Deciding between a managed vs. unmanaged hosting for a WordPress website can be difficult as both options have significant advantages. The managed kind is more expensive, but it’s not too expensive, so money shouldn’t be the deciding factor.
In order to make the right decision, you need to consider not only your business’s needs but your personal ability to manage the website without any professional help. Bear in mind that should you run into some trouble and have to hire an expert, the overall cost might be greater than using a managed service would have been.
Before you start looking for managed or unmanaged plans, you need to choose the right kind of host. WordPress has a detailed guide on hosting requirements for a WP website. Be sure to pick a hosts shortlist based on it.
Managed Vs. Unmanaged Hosting for a WordPress Website: Pros and Cons
First of all, don’t be fooled by the name as ‘unmanaged’ hosting doesn’t mean ‘bad’. It’s not inferior in any way and many providers offer both managed and unmanaged plans. The equipment you get in either is exactly the same. The difference only lies in the tools and services you get included with the server.
Managed hosting packages provide you with exactly that, packages of tools and services that allow the host to basically run your website. It’s the provider that will be doing most of the job of setting up, monitoring, and managing your WordPress website. This includes everything from security features to status monitoring.
For you as a user, the managed vs. unmanaged hosting for a WordPress website question boils down to ‘can you manage your website yourself?’ If the answer is no, you should go for a managed package right away. Many reliable hosting providers offer those like BlueHost for WordPress. These are often considered premium services and you can find a great variety of packages with rather different sets of tools and services.
Therefore, it’s essential to research and compare your options to pick out the best one for you.
An unmanaged hosting plan, on the other hand, provides you with nothing but a server with an OS. From then on, everything you need to install you do on your own, including the basic PHP or Apache software.
The main benefits of this option are affordability and flexibility. An unmanaged hosting allows you to create a website from scratch using the exact tools and add-ons you want. This allows creating a truly custom site and pushing the WordPress building platform’s capabilities to the fullest.
Managed hosting packages can limit you in many things, including the plugins you can install and the type of websites you want to create. With an unmanaged plan, you can do whatever you like with very little ‘supervision’ from the provider. However, this means that if something goes wrong, you’ll be the one fixing it and bringing your website back online.
Which to Choose: Managed Vs. Unmanaged Hosting for a WordPress Website
Both managed and unmanaged WordPress hosting is a good choice depending on your circumstances and skill level. If you are looking to create a custom website with some specialized software, an unmanaged plan might be your only option.
This type of hosting should be cheaper and if you don’t have the skills to manage a website personally, you can hire a professional to do this on your behalf.
Managed hosting, on the other hand, is great for beginners. You can find plans with sets of software and services that will meet the needs of nearly any business. Therefore, you won’t even feel the loss of flexibility. These plans are also rather affordable as the most basic ones cost under $20 a month.
The choice is yours, but do it wisely as you need to ensure your website performs well from the very beginning.