Choosing a managed hosting provider for your WordPress website can be a daunting task – especially if you’re not familiar with the ins and outs of the industry.

The sheer amount of features on offer from different hosting providers makes it difficult to intelligently navigate through the haze. Managed WordPress hosting standards have improved significantly over the past few years leaving us with a handful of top contenders to choose from.

In this post, we aim to provide you with a clear outlook of what you should expect from your managed WordPress hosting provider. By the time you’re through with this post, you’ll know the questions you should be asking your hosting provider to make the most of your money.

Let’s get started!

What is managed WordPress hosting?

When you sign up for a managed WordPress hosting plan, your hosting provider does all the heavy lifting for you. This typically includes speed, uptime, security, backups, site restoration, updates, plugin/theme compatibility, and daily site monitoring.

In short, managed WordPress hosting takes care of all the back-end tasks of operating a WordPress site. This hosting plan is ideal for small businesses that don’t want to get involved with day to day site maintenance or outsource system administration.

Most of the managed hosting plans you’ll find are geared towards WordPress. This ensures that you can stay on top of things without lifting a finger and deliver the best user experience to your viewership.

Important note: find out our top picks for web hosting on our recommended hosting page.

The 4 S’s of managed WordPress hosting providers

To help you make an informed decision, we’ve boiled down the things you should consider when choosing a managed WordPress hosting provider into four areas.

Security

Small business owners that ask their customers for personal information cannot risk security breaches and data leaks. Managed WordPress hosting providers take extra care to provide their customers with the right tools to ensure top-notch security.

For those of you who like to be on the safe side, here’s a quick checklist of questions you’ll want to tick off on before purchasing your next managed WordPress hosting plan:

  1. Do set up SSL certificates for customers?
  2. Do you offer regular automated backups and site restoration?
  3. Do you provide protection against Distributed Denial of Service (DDoS) attacks?

A careful analysis of the hosting plan will get you answers to all three of these security-related questions. If your managed hosting provider fails to deliver on any one of these features then perhaps it’s a good idea to look elsewhere.

Scalability

Regardless of the size of their online business, one goal that all entrepreneurs share is business growth. A good managed hosting provider gives their customers enough room to grow their business without having to worry about where they’ll host their site.

 

Flexible hosting plans that are crafted to accommodate business growth are definite signs of a hosting provider that puts their customer’s needs ahead of their own. Here are a few more questions you can ask your hosting provider:

  1. Can you recommend a hosting plan based on my site’s specific requirements?
  2. How will I know when it’s time to upgrade my hosting plan?
  3. Will this hosting plan handle traffic spikes?
  4. Do your hosting plans have WordPress-specific features to optimize my site for performance?
  5. Does a CDN come included in the price? (this isn’t a deal breaker because you can sign up for one separately)

If you’re just starting out with an online endeavor then chances are that your business will start growing sooner or later. Having some room for growth within the hosting provider’s plans is far better than seeking out a new host when your site starts to bring in more traffic.

Support

One of the most important assets of a good managed WordPress hosting provider is their customer support staff. If you’ve been using WordPress for some time now then you’ve probably run into your fair share of errors.

Support staff that have not only learned about WordPress but also have hands-on experience fixing WordPress errors will save you from those late nights of troubleshooting your site. One way to find out if your hosting provider has a dedicated support staff that’s experienced with WordPress is to scan through the features they offer.

If you’re still not sure then you can ask the hosting provider these questions:

  1. Can the support staff help in identifying and solving WordPress-specific errors?
  2. Do you have a knowledge base, documentation, or FAQs page for customers to access?
  3. How do I reach the customer support representative if my site encounters a problem i.e. via ticket, phone, email?
  4. Do you offer support 24/7/365?
  5. How long does your support staff take on average to answer customer queries?

Some of the best hosting providers’ support staff are available around the clock to help customers out with any problems their site runs into and are proficient with WordPress.

Reputation

The wide-range of features and clever marketing strategies a hosting provider offers are never enough to fully determine how well it actually delivers on its promises. This is why it’s important to thoroughly evaluate its reputation in the hosting market.

A hosting provider’s customer reviews can give you a lot of insight into the pros and cons of signing up with them. As is the case with everything, you shouldn’t go hunting for reviews on the host’s own website. Instead, try looking them up on other platforms where you can rest assured the reviews won’t be biased.

Reputation

(Screenshot taken from WhoIsHostingThis.com)

Here are some of the things you should look for in the customer reviews section:

  1. Why did the customer give the hosting provider a poor rating (1-star or 2-star rating)?
  2. Why did the customer give the hosting provider a good rating (4-star or 5-star rating)?
  3. Is the hosting provider known for its WordPress-proficient support team?
  4. Do the negative reviews outweigh the positive ones?

Reading as many customer reviews as possible is a great way to identify patterns into the strengths and weaknesses of any hosting provider. A good managed hosting provider will have a community of satisfied customers backing up their claims.

Wrapping it up

Choosing a bad hosting provider based on limited knowledge can be incredibly frustrating in the long run. That said we have enough information on our hands to make an informed decision. We encourage you to ask your top hosting contenders all of the questions we outlined in this post before reaching for your wallet.

By identifying your site’s hosting requirements, you’ll be able to find a good managed WordPress hosting provider that meets them head-on, gives you the most value for your money and delivers an optimal user experience to your site’s viewership.

Posted by Rafay Saeed Ansari

Rafay is an entrepreneur, computer scientist, and professional ghost-writer for several high-traffic websites. He is also the Founder of BloggInc. He provides byline and ghost-writing services for digital and brick-and-mortar businesses with a focus on web development, WordPress, and entrepreneurship.