When we talk about WordPress hosting in the following, we mean more precisely "WordPress Managed Hosting".
The word "managed" implies that something is "managed". WordPress hosters and also some WordPress agencies promise with their service that both the server and the WordPress instance will be managed.
In other words:
The website operator no longer has to worry about handling the server or the security and stability of WordPress. Allegedly, he can even rely on a Waive WordPress maintenance contract.
We believe that most providers of WordPress managed hosting are merely providers of shared hosting. The word "managed" is a clever sales trickwhich gives the website operator the illusion of security, which in the end provides the provider with 400 % more margin.
However, the bottom line is that this security is a threat to your company's public image, as we will demonstrate below with a real case study.
What is managed with WordPress hosting?
Just as with shared hosting and also with a "managed server", the server is maintained by the hosting provider. This means that it 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 simultaneously for all customers and are automated. With almost all managed WordPress hosting packages from the various providers, you share the server with other customers. This means that server maintenance 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 hosted 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 RAM. This is important for high visitor volumes and database-intensive applications.
The WordPress instance
The WordPress version of your website and the plugins and themes used are always kept up to date by managed WordPress hosting providers. This can normally also be done by your WordPress Developer or WordPress Freelancer for you.
In any case, this happens automatically. This means that nobody logs into your WP backend and clicks the "Update" button. Updates are carried out completely automatically, on thousands of websites at the same time.
The danger of WordPress managed hosting for your external presence
During an update, individual files of your WordPress instance, your theme or your plugins are replaced by 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 involved would also be far too high, especially as they know neither your style guide nor your requirements for the supported end devices and browsers. Only you or professional WordPress maintenance providers can do this.
If your host carries out its update cycles once a week, for example, you would have to check your entire website once a week to ensure that it is displayed correctly. If something is wrong, a backup would have to be imported as quickly as possible. You would then have another week until the malicious update is automatically installed again.
"Nothing will happen"
Plugins and themes are published by individual developers or by large teams of developers who are more or less concerned about the quality of their code. In no case However, this code is checked by the WordPress manufacturer before an update is published. This is only possible with the very expensive WordPress VIP the case.
And it is really often 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, at the time, this website was infected with the "Avada Theme" was implemented. In a major release, the Indian development team from Avada the entire code base upside down. The result was 60 person days in additional work to restore the old design. When testing the Avada update on our test server, the customer's website was "completely shot to pieces", so to speak - nothing was right anymore and the site was teeming with misrepresentations.
If the customer had dispensed with a professional maintenance plan at the time and instead relied on "Managed WordPress Hosting", the website would probably have been completely unusable for several hours (or a whole weekend). In the end, an editor would probably have noticed it and a backup would have been required by the WordPress Support have to be imported.
We test every update of our customer websites on a test server beforehand. This means that the customer's website is first "cloned" onto a private test server. All necessary updates are carried out there and then the 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, under no circumstances should any automatic updates be part of the package. It must be possible to deactivate these reliably so as 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 in particular particularly fast. These are real selling points that should be checked before deciding on a host. For example, several hosts could be booked on a trial basis. You then clone the website to these hosts and test which host performs best in terms of loading time.
Conclusion on the topic of "Managed WordPress hosting"
Depending on the configuration, managed WordPress hosting can be a risk for your external presence. In any case, you should check (and test!) the WordPress host's offer carefully. You should have your updates carried out by a professional provider of WordPress maintenance plans. This will ensure that your website's public image is always maintained. You sleep with this solution really calm and does not have to worry about destroying the WordPress Web Design fear.