Servers are at the heart of your web business. It is what gives your website the base that it will need to be able to stand up to any fluctuations in traffic. Having a good hosting solution will help to eliminate downtime. Downtime is loss of revenue. It leads to loss of customers. And in the long term, it can do irreparable damage to your website’s reputation. This is why it is important for you to know as much as you can about the difference between managed WordPress hosting and self-hosting.
What Is Managed Hosting?
There are a lot of small components that come together to create your hosting plan. Everything starts with the hardware of the server that you are using. Then most servers have some form of an operating system installed. In addition to the operating system, there is software that can run the website.
Additionally, most managed WordPress hosting companies offer extra features. These include automatic backups, security sweeps, monitoring the status of the site, as well as other services. These additional features are managed by the hosting company. This is why this type of hosting service is referred to as managed. If we were going to break it down to its most basic terms, managed hosting is a hosting plan that has additional services offered that are managed by a hosting company.
Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting uses servers that are highly tuned to work with WordPress. As a result, managed WordPress hosting is faster, more secure, and offers greater features than shared hosting and VPS hosting. Everything from the hardware to the software has been fine-tuned to work with WordPress.
In a report shared by Nathan Finch of Aussie Hosting, we showed that on average managed WordPress hosts are 2-3X faster than self-managed options. Managed hosts also come with a variety of features that are discussed below.
The Services Offered with Managed Hosting
The services that are offered will vary from company to company. You should expect that the managed WordPress hosting company would provide automated backups. This is important because the last thing you want to have happened is for your data on your website to disappear overnight. Automated backups allow you to have peace of mind. They take the pressure off so you do not need to worry about doing manual backups all the time.
That being said, not all managed hosting companies address backups in the same way. Two things that you want to make sure of are whether or not your backups are stored on the same server as your site and if your backups contain your databases.
For obvious reasons, you do not want your backup to be stored on the same server as your website. If that server goes down, you will lose not only the website but also your backup. Additionally, your databases are the heart of your website. You can completely reinstall WordPress and, as long as you have your databases safely stored, get your website up and running again.
You monitor the performance of your website for the same reason that you monitor your health. You want to catch potential problems before they happen. If your website is being monitored, your host provider can contact you, for example, when you’re on the verge of using all of the resources that have been allocated to your site. You could then contact technical support to fix the issue before it has a negative impact on your site’s traffic.
Scanning and Removal of Malware
The security of your server should be the absolute top priority you have. At first, you may think about website security in terms of how malware or other forms of attacks could affect your website’s downtime. And it is true, you absolutely do not want your website to be down for any considerable amount of time. However, far worse than having your website down for a couple of hours is having private personal information of your customers or your employees stolen. With a managed system, you know that there is someone who is taking the necessary steps to provide you the highest level of security possible.
In addition to the features that we have mentioned with managed hosting, you get a ton of support. There is tech support available to assist you with any of your issues. Many managed WordPress hosting companies offer live chats.
Unmanaged or Self Hosting
After looking at all of the benefits of managed WordPress hosting, you may wonder why anyone would not want to use managed hosting. There are a few reasons.
The first reason is that they are using an application that needs the server to be fine-tuned or specially tweaked. A second reason is that the user may be tech-savvy and may want to make certain adjustments. Or they may simply want to learn about server management. The final reason is due to being less expensive.
Unmanaged servers usually have an operating system installed and that’s about it. Any additional changes that may need to be done can be done via the command line. However, for a tech-savvy individual, the command line is unbelievably powerful. It allows them to do for themselves what the host could do. If they have the time, an individual could monitor the performance of their server, detect malware and remove it, and even build their own control panel.
Self-hosted websites provide unparalleled flexibility and customization. There are almost no restrictions to the changes that the user can make, be it to the layout or design. They have the ability to add any functionality they choose. If they don’t like the hosting company, they can save what they have done and move it somewhere else.
What option is right for you?
From our experience, we have seen that if you are going to spend the time building a business website, it's important to pick a managed WordPress host. Your goal is to run your business. You do not want to end up wasting your time trying to keep your server up and running. You want to keep your customers happy. In order to do that, it’s often best to leave the details of hosting to someone else. There’s nothing wrong with you becoming familiar with how hosting works, but unless that’s the business you want to get into, you will be better off leaving things in the hands of professionals.
What do you think? Is managed WordPress hosting better than self-hosting or vice versa? As always we love to hear from you, so let us know your thoughts in the comments section below.