I freely admit that fully managed WordPress hosting plans look very attractive. They have dedicated resources for each WordPress site and guarantee a degree of performance that no shared hosting platform can match. Plus, they take care of security, backups, and all other routine maintenance tasks you would typically have to do by yourself. But it’s not all positive. There are several fundamental problems with fully managed WordPress hosting platforms.
Here they are.
1. They Charge you for Each Individual Site
Many people compare the cost of managed WordPress hosting with what they pay for their VPS or shared hosting service and think it’s comparable. True, it’s not cheap – but neither is a managed VPS. However, the big difference is that managed WordPress providers charge you separately for each website you maintain.
With regular hosting, you can usually host as many websites on your server as space allows. The cheapest providers limit you to just one site, but on the higher-tier plans, you can install multiple websites at no additional cost. You need to ensure you have the resources to handle the extra load, but a typical VPS can handle a few regular WordPress sites without breaking a sweat.
However, you need to pay for each additional site with a fully managed WordPress hosting provider. Even if you start with a single site, you tend to create more eventually. Remember that not all sites get the same amount of traffic, either. Chances are that only a few of your sites will require the full range of services and promises that managed WordPress hosting providers offer. So you’ll likely end up overpaying a great deal.
2. Heavy Plugin Control – Backups and Caching
To preserve the guarantees of speed and performance, these providers restrict many plugins you would typically install on a WordPress site. Two examples of restricted plugin categories are backups and caching. The reason managed WordPress providers ban these plugins is twofold.
First, managed WordPress providers already integrate backup and caching into their systems. So from a functionality point of view, you don’t need them anymore. Second, these plugins are highly database and CPU-intensive. For example, if you look at the popular backup plugin UpdraftPlus, you’ll have difficulty running it even on a regular shared server. It’s a tremendous resource hog, and most web hosts will throttle it, preventing it from running backups efficiently. The best place to use UpdraftPlus is on a VPS.
So for performance and duplication reasons, fully managed WordPress providers disallow these plugins on their servers. So what’s wrong with that? Why would you want to duplicate functionality and cause server strain?
Too Much Centralization
I’m not too fond of the above restriction because it creates an excess of centralization. You have one provider that handles your backups, caching, and everything else. A single point of failure. I’m reminded of A2 Hosting’s backup disaster, where the entire infrastructure fell victim to hacking, and months’ worth of backups were lost.
Instead, I prefer to use a 3rd party for backups and caching. With Cloudflare’s new caching system, you can implement a caching solution and use another backup service. If something happens to the main site, your backups are stored separately.
Migration is Easier
Another benefit of having your backups on another service is that you’re not dependent on your provider to give you backups to transfer to another service. There’s no guarantee that the automatic backups will be in a form that allows you to migrate your website elsewhere, so this is a massive problem if you want the flexibility to move.
Bottom Line: For the Long-Term, Get a VPS or High-End Hosting
While it’s tempting to pull the trigger on a fully managed WordPress solution that does everything for your site, it can be a lot more expensive in the long run if you eventually want to create more sites. And if you need the flexibility to move to another solution, then it’s best to avoid the easy path and outsource your backup and caching solutions to another provider.
I’m a NameHero team member, and an expert on WordPress and web hosting. I’ve been in this industry since 2008. I’ve also developed apps on Android and have written extensive tutorials on managing Linux servers. You can contact me on my website WP-Tweaks.com!