of a business. Inverse Paradox did an incredible job on Jofit.com and with the overall performance boost of the site they saw traffic grow 300% without changing their marketing efforts. Outside of the amazing growth they saw in customers, the site was also built to simplify the lives of Jofit by integrating the backend of their website with internal inventory management. The site looks great and has been proved to be more than just a new online home.

    Agency: Newthink   Site: Derng

    Derng

    The chic new website for Derng jewelry is as stylish as the brand itself. The minimalist aesthetics of the website is a classy showcase for Derng statement pieces. With dropdowns for different product categories and collections, it is easy to get an idea of all their offerings at a glance.

    The email marketing functionality integrated into the website highlights their rewards program and benefits for subscribers. The Instagram integration on the homepage is a smart move that keeps the site dynamic and updated. It also shows that they understand the social preferences of their buyer persona.

    Agency: Redstage   Site: Juliska

    Juliska

    This elegant website greets visitors with soothing colors and beautiful images amidst natural settings. With a simple white background and artistic photos, this website captures the essence of Juliska. It plays around with the textures and colors to highlight Juliska's artistry and brand identity.

    These designs turn on the old-world domestic charm without sacrificing the website's usability. Redstage has achieved this synthesis of aesthetics and performance by toning down heavy design elements to enable a fast and seamless shopping experience meant to increase conversions. This website also focuses on Juliska's visitors and their behavior to ensure custom implementations. With improved gift registry shopping, it offers one-click gift wrap and custom engraving features.

    These changes in website design were accompanied by a major integration of Magento and the Microsoft Dynamics NAV system to synchronize orders, products, inventory, and customers not only on the website but also in their retail stores. Ultimately, this online and offline integration model extends the shopping experience their customer has in-store to online. This advanced integration gives their visitors a unique and customized shopping experience, setting Juliska and their brand a cut above the rest.

    Agency: Axial Motion   Site: Dolls Kill

    Dolls Kill

    There is a certain rough-around-the-edges feel to the photos on the home page of this San Fransisco based street style clothing store. In keeping with the brand aesthetics, the design also stands out with its grunge look.

    'Make it super fast' must have been the brief given to Axial Motion for the Dolls Kill website. Ajax-driven custom refinement and pagination modules for category pages enables them to load very fast. The integrated Algolia search makes the search experience extremely fast. A custom "adding to cart" function from product page helps the customer shop for items in an instant. The inbuilt wishlist functionality on Magento has been customized to enhance the user experience.

    Agency: Media Lounge    Site: Pulsin'

    Pulsin

    Enhancing customer experience and engaging with them online is at the heart of this Pulsin' website. The much-loved organic foods brand factored in customer feedback and requirements before taking their business online. The improvement made to the second version of the site have resulted in a beautifully designed, responsive website that is a one-stop-shop not just for healthy food, but also for tasty recipes and interesting information on clean eating. Their agency Media Lounge teamed up with Aheadworks to fine tune the 'Subscription Products' section which allows customers to easily order products they need. The one step checkout feature customized especially for Pulsin' using the OneStepCheckout extension on Magento gives users a friction-free buying experience.

    A pioneer in the organic and healthy foods category, Pulsin's blog is a very helpful collection of news content, nutritional information, workout routines, and recipes. It also includes a section which curates user-generated content from social media channels. WordPress is integrated with Magento which makes it easy to manage and regularly update the blog. This website includes a host of automation and personalization extensions at the back-end which helps Pulsin' streamline their business processes. Built keeping current and future requirements in mind, this easy-to-update website helps keep Pulsin' at the cutting-edge of the health foods industry.

    Agency: Commerce Pundit   Site: https: Canvas Champ

    Canvas Champ

    Canvas Champ's website gives you beautiful samples of photos that they have turned into canvas prints. With a view towards increasing traffic to their website, they completely overhauled the content to optimize it for search engines. By making the site easier to find for potential customers in Canada and the USA, the updated website resulted in a 55% increase in visitors and a whopping 103% rise in revenues with a corresponding increase in transactions.

    The site also showcases additional products and services alongside their main offering. The responsive website has integrated email marketing function and also makes it easy to track visitor behavior and use it to optimize their analytics and refine marketing strategies. This has given their users a much better purchase experience reducing bounce rates by 21%.

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    As always, we're excited for the ever changing landscape of the Magento world. We hope this serves as a good snapshot of the quality of work that's out there.

    Feel free to reach out to us if you know of a site or have a site that belongs on this list!

  • 360 Degree Customer Support at MageMojo

    At MageMojo we offer code level support to all of our customers, but what does that really mean?

    If you’ve ever seen Ferris Beullers Day Off, leaving your car with a valet might freak you out a bit. You know there’s always a chance your car may come back with a brand new scratch, free of charge. Now imagine a world where MageMojo parks your car. The valet hands your keys back and says, “I noticed things weren’t quite working properly so I went ahead and tuned her up. She should be running like new. Also, you may want to get the timing belt changed soon. If you have any other problems you can call me any time of the day, free of charge.”

    The support that we offer for our hosting customers is a true 360 degree view of the server, it's hardware, and how that interacts with the Magento code base. We then go one step further to dig down, find, and sometimes fix those pesky issues that slow your site down or lock it up altogether.

    Other hosting providers have this option if you’re willing to fork out the big bucks. What makes us stand out is that we provide individual support to every customer, no need for a massive wallet or special partnership.

    1

    Code level support is something we’re very proud of here at MageMojo so let’s go ahead and break it down.

    Performance support

    There’s a million and one things that can go wrong with a Magento site. Most issues come from either the site code or how that code and all its extensions interact with the server. So many people get stuck with performance. Drilling down to the specific line of code and saying “here’s what’s wrong” versus saying “awww that’s probably code related.” This is where we get to fill the annoying gap between code and server, helping customers know exactly where the problem is hiding.

    Our team starts by solving any possible problems of how code is configured with the server so clients can stop wondering where issues are coming from. We then go into the code and help identify the smoking gun. This allows us to view performance as a whole, not just as individual puzzle pieces that still need solving.

    Anytime a customer has a performance issue they can open up a ticket. They say “hey, my store is live, it’s broken, can you help me?” or “hey, my store is running really slow. The search is slow and these category pages are slow. Can you help me?”

    We look at the code to help find a root cause. We let them know the piece of code down to the line number, or tell the customer they’re abusing a collection in the loop or have a database deadlock. We’ve even found issues of customers making remote calls to a third party services that are slow to respond. Whatever the problem turns out to be, we’ll be there to help solve it.

    Some hosts may do this for VIP’s or big agencies - this level of service is open for all of our customers - no need for a secret handshake. We don’t have different layers of support with different prices. Customers don’t have to be well-known in the Magento community. They don’t have to be spending X dollars for hosting a month. In fact, it’s written directly into our SLA.

    A lot of hosting companies do this on a case by case basis but we do this across the board, 100% of the time, for everyone.

    Some people feel that MageMojo is a little expensive because of how much support we offer. If you want a shared server for $10-20 a month, they are out there. We don't focus ourselves in that market. That’s just not us. It’s not what we do. We could never provide this level of service for $10 a month. What we can do is promise that we make up for more than the difference with incredible support from a reliable team (and affordable dedicated hosting).

    2

    Magento Core

    We support the Magento core itself. Being a Magento specific host gives us the ability to not only know the in’s and out’s of our servers but to know how customer’s software will integrate every step of the way. This means if someone is tinkering with the core and it breaks, we’ll be able to show you exactly where things went wrong.

    We understand the server and we understand Magento so we understand how Magento is interacting with the server. Even when people know they have a code problem causing poor performance they need to understand how code is interacting with the server hardware to understand why it’s a code problem.

    Our specialty is taking server level expertise and combining it with Magento level expertise and offering that to every customer. That’s the 360 degree view of a customer's support needs.


    Diagnosing Problems

    When we have customers migrate to us from other hosting companies, a lot of times we hear a similar story. The other hosts will support them to the extent that they'll say "yes this service is running", "the server is not out of memory", or "MySQL looks like it's tuned properly.”

    Well what if you're running into slow pages and it turns out that there are full table scans being done in mySQL - a lot of times you have to go in there and get those queries out for people. So you have to say what queries are running long and which are locking and where it’s coming from in the code.

    And very few developers know how to get this server-level information.

    When a customer reports to us that their site is running slow, we will identify whether the problem is server-related or within the code - down to the specific line of code. Whether that's in the core or in a 3rd party extension we find out what is causing that bottleneck.

    Take all of that a step further and look at how the code is interacting with the database. So there may be things that can be done on the database side like maybe a query cache is needed - query cache may not even be enabled. Some people might think why would it? Sometimes query cache hurts people, sometimes it helps people. It’s a controversial topic. In 5.6, mySQL disabled query cache by default. Up to 5.5 it was enabled. Query cache is something a customer may need to turn on.

    Maybe the way a customer is reading the tables could benefit from an index. We can see fixes like that. Add an index on this key and boom your query is flying now. Or maybe they have sql deadlocks and are not a database expert - I mean the queries that come from Magento are massive - we understand those. We can generate query plans and help optimize them. We will even help with deadlocks.

    If customers need a specific MySQL parameter tuned because what they’re doing requires something that’s outside of what works for everybody else, we will help. That’s code level support. We step in and solve those really really hard problems that the average host can’t or won’t. We’re here to do this for every customer, they don’t even have to ask.

    3

    Break Fix

    Everyone knows that sinking feeling in the pit of your stomach when your site stops working. If a customer is in production and broken we come in and troubleshoot. We’ll help determine the root cause of the issue.

    If a customer is in production and their site is broken, we’ll come in and look at the issue. We take action to get problems fixed so the site is operational again. We give customers the smoking gun of what went wrong, after we get their store running again.

    If the issue relates to an extension we let the customer know exactly what extension is broken. If we know exactly how the extension is breaking we’ll inform clients on what is broken down to the line of offending code. If we don’t know exactly how to fix the issue we'll let customers know what extension it is and recommend that they disable it and talk to the extension vendor.

    Our response to a client’s issue also depends on their experience and willingness to work on the problem. We know it’s a database problem and point out a locking query but we usually stop there. Our customers then have the option to ask us to take care of the problem or to continue working with us on the resolution. Either way, it’s no extra charge.

    If we think it’s an index, we’ll drop in an index and just like that the problem is solved. Otherwise, if it requires more interaction with the developer and the customer has a developer or is a developer, we will happily continue the conversation and give more and more details as the issue unfolds. We extend this quality of support for some very difficult, hard to solve problems.

    Some hosts may provide this depth of support but not without the customer pulling out their pocketbook. If a customer is having database deadlocks but it’s not happening all the time, for other hosts it is about $300/hour. Their DBA will have to sit there for a few days waiting for the problem to happen and customers end up spending $10,000 to fix the problem.


    Auto-Patching

    We do auto-patching for all of our customers. By default, everyone is opted in. As far as we can tell, we are the only Magento hosting company that offers this to all of our customers by default.

    We’ve been able to figure out programmatic ways to do this auto-patching for everybody. Not only does this process include default templates but every customer's server is setup for auto-patching including custom templates as well.

    There are other hosting companies that may offer this to some of their customers - perhaps to their VIPs or larger customers - but what differentiates us is that we offer this to every single one of our customers.

    In the auto-patching process we don't just roll default patches out across the board. A lot of patching, if applied across the board, would leave your site vulnerable. We modify the patches and roll them into our own patch script to give additional security protection for your site.

    For example, if a patch adds a foreign key to a template. Updates will patch the default templates but they will not patch custom template files. We will go in and patch your custom templates to ensure you a more secure and consistent site. This applies to everyone, not just VIPs.

    We started doing this as of the Shoplift bug. When Shoplift hit, we realized that we had to do this - we know our customers, and our customers are, by and large, mid-market or the higher end of the small business market. Many times they paid someone else to build their site and they don't even know what a patch is.

    If auto-patching ever fails because the core has been modified then we’ll notify our clients. When it comes to bigger issues with core modification in regards to how patches are working we will usually refer them to a developer. We also send automated patch emails that go out once a week and remind customers if they’re not patched. The reminder basically says “You need to patch these. This is dangerous. This is why it’s dangerous. Here’s how to fix it.”

    4

    Extension Configuration

    It’s not uncommon to run into speed and functionality problems when adding extensions with server interactions to a website’s code. Part of our code level support is going into the server to make sure that any extensions are properly configured.

    For example - if a customer comes in and they want to enable Varnish we’ll go ahead and install turpentine for them. We then configure Varnish on the server and go into the Turpentine settings to configure it to work well with the server. Once we have configured all the server side settings in Turpentine we know when you save it - it’s pushing your VCL to Varnish. Also, any other aspects like crawl that need to be configured - we will configure for you as well.

    Or when a customer wants SOLR. We’ll install it for them with whatever extension they’re using and look at the server side settings of that extension and make sure they are working with SOLR. We don’t just install extensions and make customers go do the rest on their own. We guarantee whatever extension is being added will work with the server.

    Extensions that have non-trivial server integration or some server side component that needs to be set up. We’ll install and configure it. The whole 9 yards.


    Most hosts are not set up to handle this additional level of support. For us, it’s built right into our workflow. We have a team of frontline support guys and we have a team of hardcore sysadmins. Our workflow is set up between our help desk and Jira - when an issue like that comes in we can generate a ticket for a sysadmin to work with so they can take over and work on it.

    Our sysadmins are always there - we have a couple onboard around the clock - this is so you don’t have to hire a sysadmin around the clock just to monitor your issue until they catch it. We always have someone there 24/7. Our processes are built around customer support which is how we can afford this level of care for every single client.

    Our philosophy is to make sure that you always know the server is working. We don’t ever want customers to be in a position where the don’t know where issues are coming from. We understand the server and we understand Magento so that you can know exactly how the two of them are interacting to help solve possible issues whether they’re big or small.

    Our database experts come together with our Magento experts to provide customers with the most responsive and thorough support of any Magento host. A full 360° view of the delicate balance between code base and server hardware.

    So when it comes down to what code level support really means, it means we’re willing to go the extra mile for our customers. It means less downtime, faster load times, and in the end, a more profitable business.

  • How We Built A Successful Magento Hosting Company

    So you've read the offer, the secret sauce, and you still don't believe it.

    Well ok then, here's the story of how we actually did it...

    Let's travel back in time to 2008 where Magento first started chewing up and spitting out servers. At that time I was working for my own email marketing company and I was focused on store integrations for advanced email marketing.  Email-Marketing-mojo

    ShopSite had been my primary focus up until that point when Magento burst onto the scene.  I looked for ways to expand, saw Magento was the next big thing, and wrote my own extension extending the Magento api.  Maintaining and supporting this api became quite a nightmare due to the poor support and misconfiguration of the hosting providers my customers were using. Two things started becoming very clear, Magento's performance was a big problem, and so was the lack of support from hosting providers.

    I had been working with ecommerce since 2000 and bounced between many hosted cart solutions.  In the ShopSite hosting world there were many options but only one choice: Lexiconn.  I have a great amount of respect for Lexiconn and the support they offered to their customers.  Rob will tell you I pushed the limits of ShopSite and man we did some crazy things together with it.  At one point we even had ShopSite connected up and printing etickets for the turnstyles at the Kennywood family of amusement parks in Pittsburgh (Kennywood, Sandcastle, Idlewild)!

    Kennywood

     We had a store that went on Good Morning America multiple times, QVC appearances, the works.  I owe a lot to Lexiconn and I have a great amount of respect for the level of support they provided to their ShopSite customers.  Lexiconn has finally entered the Magento market and Rob told me "looks like you guys are the ones to beat".  That really meant a lot to me and I'm sure Lexiconn is going to push us harder than ever to do better.

    From them I learned a host isn't just the bare metal nor the software stack nor the network.

     The host understands your problems with the application because the host are experts in the application.  They help you with configuration problems.  They help guide you on performance problems with troubleshooting and advice.  They watch your back by applying security updates, not only patching your server, but also patching your store.  They help you troubleshoot problems that you think might be the server, even when they're not, just so you can be sure. When it comes to performance problems, software or app, every performance problem becomes a problem because it's pushing the hardware too much.  Having a deep understanding of how the software and app interact with the hardware is the key to understanding all performance problems.  

    Last, but not least, support should be quick to respond, and when responding they take the time to read your ticket, think it through then reply, instead of playing ticket ping pong. We all know how stressful it can be when you open a trouble ticket, wait for the response, and it comes back asking for information you already sent. Knowing that the person on the other end of the keyboard understands your problem and cares about your issue brings a tremendous amount of relief, especially when you know it's someone you can trust.

    Now it's 2009, and I'm thinking, I can solve these performance problems with Magento by using better hardware.  You see sending millions of emails a day, hundreds of thousands per hour, thousands per second; requires a very particular set of skills, skills I have acquired over a very long career.

    Skills that make me a nightmare for other hosts.  I struggled for years building my own colocated app infrastructure and writing all my code, including my own high performance SMTP email delivery engine, to be able to hit the intense throughput and uber low latency required.

    I spent 8 years obsessed with the relationship between code and hardware and the network, to research, learn, and understand how to make them run faster together. One of the most useful pieces of hardware in solving the problem had just come out, and it was taking hardware performance to epic new levels; the solid state disk drive.   My current business partner, and former colleague Martin Pachol, was doing some freelance with me when he suggested I try virtualization.  Pretty soon all my servers were running in VM's with SSD drives. I could clearly see virtualization and SSD technologies were the future.

    sheldon_big_bang_theory_t

    Here we are in late 2009, I'm sick and tired of dealing with what I considered shitty support at hosting providers and I'm convinced we can build an infrastructure that will run Magento faster.

     We see there's a market where Magento is growing by leaps and bounds.  Everyone is obsessed with Magento performance and we see an opportunity to use our acquired skills to solve these widespread performance problems.

     We now have a niche market with exploding growth, a catalyst of performance problems to propel customers to our offering, and a hook of better performance plus better support to retain them for the long term.  The icing on the cake is that it's a subscription based service, you subscribe customers, they pay you every month, sweet!

    MAgento11

    We leased a couple servers from Dell wth SSD drives, installed them onto my existing infrastructure, loaded our hypervisor, configured our os/stack, and off we went testing.  It worked, it worked really, really, well!  I started referring customers from the email marketing side to the hosting side.  They told their friends who told their friends and so on.  Before long I had to make a choice.  I was tired of fighting with ISP's over deliverability issues and I always loved building high performance infrastructure and pushing performance boundaries more than anything (admittedly to my own detriment when I should have been doing other things :).  Good bye email markeing! so I transitioned to MageMojo full time.Animals-Waving-Goodbye-Photos-658x411

    Those first years were tough.  I mean really tough.  We started this company with no investment so we had no operating capital to hire a full staff. Martin was working full time for the first year and he answered tickets during the daytime while at work.  I answered them in the evenings.

     At night I slept with my phone on my pillow and set the tickets to send me text messages to wake me up at night.  Throughout the night, buzz buzz buzz, wake up answer ticket, sleep, buzz buzz buzz.  Eventually we our income grew, we hired people, we fired people, we learned how to hire and how to fire.

    Magento

    We soon realized that the datacenter we were in wasn't going to be a long term growth option for us.  They were charging way too much for their bandwidth and their uplinks were saturated.  The latency wasn't great and the were doing funky things with their routing policies. And we were using their IP addresses for our customers DNS, IP addresses we could not take with us anywhere else.  

    We were quickly becoming married to this datacenter and soon would never be able to leave.  We knew if we wanted to be a real hosting company; we needed to build our own network.

    That's what we did, we moved our two racks into a carrier neutral facility literally right beside all the major eyeball networks.  We picked up IP transit from them, got our ASN from ARIN, and built our own damn network.  It was small, it was low throughput, it was expensive as hell for us at the time, but it was ours damn it! More importantly it's latency was super low making it faster than our previous datacenter's network. We finally had our own core network with our own IP address space; we were fast and we were free! 

    Buginbed

    We continued to grow, adding more servers, adding more staff. Along the way we learned hard lessons.  We experienced double drive raid failures knocking out arrays.  We experienced backup vendors buggy software failing to keep proper backups when we needed them most.  We got knocked down.  We got back up. We evaluated what went wrong. We grew stronger and stronger.

    Then disaster struck at the end of 2012.  Someone launched very high rate pps ddos against one of our customers on black friday knocking us offline.

    Our beloved tiny core was quickly overloaded and in that condition could not provide netflow data to identify the target of the attack.  Without the target IP address we had nothing to give our upstreams to null route stopping the flood. It took us a couple hours to figure out the IP addresses and have the null routes in place restoring service.

    DDos-attack-mode

    In 2013 we started out on a mission to build a new core, the ultimate core, the core we've been dreaming of.  We learned everything we could learn on firewalls, WAF's, IDS's, IPS's, and ddos protection.  We invested $500,000 into the new core and believe me when I say we had the technology and we rebuilt it better than before.  We survived the next Black Friday / Cyber Monday and we caught the attention of F5 Networks who flew us out to do a video case study.   Since then I've been a guest speaker on their webinars and events like the RSA security conference.  CDW also did case studies on too! I became a customer advisor to the Security and DDos team at F5. It's been great to work them and collaborate with their team of security experts.

    Along the way I also became a customer advisor to Cisco's Performance Routing team advising on their PfR product.  And oh, also the technical editor on the first Mastering Magento book from Packt Pub.  

    Things started looking bright again for old MageMojo!

    Mastering

    Now we're in 2016 and things are looking good. The network is running great.  Our server builds are solid.  We have iterated over version after version of our automation tools having finally evolved them into their final form.  But there's a problem, a nagging problem, something that we've been trying to avoid but know we will have to deal with eventually.

    The problem is we're using someone else's hosting control panel.  Maybe you've heard of it, it's a little thing called cPanel :)  cPanel is an expensive monthly cost for us that keeps growing. It's also taking total control of the server including the software versions and components that can/can't be installed. We want to innovate and we need to try new and exciting technologies but cPanel keeps lagging behind the times, promising new features, but never delivering.  So, being the developers and programmers we are, we say hell with it, let's roll our own control panel and stack, with blackjack and hookers! And we did using angularjs plus bootstrap for the front with Saltstack in the back.  Our server performance doubled!

     Combined with our new hardware build released at the same time we saw a total 3x increase in performance in terms of both decreased latency and increased load handling!  Writing our own control panel and stack allowed us to unlock the full potential of the amazing underlying hardware builds we had created.  Sales literally doubled over night!

    Sales in 2015 continued to pick up and we continued to grow while managing to keep a very high 99% retention rate of customers.  Customers that we have lost have either gone out of business or switched platforms and only very rarely left because they were unhappy with our service.  I think it takes about 5 years to bake a hosting company off, to really work out all the bugs, and get yourself humming along with great efficiency.  It certainly takes a long time for the economies of scale to kick in where you start turning profits.

    Especially for fixed costs like staffing 24x7 support and running a big core network of your own. What you do sacrifice are the marketing dollars.  You can't afford to have a lounge at Imagine. You can't even go to any events at all.  You invest your money into products and services.  That's how you offer more for less.

    247

    Let's do some quick "hypothetical" napkin math to illustrate this.  The major expenses of a hosting company are your hardware, network/facility, and payroll.  Hardware costs of leasing one server is about $250/mo. You're still buying latest generation and top of the line hardware but you're keeping your costs low with aggressive qty discount pricing while also leasing on FMV terms.  You can signup customers at your current prices to bring in an avg $1000/mo rev per server. You're left  with $750/mo in income per server after hardware costs. Let's say, "hypothetically", you have 150 physical servers. Take 150 servers multiplied by $750/mo and you have $112,500 in income.  Subtract your network/facility cost of $20,000 and that leaves you with $92,500 for payroll and misc expenses. Can you hire 15-20 highly skilled FTE's living in NYC for that amount? Almost, but not quite.

    Fortunately, you don't have to. You need staffing 24x7, so you look for staff in other countries.  It so happens that we've attracted ex-magento employees from Magento Go and EE support, living in Ukraine, who love working with us and fit perfect into our nightshift.  That significantly lowers costs per FTE.  You also allow your employees to work from home so they can enjoy being in lower cost of living areas.

     They love the benefit of remote work while still being paid well for their area. You're able to attract talented people because many want to leave the big cities and head back to rural areas. Plus now you've expanded your job search across the entire country widening your talent pool.  If you had to setup a large office and required everyone to come into work, you couldn't afford to attract talent, nor be profitable.  You also don't need everyone to be a Senior Admin.  What you need are people with hosting experience who are trainable using your playbook.  Lastly, when your two owners are also working at the company full time, you avoid paying the senior management pork.

    Pork

    My business partner Martin and I did not start this company to get rich.  We started it first because we love building high performance infrastructures and making applications go really really fast.  Second because we wanted to create good jobs for people where they love what they do, they like the people they work with, they look forward to starting work everyday, and they're well taken care of.  I don't care if Martin and I find an exit to cash out.  We're just happy building a family of people who love what they do.  And we love helping our customers.  This is a serious business.  

    Our customers depend on us to make sure their store is online and fast.  They might be the owner who's relying on one more order he needs to make his rent this month or she might be working for a large company putting her reputation and job on the line by choosing us.  We depend on our customers to put food on our table and a roof over our head.  Just like our customers depend on us to do the same for them by supporting their online store.

    We think that makes a strong bond between us ensuring mutual success.  That's why we choose to build not just another hosting company, but the best damn hosting company specifically for Magento.  Even if we weren't making profits I would still be happy because I love what I do everyday and I love the people I do it with. Even if we never get rich I'll retire happy knowing that we still improved the lives of millions of people through helping our employees, our customers and their customers.

    Superman

     

     

  • MageMojo's Secret Sauce

    So you've read the offer we're presenting and you're thinking it's too good to be true.

    This can't be real. How can a small company I've never heard of possibly offer more than the big guys I already know? How can they have better support? How can they run Magento faster?  How could they possibly be cheaper? And how the heck can they make any money undercutting everyone, because that's not sustainable?!

    snorgtees.com snorgtees.com

    It's really simple. We started this company in 2009 to do one thing, and do it really well: Magento hosting.

    Specializing in one thing allows you to operate in ways other providers can't. Our competitors built a hosting company and then figured out how to market it.  We built a hosting company for Magento and figured out to streamline it.

    Because Magento benefits from the latest developments in CPU architecture designs, we make sure our hardware is the latest generation available, which translates to faster page load times.  We lease our servers on a 2 year FMV operating lease, and, after 2 years, we return the servers and buy new so our customers always have the latest in CPU advancements. Our competitors, who host everything, are not as concerned with latest CPU speeds, since they make no difference to WordPress or Expression Engine.  They prefer 2 or 3 year $1 capital leases.  They retain the equipment and continue to use it for 5+ years to squeeze every last dollar of profit out of it.  

    Sadly, we see even well-known hosting providers locking customers into dedicated server contracts starting with CPUs that are already 2-3 year old!  By keeping a low, fixed monthly cost, using FMV leasing on a 2 year refresh cycle, we ensure our customers have the latest server hardware providing the fastest page load times.

    Our network is stable, fast, secure, and optimized for end user eyeball networks (re: your customer's ISP).  Our core network runs optimization software that is proactively probing the top talking ISPs from your customers, to find the lowest latency path, and dynamically routing between our fastest upstream carriers, regardless of cost.  We're also colocated physically in the same facility as the major US ISPs in what's called a carrier-neutral facility. Our internal network is fully redundant all way through every core router, firewall, each rack, and individual bonded network port, and on into each server.  

    Having fully redundant equipment doubles your costs but it's important to ensure 100% network uptime. We are able to lower these costs by using high density, in-rack configurations to condense our servers which in turn condense port utilization. Using premium bandwidth, optimized for the lowest latency path, is also expensive, but we can afford to do this because we only send store traffic, and have no other noise on our network from loud customers.  Being in a carrier-neutral facility is premium space that comes with a premium cost, but again we're high-density, only Magento stores, and do not have the sprawling footprint other hosts need to take on various types of customers.

    Our support is Magento specific and reaches into the Magento code base for break/fix, performance tuning, proactive monitoring, and general advice. Your site can run other software, but since Magento is all we host, you must have a Magento store to qualify for hosting with us. We've written our support playbook for Magento. We don't need to teach our staff about WordPress or Expression Engine, or a million other things; we've trained our staff to specialize on the specific problems of Magento.  We wrote our own hosting control panel specifically to automate setup of the high-performance, complex configurations and components that Magento store owners want.  We've written our own cloud automation framework around open source tools to streamline all of our routine and mundane activities that come with hosting.  We are He-Men: Masters of Automation! Just kidding. I'd like to brag and say we are the Masters of Automation, but when you're a group of ex-programmers / system admins who are automating one specific area, it's really not that difficult. :)

    In summary, when you focus on one thing, you can afford to offer premium services at equal or lower costs than your competitors, because, while they are trying to be experts in multiple fields, you've been busy streamlining for your niche.

    Would you like to know more?  Click here to read the story of how we actually did it.

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  • Cisco
  • Intel
  • Redis
  • Magento
  • Nginx
  • Dell
  • Percona
  • MemCached
  • PCI Compliant
  • BBB