Hosting has always been a hot topic amongst the WordPress community—shared and managed hosting both have their own advantages and disadvantages and there’s a lot of debate around which is best. Multiple hosting reviews, comparisons and surveys eventually become more confusing than helpful.
In this article we’ll try to break down the advantages and disadvantages of shared vs managed hosting so you can make an informed decision about which is best for you.
Shared vs Managed WordPress Hosting in a Nutshell
The debate about shared vs managed WordPress hosting comes down to the added WordPress-specific services and performance tweaks that you get with managed hosting.
Think of managed WordPress hosting as a hotel with concierge service for your WordPress website, whereas regular shared hosting is a backpackers’ hostel. You can have shared managed hosting but broadly, shared hosting is the cheap/low-quality one and managed hosting hosting is the expensive/high-quality one. Shared hosting and managed WordPress hosting aren’t inherently different things. When people talk about shared hosting, they’re generally mistaking it with generic cheap hosting. In reality, you can find plenty of shared hosting options that offer a managed platform and services.
Shared Hosting vs Managed WordPress Hosting: Basic Differences
Shared hosting is a type of hosting plan where your website shares resources with other websites on the same server. Managed WordPress hosting is a set of added services and performance tweaks that sits on top of what comes with regular hosting.
Some budget-friendly shared (yet managed) WordPress hosting providers like Bluehost are only $3 per month. While, expensive and dedicated managed WordPress hosts such as Pagely start at $499 per month.
Explaining Shared Hosting
The prime difference between shared vs managed WordPress hosting is that shared hosting is all about keeping the costs minimized by sharing lots of different websites into a single server. This may not sound like much (or even negative), but shared hosting serves a purpose.
To understand it better, shared hosting is a great solution for website wanting to use proof-of-concept (POC) hosting. Here, you can opt for a professional managed WordPress hosting setup for each POC development, where you can undertake more than 1 test at a time and run multiple sites on one server.
However, there are certain downsides to shared hosting as well.
- You are required to share your server resources with thousands of other websites that might make your website slow down. Problems with other websites may also affect you.
- Some top-quality shared hosts avoid overloading their servers, which is healthy and safe for site performance. While cheap shared hosts will usually oversell the space and put your user experience at risk.
While your cPanel has some WordPress specific features like an installer tool, it’s not designed specifically to make your WordPress life easier like a managed WordPress host’s dashboard.
Explaining Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting is a set of services, performance optimizations, and other value-adds. The added features can:
- Make your website load faster as every configuration is specifically set up to be optimized for WordPress.
- Provide you with tools to make it simple to install and manage WordPress
- Help in maintaining your website with automatic update and backup features.
- Secure your WordPress website with security rules and features that are tailored to WordPress.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Shared Hosting
The main difference of concern for business owners between shared and managed WordPress hosting is performance.
- Significantly lower monthly fees
- No hard caps on number of visitors to your website
- Slower load times
- Because of shared resources, website load time can be affected by the actions of other websites
- Lacks some valuable features like automatic updates and backups
- Lacks WordPress-specific performance and security tweaks
Advantages and Disadvantages of Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting are varied in nature compared to shared hosting:
- Server architecture is designed specifically for WordPress and for better performance
- Inbuilt server-level caching, that also adds to greater performance
- Automatic WordPress updates which keep your website secure and functioning
- Auto backups for securing WordPress data
- Convenient website management dashboard
- The ability to create staging sites for easier testing and management
- Customer support agents are WordPress experts
- Managed WordPress hosts cost more than shared hosts
- Impose stricter website limitations and visitor caps
- Only one WordPress Site host
Shared vs Managed WordPress Hosting: What Should You Choose?
Of course, there will be many factors that influence whether you choose shared or managed WordPress hosting—a big variable being your starting budget. Entry-level managed WordPress hosting services start at an affordable price so that hosting is accessible for the constant influx of WordPress beginners.
- All the above hosts come with free backups and free SSLs.
- Premium managed features, custom dashboards and staging sites are the benefits that is received with managed WordPress hosting, yet still at an affordable price.
When To Say Yes To Shared Hosting:
Shared hosting is a great option for running a small website, blog or portfolio website. You could easily opt for shared hosting if:
- You’re on a budget: things will be cheaper generally but aspects such as backups, WordPress updates, and server maintenance may be your responsibility, depending on your web host.
- You have an expected amount of traffic: If you are sharing server space and resources with others, the lags or slow speed depends on the makeup of other websites on the server. But you can still do everything else in your power to enhance performance for a certain amount of traffic.
- You need a variety of installations: As shared hosting is generic in nature to work with on eCommerce platforms, you can install practically anything that you like. If you are expecting to use a lot of server resources, shared hosting can give you the variety you need.
When To Choose Managed WordPress Hosting?
On the other hand, managed WordPress hosting is perfect if you are planning to run a medium to large business website on an e-Commerce storefront. Managed WordPress hosting costs a bit more upfront, but could save you a lot in the long run! Consider a managed WordPress hosting plan if you:
- Can’t handle maintenance yourself: if you aren’t that tech-savvy, or simply don’t have any time or inclination to perform website maintenance, investing in managed hosting is recommended. You could easily focus on your content while your host manages any technical aspects.
- Need WordPress specific Support: managed WordPress hosting offers support technicians who specialize in everything related to the platform. If you have an issue with your database, or a recent upgrade or plugin installation, they are much better equipped to help you opposed to a shared service.
Website owners often start out with shared hosting and it could help you get started fast and cheap. However, managed WordPress hosting has several benefits that you should consider before making a final decision. If you are just starting out for a small website, blog or portfolio then shared WordPress hosting is something that may be viable (if only for a while!). The best part is you can upgrade to better plans as your website grows.
Regardless of whether you go for shared or managed hosting, there are a lot of things you can do to optimize your website and get the most out of your WordPress installation. Hosting is just one part of a bigger picture—you’re only going to get the full benefits from your hosting if you invest in website optimization. If you feel like you could use some professional help with that, here’s some companies you should consider getting in touch with:
CodeClouds: this company are recognized as an industry leader when providing quality WordPress development services with cost-effective monthly plans. They have developers in multiple countries allowing them to maximize uptime and create outstanding WordPress solutions in an efficient amount of time.
Curotec: They have eCommerce developers and are based in Philadelphia. They boast a flourishing clientbase when providing eCommerce solutions but don’t offer services specific to WordPress. However, they’re still worth a look!
If you’d like to take gain a bit more technical expertise and take some development or optimization responsibility into your own hands, a great place to start with are any of these 5 YouTube channels for developer upskilling.