Managed WordPress Hosting
Do you need managed WordPress hosting? Does it make any sense to spend so much money on it? Here are the pros & cons of WordPress hosting
Running a WordPress blog or site is no easy game. You must take care of all the content, marketing, site design, social media, etc. But before you do that, you have to ensure your WordPress site is running smoothly, and your current managed WordPress hosting provider isn’t giving you any headaches or issues + their pros and cons.
If you’re new to hosting, working out the kind of service you need may seem daunting, with many factors to consider. But it needn’t be overwhelming. As with any decision, there’ll be things you absolutely have to have, and once you’ve found a few options that fit the bill, you can get into the detail to narrow down your list.
When choosing a restaurant, the first things to consider are the type of food you want, the location, and the price. Once you’ve found a few places that suit your needs and budget, you can get into reviews, atmosphere, and menu options. In addition, you also may have an app that needs app hosting.
Choosing a host isn’t that different from choosing a restaurant: There’ll be a few deal-breakers that will narrow down your list and then the details that will help you to find the most suitable option for your needs.
In this article, we’ll look at the four different hosting options. Shared Hosting, VPS (Virtual Private Server), Dedicated Hosting, and Managed WordPress Hosting. We’ll cover what they are, why they’re different from one another, how much they cost, the pros and cons, when to choose each one, and — perhaps most importantly — when not to!
The Analogy: Shared hosting is the McDonald’s of the hosting business. The product isn’t awful (we all have a burger every now and then), but it’s not appropriate for every situation. Rather, a low-cost, quick fix with no bells or whistles.
Shared hosting is based on the premise that small websites require few resources. A shared server contains hundreds, if not thousands, of users, each with several different websites. The result is a cheap product that isn’t very powerful and often introduces all sorts of issues with overcrowding.
Based on eight well-known hosting companies we’ve selected to represent this hosting best (listed below), the average cost of a shared hosting plan is approximately $9.50 a month, which doesn’t include any initial bargains the companies may offer (more on this later).
A Small Orange offers the cheapest regular price at $2.92 a month. For a more robust solution, MediaTemple offers 100 sites and 20GB of storage for $20 monthly.
At the end of the day, $10 a month should generally buy you a good-quality shared or managed WordPress hosting service.
The most significant advantage of shared hosting over any other type is that it’s cheap. It doesn’t have much more going for it, but the price alone can justify using shared hosting in many situations.
All of the issues concerning shared hosting arise from the fact that you’re sharing the same environment with hundreds of other users and thousands of other websites. This can lead to four main problems:
- Websites other than your own may use a disproportionate amount of resources on the server, leaving less for your websites and causing them to slow down or grind to a halt.
- Security issues on one account may leak over to yours. You can protect your website with all the fancy tech at your disposal, but a problem at the server level may still affect you.
- Uptime and reliability can be significant issues in shared environments. Since other websites may hog resources or cause security issues, not only are you at risk, but you can’t tell when an issue may occur.
- Sharing an environment means no one has absolute control over their servers’ specifics, resulting in a one-size-fits-all setup. This is fine for small sites, but you’ll need extra oomph as you grow.
There are other issues, but most of them stem from one of these managed WordPress hostings. All of which have to do with the shared environment.
Be wary of shared hosting pricing. Many hosts offer an initial discount that’s valid until your first renewal. Bluehost, for example, provides a new plan for $2.95 instead of the list price of $7.99.
If you pay for a single month, you only get that month’s discounted price. You can pay three years in advance, but you need to pay $106 upfront. So, present the WordPress hosting pros and cons.
Choosing Shared Hosting
Shared hosting is the only option left open if your budget doesn’t extend to the level of a VPS or managed WordPress hosting (see below). This hosting type has much more downtime and unreliability, but this doesn’t mean your site will be offline for days on end every week.
I used to host my sites on Bluehost, and while the performance wasn’t exceptional. My sites were up 99% of the time, enough to get my business off the ground.
Downtime can often cost you significant business. If you have a small budget. Don’t wait until you can afford a VPS; get a shared account now and switch when you can.
If you have low-traffic, relatively unimportant websites, shared hosting is an excellent and cheap way to keep them online. Personal blogs, client test sites, archived projects, and projects being tested are all perfectly suited to the shared environment.
Shared hosting is also a good fit for up-and-comers who don’t need much performance. When you launch your business, there’s a good chance no one will see your website in the first month. So, you’ll build your traffic slowly in the following months. You can start on a shared host to save some money. Switch when more people start visiting your site.
If you’re new to the web world and your site isn’t mission-critical. I suggest going for the cheapest plan you can find just to learn something new. It’s a great experience and research for the times ahead. So, when you may need to decide between a $100 and $150 VPS plan on managed hosting. So, present the WordPress hosting pros and cons.
Shared hosting isn’t great regarding reliability, resources, and security. If you have a mission-critical website and can afford a higher hosting tier, you should avoid shared hosting.
Knowing when not to choose shared hosting is simple: If none of the points in the. The ‘When to Choose Shared Hosting’ section applies to you. It would help if you stayed away.
If you operate an e-commerce site, I recommend using a non-shared environment. If someone cannot view your blog, you’ve lost a visitor. So, If someone can’t get to one of your products, you may have lost a sale.
Understanding WordPress Hosting Pros and Cons
As someone who’s been on both sides of the playing field. As a host user and in a management position at a host, my best advice is to know what you’re paying for.
Don’t expect miracles if you’re only spending $5-$10 a month on hosting. All well-known shared hosts (which we’ll cover below) are good-natured companies. They’re not out to get you; they won’t purposefully take resources from your website.
They’re honest businesses that sell cheap products. The product is inherently flawed but offers thousands of customers a chance to have a decent web presence.
To put it in numbers, Bluehost has an uptime of about 99.4%. This isn’t great if you compare it with that of a higher tier hos. But it essentially means that out of every 100 days, you’ll experience 14.4 hours of downtime. That translates to 8.64 minutes of downtime daily, which is far from a tragedy.
The Analogy: In our restaurant-themed analogy, VPS hosting is The Cheesecake Factory. It certainly doesn’t qualify for Michelin stars, but it is an excellent restaurant. Whatever your taste, you’ll find something you like on the menu. You’re likely to leave satisfied. Even if you wouldn’t use it to entertain your most prestigious client, using WordPress hosting pros and cons to guide.
The Nuts and Bolts
VPS (sometimes called cloud hosting) is similar to shared hosting. But uses more robust technology to separate users on the same machine. Compared with a shared server, where you may have thousands of neighbors, VPS systems typically hold five to 20.
The lower number already points to less risk from the harmful neighbor effect, but what matters most is how these users are separated. VPS systems employ a hypervisor that oversees each user’s virtual system.
Simply put, this means one user can’t hog the resources of another. For example, a machine with 16GB of RAM and eight users will allocate 2GB to each user. So if one of these users goes over their 2GB allocation, their site may crash. But the other websites on the same machine won’t be affected.
The price tags on VPS hosting vary a great deal instead of the WordPress hosting pros and cons. We’ve looked at the cheapest packages from nine companies (listed below), and the average price comes out at around $25 a month (this includes a couple of very cheap $ 5-a-month plans that we wouldn’t recommend).
A decent low-tier VPS should clock in at around $20 to $30. The $50 to $100 tier can comfortably run most sites, but if you need the extra oomph, there are VPS plans that reach into the thousands.
What You’re Paying For x Managed WordPress Hosting
With VPS systems, you’re paying for three main things:
- The VPS technology provides separation, scalability, and protection.
- Resources such as memory, hard disk usage, and bandwidth.
- A ‘surcharge’ because VPS servers only hold a couple of users instead of hundreds. Making it more difficult to sustain financially.
The second item is the most important because you need to know your site’s resource usage. If you have a website that generates 4TB of bandwidth, you won’t be able to go with DigitalOcean’s $5 plan since it only includes 1TB of bandwidth.
The Good: WordPress Hosting Pros and Cons
All the positive sides of VPS hosting have to do with the ‘V’: Virtual. This allows for better separation, scaling, and security. Let’s go through some of the upsides.
- Virtual instances receive separate resource limits, removing uncertainty and allowing for better planning.
- Malicious code infecting multiple virtual instances through the hypervisor isn’t unheard of but is extremely rare. You can be sure that security issues on another account will not affect your own.
- Since resources are allocated rather than pooled, VPS systems can scale quickly, making them perfect for dynamically growing websites.
- A virtual instance is a self-contained software layer that includes the operating system and all the other bits and pieces you’ll need. From a flexibility point of view, this is roughly equivalent to having your own dedicated server, thus allowing for greater control over your environment.
The Bad: WordPress Hosting Pros and Cons
There are no real downsides to VPS systems. Any downsides have to be measured against the goal of your website. We’ll go through some of these issues, but keep in mind that these change from project to project.
- If you have a highly specialized site where you may want to have control on the hardware level, dedicated hosting may be more up your alley. VPS systems are flexible but not infinitely so.
- If you need a quick place to stash a website, VPS systems may be a bit pricey and unnecessary.
- You should look into managed WordPress hosting as an alternative if you have a WordPress website. VPS is more flexible, but because of the highly tuned nature of managed WordPress hosting, it usually beats VPS on speed and security.
When to Choose VPS Hosting
Deciding whether VPS is for you shouldn’t be too difficult because you can arrive at it through elimination. Here are a few questions to ask yourself:
Is my project minor, a test, or on a tight budget? In other words, does it have any properties that qualify it for a shared account? If the answer is no, dedicated hosting is the next one to rule out.
Does my project require a remarkably fine-tuned environment where I must do all the sysadmin work, such as making sure the OS is up to date and installing any packages I may need? Also, do I have the necessary know-how to manage a server independently?
We’ve ruled out dedicated hosting if the answer is no to either of these. I advise you to think twice if your answer is yes. Unless you’re proficient in server management, you’ll create a badly tuned environment. A preset VPS would be a lot better.
Now we’re left with managed WordPress hosting. First of all: Is your website WordPress based? If it isn’t, then VPS is the choice for you. If it is, look at the pros and cons of managed WordPress hosting below and decide for yourself.
My stance is: If I have a WordPress website, I’ll almost always choose managed WordPress hosting — especially if I plan to make money from it. Otherwise, I may put some WP sites on a VPS just to save money.
VPS Hosting Cons x Managed WordPress Hosting: Pros & Cons
There isn’t a scenario where I’d advise you to stay away from VPS-managed WordPress hosting. VPS systems scale very well, so you can find an appropriate plan even if your site receives millions of views. For all but the highest traffic sites (think The New York Times, etc) or businesses with very specific needs (think large banks, etc), VPS plans are a decent choice.
With VPS, the question isn’t: ‘Should I stay away?’ But rather: ‘Would something else be even better?’ All-in-all, you can’t go far wrong with a VPS. When in doubt, it’s usually a pretty good fallback: provided you know what you’re doing with it.
VPS plans are offered by almost all hosting companies, but there’s more significant variance in the quality of service when it comes to VPS servers. Below are eight companies that are well-known in the business and can be trusted to provide good services:
The Analogy: Dedicated hosting is forgoing picking a restaurant in favor of cooking at home. After building the kitchen yourself. A high level of expertise is needed to accomplish this, but you can tailor your environment and the product to your needs.
The Nuts and Bolts
When buying dedicated hosting, you’re buying a piece of hardware and a place to store that hardware, with minimal maintenance included. Once the hardware is in place, you’ll need to take care of everything from installing and operating to setting up your web server software (Nginx, Apache, and all that it entails).
The hosting company will replace busted components for you (this should be a rare occurrence), but you’ll need to maintain everything else remotely.
We compared the cheapest plans of five well-known hosting companies (below), and the average was approximately $125. The cheapest option is Hetzner’s at $52, which, as you can imagine, doesn’t give you many resources.
The lowest price we’d recommend is around the $130 mark. With prices reaching into the $500 range for mid-level solutions and well into the thousands for high-end machines.
Dedicated servers have two enormous benefits: You’re the sole user of the machine you buy, and you usually get much more bandwidth.
By being the sole account on a server, you can completely negate harmful neighbor effects. You can forego some software-like complex provisioners and hypervisors (which oversee multiple VPS systems on a machine).
You can fine-tune the whole environment to your liking. From the hardware to the server and have malware scanning and other protections tailored to your needs.
Dedicated hosting is especially useful if you require custom monitoring tools or a highly specialized deployment process. Which you can set up exactly as needed.
The biggest downside of dedicated servers is that you need to do everything yourself. You either need considerable know-how or a trustworthy sysadmin (they’ll have complete access to everything), which will add to your costs.
Other hosting types take care of many management tasks for you — such as making sure everything is up to date, applying security patches, allowing you to switch PHP versions from a user interface, regularly scanning, and so on.
You’ll most likely receive none of these services with your dedicated server. There are some managed dedicated solutions, but you’ll need to dish up some serious cash.
Another downside is that if a hardware failure occurs, it’ll likely take longer for the problem to be solved. VPS systems may not notice a busted RAM. The system can spread the load. With dedicated servers, someone must go in and physically replace the module in the computer.
When to Choose Dedicated Hosting instead of Managed
Dedicated hosting isn’t something many people need. Most projects. Even large ones will work without a hitch on a good VPS solution.
If, however, you have a tremendous website with specific requirements that need the talents of a full-time sysadmin, it’s time to think about dedicated hosting.
It’s also useful for large sites that use different servers for their front and back end, and maybe even their media, as it allows you to create redundant systems running independently.
When to Stay Away from Dedicated Hosting
If you don’t know how to set up a hosting environment from scratch, or you don’t have the money to hire a good admin, you should steer clear of dedicated hosting.
An environment that’s 90% suited to your site is still much better than a half-baked solution that’s held together with duct tape.
A lot of website owners want fancy things such as load balancing or dedicated hosting because it’s the top tech and they feel as though their website deserves the best-of-the-best, but this is flawed thinking.
Most website owners don’t know what ‘large’ means regarding hosting. A website is making a million dollars a year, viewed by 10 million people a month. It isn’t necessarily large when it comes to the resources it needs. It could quickly run reliably on a $250-a-month VPS if it is efficiently coded.
Managed WordPress Hosting
The Analogy: Managed WordPress hosting would be the catering service at a wedding. Unlike a restaurant service, it tailors the experience to you but does impose some restrictions.
Managed WordPress: The Nuts and Bolts
Managed WordPress hosting is a particular type of hosting that offers many services related to WordPress. The server can be shared or VPS. But it shouldn’t matter because the host should be highly adept at maintaining the service.
Since the provider only needs to support a single application, WordPress. Their job is much easier. They can set their whole environment — from hardware to software. To increase speeds, weed out security issues, and give you powerful and useful features.
The Price of Managed WordPress
The cheapest plan of the four major truly specialist companies that offer high-quality managed WordPress hosting (listed below) is with Flywheel* at $15. Which gives a capacity for just 5,000 visits per month. Meaning it’s only really suitable for very small websites).
The lowest usable tier with a specialist-managed WordPress host. It clocks in at around the $29 mark to suit most sites. Suppose you’re serious about your WordPress hosting needs.
So, to have a site within the region of about 100,000 visitors or more a month, you’ll need to pay upwards of around $100 a month (note: managed WordPress hosting can efficiently run into literally $1000s per month if sites require a lot of server resources. Think sites with millions of monthly visitors).
There’s a lot to like about managed WordPress hosting. Most of the benefits stem from having only to support WordPress. Allowing specialist hosts to fine-tune their systems and spend time developing handy management features. The result should be a website that runs noticeably faster and uses fewer resources.
Hosts typically mandate the latest version of WordPress, which means you’ll always be up-to-date and safer from harm. They may also disallow certain plugins that cause issues or contain security vulnerabilities.
An excellent example of how managed WordPress hosting can boost your site is caching. Some hosts have their finely-tuned caching system on the server level that will outperform plugins. Such as W3 Total Cache every time. You’ll often be banned from using such regular caching plugins since they often conflict with the host’s more efficient internal systems.
Managed WP Hosting has much better support for WordPress-related issues than general VPS or shared hosts. Which isn’t surprising. They deal exclusively with WordPress. Something is immediately apparent when you talk to one of their technicians.
The Bad about Managed WordPress
The biggest downside is the loss of flexibility and the higher price tag compared with VPS servers. The same features that make your site safer (mandating WordPress versions. Disallowing plugins, and so on) can also sometimes be a bit restrictive for some sites.
Also, with specialist WordPress hosting, you are limited to just WordPress. You can’t quickly tack on a Joomla or Drupal site to see how it works or create an HTML-only site. However, some hosts may technically allow this.
Choosing Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WP hosting is almost always the best solution for WordPress sites. Here are a few things to consider when deciding whether or not to use it.
First of all, is it an important site? If it isn’t, there may be no reason to spend all that money on hosting. If it’s a just personal blog, say there isn’t much difference between loading in 2.8 seconds on a VPS. Or 1.9 on managed WP hosting.
The number of sites you can install on an account is usually a bottleneck. Often just one site. So be careful only to use this hosting when a site warrants it.
Other than that, if you have a significant and/or essential site and need to make sure it runs as smoothly and reliably. As possible, go with managed WordPress hosting (as long as you can live with the minor restrictions it imposes).
Avoiding Managed WordPress Hosting
Again, there isn’t much to stay away from. For WordPress sites, managed WordPress hosting is almost always a better fit. Although if you don’t have the money or need to stash a bunch of sites in one place, then regular VPS hosting may serve you better.
Managed WordPress Hosting Final Words
Like no restaurant pleases everyone, there’s no magic one-size-fits-all solution for a website. The hosting you need depends heavily on your goals and project requirements.
Weigh the importance of the project and its projected resource usage. How tight your finances are and read through the pros and cons of each hosting to make an informed decision.
It’s worth remembering, too, that it’s relatively easy to switch hosts. Finally, many of the top WordPress hosts offer free migrations — so you can always try one.