Why Use A Managed WordPress Host?
They say nothing in life is free – and that couldn’t be more true than when it comes to WordPress hosting. If you opt for cheap or even free hosting, you will certainly end up paying in other ways.
Of course, everything has its place. For anyone reading this who has a hobby website and isn’t looking to invest a huge amount of time or resources into it, a budget hosting provider may well work for you.
But if your website is your business, a free or cheap hosting service is likely putting your business at serious risk, potentially crippling your revenue stream and harming your reputation beyond repair. After putting so much time and effort into the design and development of your website, having a sub-optimal hosting provider can destroy all your hard work.
In general, it’s not in our nature at Pixel Jar to be dramatic, but we have good reason to advise moving to a professionally managed WordPress hosting provider.
What is Hosting and Why Does it Matter?
Hosting is simply when your website and its accompanying data is stored on a server so that visitors can access it. While this is true for all types of hosting, it’s where the similarities end.
In general, we talk about four different types of hosting:
- Free hosting
- Shared hosting
- Dedicated hosting
- Managed hosting
Let’s take a quick look at each of these.
This is the type of hosting that we recommend you avoid at all costs. Although at point of use it is entirely free, the provider has to make money somewhere. That means they’ll either put ads on your website or go with a minimum viable product.
Neither of these scenarios is good for you (and are far from the only issues with free hosting.) But if anyone visiting your website sees a bunch of unrelated ads, their trust in your business is going to be instantly low if it exists at all. It simply looks unprofessional.
More seriously, however, by providing a service that just about works, you can expect poor performance, bad technical support, and higher chances of a security breach.
The general idea of shared hosting is that you… share. Your website is quite literally on the same server as other websites. But is that good or bad for you?
Well, it depends. It is true that many shared hosting providers are excellent – if you get one that does its due diligence in terms of security and doesn’t have too many websites on its servers.
The problem is that quality shared hosting providers more frequently fall under the “managed” umbrella, which we’ll discuss more below. The majority of cheap, popular shared hosting providers put quite a few websites on the same server. With more websites present, there are more points of entry for malicious actors, which places your business’ security is at risk.
There can be other downsides to sharing with others. If another website gets blacklisted on your server, because you share the same IP address, it can affect you too. It’s also more common to suffer downtime, which can be terrible for your business. Statistics show that the average cost associated with server downtime is between $300,000 and $400,000 every hour. This is further exacerbated by the less-than-perfect customer service that’s characteristic of cheap providers – not what you need when your website suddenly crashes at 12 a.m.
Now we get into more luxurious territory, for lack of a better term. Dedicated hosting means that there are specific resources set aside for your website alone. It could be that you have part of a server (called a virtual private server or VPS) or literally have a physical computer server that is dedicated to you.
The upside is, as you aren’t sharing with anybody, the security is tighter and performance will, as a rule of thumb, be better. There is a “but” though, and in this case it’s to do with individual expertise and expense.
While a VPS is much more affordable than the physical alternative, dedicated servers do tend to cost more. What’s more, you may be on your own to manage it and ensure it’s fully optimized. Most of us out there either don’t have the time or the expertise to achieve this.
And that brings us to the final (and in our opinion the best) option – managed hosting.
The “managed” part in hosting essentially means the server’s configuration, security, and performance is taken care of for you by the provider.
The actual hosting provider you use can be either shared or dedicated. When we said above that shared hosting can be good, in our experience this is because it’s a managed shared hosting service.
The benefit of managed hosting, whether shared or dedicated, is at the service end. You’ll get better support and can make use of added resources, which translates to a better overall experience.
The bottom line is – managed hosting is likely the best option for your business.
Shared Managed Hosting vs. Dedicated Managed Hosting
The type of managed hosting you choose is, to a large extent, up to you. For most of us, it will come down to budget and your business’s specific needs.
As we mentioned before, there is a large leap in terms of cost when you move from shared to dedicated. Say for instance you choose a cheap shared hosting provider that’s not managed. You could get one for $2 or $3 dollars a month. That’s extremely cheap (and not recommended for the reasons outlined above.)
Move to a dedicated hosting provider that, again isn’t managed, and you’re looking at over $100 dollars for the cheapest on the market. Bluehost, for example, charges $119.99 a month for their unmanaged dedicated hosting and they are one of the more reasonably priced options.
Managed Hosting Options
It stands to reason that if you include managed hosting into the mix, the price is going to be different. At Pixel Jar, we’re long-term partners of WP Engine and are happy to support them both because of their commitment to the WordPress community and because of the quality of their technology.
They offer a range of managed shared WordPress options that are reasonably priced and ensure excellent speed, security, and performance. We believe that a solid shared managed hosting service is genuinely an excellent choice for most businesses.
A managed dedicated hosting provider only becomes necessary when you have a large volume of data. As a rule of thumb, if your company has over 500 employees, has a lot of supply chain infrastructure or ecommerce transactions, or otherwise manages a substantial amount of data and traffic, you should consider moving to a dedicated server. With WP Engine, a managed dedicated server begins at $600 a month. Unless your scale justifies it, we recommend remaining with the shared option.
Should I Change My Server?
Unless you’re confident in your current provider, you should consider switching to a more trusted company. As developers, we have no control over the quality of third-party service providers. If your hosting not up to snuff than it limits our ability to optimize and secure your website. The fact is, both you and your website deserve a managed WordPress host to ensure ongoing health of your business.
If you’re on a cheap or free server and want to change, feel free to reach out for honest advice. Not only will we help you decide on the right option for you, but we can assist in the process of data migration – or moving your website from the old server to the new one.
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