When it comes to website hosting, there are a lot of choices to make. Do you want shared hosting, VPS hosting, managed, or dedicated hosting?
What type of software is your website built on – WordPress, Joomla, Drupal, Django, etc.?
Finally, what provider has the service and feature set that makes sense for your business?
In this post, we’ll explore the benefits of managed WordPress hosting and why it might be the best option for your business.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting is a type of web hosting that is specifically designed for WordPress websites.
This often means that the hosting company takes care of all the technical aspects of running your website, from keeping it up-to-date with the latest versions of WordPress to making sure that your site is secure. This leaves you free to focus on what’s important – building and running your business.
WordPress is one of the most popular site-building and content management systems in the world. According to W3Techs, WordPress powers 43% of all the websites on the Internet.
While WordPress is not only a popular content management system (CMS), it does require some technical knowledge to set up and manage. This is where managed WordPress hosting comes in.
WordPress-specific features and tools are included with managed WordPress hosting plans to make it easier to set up, manage, and scale a WordPress site.
There are many advantages of using managed WordPress hosting over other types of hosting, such as shared hosting or VPS hosting.
What are the Benefits of Using it Over Other Hosting Options Available on the Market Today?
There are many benefits that managed WordPress hosts typically offer such as site backup, a free SSL certificate, and security features to protect your site from hackers and malware.
They also often include performance enhancements, such as caching, to help your WordPress site with faster page load times.
In addition, managed WordPress hosts provide customer support that is specifically tailored to WordPress site administrators and owners.
How Does Managed WordPress Hosting Work?
Managed hosting services provide a hands-off hosting experience for those who want to focus on their website content.
Without having to worry about the technical aspects of keeping a WordPress site up and running. You can expect your hosting provider to take care of tasks such as software updates, security patches, and performance optimization. Some may offer a staging environment and other management services as well.
Whether you’re new to WordPress or an experienced user, managed WordPress hosting can provide the peace of mind that comes with knowing your website is in good/capable hands.
What Kind of Support Can You Expect From Your Provider?
Each hosting provider will define support differently. Some help with hosting and debugging while others, like FatLab, provide developers to help with changes to features, functions, or content.
What Features Should You Look For When Choosing a Managed WordPress Host?
For businesses that don’t have the in-house resources to do so, managed WordPress hosting can be a great option. When choosing a managed host, there are several features to look for:
- Linux-based environment utilizing Apache or NGINX, MySQL or MariaDB, and PHP with all modules utilized by a typical WordPress install activated.
- Security systems in place such as a Web Application Firewall, regular server patches, and application isolation (viruses don’t pass from website to website).
- Backups (both on and offsite backups)
- Performance services such as server and page-level caching.
- Included Content Delivery Network (CDN)
- Regular software updates, for the core, WordPress Plugins, and themes.
- Site-specific monitoring for uptime
- Support that not only covers the hosting infrastructure and related issues but helps with your specific website.
- Scalability: As your business grows, you’ll need a host that can offer scalable services to accommodate your needs.
- Multiple data centers.
- Regular activity report or easy-to-understand logs
How Much Will it Cost You to Make the Switch to Managed Hosting?
Many managed hosting companies offer zero-cost migration for one or more domains as an incentive. At FatLab we never charge for the migration of a website.
Once the switch is made, the cost of managed WordPress hosting can vary depending on the size and scope of your business, of course, the provider and services offered. It will generally be a more expensive hosting solution than traditional web hosting.
We have seen plans start as low as $30/month at WP Engine and $35 at Kinsta but these are infrastructure plans (i.e. support and service are focused on infrastructure and not your specific website). It’s also important to know that these providers charge for additional services such as CDN and do not include services such as a web application firewall.
Full-service plans, such as those at FatLab, start at $100/month and go up depending on the provider and services offered. For example at Fatlab, we include individual website software updates, monitoring, and actual website support. This can sound expensive but is in line with the marketplace and when you consider the importance of your website, it’s often easily justified.
Remember that managed hosting can save you time and money in the long run by providing expert support and ensuring your site is always up and running.
The Potential Downsides to Using a Managed WordPress Host
While managed WordPress hosting can provide several advantages, there are also some potential downsides to consider. One of the main advantages of managed WordPress hosting is the support that you’ll receive from your host. However, this support can also be a downside, as it may be more expensive than other hosting options.
In addition, managed WordPress hosts may limit the plugins and themes that you can use. This means that your host has vetted the plugins and themes for security and compatibility, and it also means that you’ll have fewer choices when it comes to customizing your site.
For example, WP Engine controls the caching policy of your site and doesn’t allow any changes to that until you reach the much more expensive plans. They also don’t allow some types of custom scripting which make their hosting incompatible with more complex websites.
We have run into situations where certain PHP modules were simply not allowed making the hosting incompatible with the website.
Kinsta also publishes a list of banned plugins, most of these because they are resource-intensive. Kinsta also does not allow direct connections to the database which makes some 3rd-party integrations impossible.
Some providers also base their plans on page views or visitors per month which is impractical for sites that experience irregular traffic patterns.
The point here is that many managed hosting providers maintain a certain environment and if your website requires anything outside that environment, you may need a more custom plan than is offered by the more strict managed hosting plans.
Ultimately, whether or not managed WordPress hosting is right for you will depend on your specific needs and budget.
What We Believe Makes for a Great Managed Hosting Plan
At FatLab, we find the most frustrating thing about hosting is the limitation of support. By that I mean:
- The ease of getting support. Are you calling a large call center that only cares about their servers and will tell you to call a developer if the issue is found to be site-related?
- Does the provider know who you are, your website, your audience, and your unique challenges?
- Does the provider have WordPress developers who can actually help diagnose any issue with your website and potentially fix it?
Waiting on hold for 20+ minutes to simply be told to call your developer, and then have your developer tell you to call the host is about the most frustrating client experience ever, especially when a site is down or experiencing performance issues.
We believe the best services, like those that we sell, include support for the hosting infrastructure (something you really shouldn’t have to worry about) to actual support for your website.
We feel we are unique because we actually know each and every website, what makes it unique, any specific challenges, software issues, etc.
Sometimes managed hosting providers offer automatic software updates, but the question is whether anyone actually checks if these have gone smooth, or does the client find a problem later?
Another frustration point is uptime. Many hosting providers promise 99.99999% uptime but don’t specify if that is their network or your specific website… most of the time these claims of uptime only refer to their networks and not your website.
At FatLab, we don’t only monitor the servers and networks but we also monitor the individual websites and react 24/7 if there is an issue.
We also price our packages in such a way that we are not nickel and dining when a website needs to scale. We ensure each website receives the ideal environment at a specific data center and if it needs more resources temporarily or permanently we simply adjust without changing the client’s plan and price.
How Do You know if Managed WordPress Hosting is Right for Your Business or Website?
If you’re running a WordPress site, a managed WordPress hosting service can be a great option to help ensure smooth sailing.
Managed WordPress hosting providers offer a variety of services and support to help you keep your site up and running, including daily backups, security scans, managed updates, and more. This can be especially helpful if you don’t have the in-house technical expertise or if you don’t have the time to dedicate to regularly maintaining it.
Of course, managed WordPress hosting costs can also be more expensive than traditional web hosting, so it’s important to weigh the pros and cons before making a decision. But if you’re looking for peace of mind when it comes to your WordPress site, managed WordPress hosting could be the right choice for you.