Websites need content, and content needs a system to manage it. In the content management system platform, WordPress has risen to a 62% market share by the latest statistics. It’s pretty safe to say that most of the web consider WordPress to be indispensable. This raises the question of whether or not WordPress is really all that you need.
The chief difference
There actually isn’t much difference between a shared hosting plan and a managed WordPress plan. Both of them will use a small slice of a web server to host individual web domains, which typically each have their own WordPress install and a blog churning out content. In managed WordPress web hosting, the domain accounts are set up specifically for WordPress, whereas a general shared hosting plan can allow any software instead of, or concurrent with, WordPress.
Shared hosting without management is typically cheaper because it’s composed of a raw CPanel install and an allotment of hard drive space and bandwidth. There is some assembly required. A managed WordPress account is the same shared webspace, but the end-user typically never touches CPanel. Instead, they have a WordPress login and some access to plugin features. The end-user manages only the blog, but the details of running the website host are left up to the hosting provider.
Why would you want managed WordPress hosting?
WordPress is the dominant CMS for good reasons: It’s open-source, free to install, robust, fairly intuitive to use, and has near-infinite customization options. But with all that power, WordPress isn’t always the easiest software to manage for the average user. Typically the maintenance overhead comes from plug-ins, themes, and other add-on features. With several installed, conflicts arise between plug-in compatibility, or maintenance overhead occurs when one plug-in needs an update.
Outside of WordPress, the overall shared hosting account might have features that are going to waste. A typical shared hosting package comes with capabilities for Joomla, Drupal, an FTP server, an email server, backups, and many more features. If all the end-user wanted was a blog, this extra software is unused, while the website’s speed isn’t optimized for running just WordPress.
Managed WordPress hosting solves all these issues, by stripping away the excess features and managing the WordPress install and general site maintenance.
Shared hosting – pros and cons
Many site owners still choose to go with a basic shared hosting plan, for reasons like:
- Significantly less expensive
- Hosting unlimited web domains for one flat rate
- Extra software available if they want something besides WordPress
If the website maintainer doesn’t mind getting their hands a little dirty and can even maintain code, a shared hosting plan is the best way to go. There can also be drawbacks, however…
- Sites not optimized for WordPress load WordPress a bit slower
- No automatic updates or backups for WordPress
- Site security is a slightly larger concern
In turn, managed WordPress hosting offers server architecture that’s tuned for a WordPress install specifically. Backups, updates, security, site performance tuning, and caching are all handled in the background by the host. Instead of a CPanel interface, the site user has a custom WordPress dashboard.
Is WordPress really all you need?
Not only is WordPress the web’s number one blogging platform, but its host of third-party plug-ins allow it to emulate other functions. For instance, WooCommerce is an eCommerce and shopping cart plug-in, allowing you to run an online store from inside WordPress. Contact forms can be managed with WPForms, raffles and contests can be managed with RafflePress, and online courses can be offered through LearnDash.
WordPress really does seem like it can do it all. For most web businesses that just need content marketing and someplace for customers to spend money, WordPress is up to the task.
The exception is for larger enterprise-level sites, such as those offering software as a service, sites which function mainly as a social media service or user forum, multi-media sites primarily concerned with showing video or images, and other functions. For sites that want to run both WordPress and off-blog content, getting the whole package with a simple shared hosting plan is the best option.
Which option works for your business is a matter of your needs in the present and future. Bear in mind that it can be a blessing to have the hosting provider maintain the website backend while you just focus on your blog every day. A managed WordPress account is the last word in blogging platform efficiency.
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