You have a vision for your idea, and you’ve selected the perfect domain name (opens in new tab) - now what? You need to figure out what type of platform is best for your website.
For most people with a blog, personal website, or small business, the choice is almost always WordPress. Its power, its flexibility but also its ease of use. And as the learning curve that becomes shallower by the day, it means WordPress is the obvious choice for most - web professionals and also beginners looking to learn more.
Great. You’ve decided on WordPress but what about website hosting? The choice is usually between traditional shared hosting (opens in new tab) and managed WordPress hosting (opens in new tab). In this article I look at why the new breed of Managed WordPress products are superior to traditional shared hosting if you’re using WordPress (opens in new tab) for your site.
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Simplicity is freedom. Managed WordPress hosting can really set you free. In short, it’s just simpler and easier than shared web hosting.
There’s no need to manually install WordPress or upload anything. With managed WordPress hosting (opens in new tab), you can typically create and manage multiple WordPress websites from a single dashboard. As well as this, it’s simple to maintain. You can update and backup your website with just a few clicks.
Shared Hosting is the ultimate in versatility but does require more advanced technical knowledge, as well as the desire to learn the skills to run and manage your website, navigate around tools such as cPanel, keep an eye on security as well as other, potentially more complex issues. You will essentially be running your own IT admin or spending a lot of time talking to customer service.
Managed WordPress hosting takes care of all things technical on the server side, and lets you focus purely on building, maintaining and growing your website. More importantly, it allows you to allocate more time to concentrate on the commercial side of your business, such as marketing, social media, search engine optimization, advertising or content creation.
Managed WordPress servers are optimized to run WordPress and since they only have to focus on one platform, they go to great lengths to make sure it is fine-tuned for performance. This extends down to the nuts and bolts that power the server. The managed hosts will ensure the server has the recommended version of the building blocks, namely PHP, MySQL (opens in new tab) and Apache to ensure the best possible performance.
However, while managed WordPress servers can do WordPress-specific tweaking all through their stack, shared hosts can’t afford this luxury of focusing their efforts on one platform.
The power of the cloud
Shared Hosting from most providers will exist on a single cPanel server. Typically this is differentiated in terms of how many resources you get (disk space, bandwidth, CPU/RAM power), the quality of the server hardware and the supporting infrastructure – good providers will use the latest server-grade hardware in fully-redundant data centers with fast networks.
Managed WordPress, that is good managed WordPress hosting, offers more than this. The leading managed WordPress platforms are built on top of the cloud - in Namecheap’s case, our own - and bring benefits such as removing single point of failures that include a server going down and causing downtime, or having a noisy neighbor who is mis-using server resources.
Further, the specialized managed WordPress environment that many providers offer is setup, tuned and maintained just for WordPress. This means things like the web server, database, PHP and all of the components are fine tuned to create the fastest and most reliable WordPress without technical know-how or time required from your part.
Just as the cloud abstracts single physical servers into logical groups of resource pools, managed WordPress takes this a step further by abstracting the software side of things that have traditionally been a headache.
Another advantage to using managed WordPress hosting is the elastic scaling to support traffic spikes and growth. We all love it when our site becomes more popular and featured in the news or on a busy website, or gets recognition across social media. In traditional shared hosting, even some of the best shared hosting, you can quickly run out of resources that take your website or even the entire server offline. With managed WordPress on a real cloud platform, this doesn’t happen. The platform just scales up to take the load.
Thousands of themes and plugins to choose from
WordPress is chosen by over 1/3rd of the web, making it the most popular and trusted website creator in the world. Why is this? One of the top reasons is that it gives you the freedom to build virtually anything you want. It comes with an easy to use interface to write, edit and publish your content.
Not only that, it has over ten thousand themes and plugins available online. You can have a beautiful design and a powerful website up and running in no time. And what’s more, if none are up to your taste, you can always upload your own. In short, WordPress lets you customize your website with any theme you like, while the huge array of powerful plugins available enables you to expand your website functionality easily.
Value for money
Managed WordPress is getting more and more affordable. It’s still more expensive than traditional Shared Hosting; there are increased costs associated with running a true cloud platform to underpin the Managed WordPress product. However, a number of Managed WordPress providers are now offering good products at less than $10 per month and some at less than $5 per month.
So while the headline price might be a few dollars a month more than shared hosting, the time you save combined with the benefits covered above deliver better value for most WordPress scenarios.
As always, you get what you pay for. Do your due diligence while comparing providers. Are they established? Do they have a good reputation? Are they likely to disappear overnight (we’ve all seen the fly by night hosting companies…)? Do they build, own and operate their own infrastructure? What do real customers say?
Verdict: which should I choose?
So all things considered, which of the two hosting solutions is best for you? The answer to this question depends on a combination of factors.
First up is the budget. If you are price conscious, you can start out with the cheaper option, that is shared hosting. Of course, you are trading conveniences like automated backups and updates, and other WordPress specific tweaks.
Shared hosting will also work out if you don’t expect too much traffic. However if you expect a large number of visitors, and don’t want them to experience lags or slow access speeds, it’ll be prudent to invest in a managed hosting solution.
Thirdly, if you lack the technical expertise to properly manage a WordPress installation, do yourself a favor and get a managed Wordpress host. The advantages in terms of peace of mind will outweigh the immediate cost penalties in the long run.
There you have it. As you can see there are lots of benefits to choosing managed WordPress hosting. And it is getting better all the time since the cost continues to come down while at the same time more innovative features are being added. If you plan on using WordPress, for me it’s simply a no-brainer. You get so much more back for your investment. Your time, peace of mind, and data integrity, for a start. How does that sound?