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 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!)
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.
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 Kinsta 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 Kinsta, 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.
Check Out Our Explainer Video: How to Choose the Right WordPress Hosting Provider
Or you could invest in managed hosting, to begin with, and focus all of your efforts on growing your business. There is no right or wrong path, but let us share 9 reasons managed WordPress hosting can benefit you today.
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!
The support team at Kinsta are all WordPress developers and Linux Engineers, contribute to WordPress Core and other open source projects, and use WordPress daily. As a result, the expertise of our support department is second to none. Nothing is worse than launching a chat session and feeling like you know more than the person on the other end. That will never happen at Kinsta!
When Kinsta first began, we knew the industry was broken regarding how WordPress support is handled. This is why our team is structured completely differently. We don’t have separate levels or tiers. The support team member that helps you is fully qualified to fix every type of problem, all the way to resolution. There is no bouncing around between different reps, as we think this is a massive waste of time. Everyone gets to chat to the same support team members that back our Fortune 500 and enterprise clients! 👏
WPMU DEV reviewed Kinsta without us knowing, making a tremendous unbiased opinion. Here is what Raelene thought of our support team.
My experiences contacting the support team were excellent. I received detailed and honest answers to all of my questions. When I enquired about their hardware, I didn’t expect an answer like this:
“We use Google Compute Engine servers, which ensure high speed and automatic scalability, which means that instead of being constrained to 2-6 CPUs per VPS as with other providers, we actually let the site’s container scale to as many CPUs as needed when there’s a surge, and for load-balanced clients, an infinite number of CPUs as our system dynamically spins up more machines and scales back when the traffic wave subsides.”
I tried to quiz them with some common WordPress-related site issues and got all the right answers, so top marks!
Kinsta uses a ticket-based support system via Intercom. It feels like a real-time chat, but it isn’t in the background. I got a response within 5 minutes when I tried to talk to them at 3 pm. I also tried at 5 am (I happened to be up early while writing) and got an answer within 3 minutes. I may have just picked two low-support times by chance but impressive nonetheless!
Prior Managing Editor, WPMU DEV
As Raelene said, we have used Intercom since day one here at Kinsta, and it has worked very well for us. Nobody likes the old-fashioned ticket systems, and many companies are now migrating to more innovative solutions such as Intercom. It has provided an easy way for us to integrate chat and support tickets into our dashboard, so customers know we are always one click away, 24/7 365 days a year (as seen below). Our average response time in 2021 was 1 minute and 22 seconds!
Check out some other SaaS products we use.
So when it comes to choosing a host with a reliable and knowledgeable support team, managed WordPress hosts will often be a level above the rest, simply because they live and breathe WordPress daily. Kinsta also includes premium uptime monitoring for all clients via Sentry. We check the status of all the websites we host every 2 minutes. That translates to 720 checks for each of your sites every day. However, we also provide tools for monitoring your sites’ health yourself.
This means that if your website goes down, we will be the first ones to be notified, and our support team will hop on it! To help you diagnose performance-related issues, we also support your own custom New Relic tracking.
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.
When it comes to managed #WordPress hosting, what do you value the most? 📋 Whether you're a business owner, developer, agency or blogger, we'd love to hear from you!
— Kinsta (@kinsta) February 11, 2019
For example, many managed WordPress hosts, including us here at Kinsta, 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. At Kinsta, you can use our Cache Analysis report to ensure the bulk of your WordPress site is serving from the cache.
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. Kinsta 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? 😉
And to take it one step further, we here at Kinsta were the first managed WordPress hosting provider to exclusively use Google Cloud Platform and its premium tier network. Kinsta has been recognized as a top-tier hosting provider by independent hosting publications for several years. And we are, in fact, recommended by Google.
Here is an example below of load times significantly decreasing on a client’s site after moving them to Google Cloud Platform. Before the move, they were getting spikes within the 3-4 second range, and after they stayed consistently under 1 second, and under 400 ms in the United States. By migrating them to Google Cloud Platform, they saw a 75% decrease in load times!
And here is an example of what happened when someone migrated away from Kinsta to shared hosting. Their load time went from 300 ms to 14 seconds! The shared host was just not able to handle the large traffic site.
Here is another example of our test site running on Kinsta. As you can see, it loads in under 400 ms with a performance grade of 100. That is fast!
If we look at the HTTP header, we can see it is being served up from the Kinsta cache on a server-level, and there is no caching plugin running.
Kinsta utilizes LXD managed hosts and orchestrated LXC software 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.
We then use virtual machines located in one of Google Cloud Platform’s multiple data centers worldwide. Our VMs are configured to route traffic over Google Cloud’s premium tier network. Compared to Google Cloud’s standard tier network, the premium tier routes most traffic through Google’s private data centers instead of the public Internet. This results in lower network latency and faster page load times for your WordPress site.
Each GCP virtual machine has up to 96 CPUs and hundreds of gigabytes of RAM. In available regions, we utilize compute-optimized (C2) virtual machines. These offer the highest performance per core that GCP offers on Compute Engine and are optimized for compute-intensive workloads. Hardware resources (RAM/CPU) are automatically allocated to each site container by our virtual machines on an as-needed basis.
You can check out this detailed post if you would like to learn how Kinsta designed the fastest WordPress hosting stack on the market.
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 35 different regions here at Kinsta 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. Kinsta 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 Kinsta 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 Kinsta.
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.
- External (to Amazon S3 or Google Cloud Storage)
You can also restore backups to staging or production.
Having multiple options for your WordPress backups can save you a lot of time as you don’t have to mess with backup plugins, cPanel, FTP, or phpMyAdmin.
5. Standard and Premium Staging Environments
Testing, testing, testing. You can’t afford your website to go down, so you should constantly be testing new changes, plugins, PHP versions, and updates on a development site, not your production site! However, with most web hosting providers, testing involves a complex and time-consuming process of copying your site locally, testing, and then figuring out how to migrate the changes back.
Many managed WordPress hosting providers include staging environments for WordPress specifically to make testing a breeze. With most hosts, your dev site is accessible via a test URL, and you can also access it via all the typical methods such as FTP, SSH, phpMyAdmin, etc. You can then quickly push your changes to production from within the dashboard.
Kinsta takes this concept one step further by offering Premium Staging Environments that can be added on to each account. You can have up to five Premium Staging Environments at once, offering many more possibilities and combinations for testing than a single standard staging environment can provide.
6. Developer-Friendly (SSH, Git, WP-CLI)
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.
Here at Kinsta, you can easily access your SSH connection information via your MyKinsta dashboard, along with these additional developer features:
- Ability to run different versions of PHP between sites and staging sites.
- Support for custom setups such as Bedrock and reverse proxy configurations.
- Faster performance with our Redis add-on.
WP-CLI is another tool that is becoming very popular in the WordPress community. WP-CLI is a command line tool for managing many-many aspects of a WordPress installation. It can add/remove users, posts, categories, insert test data, search and replace in the database, and much more. For a lot of developers, WP-CLI is a dream come true! And Kinsta’s architecture supports WP-CLI out of the box.
7. 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.
Kinsta 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 Kinsta partnered up with Authy and have two-factor authentication available from within your MyKinsta 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 Kinsta 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.
— Adam Lundeen (@adam_lundeen_) January 29, 2019
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 Kinsta 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.
The community must work together to come up with commercial or open source solutions to make DNS configurations compatible between vendors (this is for complex DNS setups like failover, geo load balancing, etc.). This is no longer a nice-to-have, but a must-have. – Catchpoint
So get set up with a premium DNS provider now, not later!
Managed WordPress Hosting FAQs
It can be tough to find straight answers to questions about managed WordPress hosting. To help make things easier, we’ve given our solutions to some of the most-asked questions on the subject.
1. What Is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting is streamlined explicitly for websites that run on the WordPress platform. The “managed” portion means that the host manages basic administrative tasks for you, like installing updates and setting up automatic backups.
2. What Is Shared WordPress Hosting?
Shared WordPress hosting refers to a hosting setup in which multiple WordPress websites share space on the same server. This is in opposition to dedicated WordPress hosting, where each WordPress site gets its private server.
3. What Is VPS WordPress Hosting?
VPS WordPress hosting uses virtual private servers to give each WordPress site its own fully compartmentalized space on a server, often with full access to backend server tools.
With VPS WordPress hosting, you must manage all hosting maintenance responsibilities, like updates and installations, yourself — a benefit for some, a drawback for others.
4. What Are the Benefits of Managed WordPress Hosting?
Some of the benefits of managed WordPress hosting include:
- High speeds and performance
- Automated server management (backups, installations, updates, etc.)
- Modern hosting stack
- Heavy security protocols
- Staging environments
- Access to helpful development tools
- Support from WordPress experts
And the list goes on.
5. What Is the Difference Between WordPress Hosting and Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting is hosting for WordPress sites where the host handles many administrative server duties for you.
On the other hand, WordPress hosting can mean any type of host that can serve up a WordPress-based website, including those that don’t handle those duties for you.
6. Is Managed Hosting Worth It?
In almost all cases, yes — managed hosting is worth it. It comes down to need vs budget, but generally, you’ll get far more out of a managed solution than you will by sinking time into managing your own.
7. How do I choose the best WordPress hosting?
As with any online ecosystem, the world of WordPress hosting doesn’t stand still long. To choose the best WordPress hosting, it’s wisest to do your own, fresh research.
Check online reviews for each host and get a feel for how users feel about their services. Determine which hosts have the tools and offerings to save you the most time. And be sure to familiarize yourself with their support processes and availability.
Kinsta works to be the best WordPress hosting by constantly innovating and granting access to expert-level WordPress wizards 24/7/365.
8. Which Is the Best Managed WordPress Hosting Service?
There are so many options out there, it can be challenging to choose. But the best managed WordPress service for you will:
- Improve your website’s performance
- Perform server and platform updates and upgrades automatically
- Offer easy migration options
- Give you room to scale up
- Have a rapid-response support team made up of WordPress experts
Kinsta ticks all those boxes, and then some. Check out what else customers get when they sign up for a Kinsta WordPress hosting plan.
As you can see, there are a lot of benefits from choosing Kinsta’s managed hosting solutions over shared hosting or a DIY VPS. Yes, managed hosting costs more money, but you should treat this as an investment in your business.
How much are your time, peace of mind, and data integrity worth to you?
If you have any questions regarding hosting for your business or blog, we are only one click away here at Kinsta. Let us help take you to the next level.
Save time, costs and maximize site performance with:
- Instant help from WordPress hosting experts, 24/7.
- Cloudflare Enterprise integration.
- Global audience reach with 35 data centers worldwide.
- Optimization with our built-in Application Performance Monitoring.