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In this tutorial you’ll learn what to look for when searching for optimized WordPress hosting. We’ll begin by looking at the differences between “optimized” and normal hosting, so let’s get stuck in!
What to Look for in Optimized WordPress Hosting
Here’s a complete video version of this hosting guide. Don’t forget to subscribe to our Envato Tuts+ YouTube channel for tutorials, free courses, and more!
What is Optimized WordPress Hosting?
Thanks to how popular WordPress is nowadays a lot of hosting providers offer a service called “managed WordPress hosting”. This kind of hosting package takes all the tasks involved with running your WordPress site and manages them for you. Tasks such as:
- WordPress installation
- WordPress and plugin updates
- Performance optimization
- And so on
The whole idea behind this managed (or “optimized”) hosting is that you, the client, will enjoy the best WordPress experience possible without being bogged down by the responsibility of running tasks. Instead, you can carry on with what you do best: running your business.
Pros and Cons of WordPress Managed Hosting
This all sounds great, but in reality there are pros and cons to managed hosting. Let’s take a look at them so you can decide whether or not this type of service is right for you. Firstly, the pros:
Speed and Security
Managed WordPress hosting servers are configured specifically with WordPress in mind, so they can run quickly even under higher loads. Your website is also protected thanks to an extra layer of security which scans for malware and hacking attempts.
Backups and Updates
Managed hosting packages usually offer daily backups and automatic WordPress updates, so you won’t have to lift a finger to do these things yourself.
The third reason in the “pro” column is the support you’ll get. Companies which offer managed WordPress hosting have dedicated support staff who specialize in WordPress. If you have an issue you can be sure there’s a WordPress expert on the other end of the line (types of support vary between hosting companies).
Now let’s address the cons (disadvantages):
Managed hosting is significantly more expensive than a traditional shared hosting alternative, often 3 or 4 times as much. However, given the time saved by managed hosting the added costs might not be such a deal breaker.
You may experience some limitations with managed hosting. If you’re an experienced WordPress user you may enjoy a little more freedom to tweak things yourself.
Top 3 Things to Look for in a Hosting Provider
Now that we’ve covered the pros and cons, here are the top 3 things you need to look for when choosing a provider.
Support is one of the most important things to look for. If something goes wrong, you need to be able to speak or chat with a staff member at any time. Being directed to forums and documentation won’t always solve your issue quickly enough; nothing quite matches the calm help of someone who knows what they’re doing.
Whichever hosting provider you choose should offer 24/7 coverage. For example:
- WP Engine offers great support
- SiteGround also offers managed WordPress hosting and excellent chat support (get 60% off using this offer from Themeforest)
- Bluehost is another example which offers 24/7 support by chat or by phone
Performance is the next item you should look for, and it’s crucial for the wellbeing of your business. A fast website will be more pleasant for your users and will improve the SEO of your site.
Judging the relative speeds offered as standard by each host can be tricky. But you can test each one using a tool like Pingdom if you’re prepared to put the time in. Find a site you know uses each provider and run the diagnostic test. Server response times will be included in the numbers you’re given.
WP Engine also offers a neat performance tool. Enter the WordPress website you want to test, and they will email a report, including performance recommendations, directly to you.
The uptime of your website should be 100%, meaning it never goes down. However, problems do happen, so no host will guarantee 100%. Take a look at the statistics they offer to get an idea of their servers’ reliability,
WP Engine has a status page to inform you of any issues, maintenance, connection problems and so on.
4. The Essentials
Finally, make sure your host offers all the cool features which should come with managed hosting. That includes what we mentioned earlier; installation, updates, free migration, malware detection and removal. As we mentioned before, managed hosting is more expensive, so you need to make sure you’re getting the biggest bang for your buck.
My Managed Hosting Recommendations
Here are my personal recommendations for this kind of service.
- We’ll start with SiteGround. I’m not an affiliate to SiteGround (or any other of the hosts mentioned in this tutorial), but I use it for many of my own websites, and they do partner with Envato to offer discounted hosting. SiteGround is always my first choice and they offer a number of upgrades should you outgrow the hosting you start with.
- WP Engine is a dedicated WordPress hosting company and offers a number of very competitive services in this market.
- Bluehost is another great option we’ve mentioned before and is one of the most popular hosting providers out there.
- DreamHost is another very strong candidate.
- And finally, Kinsta would be another recommendation. Whilst I haven’t used them myself, I hear only good things about their offering.
So there you have it—those are the things you should look for when looking for managed (optimized) WordPress hosting. Learn more about WordPress hosting with the resources listed below:
- What is WordPress Hosting?Kezz Bracey13 Mar 2020
- 5 Best Free WordPress Hosting Providers for 2022Jessica Thornsby11 Dec 2021
- Set Up a Secure, Performant WooCommerce Site With KinstaKezz Bracey21 Aug 2019
- Transfer a WordPress Site to New Hosting: 10 TipsRachel McCollin20 Jun 2020
- 5 Things to Consider When Hosting a WordPress WebsiteEric Karkovack03 Oct 2017