What’s the difference between shared hosting and managed WordPress hosting? Shared hosting is an easy target for hackers and exposes you to “bad neighbor” problems with accounts that are on the same server with you. Managed WordPress hosting offers customized technical sophistication, resulting in superior performance and niche data protection.
Does shared hosting sound bad? It gets worse. Let’s really take a deep-dive and explore what’s wrong with shared hosting – by example (via a small business horror story), by risk analysis (via ways that shared hosting has problematic security), and by business model evaluation (via the notion of “bad neighbors” within the server). After looking at the dark side, we will turn to the lighter side – the positives of managed hosting, leading into steps you can take to move forward.
- Shared hosting – SMB horror story
- Shared hosting – 3 primary security vulnerabilities
- Shared hosting – the “bad neighbor effect”
- Managed WP hosting – 6 positives
- How to activate managed WordPress hosting
Shared hosting – SMB horror story
Laura Dapkus of web design firm Sheep Boutique received a phone call from a man who had recently been hired as the manager of a retail business. The manager inherited the company’s website when he took on the position, but he was not given full administrative details. He quickly started to get messages from customers that the site was giving them virus warnings. Once the man spoke with Dapkus, he had been getting these messages for more than a month.
Dapkus started looking at the site, and she found that malware had been a problem with the shared hosting service used for the site. The host, a discount company, was not properly maintaining its environment, such as failing to install patches.
Shared hosting – 3 primary security vulnerabilities
That shared hosting horror story is not uncommon. Here are three reasons that shared hosting is not secure for any site, listed by security training site InfoSec Institute:
- If any single site on the server get hacked, an intruder has a gateway to all the other sites.
- A criminal can simply purchase a shared hosting plan from a host and use that authorized account to illegitimately enter other users’ sites.
- You cannot security-harden a shared server. You are not able to configure its core technologies, such as the scripting language or web server.
Shared hosting – the “bad neighbor effect”
The issues that might arise from shared hosting are related to the fact that it is intended to make hosting as cut-rate as possible. The way that a host can most easily lower cost is by loading as many as hundreds of different customers onto the same machine. A server has a finite amount of memory. If one site starts overusing memory, it is detrimental to the performance of the rest of the companies that are on the hardware. If you are one of those other companies, you have fallen victim to the “bad neighbor effect” that is often experienced on shared hosting. You can run into the same issue with other resources (storage, processing power, bandwidth) and actually even including something such as support.
A shared host might stop providing service to a site that is overusing resources consistently because of a coding bug, but they will usually not be prepared for one of their accounts getting an influx of traffic from a news report or similar unexpected spike. Because that’s the case, performance fluctuates in shared environments.
In summary, shared hosting is fundamentally unreliable. Plus, the sharing of resources and the broad spectrum of apps in a general setting combine to hinder your speed.
Managed WP hosting – 6 positives
Of course, adopting managed WordPress hosting is not just about avoiding the shared variety but embracing the strengths of the managed approach. Here are six, as suggested in WordPress resource and tip site WinningWP:
Managed hosting positive #1 – speed
Since managed WordPress hosting is specific to the popular content management system (CMS), that means you are able to introduce fine-tuning of the configuration that is not possible in a general setting. Core technologies such as the scripting language (PHP), database system (MySQL), and web server (Apache) are all optimized for best performance with WP.
Because the hosting is geared toward WordPress, you can often improve speed by as much as 1-2 seconds. You may think that a second does not sound like a significant amount of time. However, Aberdeen Group found that page load time had an almost ridiculously negative impact on numerous business metrics:
· 11% reduction in page views
· 7% lower conversions
· 16% hit on customer satisfaction
Beyond the direct impacts represented by those analytics, the search engines will also judge you by your performance, with Google including it as a ranking factor since 2010.
Managed hosting positive #2 – security
Through a managed hosting plan, your security will be improved through a broad set of specialized protective strategies and tools. Those elements include security protocols centered around WP-specific risks, daily malware scans, intrusion detection systems optimized to meet attack traffic head-on, and distributed denial of service (DDoS) mitigation systems.
If your site does get hacked because of a security vulnerability at the level of authorized access or some other form of entry unspecific to the infrastructure, your host will be far better prepared to help if they are focused squarely on the CMS.
Managed hosting positive #3 – daily backup
A strong managed WordPress hosting plan will back up your site each day (see “Free Backups”) so that you are well-prepared for any disaster. Backups are generally automated, with a restoration process that is simple and ultra-fast. Backups are also usually stored off-server for better redundancy (i.e. so that your data really is stored in two separate locations). This tactic is an advantage over the common shared hosting practice of backing up through cPanel – meaning the backup is on the same machine.
Managed hosting positive #4 – auto-updating
When you use managed WordPress hosting, you have access to a highly specialized, niche-focused staff that is entirely focused on hitting certain superior-level performance benchmarks consistently. One element of that efficiency is ecosystem-wide auto-updating. That means that nothing is susceptible to human error or avoidance/neglect, from the operating system (OS) to core backend technologies such as PHP and MySQL (tools that support WordPress and both pieces of a LAMP Stack), along with the actual WordPress installation.
Unlike many in-house environments, you will always have the most up-to-date versions of the fundamental server software – but also everything having to do with WordPress. The underlying technologies, at the level of the hardware/infrastructure and extending to the core software level will be protected; but you will also maintain the most secure version of the WordPress installation, as well as all your plugins and themes.
Managed WordPress hosting will certainly be the only place that you will find maintenance of your WordPress updates, but shared hosting often will not be as proactive on the other elements as well – since the service is such a low-end offering.
Managed hosting positive #5 – stronger uptime and scalability
Shared hosting is not built for scalability. It does not allow you to increase and decrease your volume of traffic as desired. You must migrate to another system if you want to be able to keep growing without leaving some users with poorly functioning service.
Within managed WordPress hosting, since the environment is optimized for your specific situation to a much better degree than the one-size-fits-all of shared hosting, you will better be able to handle traffic; plus, if you are on a virtual private server (VPS), then you will be able to easily expand your resources on demand. Higher levels of resources will increase your costs, but you won’t be in a situation that requires you to “pick up and move” – like you are being evicted from your server.
A managed WordPress host will be pleased you are growing and will look to facilitate that immediately, rather than treating your account as an immediate problem and “congratulating” you by kicking you off the equipment (in a worst-case scenario if your traffic grows suddenly – a common experience for small businesses).
Uptime will be significantly improved as well within a managed environment.
Managed hosting positive #6 – Better problem-solving
The technicians that help you at a shared host will not be focused on WordPress. In contrast, a managed WordPress host will be immediately aware at all times of your version of the WordPress software, along with all plugins and themes, since that is all directly related to the service they are providing.
How to activate managed WordPress hosting
Are you convinced that managed WordPress hosting might be worth further exploration… or possibly even activation? At KnownHost, with our 24/7/365-supported Fully Managed WordPress hosting packages, you can get your site up and running in no time – without any of the technical hassle of shared hosting. See our WordPress packages.