While WordPress is undoubtedly one of the best platforms for building professional websites, the platform’s strengths can be its hosting weaknesses. The wide use of functionality enhancing plugins, for example, can slow down performance and create vulnerabilities, and its huge popularity makes it a target for cybercriminals. Robert King, Director of eukhost, explains how managed WordPress hosting has evolved to overcome these issues and provide a range of other essential benefits.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting is a service created specifically to suit the needs of WordPress websites and where all the technical elements of running a WordPress site are managed on the customer’s behalf. Server configuration, performance, uptime, security, backups, updates and patching are taken care of by the hosting provider, taking the burden off the user so they have more time to focus on the business side of the website. In addition, most managed WordPress hosting comes with 24/7 technical support included, ensuring that any issues customers have can be dealt with quickly by experienced WordPress technicians.
Looking at these and other points in detail, here are some of the chief reasons to choose managed WordPress hosting.
WordPress Optimised Servers
One problem that can affect WordPress websites is slow loading and response times. It is an issue that, in many cases, is caused by the number of plugins that a website uses. As the number increases, so does the amount of data being sent over the internet and the number of server processes.
With slow loading times being a key cause of website abandonment and affecting search engine ranking, especially since the introduction of Google’s 2021 Core Web Vitals algorithm update, WordPress users need to find ways of improving performance. Though minification, compression and content delivery networks all have their place, server build and configuration can bring significant performance benefits.
WordPress hosting enables this by providing high-performance servers with Intel processors and SSD drives and optimising them specifically for WordPress sites through the use of NGINX cache, PHP7+OPcache, HTTP2 and more.
With 42% of the world’s websites built using WordPress, there is no bigger target for cybercriminals. What makes the platform especially vulnerable, however, is when the themes and plugins are not updated. Updates are often created to eradicate vulnerabilities and leaving them unpatched puts the site at risk of a cyberattack, especially as hackers have the tools to seek out and discover these vulnerable sites.
WordPress hosting plans offer security that is tailormade for WordPress, with the application firewall configured for its vulnerabilities. Add to this a raft of other security features, including intrusion, malware, SQL injection and DDoS prevention, automated operating system and WordPress core patching, free SSL certificates, spam filtering and more, and users are provided with a robust and varied arsenal to protect their websites.
Though WordPress makes it relatively easy to build websites and, indeed, continues to make it easier with successive updates, perhaps the most technically challenging aspect for new users is having to install WordPress on the server and create a MySQL database.
Today, many WordPress hosting plans come with one-click installers, enabling users to install instances of WordPress and set up the database in less than 30 seconds, and without the need to download the software from WordPress.org, unzip it on their computers and upload it to the server. Once done, users can simply log in and get on with building their site.
Website owners need to know that their hosting is reliable and that their sites will be available online. As a managed solution, the task of managing the server is taken care of by the web host and, as a result, the server will be monitored to discover potential signs of failure and to act early to prevent downtime. The host should also have backup servers in place so that if a hardware issue does arise, the service can continue. This gives users increased confidence that their site will remain available online and, ideally, when looking for WordPress hosting, there should be an uptime guarantee of 99.9%.
Data loss, whether by human error, hardware failure, hacking or malware, can result in business failure. It can take a long time to rebuild a lost website from scratch and many businesses cannot survive prolonged periods offline, with loss of sales and reputational damage both having a negative impact.
The obvious solution is to back up a website so that, if the worst happens, another copy can be quickly reinstalled. With a backup available, the cost of restoring a site is minimal and there is little downtime.
While all web hosts will offer backup solutions as an additional service, today, some managed WordPress hosting plans come with automated daily backups included. Not only does this remove the cost of paying for a backup plan; it means website owners do not need to worry about making backups themselves. The backups are stored securely and remotely, ensuring a recent version of a website is always available in an emergency.
Website Development Tools
With so many different themes and plugins available for WordPress, users frequently update their website in order to improve the way it looks or to add new functionality. Some will even try to modify the coding to customise a theme or plugin. These changes, however, don’t always go to plan. The website might not look or work as expected after an update, while software conflicts, especially with third-party themes and plugins acquired outside WordPress, can cause the website to fail. In these situations, the website owner either has to undo the changes they have made or use a backup to restore to an earlier version – both of which can mean unwanted downtime.
The professional approach to developing a website is to clone the existing version and work on it in a separate development environment. This way, the updated version can be properly tested to ensure it looks and works properly before being synced with the existing version and going live. Anyone building a WordPress website and expecting to add new features from time to time should consider a WordPress hosting plan that comes with clone and sync development functionality.
24/7 Technical Support
A website issue can happen at any time and when it does, there is an urgent need to sort it out quickly, especially if the website isn’t working properly or has gone offline. For this reason, 24/7 technical support is a prerequisite when looking for a hosting partner.
Also vital is WordPress expertise. All website platforms are different and each has its own quirks. When it comes to getting technical support, a WordPress user needs to know that the person handling their query has the WordPress experience and technical skills to deal effectively with the situation. This is not always guaranteed with standard hosting plans, where customers can be using a wide range of different platforms. With WordPress hosting, the vendor will automatically direct those using WordPress to members of the technical support team with WordPress know-how.
WordPress is a highly versatile platform that can create highly functional, feature-packed, professional websites for any purpose. From reading the points above, owners will be able to understand how partnering with a trusted web hosting provider that offers WordPress Hosting can help them to get the most from their site.