Shared Hosting vs Managed WordPress Hosting
Shared services are the biggest niche in the web hosting industry, housing hundreds of millions of websites worldwide. It’s no surprise, really — the solutions let you build a fully-operational website at the cost of a few bucks per month.
But then WordPress happened.
Once just a blog builder, WP grew to be a full-blown CMS and suddenly everyone wanted to join the site-building game. Web hosting providers saw opportunities in this sharp rise of demand and soon we had the first WordPress-optimized deals.
Everyone had a different vision for this new service. While many just slapped the WordPress name on their shared packages, some did specific optimizations to best serve WP clients.
So today, we are putting Shared Hosting vs Managed WordPress Hosting to the test to see which is better and what is the ideal client for each service.
But first — the basics.
What is Shared Hosting?
Shared hosting is a type of web service where one server machine is split into many client accounts, all sharing the same system resources and physical hardware. This is the most budget-friendly web hosting offering as the server costs are also shared between all users.
In this type of configuration, you do not know who your neighbors are, and, hopefully, their projects will never interfere with yours. Still, as a shared server can sometimes house more than 100 clients, you can see how overcrowding can easily turn into an issue.
Pros and Cons of Shared Hosting
Let’s take a closer look at the ins and outs of the shared hosting service and outline its most notable advantages and disadvantages.
Renting a dedicated server might give you all the control and security you need, but it’s a huge overkill for most online websites. Plus, let’s be honest — not everyone can spare at least $100-$200/mo for such an investment. Plenty of shared hosts will give you more than enough storage space and bandwidth and will only charge $3-$5/mo for an account.
No technical knowledge needed
You have no root access in a shared environment, which means you don’t need to know anything about server management or optimization. Your hosting provider takes care of the technicalities and maintenance so you can focus solely on building a successful website.
Ease of use
Whether you choose a website builder or a fully-featured CMS, your host will ensure everything is installed and set up for you to start building your page. Most platforms are very intuitive and have a low learning curve. Additionally, you have plenty of tutorials and knowledge base articles for self-help.
- Shared resources — Sharing your CPU, RAM, or bandwidth is not inherently bad, but the more clients on the same server — the less resources left at your disposal. Overcrowded machines are a common industry problem and can easily lead to slow website performance and even service downtimes.
- Security risks — Server neighbors can often pose a security threat to your own websites. It doesn’t matter how well you protect your site — if a hacker breaks in through another account on the shared server, they can gain access to all clients on the same machine. Keep a close eye on your file permissions to minimize such risks.
- Less control — You might have fewer responsibilities when your hosting provider manages the web server, but that means you have fewer freedoms as well. Sometimes the host can help with minor tweaks, but the general OS and hardware configuration cannot be altered. If you want to deploy a custom software, you need to check with your provider beforehand if that’s even possible.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting services encompass a variety of optimizations that aim to enhance the performance and security of WP-built websites. On top of that, you have access to trained professionals that understand the CMS inside and out.
Different hosting providers have different ideas of what falls into the WordPress-optimized hosting category.
As WP only needs PHP and MySQL to run properly, any Linux configuration works just fine for the software. That’s why the majority of hosts simply advertise their shared services as “WordPress hosting,” emphasizing on perks like one-click installers and daily backups.
But some providers decided to go the extra mile.
They offer WordPress-tailored deals that include software and plugin installations, automatic updates, a staging area for offline editing. Some even go as far as developing their own proprietary tools for WP users.
Pros and Cons of Managed WordPress Hosting
Digging deeper into what the market has to offer, we can outline a few distinct advantages and disadvantages of the managed WordPress services.
- Optimized performance and security — The average shared server is set to support hundreds of different web apps, which is normal, seeing that users like to have versatility and freedom to switch between software. Focusing on just one content management system allows the host to do the fine tweaks and settings to really boost its speeds and harden its security. We are talking about caching plugins, vulnerability patches, sometimes even detailed site audits.
- Automatic updates — Keeping the core application and associated plugins updated is essential for your website performance and safe running. Reliable WordPress hosts eliminate the risks of leaving your site exposed through old and vulnerable software and add-ons. The WP automation often includes daily backups, but you should always keep your own copies off-site, regardless of the hosting service.
- Expert Assistance — Ensuring your future host can provide stellar and helpful support is a no-brainer. Managed WordPress providers take great pride in their assistants’ level of knowledge and expertise with the CMS. Just imagine having an operator that has gone under hundreds of hours of training and case resolutions with this specific app.
- Costlier solutions — With so many app-specific features and optimizations, you should expect the prices to reflect the added extras. Rates for WordPress-accelerated deals can often be double the average shared deal. And industry leaders like Kinsta and WP Engine can even charge you more than a mid-tier VPS solution.
- Limited control — Any managed deal strips off a little control from the user and gives it to the hosting provider. WordPress services are no different. In this type of configuration, you are more or less reliant on the quality of your host. Even if your deal comes with root access, the provider will still limit your flexibility and prevent any advanced customizations.
- Plugin restrictions — Keeping the server perfectly optimized for WordPress means you can’t just install anything on it. While WP supports thousands of different themes and plugins, managed hosts will restrict the usage of add-ons that have known vulnerabilities or pose performance risks.
Main Differences Between Shared Hosting vs Managed WordPress Hosting
As we have found so far, shared hosting and WordPress hosting services aren’t necessarily different things. The underlying server architecture is practically the same for both types of solutions, but WP hosts apply more tweaks and optimizations to their machines.
That doesn’t mean the two services should be considered and treated the same, though.
On the contrary — some factors can easily separate one from the other:
- Cost — Managed WordPress hosts put extra effort and resources in optimizing their servers for the app, and the monthly prices often reflect on that. WP-accelerated providers are generally costlier because of the dedicated support and extra services that come with the deal.
- Support — There are hundreds of web-building applications out there and adequately supporting them all requires extreme versatility and in-depth knowledge. Even the biggest shared hosts struggle to be perfect in all areas.
In comparison, WordPress web hosts only have to focus on one CMS and they can dedicate more time exploring every nook and cranny. That’s the reason managed WP clients can always enjoy prompt and on-point assistance.
- Best client — Shared services go for the mass client. You can house practically any kind of project — a portfolio page, a community forum, an online shop. And you have hundreds of different tools to choose from.
Although similar in functionality, WordPress hosting packages limit you to the use of this particular software. If you find it too difficult or unsuitable for your needs — you cannot just switch to another solution.
Scala Hosting WordPress Packages
Scala Hosting fully supports the growth of the biggest open-source project and ensures WP lovers can find a well-fitting deal.
Three shared WordPress hosting deals are available for anyone that is looking for an affordable entry into hosting, but the real power comes with the managed VPS solutions. This way, the client can enjoy perks like isolated resources and dedicated WP support without having to know anything about server management.
Scala Hosting is all about changing the web hosting industry for the better and relies on in-house developed solutions to add extra value to the WordPress VPS deals. This includes:
- SPanel — An all-in-one versatile platform for web hosting management. Aiming to serve as a direct cPanel alternative, this proprietary solution offers an intuitive interface, a user-friendly environment, and a ton of advanced customization options. All that, at no added cost.
- SShield — The tool that will take your website security to unprecedented heights. No longer do you have to worry about DDoS attacks, pesky malware, or annoying spam — SShield catches all suspicious activity before it can do any harm.
- SWordPress Manager — The jewel in the WordPress crown. This helpful tool will ease your WP management and automate important tasks like data backup and software updates.
Now that you know the essentials of shared and managed WordPress hosting, you can easily determine which service would best fit your needs. If you are unsure of what software will best work for you, a shared account would give you enough freedom and versatility to make your first steps in site building care-free.
And if you already have a little web experience and know that WordPress is definitely the platform for you — there are plenty of WP-optimized hosts to take care of you.
Q: What is the difference between shared and dedicated hosting?
A: Shared services outline the process of splitting a server machine into many smaller instances, hosting a different client on each one. All users share the same CPU, RAM, storage, and bandwidth.
Renting a dedicated server means you are getting an entire machine for your needs alone. You have absolute control over the configuration and installed software, but this convenience comes with more responsibilities in terms of management.
Q: Is managed WordPress hosting worth it?
A: If you are looking to host one or more WordPress websites, getting a more streamlined service is totally worth it. On the one hand, you will benefit from specific WP optimizations and performance boosters. On the other hand, you can take advantage of the dedicated support and their expert know-how with the most popular content management system.