What is WordPress Managed Hosting?

A managed hosting platform installs everything, so you don’t need to worry about the server setup.

The trickiest part of setting up a website is the technical aspect. This can include coding a layout, but if you go with a ThemeForest theme you’ll be all set there.

But the other tricky part is hosting and installing WordPress to get your site online. Thankfully with managed hosting this process can be super easy.

Managed hosting is where you pay a web hosting company to fully maintain your server. This means they’ll setup, configure, and secure your server 24/7. They provide all security updates and data backups to make sure everything’s running smoothly.

But there are many different types of managed hosting so it’s good to learn more about the industry. In this guide I’ll explain what managed WordPress hosting is and why it might be a good choice for your next web project.

Managed WordPress Hosting: The Basics

The term “web server” describes many moving parts. Stated simply, this is just a computer meant to be online 24/7 to deliver websites to visitors. But it’s obviously more complicated than that.

A managed hosting platform installs everything so you don’t need to worry about the server setup.

If it’s managed WordPress hosting then they’ll also install WordPress and optimize the server to load faster. This usually comes with other benefits such as:

  • Malware sweeps & virus removal
  • Protections against DDOS/injection attacks
  • Automatic server updates
  • Automatic website backups
  • Problem solving whenever an issue arises

If you go with semi-managed hosting(or “unmanaged”) then you’ll need to deal with some of these things yourself. Granted most hosting companies are very secure and will protect you from hacks/downtime.

But managed hosting basically guarantees that you don’t need to do anything. It’s the surefire way to manage a high-volume WordPress site while moving all the technical work over to the experts.

If you want access to your server but don’t want full responsibility then a shared hosting account might be better. The problem is that these shared accounts are very poor quality and do not hold up for larger websites.

If you have a WordPress site doing more than 100k pageviews/mo then you might be better with a managed server.

But to properly compare managed hosting against typical “unmanaged” hosting you’ll first need to understand a little about web hosting in general.

The Details of Hosting a Website

All websites basically run with the same software, it’s just the details that change. For example a WordPress site needs a few things:

  • Web server software
  • PHP software
  • Database software

Both managed & shared hosts automatically set up these environments. So if you buy an unmanaged hosting account you still get this software pre-configured and ready to go.

The difference with unmanaged is that you need to install WordPress, install your own theme, and manage your own data backups. This stuff isn’t really too difficult.

But if you don’t have the time or patience to learn then it can be a huge annoyance.

One other aspect of web hosting is email. Many companies want to setup their own addresses like [email protected], and many times you will get this feature included with managed hosting(not always).

A mail server is a whole separate can of worms which is why the managed route is typically better.

WordPress is the simplest way to launch a site and it has amazing security built into the framework. So if you go with a managed host you’re really saving yourself time while foregoing the option to customize & tweak the server.

There are genuine pros & cons to both sides and the choice really depends on your situation.

So let’s go beyond the basics and get into the differences of managed and unmanaged hosts. What really is the difference?

Managed vs. Unmanaged WordPress Hosting

The comparison of managed vs unmanaged can get tricky because the phrase “unmanaged” has a few different meanings.

But let’s look into managed hosting first. It’s basically a catch-all solution where you get everything handled for you. Setup, installation, configuration, and constant maintenance are included in the bill.

You can be pretty much hands-free and let your own IT team handle the server stuff.

This is partially true with unmanaged hosting if you get a shared server.

There are (generally) two types of unmanaged hosting:

  • Unmanaged shared servers
  • Unmanaged VPS/virtual servers

Shared servers are horribly slow. They’re really only useful for small websites, and even then performance won’t always be great.

The other type of unmanaged hosting is a VPS/dedicated server which gives you full control over a virtual server. This means the entire setup, config, and maintenance is 100% your responsibility.

If you’re reading this guide then you probably don’t want that.

So what’s the real deal between managed & unmanaged? It comes down to basic maintenance & upkeep. Shared hosts are unmanaged but they still come with responsibilities.

If you try a shared host you’ll still need to:

  • Update WordPress on your own
  • Check for security flaws or hacking attempts on your site
  • Watch server loads and try to avoid overloading the server
  • Backup your website and keep those backups safe

A good portion of shared hosts do have support teams that can help you. But they won’t always do all the work for you.

This is perhaps the biggest difference between managed vs unmanaged.

It may cost more for managed WordPress hosting but it’s generally worthwhile. You really won’t have to do much but pay the bill each month, and the tech support quality is like comparing economy class tickets to flying first class.

Why Go Managed?

If you ever look at managed host pricing you may be surprised at the massive fluctuations.

Some plans can be as low as $20/month while others can be 10x that price (or more!)

So what’s the real benefit of running with managed hosting? Obviously it’s great for webmasters who just don’t have the time or patience to learn server administration. Managed hosting platforms specialize in what they do so your site gets the VIP treatment.

But the biggest asset of managed hosting is ease of mind. You’re paying for professionals who know how to optimize a server, get it running fast & keep it that way.

When you go managed you’re guaranteed a few things:

  • No technical setup
  • Faster & easier problem solving
  • Consistent website backups
  • Updated software & frequent security checks
  • Very fast server speeds with high uptime

If you’re willing to handle this stuff on your own then go for it. There’s nothing wrong with learning basic server admin skills and it’s surely a valuable asset!

But there’s also nothing wrong with going managed. It’ll save you time, headaches, and ultimately give you some peace of mind every day knowing your site is in good hands.

Is Managed For You?

Everyone loves WordPress so it’s no question that WP is a great choice. But what about managed hosting? Is it the right call?

This comes down to your budget, your needs, and your technical skillset. If you’re willing to pay a little more to offload the technical stuff then I say absolutely go managed. This way you can focus on running your site and it just makes sense to let experts handle the stuff they do best.

About the Author Jake Rocheleau

Jake is a passionate writer & digital designer frequently researching the latest trends in UI/UX design and user behaviors. You can find work samples on his portfolio and follow his tweets @jakerocheleau.