What is a managed WordPress (opens in new tab) site? To understand this, you first need to understand what hosting is in general. Website hosting refers to storing your website data on a public computer (called server) to make it available to other people. That way, visitors can input your website address to view your site in their browser.
Since very few people own servers themselves, the usual way to do this is to rent space from so-called hosting providers (who in turn rent servers in data centers). These are companies that whose business it is to provide you with the means necessary to host your site online. They usually offer different packages around hosting your website with different levels of service.
Two main distinctions in this area are managed and unmanaged hosting: the latter is what most people go for. It simply means you get server space where you can put your website and the provider takes care of keeping the servers running. However, the rest is pretty much up to you. No one will be managing the site upload for you, nor will they monitor or perform maintenance tasks for your site.
Managed hosting is if you’re choosing a host that also takes over much of running your site. If you are not sure about what that means, this post covers managed hosting in detail, explains what it is and how it can help you. You’ll receive a full description of managed hosting, its benefits, and a list of the top providers. You’ll also learn who these providers are along with some highlights about each of them.
Managed WordPress Hosting Defined
So, what is managed hosting? Let’s talk about that first before moving on to WordPress specificities.
Managed hosting means that a host offers various services along with server space that will make running your site much easier. While unmanaged hosting providers also provide packages with different features (for example, different amounts of storage space or priority support), managed hosting goes a lot further.
With a managed WordPress website, your hosting provider will take care of many of the tasks that are usually up to the site owner. This includes stuff like updating your website, backing it up, performing security checks and monitoring it.
The tasks offered by managed hosting providers usually provide what two different levels of management:
Server-level management – This references the ins and outs of your WordPress hosting operating system. Meaning that a host’s team is handling and managing your website and will provide support in the instance of your website having a surge of visitors, which results in a crash. Support can also aid you if your site experiences website bugs or something far worse like a breach from a hacker.
Application-level management – More technical, high-level services. These services include: running website backups, performing updates, managing WordPress plugins, and implementing security measures to prevent cyber attacks.
Help to Get Started
However, that is not all. Managed hosting providers usually also help you in getting a leg up on their service. When you purchase a hosting package from a provider, they will walk you through the process of integrating your website on their servers. So, instead of navigating the hosting process alone, you also have someone by your side to help.
Benefits to Managed Hosting
In contrast to unmanaged hosting, managed hosting provides a number of benefits (opens in new tab).
1. You’ll have a devoted support team
As already mentioned, one of the greatest strengths to managed hosting is the hands-on approach a team of experts will provide. Technical issues can happen on any website, which can take a lot of time and energy trying to solve them on your own.
So, to have someone personally help you solve any issues will be a weight off of your shoulders. These teams are usually available 24/7 to support you by answering any questions or concerns you might have.
Also, usually speaking, managed WordPress hosting providers only deal with that particular platform. By focussing on WordPress alone, the support team will have a higher level of knowledge than the average support team that looks after several other platforms.
2. Optimised for WordPress
Flowing from the previous point, by concentrating their efforts on one platform, a managed WordPress hosting provider will be able to deliver an optimised environment that’s fine-tuned to work with WordPress. This results in increased levels of performance and uptime.
For instance, on a shared hosting you’ll typically use Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) together with caching plugins to make sure your pages load quickly. On the other hand, good managed WordPress hosting providers will take care of this for you and guarantee fast page loads without any extra efforts on your part.
3. Monitoring and maintenance
Unlike support, having website services means that the host’s team will supervise your website regularly and monitor it for suspicious activity. They’ll also handle the maintenance of your site and can solve technical issues that might come about. Therefore, instead of seeing an issue and needing to wait for support, you can rest easy that there are people in the background already taking care of this stuff for you. This also saves you a lot of time.
For instance, whenever there is a new critical WordPress update, you can rely on the managed WordPres hosting provider to handle it on your behalf. They’ll have a team who’ll make sure that your website isn’t powered by an outdated piece of software that might be vulnerable to attacks.
4. Safety and Security
Managed hosting can offer higher levels of security. You may take care of your site really well, but what you might not have is a strategy in place on how to handle bugs, spam or any cyber breaches that might occur. Plus, if you are primarily the one handling the security of your site, you might not have the same resources that a host’s team of experts have.
This is an advantage to managed hosting because your host and their team will already have a strategy and the capabilities to quickly and efficiently handle any issues you might face. The host will likely implement preventative measures, monitor your website for suspicious activity, and will perform regular WordPress backups to restore your website if anything were to happen.
5. Regular Backups
As we’ve mentioned earlier, backups are key to security, but we don’t always have the time to perform them regularly. This is why it’s important to pay attention to a managed hosting provider’s packages and look for their process on backups. Some providers have nightly/daily backups, while other providers make weekly copies. You have to decide how often you want your website to be backed up and look for the option that fits what you want.
With a support team offering services like backups, updates, heightening a website’s security and giving support, this will lead your website to running quicker, smoother and more reliably.
Who should be your next managed WordPress hosting provider?
Managing all aspects of a WordPress website independently can be a hassle. Unmanaged WordPress hosting is practically a part-time job. You have to constantly monitor your website, perform regular backups, run updates and much more.
It can be draining to try and handle everything yourself or even split it between you and someone else. If you aren’t a tech expert, it can also be frustrating to try and solve issues on your own. If you perform unmanaged hosting, then you may have the option to seek support. But, it may come in the form of an “FAQ” or sending an email and waiting days for a response.
This is why managed hosting makes things easier. It takes this stress away with its committed support, list of services and heightened security. Most of the managed hosting providers, as you can see, offer 24/7 contact support so that if any issues arise, you can have them quickly and efficiently taken care of by the host’s team.
That is why we have compiled a list of the best Managed WordPress hosting providers (opens in new tab).
- Nick Schaeferhoff is a WordPress expert writing for WP-Engine (opens in new tab).
- We've also highlighted the best web hosting (opens in new tab).