Hosting a website is one of those topics that can be obscure like talking about insurance, everybody needs it but few really understand it. Its so customizable, so extendable, so easy to use and host but do you really understand your options. This brings me to the topic of whether you want to have your website hosted using a managed hosting service or an unmanaged (aka “shared hosted”) for your site. Sure you may have the technical chops to host a website yourself but if you’d rather focus on building your business and having a service to take care of the nitpicky details of keeping your site safe, up to date and supported. In this article I’m going talk about what each are, some pricing comparisons to help give the land of the land in terms of costs, features related to both and pros and cons of each option and some of the top picks if you are looking at managed or unmanaged hosting.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed hosting is not your mom and dad’s hosting package. Outside of access to a server, the server’s operating system and software to help you run a website what managed hosting usually includes are services like automated backups, malware scanning and removal, status monitoring, globally distributed data centers, 24/7 support, a team monitoring performance,
What is Unmanaged WordPress Hosting?
Unmanaged hosting is really your traditional hosting package where you get access to a server to install applications such as WordPress. It doesn’t include any services that the hosting company will use to “manage” the server for you.
What is the price difference on managed vs unmanaged hosting?
Naturally when you are thinking of unmanaged vs managed hosting, unmanaged is going to cost you a lot less. Some pricing I’ve pulled from a few industry leaders in the area of hosting include…
Managed Hosting Option – WP Premium Support starts from $63.99 per month for 1 site
Unmanaged Hosting Option – Website hosting starts from $4.99 per month for 1 site
Managed Hosting Option – Managed Cloud (PaaS) starting from $10 per month (they have a number of packages up to $355 per month)
Unmanaged Hosting Option – Business hosting for 1 website starts from $1 per month (for the first year and then $8 per month after that)
Managed Hosting Option – Managed WordPress hosting Build plan starts at $19.95 per month (normally $29.99 per month)
Unmanaged Hosting Option – Shared Hosting Basic plan starts at $2.95 per month (normally $7.99 per month)
Managed Hosting Option – DreamPress hosting plan starts at $16.95 per month
Unmanaged Hosting Option – Shared Hosting Basic plan starts at $2.59 per month
As you can see, the cost is significantly more when you start to consider managed hosting over unmanaged hosting. Let’s take a look at some of the pros and cons of managed vs unmanaged website hosting.
What are the Pros and Cons of Managed Hosting?
- Managed hosting means fewer headaches of running a website yourself
- protection from malware attacks and security issues – these are things you will have to fix yourself or hire someone to fix when they happen if you go the unmanaged route
- scalability – your site has room to grow and your traffic increases
- Help available when you need it – Most managed hosting plans boast 24×7 support and managed data centers
- Cost – its going to cost you significantly more
- Too much too soon – Its important to understand what you are buying – some of the features if you are just starting a blog or website might not benefit you the same way if you run an established website
What are the Pros and Cons of Unmanaged Hosting?
- Price – Definitely the cheapest option if you just want to get a website running
- Limited Support – usually its not going to be as easy to get someone to help when you need it
- Site backups not standard – could be an option but it might be a more manual process should something happen
- performance is not as scalable – shared hosting means “shared” for a reason and can affect page loads when your sharing resources with more people
- Steep learning curve – If you are new to hosting a website you are going to have to learn the basics or hire someone to help you get setup should you have malware or performance issues on your site