Top 9 Reasons to Choose Managed WordPress Hosting
For your business to succeed online today, you have to juggle everything from marketing, fast hosting, social media, security, content creation, and much more. This can all quickly become overwhelming and very stressful.
Today we want to explore why choosing a managed WordPress hosting service, as opposed to a shared host or small VPS, can be one of the most important decisions you can make regarding your website.
Your business deserves the best, and a managed WordPress host gives you that competitive edge Let us show you how!
What Is Managed WordPress Hosting?
So first off, what exactly do we mean when we say managed WordPress hosting, and how is it different from shared or do it yourself (DIY) hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting is a service that comes with a multitude of features and support, to help websites run efficiently, securely and quickly, leaving the technical know-how to the experts, so you can focus on running your business.
To best explain this further, let’s first break down the general online population into the three WordPress hosting scenarios we typically see.
1. Shared WordPress Hosting
The first crowd is usually made up of people just starting who choose to go with low-cost shared WordPress hosting. These include GoDaddy, Bluehost, Hostgator, SiteGround, Media Temple, OVH, GreenGeeks, etc. Usually, these are people who are:
- Building their first website
- Migrating away from WordPress.com
- On a strict budget and need to keep things as cheap as possible
- Not familiar with the differences between the different types of hosting, and therefore are simply making a decision based on price (hint: this is not good!)
Shared WordPress hosting plans usually range from $3 to $25 a month. There is nothing wrong with starting like this, but you should know a few things.
No matter how you do the math, after expenses, $3 a month isn’t generating any revenue for the hosting company — more so when you add the cost of support to that. One support ticket and they’re already in the red.
A shared host makes a lot of their money by upselling and hidden fees. These upsells include migrations, domain registrations, renewal fees, SSL certificates (even for WooCommerce sites), etc.
Most hosts offer their “unlimited resources” plan to make money. You have probably all seen this.
Well, there is no such thing in the real world as unlimited resources. Hosts will throttle the clients who use up a lot of the resources. This, in turn, ends up with those angry clients leaving, making room for more clients that don’t use a lot of resources.
In the end, you have a vicious cycle of the hosting company pushing cheap plans, signing up customers who they hope won’t use a lot of resources, and will purchase upsells.
It’s all about volume.
Also, because the plan is so cheap, it usually forces the host to overcrowd their servers to consolidate resources. So even though you don’t know it, your website might be on the same server as 500+ other people. Any performance issues that pop up with other sites can, in turn, affect your site.
Make sure to check out our in-depth article from our CBO on the shocking truths about how cheap WordPress hosting works. Some of it might shock you.
2. DIY VPS WordPress Hosting
The second crowd is typically bootstrap startups and people with more development or WordPress experience. They are the DIY crowd. These folks are usually still trying to save money, but they are also typically concerned with performance and realize its importance in the success of their business. Typical setups might include using DigitalOcean, Linode, or Vultr VPS, along with a tool like ServerPilot to manage it more easily.
The DIY approach can be great, but it can also backfire if you aren’t careful. Don’t go this route just because you want to tinker! Your time is worth money, and you should be spending it on growing your business. Take advantage of more than a decade of experience the Leapjuice team has fixing WordPress issues daily.
3. Managed WordPress Hosting
The third crowd is typically small to medium-sized businesses, high-traffic blogs, and companies looking for specialized enterprise WordPress hosting. This crowd realizes that managed WordPress hosting is a good investment because it saves them workforce, time, and usually offers better performance since it’s fine-tuned for the CMS.
Plans for managed WordPress hosting generally range from $25 to $150 a month or more, depending on the size of your site and needs. Some popular managed WordPress hosts you are probably familiar with include Leapjuice, WP Engine, Flywheel, Pressable, Media Temple, Pressidium, and Pagely.
Large companies like jQuery, Plesk, Dyn, and NGINX use WordPress to host their website. Check out our in-depth post on 130+ top WordPress sites dominating the web to see more examples.
Why You Should Choose Managed WordPress Hosting
Just because we separated people into three different groups above doesn’t mean it is always the right way to go. You should do your research to make the right choice for your business. Perhaps you start with the DIY method and upgrade to managed hosting after growing.
1. You Get Superior Support
The number one reason you should choose managed WordPress hosting is superior support. Managed WordPress hosting providers usually only deal with the WordPress platform. This means they don’t mess with Drupal, Magento, or any other type of platform or software. Typically, support teams that focus on one area will become experts in that area, even if they aren’t, to begin with!
2. Optimized for High Performance
The second reason to choose a managed WordPress hosting provider is that their environments are fine-tuned to work with WordPress.
If you go with a shared host or the DIY route, they will typically be on more barebone machines, and you will need to spend time installing software and optimizing to obtain the same speeds that a managed WordPress host offers out of the box. Or, in some cases, on a shared host, there won’t be anything you can do to achieve the speeds you need.
We took a poll on Twitter, and with over a hundred votes, 63% of people chose “performance/uptime” as the quality they value most in a managed WordPress host.
For example, many managed WordPress hosts, including us here at Leapjuice, implement server-level caching and/or full page caching. What that means is we handle that caching. There’s no need to hassle figuring out the fastest caching plugin because you won’t need one. This alone can save you a lot of frustration as caching plugins are never fun to deal with. And in most scenarios, server-level caching is much faster than any plugin.
You must deliver as many assets as possible from the cache during surges of traffic. This reduces the load on the server and ensures things are delivered lightning fast.
A high-performance managed WordPress host should also provide you with the latest and greatest architecture and technology. This includes utilizing the latest versions of PHP, MariaDB, HTTP/3, and NGINX, which have all been proven to be one of the fastest combinations for WordPress.
If your WordPress host is taking ages to release the latest versions of PHP, they are holding you back! That doesn’t fly with us. Leapjuice released PHP 8.0 within weeks of its final and tested release, and we’re looking to be even faster with the upcoming advent of 8.1. This allows clients to start testing earlier and take advantage of free and instant performance gains.
How important is the version of PHP you’re running? From our PHP benchmark report, PHP 8.0 is on average 18.47% faster than PHP 7.4. Who doesn’t want a free 18% speed boost? 😉
Leapjuice utilizes containers for each site. This means that every WordPress site is housed in its own isolated container, with all the software resources required to run it (Linux, Nginx, PHP, MySQL). The resources are 100% private and are not shared with anyone else or even your sites.
3. Strategically Located Data Centers for Global Reach
Besides server-level performance, managed WordPress hosting providers typically have a larger infrastructure designed for global reach. Thanks to Google Cloud Platform, we have 29 different regions here at Leapjuice from which you can choose to host your WordPress site. This includes locations across the USA, Canada, Europe, Asia-Pacific, and South America. Strategically placing your site closer to your visitors and customers decreases network latency, TTFB, and ensures faster page load times.
Latency refers to the time and or delay involved in data transmission over a network. The further the distance, the greater the latency. For example, if you run a local WooCommerce shop in Sydney, Australia, you should be hosting your site in Australia. If you were to host your site in the USA, customers would see a much longer first-time page load. The initial DOC load comes from your host server, so having the ability to place your site where your customers are is very important!
Utilizing a content delivery network (CDN) can help speed up the rest of your site’s media. Leapjuice CDN, in particular, is blazingly fast since it takes advantage of Cloudflare’s network, which spans 200+ locations worldwide. It also comes for free with all plans.
Everything at Leapjuice is also interconnected over the highly reliable Google Cloud Platform’s “premium tier” network. This is designed to minimize distance and hops, resulting in faster, more secure global transport of your data. Some hosting providers might opt for Google’s “standard tier” network service to cut costs, but we believe in only utilizing the best here at Leapjuice.
How much of an impact does this have? Well, for data traveling across continents, the premium tier network is about 41% faster, on average, than the standard tier network. For data traveling to a nearby region (same continent), the premium tier is about 8% faster. While networking only makes up a fraction of your total page load times, every millisecond adds up!
4. Automatic Backups (never lose your data)
What would you do if you suddenly lost everything? You should always be prepared for the worst-case scenario, including always having backups of your WordPress site. A quality managed WordPress hosting provider should always include automatic backups for no additional charge.
With shared hosts, backups are generally only included in higher-cost plans. And if you go the DIY route with a VPS, usually you have to set up your backup system, as well as VPS snapshots, which also cost extra.
5. Developer Friendly
Another advantage that managed WordPress hosting provides is that you usually have access to additional developer-friendly features that you might not get with a shared host. This includes SSH access, Composer, HeidiSQL, Sequel Pro, and Git. Typically, shared hosts won’t give you SSH access, meaning you can’t use any of the above features. These can usually be set up if you use a DIY VPS, but it might require additional work.
6. Security is Taken Seriously
And you can’t forget security! Typically, they don’t provide any assistance in shared hosting environments if you’re hacked or encounter malware. This goes for the DIY VPS route as well. If your WordPress site is hacked, you’re responsible. Many managed WordPress hosting providers include support if your site is hacked, and they have systems to protect you from different types of malware.
The cloud provider your web host uses is also essential. We use Google Cloud Platform, which means you benefit from a security model built upon over 15 years, and currently secures products and services like Gmail, Search, etc. Google currently employs more than 500 full-time security professionals.
Leapjuice also uses Linux containers (LXC) and LXD to orchestrate them, on top of Google Cloud Platform, which enables us to completely isolate each account and each separate WordPress site. Each site container runs on virtual machines secured behind the GCP firewall. This is a much more secure method than offered by other competitors. On top of that, we employ encryption at rest to store customer data.
Beyond the server-level security, your account security is also critical. You should ensure that they offer two-factor authentication no matter which hosting route you go. If someone gets access to your account, they could change your passwords, delete your websites, change DNS records, and do all sorts of horrible things. Here at Leapjuice partnered up with Authy and have two-factor authentication available from within your MyLeapjuice dashboard.
If you pick a web hosting provider that offers the above features, not only will it save you time, but it will also give you peace of mind knowing that if anything ever happens that the host has your back! It’s essential to invest in secure WordPress hosting.
8. Built With Scalability in Mind
Another critical aspect for any host is scalability. When it comes to shared hosting, your only option is to upgrade to a higher plan when you outgrow your resources. And this is if they haven’t already suspended you. Eventually, with a shared host, you will reach a point where they will force you to migrate to a dedicated server. This can simply be time-consuming in itself as you’re constantly having to worry about watching your limits. And moving to a better server might require time on your part.
The DIY VPS route is much easier to scale, but sometimes this requires a little more server knowledge to expand disks, etc. Managed WordPress hosting providers usually handle all of this for you. If you’re going over their pre-defined limits, they will simply notify you, and if required, an upgrade is just a click away.
A very cool and unique feature we have at Leapjuice is the ability to scale your site because we use Google Compute Engine servers. For example, other WordPress hosting providers are typically constrained to 2-6 CPUs per machine. We actually can let the site’s container scale to as many CPUs as needed when there’s a traffic surge. For sites with a large amount of un-cacheable activity or substantial traffic surges, we have a dedicated server solution that allows PHP workers to be scaled beyond the limits on our regular plans.
With our isolated software container technology, hardware resources are automatically allocated to each site container by our virtual machines on an as-needed basis. No resources are shared between sites. The result is a hosting configuration that is secure and private by design while simultaneously allowing server resources to scale up or down as needed based on the demands of the site.
9. Premium DNS (Faster, More Reliable Lookup Times)
And last but not least, you should be using a premium DNS provider. You won’t get that with shared hosting providers or the DIY VPS method. You would have to sign up separately for the service. There aren’t many managed hosting providers that even offer this, but Leapjuice does! We include premium DNS on all plans via Amazon Route 53.
What is DNS? Well, think of it as a phonebook for the internet. Whenever you type an address into your browser, this routes back to an IP address, even though you never see it. DNS servers do the mapping for you. Like with web hosting, there are slow DNS providers and fast ones. Amazon has one of the largest networks in the world. Going with a fast DNS provider will ensure shorter DNS lookup times.
Typically, the free DNS provided by domain registrars like GoDaddy and Namecheap is very slow. It also might not be consistent, and lookup times can vary. Google Domains is probably one exception because they have such an extensive infrastructure. The best DNS providers out there are companies like Amazon, Cloudflare, Dyn, and DNS Made Easy, which all have extensive infrastructures specifically designed for DNS.
Another reason a reliable DNS provider is important is to protect you from DDoS attacks. And you should know by now from the DNS Doomsday on Friday, October 21st, 2016, just how important DNS is. This is a good example actually of why you need multiple DNS providers. Many companies’ websites on that day went completely offline because they relied solely on Dyn, the DNS provider under attack. Companies like Reddit, Twitter, and Spotify all experienced downtime.
One common issue, though, is that DNS providers typically set high TTLs, which, to put it simply, means that if one of those companies had added a 2nd DNS provider on that day, it wouldn’t have mattered much because the TTL was set to expire in days not minutes. This can be resolved by simply setting up multiple DNS providers ahead of time in preparation.
So get set up with a premium DNS provider now, not later!