WordPress is the most popular content management system (CMS) in the world, powering over 34% of the internet. As such, web hosting companies offer a variety of hosting plans catering to users who opt for the WordPress platform, both regular options and managed options. This article will cover the differences between these options, as well as how to choose between the two.
Regular WordPress Hosting Plans
Unlike general use hosting plans, specialized WordPress hosting plans come with features that appeal to those who are using this CMS to power their sites. Some of the things that users can expect to come with WordPress Hosting plans include:
- Access to a library of premium WordPress themes and plugins
- Hosting on infrastructure optimized for WordPress performance
- Access to a technical support team specially trained in WordPress
Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
Managed WordPress hosting could be considered a step above regular WordPress hosting. Like the regular WordPress plans, managed options come with WordPress-centric performance optimizations and extra features. But, they come with professional services designed to assist website owners with the management and administration tasks involved with a WordPress site as well. These tasks include:
- Automatic updates to the WordPress core
- Testing and automatic of plugins
- Automatic website backups
- Assistance with system administration tasks, like database maintenance
Comparing Regular and Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
There’s no set of standards governing what hosts include in their web hosting plans. So, customers will find significant variation when comparing plans from multiple companies. One company’s managed hosting plan might be nearly identical to another company’s standard shared hosting plan. Other companies’, however, will take care to include a lot of WordPress-centric extras in their offerings.
To make things even more confusing, web hosts might offer regular WordPress-oriented plans that aren’t branded as managed options. Because there’s no defining standard on what makes a managed WordPress plan, some of these options might well fall under the category of managed hosting.
The only way a customer knows for sure what they’re getting when purchasing a managed hosting plan is to review the provider’s plan description and terms of service carefully before purchasing.
With that said, there are general assumptions customers can make to help them narrow down the options that fit their needs. Managed WordPress plans tend to come with better hosting, more features, and premium support — but also a higher price tag.
Which Type of WordPress Hosting is Best?
The best type of WordPress hosting plan for someone depends on factors including:
- Time and willingness to manage the WordPress site
- Comfort with and knowledge of the technology needed to maintain a WordPress site and help it perform optimally
For those with tight budgets, a managed WordPress host might be out of the question. Hosts that include extra features and services with their packages will charge for them accordingly.
Premium WordPress Hosting Options
Those who proceed in the search for a managed WordPress host, however, should sit down and think about what they want from their host before they begin their search. The more they want from their plans, the more it will cost. In some cases, mid-range to high-end hosts, such as Liquid Web, Kinsta, or WP Engine will offer you plans where almost all of the work is done by company staff.
Furthermore, these options come with higher-end infrastructure that helps WordPress sites load faster and include larger resource allocations. That means that users with larger sites can serve a higher number of visitors without sacrificing speed.
Alternatives for Budget-Conscious Consumers
Not everyone can afford such expensive WordPress hosting plans.
Luckily, there are a variety of WordPress plans, managed or not, so most people can find something that meets their needs at a price they can afford.
Different hosting plans come with different features and services, so users can pick and choose from plans that offer what they need.
For example, let’s say a customer is comfortable with basic website administration tasks. They’ll need the host to provide a GUI control panel (so no command line-only options), but they can take care of scheduling and storing backups, running database management scripts, and setting up a security feature. However, the customer does not have an eye for design; nevertheless, they want a professionally-designed, appealing website.
With these considerations in mind, the user can therefore purchase a budget-friendly plan the includes managed services for the tasks they don’t want to do.
That’s the niche occupied by the more bargain-friendly managed WordPress hosting plans. For example, Bluehost offers managed WordPress plans (called WP Pro) that feature premium themes and plugins, daily backup service, security software, domain protection, email functionality, and more.
Pricing for the WP Pro plans, however, are somewhat high. Therefore, those with a more limited budget can opt for Bluehost’s basic WordPress plans instead, which are significantly cheaper. These plans come with better performance than shared hosting, include themes and plugins, and come with WordPress website performance tracking. However, the user is responsible for backing up and securing their website and domain name.
With the sheer number of WordPress hosting plans available, customers should be able to find an option that fits their budget and offers them the features and services they want.
General Web Hosting Options
To be clear, WordPress-specific plans aren’t the only option available to users relying on WordPress. To get you started, this page outlines the most reviewed web hosting companies.
Many web hosting companies, such as SiteGround, offer feature-rich, yet budget-friendly shared hosting plans that are more than capable of serving smaller WordPress sites to lower traffic levels. Additionally, these plans may include WordPress-centric features, like one-click installers, despite being general-use options (after all, WordPress is the most popular CMS in use).
As a customer’s WordPress site grows, they may find themselves needing to upgrade the type of web hosting they use. Again, most reputable hosts will be able to offer them a plan that works. The only downside, though, is that the plans may not come with as many WordPress-oriented bonuses as a specialized plan.
Choosing between managed WordPress hosting plans, regular WordPress plans, and general purpose hosting plans can be confusing. However, by identifying beforehand what features and services are important, customers can narrow down the options and choose hosting services for their WordPress site that best fits their needs at a price they can afford.