There are diverse types of hosting available. For starters, you will get Windows hosting and Linux hosting. That is the segmentation based on the operating system that is installed on the server.
Then there is shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, cloud hosting and managed hosting.
Managed hosting has several types including managed WordPress hosting, managed WooCommerce hosting, managed Magento hosting and many more.
Managed hosting is the newest of the breed, but it has been around for quite some time now. New managed hosting providers keep emerging every now and them.
Managed WordPress hosting is the most popular hosting type in this segment and there are no surprises here. WordPress is the most popular CMS, and it powers around 40% of the web.
Any managed hosting (including managed WordPress hosting) is quite expensive. But why so? Should you be really investing in managed WP hosting? Is it worth the cost?
Let us find that out.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting is a WordPress-only hosting solution in which you can host only the WordPress CMS. Nothing else is permitted.
Such hosting adds several interesting features that include security management, integrated CDN, decluttered custom dashboards, staging website, and so on!
Essentially, you do not need to worry about the server, SSL implementation and renewal, security patches and so on. You can focus on what you must – the website.
Because this type of hosting provides you all the server-side support (that you usually do not get with other hosting types like shared, VPS, dedicated, or cloud), they charge extra.
Honestly speaking, this is quite intriguing for those who are not technically adept. Server-side tasks like running security patches, updating software, configuring server-side caching, etc. require a lot of technical knowledge.
Only those with such knowledge can handle server management with ease. Managed hosting shot to prominence because of this feature – no management hassle for the hosting users.
Of course, the host of features offered are also attractive enough to grab attention of people looking for reliable hosting solutions.
Does it mean that shared hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, and cloud hosting cannot be managed?
They can be!
There are managed shared hosting, managed VPS hosting, managed dedicated hosting and managed cloud hosting providers. You can always go to them and get a hosting package.
But managed WordPress hosting is designed for WordPress sites. Their hosting platform is optimized to run WordPress flawlessly. Their server caching, CDN, database configuration – everything is optimized for WordPress and WordPress only!
So, if you are planning on starting a WordPress blog or site, or if you already have one powered by WordPress, you can greatly benefit from managed WP hosting.
This brings us to the next part of the blurb!
What are the Benefits of Managed WordPress Hosting?
There are several benefits, and you are going to love them all (at least most of them). Let us find out what you can expect from this type of hosting.
Powerful Cloud VPS
Every managed WordPress hosting provider will host your website on a cloud VPS (Virtual Private Server).
What does that mean? Here is what it means:
They will use virtualization technology to create isolated containers in which your website will reside. This isolated environment will keep your website secure from the rest of the websites. In a typical shared hosting environment, there is no such isolation. All websites are place in a single server in separate folder.
If one site gets infected, there will be high chances that it will infect the adjoining websites. With isolation, your website remains protected from such mishaps. The victim site’s infections will be contained within its very own isolation chamber or container.
Think of it as a private room for you where you have all necessary things to survive. People outside the room cannot affect you in anyway because you lock yourself up in the room. So, even if a riot goes on outside the room, people cannot reach you and harm you unless you open the door from inside.
What is interesting is that when you are put in an isolated container, you will have reserved resources that include at least the following:
- CPU cores
- PHP workers
These are essential resources without which your website cannot work. After all, your hosting server is nothing but a computer. Since your site will be living in an isolated container, it cannot share anything with an adjacent site. And hence, it is important have all it needs to survive. Your dedicated computing resources will allow your site to survive on its own.
The importance of dedicated or reserved resources can be understood well by a comparison with a shared hosting solution. In shared hosting, all websites are put in folders and crammed up inside the same server storage. The server resources are available to all sites, and they share the resources among themselves.
If one site runs a script that needs more processing power, or if it suddenly starts getting more and more traffic, it will need more computing or processing power. On a shared server, it will start utilizing the available resources. This will mean that the other sites will either have less resources at disposal that they need to share, or they will not have any resources available.
This is not going to happen in the case of managed WordPress hosting. You will have a finite number of resources allocated to you. You are free to use up all those resources, but if you need more, you can pull someone else’s share of resources. Similarly, someone else cannot pull your resources and use them.
This brings us to the next point. Continue reading…
Wondering what happens when your site traffic grows to such an extent where the resources reserved for your isolated container fall short?
This is where the power of cloud comes in. In cloud hosting numerous physical servers are connected together to create a large pool of computing resources. Technically, you will still be hosted on some physical server, but that server will be connected to a network of other servers, thereby effectively increasing its computing resources.
Contrary to this, a shared hosting server is not connected to other servers. So, the amount of computing resources available for that server is limited. Because the computing resources on a shared server are finite, if one or more sites suddenly start using more computing resources, other sites on that metal box will have to contend with fewer resources, that can eventually mean website crashes or very slow websites.
In a cloud platform, since every server is connected, the network will have infinite resources. As more and more servers keep connecting to the network, the pool of computing resources keeps growing.
So, even if your site experiences sudden spike in traffic, and your reserved resources fall short, there will be provisions for instantly scaling the resources available without impacting the other sites. Those other sites will continue to enjoy their reserved portion of computing resources, because the additional resources that you get come from the massive pool of computing resources instead of pulling the resources from other sites’ share.
Every managed WordPress hosting provider will have the feature of auto scaling. However, do not forget that auto scaling can be expensive, and hence, this feature is good only when you have unexpected traffic spikes rarely. If there is a consistent state of traffic spike, always think of upgrading to a higher plan. This will bring down your costs.
Server Management & Security
Managed WordPress hosting providers will take care of server management which includes software updates, troubleshooting, etc. You do not have to worry about those things at all.
They will even implement security measures like malware scans and DDoS protection using their proprietary or third-party tools. Most of the hosting providers will use ModSecurity for preventing hacking and malware injections.
Additionally, most of them will also guarantee that if your site ever gets hacked or injected with malware, they will clean up your site for no extra cost. Once they clean up your site, they will give you advice on how to harden your website’s security even further to prevent future mishaps.
Development / Staging Site
One of the most notable features of managed WordPress hosting providers is that they will offer one-click development / staging environment. Well, technically development and staging are different, but you can always use staging as a development environment.
A development environment is the initial stage where you get all you need to develop your website or application. Once you are done with the development or if you need to show the progress to your client, you can use the staging site by putting the in-development site on the staging environment.
Once you or your client is happy about how the development, you can push the staging site out of the staging environment and send it to the product environment where the site becomes live for and accessible to the world.
So, the development is the starting stage, staging is the intermediary stage, and production is the final stage.
Interestingly, you can carry out all development work directly inside the staging environment. You do not need a development environment.
A staging site is important because if you want to make some changes to your production site, you will have two options:
- Work on a local copy of the site and then upload it back to server to make the changes live.
- Work directly on the live site, allowing people to see the live changes taking place.
The first method is messy, and anything can go wrong anytime. Also, it is a lot of work making an offline copy of your site and then reuploading the entire site.
With the second method you will essentially disrupt the user experience. No one likes to witness changes in layout, color, function, etc. while browsing a site.
The best option is to get a staging site. You can make all the changes you want on the staging site without compromising the user experience on the live site. The staging site is essentially a replica of your live site, but inaccessible to the world. Only you can work on it. Once you have completed making all changes, you can move on to publish those changes to the live site with a single click.
I have never come across a managed WordPress hosting provider that does not offer a CDN service. Some of them will partner with third-party CDN providers while others will have their custom-made CDN to work with their hosting platform.
Either way you will get a CDN that can serve your website’s static resources from CDN servers, thereby improving your website’s speed. Google wants your website to be fast and a CDN is a key component of speed optimization techniques.
What are the Problems of Managed WordPress Hosting?
If there are benefits of managed WordPress hosting, there are problems, too! Here is a quick list of problems that you will face with any managed WordPress hosting provider (or most of them):
No Caching & CDN Control
If you use a managed WordPress hosting solution, you will have zero control over the server-side caching. They will manage it. Again, if you use their CDN service, you will have no control over the CDN setting. Everything is controlled from their end. However, you are free to use any CDN you want (mostly).
There are several managed WordPress hosting companies that will ban certain WordPress plugins. In simple words, they will not allow you to install certain plugins. So, if you are considering a move to a managed WordPress host, make sure that you ask your hosting providers to find out which plugins are disallowed.
Stringent Visitor Cap
Almost every managed WordPress hosting company will have a stringent cap on the number of visitors your website can have every month. This is not good if you expect your site to grow exponentially. Usually in scenarios like that you will have to upgrade to a higher plan that can be ridiculously pricey. But if you are making enough money, it should not be difficult.
What is really not nice is that the pricing is based on visitors instead of bandwidth. The true cost of hosting comes through bandwidth. So, look for a managed WordPress hosting that caps bandwidth instead of visitors.
Is Managed WordPress Hosting Really Worth the Cost?
I think it is! The type of security and hassle-free hosting solution you can enjoy is unbeatable. Of course, plugin ban can be an issue, but if you can find a hosting provider that does not ban any plugin, or does not ban the plugins you use, you should consider moving if you have the budget.
However, if you like to take the headache of all the management and security, you can always stay with unmanaged hosting that will cost you much less. I certainly feel that you should be focusing on what matters the most – your website and the business that revolves around it.
Some of My Preferred Managed WordPress Hosting Providers:
I work with Liquid Web simply because they do not put a restriction on the number of visitors I can have each month. Instead, they put a bar of the bandwidth consumption. Also, they do not have any restriction on the plugins I can use. I strongly recommend Liquid Web to anyone looking for a very reliable managed WordPress hosting provider.