1. WordPress (managed) hosting: a dangerous myth!

1. WordPress (managed) hosting: a dangerous myth!

When we talk about WordPress hosting below, we mean “WordPress Managed Hosting” to be more precise.

The word “managed” implies that something is “managed”. WordPress hosters promise with their service that both the server and the WordPress instance are managed. In other words:

The website operator no longer has to worry about handling the server or about the security and stability of WordPress.

We believe that most WordPress managed hosting providers are just shared hosting providers. The word “managed” is a clever sales trickwhich gives the website operator the illusion of security, which ultimately gives the provider a 400% higher margin.

The bottom line is that this security is a threat to the public image of your company, which we will demonstrate below with a real case study.

What is managed in WordPress hosting?

The server

Just like with shared hosting and also with a “managed server”, the server is maintained by the hosting provider. This means that he carries out regular updates on the server, ensures that the middleware is up-to-date and takes care of avoiding/closing security risks.

These points are carried out for all customers at the same time and run automatically. With almost all managed WordPress hosting packages from the various providers, you share the server with other customers. This means that the maintenance of the server is carried out once for your server, just as is the case with shared hosting (which is available for 5-10 euros per month).

The more expensive service packages from the various providers usually only differ in the number of websites that are on the same server. The fewer these are, the more resources the server can provide for your website. Most providers also offer additional processor cores or additional memory. This is important for high visitor traffic and database-intensive applications.

The WordPress instance

The WordPress version of your website as well as the plugins and themes used are always kept up to date by providers of “Managed WordPress Hosting”.

In any case, this runs automatically. This means that no one logs into your WP backend and clicks the “Update” button there. Updates are handled completely automatically and on thousands of websites at the same time.

The danger of WordPress managed hosting for your external appearance

During an update, individual files in your WordPress instance, your theme or your plugin are replaced with new files. This means that PHP code is loaded onto your server, which is immediately visible to the public. The hosting provider does not test whether this new code completely destroys the display of your website. The effort for this would also be far too high, especially since he knows neither your style guide nor your requirements for the supported end devices and browsers. Only you or providers of professional WordPress maintenance can do this.

For example, if your host carries out its update cycles once a week, you would have to check your entire website for correct display once a week. If something is wrong, a backup should be imported as soon as possible. Then you would have another week until the malicious update would be automatically installed again.

“Nothing will happen”

Plugins and themes are released by individual developers or by large development teams who care more or less about the quality of their code. In no way however, this code is reviewed by the WordPress vendor before releasing an update. This is only the case with the very expensive WordPress VIP.

And it is really common so that individual plugins or a theme change the appearance of your website after an update. For a long time we handled the maintenance of the WordPress website of a well-known German company. Unfortunately, this website was implemented with the “Avada Theme” at the time. For a major release, Avada’s Indian development team turned the entire code base upside down. The result were 60 person days of additional effort for restoring the old design. The customer’s website was “completely shot up” when testing the Avada update on our test server – nothing was correct anymore and the page was teeming with misrepresentations.

If the client had forgone a professional maintenance plan and instead relied on managed WordPress hosting, the website would have been completely unusable for several hours (or a whole weekend). In the end, an editor would probably have noticed and a backup would have had to be imported.

We test every update of our customer websites beforehand on a test server. This means that the customer’s website is “cloned” beforehand on a private test server. All necessary updates are carried out there and then functionality and, above all, the display on all important end devices are checked. Only when “all lights are green” is the update “rolled out” to the live server.

When WordPress managed hosting makes sense

Not all packages from the many providers are harmful. However, in no case should any automatic updates be part of the package. It must be possible to reliably deactivate these in order not to jeopardize your public image.

Some providers advertise a special compression technology, a particularly fast CDN or another special configuration that makes WordPress websites particularly fast. These are real selling points that should be considered before deciding on a host. For example, several hosts could be booked as a test. You then clone the website onto these hosts and test which host your website performs best on in terms of loading time.

Conclusion on “Managed WordPress Hosting”

Depending on the configuration, managed WordPress hosting can be a threat to your public image. In any case, you should check (and test!) what the WordPress host offers. You should have your updates carried out by a professional provider of WordPress maintenance plans. In this way, the external impact of your website is always maintained. You sleep with this solution really calm and does not have to constantly fear the destruction of the site layout.

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