As the popularity of WordPress Content Management Systems (CMS) rise, so do the number of web hosts specializing in Managed WordPress Hosting. Managed WordPress Hosting is great for eliminating some website ownership hassles. The host takes care of security, speed, backups, and WordPress core updates.
Benefits of Managed WordPress Hosting
Speed. If your website is slow, most people will go somewhere else. Because Managed WordPress Hosts only do WordPress, they do a great job of configuring their systems to be fast for WordPress.
Security. Computer programs search the Internet for WordPress sites with sloppy security to break into. Managed WordPress Hosts have your back.
Daily Backups. Things can go wrong. You’re proud of your website and then, POOF—it all goes wonky. No worries, with 1-click you can restore your website to its former glory.
Automatic Core Updates. Your WordPress site runs on WordPress software that needs to be updated every few months. Managed Hosts make it easy by updating the software for you—often in the dead of night.
Minimal Downtime. When people visit your website and see “This webpage is not available” or a similar message, that’s not good. Managed WordPress Hosts have almost no downtime.
Better Support. Since the support staff specialize in WordPress, they can usually solve your problem faster than regular Web Host support.
Choosing a Managed WordPress Host
Search Google for “Managed WordPress Host” and you’ll find lots of companies that offer the service. Recently GoDaddy announced that they are entering the Managed WordPress Host arena at a lower price than most—$6.99/month. That’s comparable to most low-end Web Hosts, and much cheaper than most Managed WordPress Hosts that typically charge over $20/month. Some Hosts are worth the money and others are not. As you evaluate your options, consider:
Speed. Caching allows your website to load faster. Great, but you don’t want to have to work for it. Some Managed Hosts provide you with a free caching plugin and expect you to configure it. What? No thanks. Look for a company that has a caching system you don’t need to touch.
Security. Although no company can guarantee your website will never be hacked, Managed WordPress Hosts proactively scan websites for attempted hacks. Look for a company that explains how they protect your website from evil hackers. Even better WP Engine* will fix your website for no charge if it’s hacked.
Daily Backups. Daily backups and 1-click restore are pretty much standard fare, but make sure the company offers both.
Automatic Core Updates. Having the WordPress core software automatically update is nice, but you still need your theme and plugins updated. Take a look at the infographic How WordPress Works to learn more about the WordPress core, themes, and plugins.
A few Managed Hosts will automatically update your plugins. However, you still need to visit your website after updates are applied to make sure it’s working properly.
Visits and Storage Limits. Most basic plans from Managed WordPress Hosts set limits on the number of website visits you can have each month. Check with your Web Host for the number of current monthly visits before you choose which plan to purchase. Check the Managed Host’s policy on visit overages and figure out what happens if you get a large spike in website visits.
Some Managed Hosts also limit local storage—meaning how many images, audio files, and movies you can store on your website. (This doesn’t limit how many videos you can use from YouTube or another video service.) Choose a plan that accommodates the level of storage you require. If you’re not storing video or large files, the storage offered with a basic plan should be enough.
1-click Staging Area. A staging area is a copy of your website. It gives you a place to test updates and new plugins without damaging your website. It’s also great for troubleshooting problems. You can try different fixes and reset the staging area as many times as you need. WP Engine* is one of the few companies that offer a staging area. It’s worth every dollar.
Disallowed Plugins. Some Managed Hosts ban plugins that cause security issues, duplicate functionality the Host provides, or slow down your website. If you already have a WordPress website, check your plugins against the disallowed plugin list. Usually there are better alternatives than disallowed plugins; just make sure that you can live with them.
Website Migration. If you have a WordPress website, you’ll need to move it to its new home. The company you choose should provide clear instructions on how to move your website. If you don’t want to do it yourself (and you don’t have a WordPress expert to do it), find a Managed Host that will do it for you.
Support. Most Managed WordPress Hosts provide support online and through email. Some have phone support and some don’t. If you’re not comfortable receiving support online or by email, you need a company that provides phone support.
Managed WordPress Hosting can make owning a WordPress website easier and reduce headaches if you maintain the website yourself.
*Full disclosure: I’ve been known to sing love songs to WP Engine. We participate in WP Engine’s affiliate program because I’m such a fan.