WordPress powers more than a third of the websites on the internet. There’s a good reason for that. It’s a powerful, user-friendly, easily customized platform that gets regular updates.
Virtually every web hosting service offers WordPress as an option for building your site, from the cheapest shared host to the most powerful dedicated server. That doesn’t mean you should run WordPress on any hosting account, though.
To get the best results, you should use managed WordPress hosting. What is managed WordPress hosting? Let’s find out.
What is Managed Hosting?
There are two fundamental levels of service you can get when you choose a hosting plan – managed and unmanaged. The difference between the two is how much support you get from the managed hosting provider versus how much you have to do yourself.
With an unmanaged hosting plan, most of the technical work involved in maintaining your server is your responsibility. Software updates, plugin and theme installations, WordPress updates, and most other application-related work is in your hands.
Whether you do it yourself, have an in-house IT staff, or outsource it to someone else is up to you, but the hosting provider doesn’t look after that sort of work for you.
With managed hosting, the hosting provider does take care of many of these things for you. In other words, they manage your server, so you don’t have to.
Not all managed hosting is created equal, though. In some cases, the host only looks after things like operating system updates and standard server configuration work. They may not support software that you install on your server, such as WordPress.
Managed WP hosting fills those gaps.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting takes server management up a level by adding support for WordPress itself. The hosting company not only operates the standard server configuration, but it also helps you with any WordPress maintenance.
Updates, plugin installations, backups, and security hardening are just a few of the benefits you’ll get with a WordPress hosting plan.
10 Great Advantages of Managed WordPress Hosting
Typical web hosting services only support certain parts of managing your server. This usually only extends to the operating system and other software that’s standard on all servers.
Anything you install beyond that, like WordPress, is outside of the scope of what they support. They can sometimes answer basic questions if you have a problem, but there’s no guarantee they’ll be able to get issues sorted out for you.
That’s the case even if your server includes the ability to install WordPress on your site. If they don’t offer WordPress hosting* specifically, they won’t be of much help.
WordPress hosting services extend their support to your WordPress installation as well as offering quite a few other advantages over a “vanilla” web host.
1. Let The Pros Manage the Technical Stuff
With WordPress hosting, the technical side of running a WordPress-based website is taken care of for you. This includes things like installing WordPress updates, installing and configuring themes and plugins, tweaking system settings to optimize them for WordPress, and configuring essential WordPress settings.
WordPress hosting providers are also familiar with WordPress and able to provide support when you have questions. Whether it’s a simple question about how to do something in the WordPress dashboard or something more complicated like how to modify your theme files, you’ll be able to get help.
Most web hosts have little or no knowledge about WordPress and won’t be able to answer anything but the most basic questions – if they can answer them at all.
2. Better Website Security
One of the most significant advantages you get with WPFarm’s Managed WordPress hosting is much better website security. We take the headache out of setting up an SSL certificate for you and configure your site to run through HTTPS instead of regular HTTP, but that’s just the tip of the iceberg.
3. Auto WordPress Theme & Plugin Updates
WordPress is an application, much like the ones you run on your PC. It runs on a web server instead of locally, but it deals with the same types of issues.
Security flaws get discovered in WordPress the same as they do in your operating system. Updates get released regularly to fix these security holes, and WordPress needs to get updated on your server to stay current with the latest release.
WordPress hosting providers take care of this for you automatically. It’s not difficult to do, but there are some potential problems if you aren’t careful about how you do it. Hosting services that are knowledgable about WordPress can take steps to ensure your website won’t have any unnecessary downtime because of these potential glitches.
Plus, you may not want to take on a second job of monitoring the latest WordPress news, so you always know when a new version is released. If you don’t know about an update, it might not get installed on your server right away, leaving it vulnerable if the update fixes a significant security flaw.
Keeping up with the latest WordPress scuttlebutt is the host’s job, so they’ll know when updates are released. They’ll be able to keep your site updated on a tighter schedule.
4. Server Hardening
Keeping WordPress itself up to date and configured for maximum security is one piece of the puzzle, but the server itself needs to be configured properly as well.
Servers that aren’t explicitly configured to run WordPress are usually set up for maximum compatibility rather than maximum security. They may not have the latest versions of all the server software, and some of the security settings might be looser than they could be.
When you host your site on a WordPress-optimized server, the hosting company doesn’t have to worry about being compatible with the most comprehensive range of things that might get installed. They can focus on setting it up to work with WordPress while turning off anything that isn’t required and could be a potential vector for a hacker attack.
5. Faster Website Speed & Performance
The speed that your website loads is essential in a couple of ways. For one, it will determine whether your visitors stay on your site to read your content or click away and look for something else.
When someone arrives at your site and almost immediately clicks away, it’s known as a bounce. The bounce rate on your website is the percentage of visitors who click elsewhere right after they arrive. As the load time for your site goes from 1 second to 3 seconds, the bounce rate increases by 32 percent. And going up to a 5 second load time almost doubles the bounce rate.
6. Better Performance Can Help With SEO
The other benefit you’ll get with a faster-loading website is better rankings in the Google results. Google’s goal is to provide the best solutions to what people are searching for at the top of the search listings.
That means that a lot of search engine optimization (SEO) comes down to doing things that offer your visitors a better experience. A higher performing website is one of those things.
The bounce rate is something else that Google considers when ranking sites. If a searcher clicks on a website in search results and almost immediately clicks back to Google and tries a different one, they take that to mean the first site didn’t meet their needs and maybe shouldn’t rank as well. So the higher bounce rate on slower-loading pages can hurt your website in more than one way.
Scalability relates to performance, but a fast website isn’t necessarily scalable. If a site is scalable, it means that it will keep working and continue to provide excellent performance if the amount of traffic suddenly spikes for some reason.
If a page on your site gets shared on a popular website, goes viral on social media, or gets mentioned in the press, it can generate a lot of visitors in a short amount of time.
Even a powerful web server can slow to a crawl or also get overloaded and take your site down if enough visitors arrive all at once. Managed WordPress hosting services can set your website up to avoid this problem.
This is usually done using a content delivery network, or CDN, like Cloudflare. The CDN hosts things like images, video, audio, and other content that is relatively large and doesn’t change very often.
8. Managed Hosting Plus a CDN Helps with Performance
When a visitor lands on your website, the components of the page stored on the CDN get loaded from there while the rest of the page gets loaded from your WordPress server. CDN providers have servers located around the world, and they’ll serve the files from the location that’s closest to the visitor for maximum performance.
But they will also share the load between all those servers if your site gets a sudden spike in traffic. Images, audio, and other media files tend to be large files. Larger files are what typically cause your server to get overwhelmed. By sharing the load between more than one server, the CDN will avoid this problem, so your visitors don’t experience any slow-loading pages.
9. Automated Backups
As we’ve already covered, WordPress is an application running on your server. And like any app you use on your PC, the content you create in WordPress should be backed up in case something goes wrong.
Managed WordPress hosting providers will set up automatic backups that run daily or even hourly if your website gets updated that often. That way, if something goes wrong like an update not working or a hardware failure in the server, they’ll be able to restore your website from the backup with little or no content lost.
Most hosting companies provide backup services, but like many other things that are unique to WordPress, they probably won’t be able to restore the website and ensure everything is back up and running. They would provide the backup files, and it would be up to you to reset everything and get your site back online.
10. Better Developer Tools
WordPress hosts understand WordPress from the developer’s perspective as well as the webmaster’s. One of the most helpful features you get with WordPress hosting is a staging area for testing.
When new versions of plugins, themes, or WordPress itself get released, it’s a good idea to test them before they go live on your site. The same is true when you’re adding new plugins to your site.
WordPress has more third-party support than any other content management system (CMS), but it can be a bit of a double-edged sword. The extensive support means you can find plugins for almost any feature you want to add, but it also means there’s a wide range of developers making those plugins.
Sometimes one plugin doesn’t play well with another, or a plugin may not work in a new version of WordPress until the developer can update it. With a staging area, you can test these kinds of things before going live on your website. If you run into any problems in staging, you’ll know you should hold off until the problem gets sorted out.
Choosing the Best Managed WordPress Hosting
As we already mentioned, most web hosts offer WordPress as an option for building your website. Most of them advertise it front-and-center on their websites as well.
That doesn’t mean their hosting is WordPress-optimized or that they have any technical knowledge of how to manage a WordPress-based site.
As far as identifying what managed WordPress hosting is, look for a hosting provider that understands how WordPress works. Ask them how to set it up for the highest performance, and what they need to do to support you over the long term.
WPFarm offers expertly managed WordPress hosting for websites of any size. From a brand new site getting its first visitors to established blogs getting thousands of hits every day, we have you covered. If you already have a server in place and need someone to optimize your website for the best possible performance, our WordPress optimization services may be what you’re looking for.
But if you’re looking for dependable hosting as well as WordPress expertise, our premium WordPress plans are the answer. They include everything in the optimization package as well as the best WordPress hosting in the industry. Get in touch with us today to find out what we can do for you.