For many a new WordPress user, WordPress hosting and managed WordPress hosting in particular is a tough nut to crack. Confronted with the million dollar question of whether to opt for free, shared or managed WordPress hosting, we often end up choosing alternatives based on half-baked information.
To guide you through this Middle Earth of Managed WordPress hosting, Gandalf is here! 😀
Let us take a comprehensive look at what exactly managed WordPress hosting is, how it differs from free and shared hosting, its benefits and shortcomings and some of the best companies in the market that provide managed WordPress hosting.
What is WordPress Hosting?
Quality web hosting is one of the most important factors that decide the speed at which the site is accessed, its security, the regularity of backups, site scalability and the frequency of updates necessary.
A good web host does all this and more.
One of the most popular content management systems, WordPress is a self hosted, open source platform that is used by over a quarter of the working websites over the world today, which is why quite a few web-hosting companies have gravitated towards and cater to sites specifically hosted on WordPress.
This is WordPress hosting.
WordPress is not very finicky about the basic requirements that are necessary to host a site. In fact, it has only a couple, viz.
- A PHP version 5.2.4 or greater and
- A MySQL version 5.0 or greater.
Based on what the individual site requirements are, the type of WordPress hosting should be decided. This could be anything from Free, Shared, VPS, Dedicated and Managed WordPress hosting. Of these, Shared and Managed hosting have been at loggerheads most often in terms of pricing and popularity.
Here is a detailed look at both.
Shared WordPress Hosting
Shared WordPress hosting is when your site is hosted on a multisite server, with a throng of other sites on the same server. A very economical option, hosting a shared site costs only about $4-$9 per month, which is peanuts, especially if you consider that dedicated servers charge about $150 per month for hosting your site!
It also provides all the basic updates, backups, security and encryption settings required by your site and is a great option for part-time bloggers or small-scale businessmen. With bigger companies though, things become murkier.
Shared servers boast of unlimited disk space, bandwidth and domains, which in an ideal world would be divided and used equally by everyone. Alas for the ideal world! Practically, there is always limited storage space which is often hogged by bigger websites (read -bad neighbor alert!). Additionally, if these run into trouble, all sites on the same server encounter speed and connectivity problems, which can be really annoying if not potentially disastrous.
A huge number of sites can also cause increased site downtime or lagging which can lead to loss of customers or readers, what with human beings having attention spans less than that of a goldfish these days!
All in all, shared hosting is not always the most reliable option, particularly if what you are looking for is advanced site security, higher site speeds and better scalability.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting is wherein all the technical aspects of maintaining your website are taken care of by the web host. This includes regular backups, security and plugin updates, increased speed and website uptime. This lets the developer work freely on building the site only, without getting bogged down by maintenance hassles.
Digging deeper, there are tons of other, multifaceted advantages of Managed WordPress hosting. Let’s have a look at some of these:
Lightning Fast Speeds
Managed WordPress sites enjoy far faster speeds than shared hosts since the servers here are programmed specifically for WordPress and everything is configured to maximize website performance.
Automatic Updates and Optimization
Needless to say, managed hosting takes care of timely upgradation of all your plugins, themes and backups automatically and easily. In addition, it also optimizes your site for best accessibility too!
Migration Made Easy
Moving from shared to managed WordPress hosting can be a pain if you don’t know what exactly needs to be done. Making this transition easier, managed hosts take care of all your data and ensure that migration is completely hassle-free!
‘Bad Neighbor’ Evicted
The bad neighbor issue is bypassed altogether in Managed WordPress hosting since there is allocated storage and bandwidth to each user which results in significant site uptime.
Round the Clock Premium Support
Despite handing over the technical reins, you might run into problems while developing your site. A 24/7 premium WordPress support brings the knowledge of hundreds of engineers and technical consultants to your disposal. Instead of trawling through plugins one by one to find out where the problem is, you can home in on it easily and quickly with the ready advice of WordPress experts.
Managed WordPress hosting employs measures like daily malware scans, security protocols and more to keep your site secure; and if that weren’t enough, it also provides elaborate guidelines to patch up the breach on the off-chance that it does happen. In fact, WP Engine fixes your site for free if it gets hacked!
Managed WordPress hosting does have a few drawbacks though, viz.
Managed WordPress hosting starts from $25 per month and above, on an average, for even the most economical web hosting providers. This can be rather heavy on the pockets of small scale businesses or bloggers, especially since shared hosting costs a mere $5-$10 per month. However, the service is worth the cost and so it is a good idea to shift to managed hosting as soon as you can afford it.
Managed WordPress hosts do not allow you to install plugins that might interfere with the working of their other functionalities. In most cases though, they have alternatives which makes that pill easier to swallow!
Despite these shortcomings, Managed WordPress hosting has numerous advantages that far outstrip Shared or Dedicated hosting, making it one of the most sought-for options in the web-hosting domain.
Top Managed WordPress Hosting Providers
Managed WordPress hosting involves a lot of behind-the-scene activity to keep your website up and running. Organizing and updating hundreds of plugins, fixing bugs and patching security warps is no mean feat. Here are some of the best reviewed and rated managed hosting providers that have taken website maintenance to a whole new level!
With powerful development and maintenance tools, WP Engine is tailored to fit all your WordPress needs. Excellent service, state-of-the-art security, a dedicated support team, robust server architecture, one-click backups, one-click staging area and advanced proprietary caching are just some of the features that make WP Engine one of the best managed WordPress hosting providers.
Used by over 30,000 customers across 120 countries, it hosts sites like SoundCloud, Asana, MyFitnessPal and many more. They have a variety of pricing plans, starting from $29 per month for 25,000 visitors and increasing progressively upwards.
Pagely is one of the oldest managed hosting providers around and remains one of the best to date. Powered by Amazon Cloud, it boasts of infinite scalability, robust servers, great security, blazing speeds and developer friendly tools.
Over the course of a decade, it has hosted several high profile clients. Pagely charges in the same bracket, starting from $24 per month and further.
Synthesis is backed by Copyblogger Media, LLC., the brains behind Scribe SEO. This implies that your website runs on the same technology as Copyblogger, which in turn brings a repository of WordPress expertise to your fingertips.
There are also many other features like secure configuration, keyword and page optimization, daily backups and malware scans, SSL support, Genesis framework support and many more. Priced reasonably, it starts at $47 per month for 10,000 unique, daily visitors and onwards.
Recommended by WordPress itself, Bluehost comes with a customized control panel for managing your WordPress site. It also incorporates one-click plugin finders, easy migration of individual and multiple websites and powerful SiteLock security features.
If Managed WordPress hosting does not feel like the right fit, or you like getting things done in a particular fashion, you can opt for maintaining your WordPress website all by yourself.
There are two options for doing this. You can either:
- Go off the grid, into maintenance mode, backup your systems, update plugins, fix bugs, revamp your site and then go back live or
- Avail a WordPress maintenance service to incorporate all the changes you need done and make sure that your site is ship-shape and ready to go!
WordPress has plenty of plugins that allow you to backup your data or configure plugin updates on your own. There are several miscellaneous plugins that cater to specific functionality, such as Sucuri and Wordfence for customized security solutions, WP Optimize for managing databases, etc.
However, maintaining a WordPress website is no child’s play.
Opting to maintain your site on your own is a good idea only when you are well aware of all the intricacies in coding and have sufficient knowledge about all the ins and outs. Hiring a professional WordPress maintenance service can do you good you as you can focus on growing your website and business without being bogged down by maintenance issues. The maintenance service you choose is independent of your hosting, although the price could be affected by the restrictions enforced by your hosting provider.
If you are more of a, over-the-weekend kind of developer, it is better to choose managed WordPress hosting. Though a bit pricey, it lets you sit back, relax and work only on improving your site in peace. From small-scale developers to mega-corporations, Managed WordPress hosting makes handling websites an extremely easy and hassle free task.
If you are looking for more control on your website but would like to be free of any maintenance nuisances, you could opt for a paid maintenance service.
Water-tight security, higher site speeds and regular updates are just some of the features that ensure your site stays healthy.
Investing for all this and more in managed hosting or paid maintenance seems worthwhile, doesn’t it?