WordPress sites have can run on almost any standard shared hosting environment, but the new breed of modern managed WordPress hosts promise better performance and support for sites built using the WordPress platform. Depending on what type of site you run and the requirements it has in order to deliver the best possible user experience, a managed host may be the best choice for you.
Pros and Cons of a Managed Host
Managed WordPress hosts differ from shared hosts in a number of ways. While many of these differences make sites better, not all of them are beneficial for every webmaster.
Running WordPress requires a lot of administrative work. Both the core platform and your chosen suite of plugins need to be updated on a regular basis to avoid security risks and support proper performance. A managed host takes care of updates as soon as they become available so that you never forget to implement crucial changes to the WordPress software.
With someone else handling the technical side of the process, you’re free to be creative and focus on managing your site. This can be especially valuable for businesses that don’t have the time or resources to devote solely to administrative website duties.
Managed WordPress hosts use environments that are designed to run only WordPress. Therefore, they can deliver better speed and uptime than shared hosts. Tech support is staffed by people who are familiar with the WordPress platform and can address problems quickly to minimize performance issues. Plans are scalable to accommodate changing resource needs over time.
Regular backups come with most managed plans along with security measures to protect your site from potential vulnerabilities. The host handles all backups and storage so that there’s always a copy of your latest changes available if a site restoration becomes necessary.
Looking into a managed WordPress host also means considering the potential drawbacks:
- The cost per month is typically much higher than regular shared WordPress hosting.
- You give up some of your control over site functions in exchange for letting the host handle administrative tasks.
- Some plugins may not be available due to quality control measures put in place by the host.
- Domain names and email accounts aren’t usually included and need to be hosted somewhere else.
- Most plans aren’t suitable for small or startup websites.
If you’re just beginning to build your site or are running on a tight budget, a low-cost shared hosting plan may be a better idea until you can establish a solid web presence.
Do You Need Managed Hosting?
Once your site has grown past the point where shared hosting is practical, it may be time to consider a managed hosting provider. Shared hosting often doesn’t require a great deal of technical expertise, but unless you’re willing to spend some time familiarizing yourself with all the aspects of maintaining your own WordPress site, you’re better off going with a managed provider.
If you’re looking to host a business site, a managed host takes quite a bit of pressure off your IT team. Instead of spending most of their time on backups, security control and other behind-the-scenes work, they can focus on measures that improve the profitability of the site itself. The decreased strain on resources and increase in revenue offsets some of the cost of switching to a managed host.
Sites experiencing exponential growth benefit from the stability and scalability offered by managed hosts. The faster your site grows, the more bandwidth you need to support the increase in visitor count and the demand that it puts on site resources. Interactive sites with a high level of user input are easier to handle when someone else is managing the technical aspects. Reliable uptime and page load speeds are particularly important for e-commerce websites looking to increase sales. When you have tens or hundreds of thousands of people visiting your site every day, you need to know that every one of them is getting the best experience possible.
Managed WordPress Hosting Options
As with traditional hosting, you have many possible choices for managed WordPress hosting. The most popular include:
All offer a collection of plans designed to support everything from modest blogs to large-scale agency and enterprise setups. You often get features such as multisite support, a staging area for testing sites before they go live, migration services to move your site from its current location and pre-installed plugins for maximum functionality from the start.
The decision to choose a managed WordPress host and which particular host to use should be based on the needs of your site and whether or not the higher cost will pay off over time. Shop around to find the features that provide optimal site performance while offering a good balance of control and support.