What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
When generating an online presence, building a beautiful WordPress website is only half the battle. To share your site with the world, you need to host it somewhere. But with so many options available—managed vs. unmanaged, shared vs. dedicated—which one should you choose?
To help you make your decision, we’ll be exploring managed WordPress hosting, how it differs from regular hosting, and what to look for in a hosting provider.
What Does Managed WordPress Hosting Mean?
First, it helps to understand what is meant by “managed” hosting. Also called dedicated hosting, managed hosting is when a web hosting provider gives a client access to use their server. The web host is responsible for overseeing optimization, security, maintenance, regular updates, and more. In short, a managed host takes care of many—if not all—of your website hosting needs.
With that in mind, what is managed WordPress hosting?
This service focuses specifically on hosting and handling WordPress websites.
A managed WordPress host has optimized its infrastructure and trained technical support staff to provide a seamless WordPress hosting experience.
What is the Difference Between Regular WordPress Hosting and Managed WordPress Hosting?
There are a few fundamental differences between these popular hosting options. Most of the time, “regular” WordPress hosting refers to unmanaged hosting on a shared server. These shared servers can host hundreds of websites simultaneously, meaning their resources are split between multiple clients.
With managed WordPress hosting, the server-to-client ratio is usually 1:1 (though managed shared hosting does exist). There are several benefits to having a dedicated server, including increased speed and security. We’ll discuss these advantages in detail later on.
The other difference between regular WordPress hosting and managed WordPress hosting is the amount of assistance you receive from your host. Sign up for a regular hosting plan, and you’re typically on your own for backups and updates. A managed WordPress host can handle these essential backend processes for you.
What are the Benefits of Managed WordPress Hosting?
Whether you have an established web presence or are building your business, a managed WordPress hosting plan offers a range of benefits. To give you an idea of all the ways your website can flourish with a managed host, let’s explore some of the perks.
#1 Dedicated Support
With a shared hosting plan, it can be challenging to reach a customer service specialist. And even when you do, they may lack the specific knowledge to solve your problem.
Managed WordPress hosting almost always comes with round-the-clock support from seasoned WordPress experts. What’s more, you’ll receive reactive support and proactive support. When crashes occur, you’ll be able to reach someone quickly. But you’ll also have a team monitoring your server, meaning they might be aware of an issue before you are.
This high-level customer support makes a managed WordPress host ideal for experienced web developers and tech novices alike.
Overall, you can rest easy knowing you can find help when you need it and focus your attention elsewhere while a team of experienced WordPress experts manages and watches over your site.
#2 Regular Backups
Whether you’re deep in the original Super Mario World or you’re trying to build a new section of your WordPress site, there’s nothing worse than losing all your progress. A managed WordPress provider can automate daily backups of your website and store them securely, eliminating the risk of a worst-case scenario.
Most managed hosts keep at least 14 days of backups. That way, in the case of a coding mishap or security incident, you can quickly restore functionality. You can also easily create manual backups when making changes to your WordPress site—no plugins required.
#3 Designed for WordPress
Some hosting providers host a variety of Content Management Systems (CMS), such as Drupal, Joomla, and others. As such, their infrastructure favors versatility over quality.
A managed WordPress host dedicates its entire operation to WordPress. Everything from caching to WAF (Web Application Firewall) is optimized for WordPress sites, giving you enhanced speed and security.
#4 Focus on Growing Your Business
Knowing your WordPress site is in good hands means you can spend your time developing your business. Leave the technical aspects to the WordPress experts, and focus on creating content, generating leads, or aspects of your business beyond the website.
What are the Risks Associated with Not Having a Managed WordPress Host?
If your website is built on WordPress, then working with a managed WordPress host is not only convenient, but it’s also safer and more reliable. When dealing with an unmanaged shared server, you open yourself up to unnecessary risks. Here are some issues to consider.
#1 Security Threats
On a shared server, a security breach on one website can lead to problems for all sites. All a hacker has to do is access a shared directory, and your site becomes vulnerable. In general, these shared servers offer no protection from cyber attacks, malware, or spyware.
On the other hand, a reputable managed WordPress host will have passive and active measures in place to keep you safe. Firewalls, 2-factor identification, and platform-level protection are the norm. Providers like WP Engine also include a free SSL certificate for effortless encryption.
Another security risk comes from falling behind on updates. Outdated software is more susceptible to attacks. Unmanaged hosts will not provide upgrades automatically, which could explain why less than 50% of WordPress users are running the most recent versions of PHP and WordPress.
A managed WordPress host updates these for you, keeping your website secure.
#2 Suboptimal Performance
Overloaded shared servers cause your website speed to plummet, and slow websites lose out on conversions. These providers can’t handle traffic spikes, either. The result is a negative experience for your users, leading to lower SEO value, a drop in Alexa ranking, higher bounce rate from pages, and other setbacks for your website.
Plus, without a managed hosting plan, you’re stuck using limited data centers or ones located far from customers. Once again, your site will take too long to load. Managed hosting providers boast data centers around the world, so you can reduce network latency and offer customers a lightning-fast experience. They’ll also manage caching for you, decreasing load time and improving the visitor experience.
#3 Increased Downtime
When you or another member of a shared server experience a surge in traffic, your website could crash, leading to downtime. If support is hard to reach (as is often the case with unmanaged hosting), you could end up with hours of lost time, visitors, and transactions. With so many ways for your website to go down, this is a genuine concern.
Considering that downtime can cost small businesses up to $427 per minute and larger corporations up to $9,000 per minute, keeping your site up and running is a must.
What Should You Look for in a Managed WordPress Hosting Provider?
Managed hosting is advantageous for nearly all websites, but not all providers are created equal. In your search for a managed WordPress host, make sure you’re receiving all of the following.
#1 24/7 Support
The internet never sleeps, and neither should your support team. Well, they should probably sleep, but your managed hosting company should have a support team that is dispersed across multiple time zones so your site is never left unattended. Having 24/7/365 customer support from your provider is critical—especially if you run a global business.
#2 Free and Easy Migration
Switching over to a managed WordPress hosting provider from your current solution can be time-consuming and, in some cases, lead to errors. Seek out a provider with a straightforward, free migration service or plugin.
#3 User-Friendly Staging Sites
The ability to test any changes before having them go live is priceless. With that said, look for a managed WordPress hosting provider with one-click staging sites. At the click of a button, you can create a copy of your website to experiment with new plugins and updates. Current users won’t be affected.
Of course, finding a managed hosting plan that suits your present budget is essential. But as your business grows, can your managed hosting provider grow with you? Ideally, your provider of choice has an array of plans that will allow you to scale up as your website blossoms. If you choose a managed hosting provider that you’ll eventually outgrow, you’ll have to migrate your site down the line.
#5 Positive Testimonials or Endorsements
Lastly, try to find a managed WordPress host with a proven track record. Consult with trusted publications and industry colleagues before making a decision on your managed hosting service.
What are the Costs of Managed WordPress Hosting?
As with many other aspects of managed web hosting, costs are scalable depending on your needs. Base-level plans can start around $25 per month and increase from there as you add bandwidth, storage, and active sites.
You can spend $250 per month or more on managed hosting at the upper end of the scale. A premium plan typically includes monthly visitor capacity in the hundreds of thousands, upwards of 50GB of local storage, and 500GB of monthly bandwidth.
Custom plans (with custom pricing) can unlock further potential.
Is Managed WordPress Hosting Worth the Cost?
Ultimately, managed WordPress hosting is a worthwhile investment. For small businesses, the reasonable monthly cost of an entry-level plan comes with dozens of benefits: threat detection, automatic backups, custom WordPress themes, and all-hours support.
Your WordPress costs only increase as your needs for bandwidth do, so more expensive plans continue to bring value for money.
As your business expands, a managed WordPress hosting provider can expand its services to support you. They have the tools and knowledge to help your website succeed.
Managed WordPress Hosting with WP Engine
If you want managed WordPress hosting that delivers everything you’re looking for and more, look no further than WP Engine. Trusted by leading brands and endorsed by PC Mag, our managed hosting plans are some of the best in the industry.
With a 60-day money-back guarantee, there’s no risk involved. Let’s grow your website together—contact us today to learn more.