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What is Magento?

What is Magento?

Magento is a popular eCommerce platform based on open source technology.

Magento as an eCommerce platform

Magento is an web content management system that grants users significant control over their website's settings, plug-ins, appearance, and functionality. Based on open-source technology, developer skills are not necessary if users are willing to purchase the appropriate plug-ins 

Magento includes the following features, among others:

  • SEO management
  • Customizable shopping cart system
  • Flexible coupons and pricing rules
  • Analytics and reporting
  • Catalogue browsing and management
  • iPhone optimization
  • Customer order tracking
  • Product browsing with multiple images per product and zoom functionality
  • Multilingual and foreign currency support

Optimizations and add-ons

Many applications exist that can expand the functionality of Magento. For more additional information regarding these and other add-ons, visit the Nexcess website.


memcached is a memory-based caching system that uses a simple key and value system to store data in a table in memory. This accelerates the rate of data access. However, a cache flush is an all-or-nothing operation and can be substandard if the bulk of the cache is not dirty. memcached uses a threaded model, allowing it to process requests in parallel efficiently.


Similar to memcached, Redis is a memory-based caching system that uses a simple key/value system to store data in a table in memory. Redis adds the advantage of tags to the storage model.  This allows an application using Redis to target any dirty sections of the cache during flush operations. Its current implementation is single-threaded, meaning it can only process requests serially for each instance of Redis.


Varnish is a web application accelerator, otherwise known as a caching HTTP reverse proxy. When correctly configured, Varnish can be used to accelerate web applications with minimal performance degradation. Varnish stores the assembled web pages or parts of web pages in memory and relieves the application itself from having to perform any work when a cache hit occurs.


The Nexcess Turpentine Magento extension makes use of Varnish to greatly enhance the performance of Magento Enterprise. By default, Varnish functions poorly with Magento because the latter does not cache requests with cookies. Instead, Magento sends a frontend cookie with every request causing a near-zero hit-rate for the Varnish cache. Turpentine configures Varnish to work with Magento, enhancing cache hit rate of Magento


Magento provides a skeletal theme for eCommerce websites. Users can then alter this theme without endangering their site's content and layout.

Versions of Magento

Two versions of Magento exist: the free Community Edition and the Enterprise Edition.

Magento Community Edition

The Community Edition is free, but in practice, most users without website development skills will need to purchase add-ons to customize their sites to their satisfaction. Magento does not offer support for this version.

Magento Enterprise Edition

As the name suggests, the Enterprise Edition offers the most features and functionality while offering full Magento technical support. It does not offer web hosting since it is assumed most enterprises will find their own solution in this regard. Support does, however, include installation, configuration, usage, and troubleshooting. 

For more information about Magento, visit their website

For help hosting Magento, visit the Nexcess website, or contact the Sales Team, available from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. eastern time ET, Monday - Friday. 

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