Part of the experience of starting or running a website is to find a way to host it.
And it’s not an easy experience for some.
And it’s even more frustrating when finding out that there are different type of hostings.
Such as a ‘managed WordPress hosting’.
But having the right host is, without a doubt, one of the most important parts of your online experience.
Without a host, you are not visible online…period.
Which is why you should take the process of finding and using the right hosting platform very seriously.
And part of that decision-making process is deciding to use a managed WordPress host.
What is a Managed WordPress Hosting?
Behind the technical jargons and all the wires of a host server, they tend to be built in the same way.
They’ve got the same components, similar structure and operate pretty much the same way as each other.
But the way that these components are put together is what makes it different to each other.
Let’s use bicycles as an analogy (even though I’m not an expert so this will be fun).
If you buy a general bicycle for your simple everyday needs, you do not need to buy an expensive one or add some kind of customisations to it.
If you buy something which is more specialised, like a mountain bike or a racing bike, you are paying extra to have a bike which is more optimised for your cycling needs.
It could be the materials, the parts, durability, comfort, ease of use…they all cost money.
But it will give you the assurance that you will be able to go up that mountain track or get that speed you’re looking for in a race much more smoothly than with just any generic bicycle.
Imagine a generic web hosting (sometimes known as “shared hosting) as a general bicycle. It does the job for your WordPress site, and you could operate it smoothly.
But a managed WordPress host is like a specialist bicycle; purpose-built for your site and comes with a lot of different add-ons that you wouldn’t have gotten otherwise from a normal bicycle…or host.
It will ensure that you will have optimum security, speed, uptime, daily backups and scalability, as well as processing your WordPress updates and daily backups.
And one of the best part features is the premium support that comes with managed WordPress hosting.
You will most likely receive support from real WordPress experts who have extensive knowledge and experience about the platform rather than someone using some kind of manual.
And that can make a huge difference to your online experience.
How is it Different to Shared Web Hosting?
Shared web hosting is the most popular type of hosting, not just for WordPress users, but for all website owners.
One of the main reasons is the attractive prices, as you can get hosting for just a few pounds.
I have talked in the past about the danger of using those cheap and affordable web hosting, but there are benefits of using shared hosting, particularly with the reputable providers.
For example, you might be running a hobby site just for fun.
Or perhaps, you are using the free version of WordPress.com to get you started on your web experience.
The trouble with shared hosting is that you get what you pay for; meaning that you will have limited features.
For example, your site could be shared with hundreds (or potentially thousands) of users. If they are not “reputable” users, you could be in the “bad neighbour effect” where they could have a negative impact on your site because they are using up the bandwidth and resources plus host content which you do not want to be associated with like adult and gambling sites.
It’s important to point out that many leading managed WordPress host providers do run their service on shared servers.
But the difference is that they make sure that each website is allocated correctly, unlike many shared hosting providers.
|Managed WordPress Hosting||Shared WordPress Hosting|
|Careful allocation of server & resources||No guarantee of what resources will be allocated|
|Support staff are experts in WordPress||Knowledge of WordPress is mixed|
|More expensive||Less expensive|
|Configured specifically for WordPress platform||Host alongside hundreds/thousands of websites|
|Restrict certain plugins to ensure smooth service||Allows all plugins which could affect your site|
|Built-in Page Caching||Either pay for a plugin or download plugin separately|
|Daily backups and restore points||May or may not have backups available|
|Website staging tend to be included||Don’t normally get staging site|
|Known to take web security||Mixed opinions on web security but generally very good|
|Tend to be very fast||No guarantee that it will be fast|
|Can grow with your site over time and with ease||Slightly trickier process but not impossible|
What are the Pros & Cons of Managed WordPress Hosting?
- Extra Fast Experience – these servers are configured especially for WordPress sites, ensuring that your audience will get a fast user experience.
- Automated Daily Backups & Restore Points – normally you have to pay extra for that, but your provider will most likely arrange daily backups and offer restore points if you ever want to revert to a particular date. It’s comforting to know that you don’t have to pay for that separately.
- Expert & Round-the-Clock Support – working with staff who are very knowledgeable on WordPress is very useful if you need help with your site. It is literally like having a team of experts around you, but without paying for their salaries yourself.
- Automatic Updates – they tend to be handled by the host provider
- Better Uptime – because of the way they are built, your website will be able to handle a higher number of visits than shared hosting.
- Staging Site – very useful (and also important) to have a staging site so that you have the ability to make changes and test them before you launch it live on your site.
- Top-class Security – many of the top managed WordPress hosting providers take security very seriously as they actively scan for malware and resist any hacking attempts. Again, it’s good to know that you don’t have to pay extra for that.
- Opportunity to Scale – if your site has outgrown its existing platform, an expert technician will usually eventually let you know when you should consider upgrading to a higher spec.
- Higher Price Tag – there’s no hiding, but they are more expensive than shared hosting. But if you are running a serious business, the cost will more than justify itself when you get the features mentioned above.
- Limited to WordPress – but is that really a disadvantage?
- Can’t Use All Plugins – some providers would not allow you to use certain plugins. This could be for security reasons, add strain to the server and database, interfere with caching, etc. For example, WP Engine has listed the plugins that you are not allowed to use on your site if you use their host.
- You Have Less Control – if you are the technical kind who enjoys digging deep into the WordPress core now and doing your own fix, it’s tricky with managed WordPress hosts. Certain areas might be more closed than others.
When Do You Need a Managed WordPress Hosting?
If you have a WordPress website that matches some or all of the following:
- Growing rapidly
- Receive high-traffic
- Run a business website
- Need to remain online at least 99% of the time (nothing is ever 100% guaranteed when it comes to site uptime)
- Run a business that is aiming for growth and wants their hosting platform to grow with them
…then it makes sense for you to get a managed hosting.
If you do not have the technical skills, it’s easier (and cheaper) to get a managed hosting than hiring a technical system admin to manage the server for you.
So just to make it simple; if you are a beginner who just wants a website or blog for fun, you do not need a managed WordPress hosting.
You should look for a regular WordPress hosting, which is more affordable and more appropriate for your needs and preferably one which is shared.
I recommend Tsohost if you fall in this category.
How Can I Choose a Managed WordPress Hosting?
Seeing as it’s a busy industry, it’s very difficult to pick your most ideal hosting.
Sure, there are a plenty of reviews and options out there, but it can confuse just about anyone.
Unfortunately, there is no perfect answer to this question.
But you should still do your research and read about other people’s experience, as well as referring to this post, on what to look out for and understand more about it.
There are recommended hosting options like this one, but it’s unclear how they get there on the first.
It’s not to say that they are not right for you. But you should always make a decision based on your research and understanding too.
And just so you know, this site is hosted by WP Engine, and I switched to them after understanding more about the benefits of using managed WordPress hosting.
It is not the cheapest of options, but the assurance that comes with having a reputable, well-maintained and high-quality hosting has made my own life easier.
Even Chris Lema, one of the leading figures in the WordPress arena, has recommended WP Engine and created the graph below to illustrate that they can cover all areas.
Using my own experience, I have even used their support to help me out with a technical issue which I could not fix on my own.
Thankfully, the live chat support team is excellent. The team has patiently helped me out and has given me plenty of their time to fix my problem.
And that would have cost hundreds of pounds if I had hired a developer to do the same job.
If I had the same problem when using a shared WordPress hosting, there is no guarantee that the support would have knowledge about WordPress.
And even if they do, it’s unlikely that they would know more than a support team from a managed WordPress hosting company.
Are you convinced about using the right hosting for your website?
If you have already made the move, what are you using and why have you decided to use managed hosting?
If not, what is holding you back from making that switch?