There are a lot of benefits to using a managed WordPress host for your website hosting. We are going to take a look at the top ten reasons why you should make the switch to a managed WordPress host for your WordPress website. Before we get started, let’s take a quick look at what exactly managed WordPress hosting is.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
All websites need to be hosted on a server. A server is basically a stripped back computer that is racked up in a data centre (a warehouse optimized for storing computers) and connected to the internet. In the same way that computers (like a desktop or laptop) can vary in power and performance, so can servers. The better maintained and the more powerful a server, the better websites loaded onto this will likely work.
You can purchase hosting for WordPress websites incredibly cheaply. If you hunt around you could probably find hosting available for about $2/month for so-called ‘shared hosting’. That’s astonishingly low and clearly, on the face of it anyway, very attractive, especially when other hosts can charge anything from $10 to $50/month for a seemingly similar service.
It’s really important here to remember that not all hosts are created equal. Just in the same way that you wouldn’t expect a $10,000 car to perform as well as one costing ten times the amount, you have to accept that cheap hosting is very unlikely to perform as well as more expensive hosting.
Managed WordPress hosts tend to occupy the higher price bands in the world of website hosts. This is because a managed WordPress host (normally) offers a number of benefits over and above a cheaper host. We’ll run through some of these below. Essentially, a managed WordPress host is one that a) specializes in WordPress and as such uses servers optimized to run WordPress websites and b) provides comprehensive support to their customers delivered by WordPress experts.
The Benefits of Managed WordPress Hosts
How important the benefits offered by managed WordPress hosts are to you will normally depend on how important your website is to you. If you’re a business, are self-employed, run a Digital Agency or in any way rely on your website (for example by running a WooCommerce store) then it would normally make sense to use a managed WordPress host. Let’s dive in and look at some of the top benefits provided by many managed WordPress hosts (such as Pressidium).
Benefit One – Speed
Have you ever thought about how quickly your website loads? If not, it’s definitely time to sit up and pay attention to this important metric. Website load times have a significant impact on their usability for your customers/clients and, because of this, it’s vital to make sure your website is loading as fast as you sensibly can. If you’re unsure how your website is performing then head to Pingdom and run a test now.
So, why are load times so important and how can managed WordPress hosting help?
I’m sure you have visited a website before that loaded slowly (or failed to load at all). Remember how frustrating that was? Odds are very high that after 3 seconds you would have given up waiting an abandoned the website and gone looking elsewhere. If you’re a business this is seriously bad news. Not only have you lost a customer but that customer has literally now been driven to seek out one of your competitors and all just because your website took a second or two too long to load. The shame of this is that it’s normally a relatively easy problem to solve.
There are normally two reasons why a website loads slowly. The first is that the website is poorly designed. You might have some huge image files on your homepage that take forever to download or a plugin that is causing issues. If you’ve used a reputable designer to build your website then this is unlikely however. The second reason (and far more likely) is that you’re using low quality ‘shared’ hosting. This type of hosting is extremely common. In order to keep costs down, hundreds of websites are normally loaded onto under-powered servers. The server then struggles to keep up with demand and the result is that your website loads slowly.
Managed WordPress Hosts pay close attention to things like load speeds. Because they typically charge more money, they don’t have to cram their servers full of websites and are able to invest in technology (such as caching) that helps speed up load times. Assuming your website isn’t poorly built, switching to a managed WordPress host can often result in an immediate uptick in speed. And, perhaps even more importantly, these increases in speed will be maintained hour after hour, even when traffic to your website increases. In contrast, it’s not uncommon to see shared hosting that delivers acceptable load speeds of 2 seconds or so one day but then 10 seconds or worse another day. In summary, if you want a fast loading website (and you definitely do) then switching to a managed WordPress host is a great way to achieve this.
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Benefit Two – Reliability
Reliability in website hosting terms refers to how likely it is that your website stays live 24×7, 365 days a year regardless of traffic. We touched on one element of reliability when discussing speed… you’ll often find that shared hosting delivers reasonable load times on occasion. It’s the ‘on occasion’ element that can distinguish shared hosting from managed WordPress hosting. Consistent speed and uptime are crucial for websites, particularity those that your business relies on. So why is this?
Imagine if your website crashed daily for about 5 minutes. Doesn’t sound like much does it? So, let’s imagine that on average you have 60 visitors to your site an hour. You’re running a global e-commerce store that has visitors from around the world so traffic is fairly consistent 24×7. With just 5 mins downtime in any 24hr period that means that you’ve potentially lost 5 customers. Over a week that’s 35 customers. In a year you’re looking at 1,820 people who haven’t been able to purchase from your site due to downtime. If each order is worth $10 to your business that’s $18,200 in lost sales. Perhaps worse however as how likely is it that those ‘lost’ customers will ever try shopping with you again?
Managed WordPress hosts will deploy a range of mechanisms designed to ensure that your website downtime is kept to an absolute minimum. And, should the worst happen, many managed WordPress hosts will likely work hard to restore uptime quickly (often before you’ve even realise there was an issue). Pressidium for example use a sophisticated ‘High Availability Architecture’ that routes traffic according to server load and in doing so drastically improves the reliability of the websites hosted on the platform. As we’ve demonstrated, website downtime can cost you, sometimes significantly. Managed WordPress hosting provides a solution to this problem.
Benefit Three – Scalability
For most businesses, growth is important. Over time, successful businesses will increase their staff levels, turnover, profits and size of their customer base. It’s therefore important that their website can grow with them. Shared hosting normally has some significant limits on the amount of traffic it can handle. Breach these limits and websites hosted on shared hosting will crash. Managed WordPress hosting however is normally better equipped to handle this growth.
Whilst of course it’s possible to move your website to another host if you find this necessary, migrating websites can be fraught with problems especially if you have a lot of traffic to your site (such as a WooCommerce store). As such, it’s much better to start with a reliable managed WordPress host that can help you scale as your business grows.
For some businesses, the levels of traffic hitting their site can vary depending on the time of year. Seasonal shopping trends will impact traffic to eCommerce stores for example. During these peak traffic periods it’s clearly vital that enough server resources are made available. For shared hosts this tends to me impossible without migrating a website (something you really don’t want to do, especially when you’re busy). Some managed WordPress hosts however will be able to ‘dial up’ the resources available to your site for a month or so during busy periods and then ‘dial down’ these resources (saving you money) when things are quieter.
Another big tick for managed WordPress hosting.
Benefit Four – Backups
How would you feel if your website got hacked and the hacker wreaked havoc on your site, deleting blogs posts, defacing content and leaving behind malicious code? Pretty angry probably! But also rather panicked… unless you had a robust backup plan in place for your website.
And it’s not just hackers that can cause panic attacks for website owners… servers can and do fail deleting potentially hundreds of hours worth of website work in an instant. Imagine how you feel when a customer contacts you to tell you your website isn’t live… you check and they’re right… all that shows is an error page, You contact your host who regretfully tells you they had a server failure and your website has been deleted… ‘but it’s ok’ they say, ‘you can restore your site from a backup’… ‘if you have one’.
WordPress backups are incredibly important. You really must have a robust system in place to take backups of your website even if it is only a ‘little’ website that isn’t that important to you. When you stop and actually think about it, the amount of work poured into the simplest of websites can be considerable. It’s both heartbreaking and potentially financially ruinous if you have to rebuild a website from scratch.
Managed WordPress hosts normally take the stress out of backups by providing an ‘in-built’ backup system that automatically takes a daily backup of your website(s). Restoring a website from one of these backups normally only takes a few clicks and no technical know-how. This means, in the event of a hack or accidental deletion, you can be back up and running, often in just minutes. Backup features like this are worth their weight in gold. Once you’ve experienced a good in-built backup service provided by a managed WordPress host you wouldn’t ever want to be without it.
Benefit Five – Security
WordPress often receives a bad rap when it comes to security. One of the reasons sometimes given for NOT using WordPress is that ‘it gets hacked’. WordPress powers around 37% of all the websites in the world – statistically speaking, because this is such a high number, you are more likely to hear about problems than you would say with less popular CMS’s like Drupal.
WordPress is secure. But, like any CMS (Content Management System), sometimes hackers are able to gain access. More often than not however this is due to two things. The first is end user failure. This is where the owner of the website (or developer etc.) fails to update the WordPress core and plugins and/or uses weak passwords and usernames. Hackers will exploit these flaws to gain access to a site. The second is hosting. Cheap, shared hosting tends to come with it’s own array of security issues and there isn’t money in the budget for the host to fix these.
Managed WordPress hosts tend to be fanatical about security. They deploy a range of tools to help protect their client’s websites which make it much less likely that you’ll get hacked when using a managed WordPress host.
And, if the worst was to happen, managed WordPress hosts tend to be better equipped to help you restore or clean up your site. It’s peace of mind that’s worth paying for.
Benefit Six – Ease of Multiple Website Management
If you managed multiple WordPress websites (like a Digital Agency or perhaps a University) then you’ll appreciate just how long some maintenance tasks can take when you have tens or hundreds of websites to look after.
Managed WordPress hosts normally have you covered with user friendly dashboards that allow you to view and undertake routine maintenance tasks across your website portfolio with ease. Pressidium’s Dashboard for example allows users to take and deploy backups, copy sites to staging servers (more on these next), check and deploy plugin updates and much more all from one control panel. This makes managing multiple sites a breeze.
Benefit Seven – Staging Environments
What do you do when you need to make a major update to your website? Perhaps avoid undertaking the work during the day whilst traffic is highest? Or making small, incremental changes in the hope that these don’t disrupt visitors to your site when you hit ‘Update’? Neither of these solutions are ideal. Making updates to a live website is always fraught with risk and to be avoided where possible. But how? That’s where staging sites come in.
Staging sites are a copy of your website that are hosted on an alternate install and/or server. They are accessed via a non-indexed domain and allow you to make as many updates as you need without touching the live website. Then, when ready, you can deploy these changes to your live website, confident that little to no downtime will occur.
Staging websites have traditionally been quite awkward to setup. Many managed WordPress hosts however now offer easy-to-use staging systems that make copying, updating and deploying to and from staging sites a breeze.
If you regularly make updates to your website that could, in doing so, impact user experience during these updates then staging sites will be a revelation and well worth the modest increase in hosting costs that comes with a managed WordPress host.
Benefit Eight – Support
It’s hard to rank this list of managed WordPress host benefits in any particular order… depending on your tech ability and how your website is used, different features may be more important to you than others may be for some. Support however is likely to be a massive ‘tick’ in the plus column for everyone.
Websites can and do go wrong sometimes. When problems occur due to hosting you can literally find yourself at the mercy if your hosting provider. Unfortunately hosting tech support is normally pretty useless, especially if you’re using cheaper hosting. And in many ways this should come as no surprise. After all, if you’re just paying $25 or so a year to host a website, is it really reasonable to expect this to pay for the server space you’re using as well as an army of well trained technicians who are able to assist with complex WordPress related problems? No, not really.
Managed WordPress hosts on the other hand tend to major in the support department. Of course, quality can vary, but odds of getting the help you need are much greater at a managed WordPress host than they would be with a ‘shared’ hosting provider at the cheaper end of the scale.
You won’t know just how valuable this support is until you need it but odds are high that one day, you’ll be grateful you opted for managed WordPress hosting and the specialist tech support that comes with it.
Benefit Nine – Cost Reduction
Throughout this article it’s been pointed out that managed WordPress hosting tends to operate at the more expensive end of the scale than many other hosting options. So, how then can using it result in saving money?
The short answer is in many ways. If your website is important to you then it’s likely linked in some way to a financial outcome of some kind. A resume website designed to ‘sell’ you to a potential employer needs to impress so you get the job. An eCommerce website needs to stay live in order to generate sales. A marketing website needs to work when traffic is driven to it from some advertising. In short, if your website went down, what would it cost you? Odds are high that this cost would be several orders of magnitude greater than the modest hike in hosting fees that would go with hosting your site with a managed WordPress host.
Don’t just look at the price of hosting… look at what your website is truly worth and then do the math!
Benefit Ten – Peace of Mind
The world is currently in a state of some turmoil. Whilst we all yearn for certainty in this world it can be hard to find. Managed WordPress hosting can go a significant way towards easing some of your mental burden by providing peace of mind that your website is in good hands. A high quality managed host will:
- Backup your site automatically
- Deploy systems to minimise the risk of hacking
- Monitor and undertake proactive upgrades to the WordPress core and sometimes plugins
- Provide timely, effective support when you need it the most
- Offer tools that make managing your website easier
These are significant benefits. If you want to enjoy peace of mind (at least when it comes to your website!) then give moving your WordPress website to a managed WordPress host some serious consideration. It’s likely you’ll be thankful for doing so!