The digital divide is real. Internet access is growing worldwide but remains higher in advanced economies. Some countries in Africa and Asia are now seeing double-digit increases in those accessing the internet multiple times daily. If you are from an emerging economy and new to WordPress, you may be a little confused about the difference between Shared vs Managed WordPress Hosting and which type of hosting plan is best for you. We are here to help.
What is shared and managed WordPress hosting? What are the differences, advantages and costs involved with each?
Shared WordPress Hosting
Shared Hosting is a term used for the type of web hosting where many sites share the resources of ONE vast web server. Numerous hosting companies offer shared hosting plans at amazingly reasonable rates, starting from $3.95 every month to $9.95 monthly. Great prices.
Of course, by having numerous websites on the same server, Web Hosting companies can essentially offer their services at a low price. It is as easy to administrate 100 sites as it is 1000. The costs are about the same, but all those websites sharing resources will reduce performance.
Shared web hosting plans are by a long shot the least expensive of all the available hosting services. You can minimise your costs when beginning and work your way up. You don’t have to blow all your budget on add-ons that you don’t yet need.
Top Shared WordPress Hosting Companies
- High-performance, low-price shared hosting
- FREE website builder with 1,000s of templates
- WordPress.org endorse Bluehost as a top WP host
- FREE CDN to accelerate your site’s loading
- Money Back Guarantee for 30 days
- Unlimited disk space
- FREE domain for the first year
Bluehost’s hardware is up to date, and their client support is second to none. For most customers, Bluehost’s shared server plan will suffice for their hosting needs. If you do grow (we hope you do) and need much higher traffic allowances, Bluehost offer VPS and dedicated hosting options too.
With Bluehost’s reputation for affordability and usability as their stock in trade, Bluehost easily top the charts on most bloggers listicles. Newcomers to web hosting will not feel daunted. Install the popular blogging platform in a single click via the control panel, or if you prefer you can have their service team do it all for you.
- Intuitive control panel with 1-click CMS installs
- Unlimited domains and databases and so much more
- 24/7 support by experts
- Well known and established
HostGator are an established ‘High Street’ hosting company like Godaddy. They have been around for ten years. Primarily known for shared hosting, HostGator does also provide dedicated, and VPS plans if you ever need to scale your site.
HostGator is known for having great support, which may cost a little more, but their reliability and flexibility to scale make-up for the extra charges. They offer unlimited disk space, easy to use control panel, and free templates. HostGator is a little more technically orientated so will also suit intermediate users and may not suit total beginners.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Also known as managed WordPress hosting, this is a supported service where the hosting company handles all technical aspects of running your WordPress website. Updating WordPress, speed, security, daily site backups, server uptime, and scalability are all managed by your hosting company.
Premium support is what it is all about. Support is provided by WordPress experts who have vast experience of the platform and not just a voice on the phone which is reading a support manual while the pleasant music plays on hold.
Managed WordPress hosting gives you a support army of experts that are ready when you need them. That way the hosting company do all the dirty work, leaving you to get on with managing your business and your customers’ needs.
Best Managed WordPress Hosting Companies
- Streamlined dashboard specifically for WordPress sites
- Use staging technology to test changes on your website
- Backs up your website nightly
- Security against malware and attacks are handled by a dedicated team of experts
We like these people. We use them ourselves. FlyWheel built their managed WordPress hosting with designers and agencies in mind. Freelancers and designers can build a client website and send it to over to them, where the client can pay for their Flywheel hosting. Pretty cool.
- FREE SSL certificate
- FREE site migration
- FAST speed, excellent security, and superior customer service
Practically hacker proof WPEngine WordPress hosting offers incredible customer support, security updates, staging area, daily backups and automatic caching. Their robust servers can handle anything so many reviewers say.
With WPEngine you have an army of WordPress experts at your disposal. If you are a business that does not want to deal with the technical aspects of running your site, then WPEngine could be the solution for your needs.
Which is best for my business or organisation?
For NGOs, local governments and medium to large companies who have the funds, then Managed Hosting is the best solution for security, speed, and peace of mind. You can avoid the headaches of technical upkeep for your website, and get on with the work of running your organisation.
If you are running a blog, you are a freelancer or a startup business, then start with a small scale shared hosting plan and see if you need to scale up later. It is now reasonably straightforward to migrate sites from within a hosting company. Most will help you along the way. Don’t worry about being ‘stuck’ to one plan.
Local or International Hosting Provider?
Perhaps you are a local in Kingston, maybe Accra or Lagos, what then? Does your location make any difference?
It is good to support local businesses, and so help your country, but along with hosting your website comes a whole range of problems and performance measures where local hosting providers may not compare to the big boys.
Should you consider what’s best for your business? What about speed? Doesn’t Google penalise you for having a slow site? Read on.
Factors to consider #1 Speed
There is a lot of blog talk (mainly from hosting companies in Africa) about the huge distances that data has to travel if not hosted locally.
Their typical scenario involves something like this:
A user is accessing a website from his computer in Uganda. The website is hosted on an international hosting company’s server located in say, New York.
Now the local hosting company point out (quite rightly) that the request and subsequent data will have to travel 14,000 miles round trip to download the website back to good old Kampala.
But since we are talking about a 500 milliseconds delay maximum (remarkably since this is half the way around the World), this delay on its own will not make a significant difference to Google or the user.
Yes, Google does reward faster websites with a higher ranking, but if your site is optimised for speed (try yours now on https://developers.google.com/speed/pagespeed/insights/), then as long as your page loads in less than 2 seconds on mobile, you should have no worries.
Here is the gospel straight from the horse’s mouth:
QUOTE: “[Google is] announcing that starting in July 2018, page speed will be a ranking factor for mobile searches. The “Speed Update,” as we’re calling it, will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries. It applies the same standard to all pages, regardless of the technology used to build the page. The intent of the search query is still a very strong signal, so a slow page may still rank highly if it has great, relevant content.” — Google 2018.
The essential part of the quote is ” … will only affect pages that deliver the slowest experience to users and will only affect a small percentage of queries”. In other words, keep your rendering (the page load) time as fast as you can and do not sweat the milliseconds (unless you have many factors all with delays then you may have a real issue).
Now let’s look at another scenario from the opposite view
Let us suppose that you have an e-commerce site that exports goods from Kampala to New York. Your target audience is buyers located in New York.
So, a user is accessing a website from his computer in New York. This site is hosted on a local hosting company’s server located in Kampala.
Now the request and subsequent data will have to travel 14,000 miles round trip to download the website back to good old New York. What if there is a power outage? Is your local internet connection pretty sluggish today?
If you are hyper worried about speed, and your buyers are mainly located in other countries, then host your site close to them where speed is of the essence.
Factors to consider #2 Reliability
Local hosting companies do not have the same capability as the international giants when it comes to customer and technical support.
These hosts cannot be available 24/7, and invariably, they do not have the backup necessary should they have a total server collapse.
They may well accept bank transfers as payment, however, alleviating the need for a credit card. They are also much more likely to accept local currency which can be an essential factor in developing nations.
Factors to consider #3 Price
Local hosts cannot compete for prices. It is the old Amazon vs your local electrical store. Their rates are inevitably higher.
The ease of buying international hosting services ensure that most people rightly or wrongly depending on your viewpoint will plump for the ‘Brand’ global hosting.
With so many great hosting companies available and so many detailed reviews, it is hard to go wrong choosing your ideal hosting plan. We hope that this article has illuminated some of the differences between local and international shared and managed hosting services.