Shared Hosting vs Managed WordPress Hosting: Which is Best?

The once obscure term — “hosting” — is a familiar one today, as platforms like WordPress have opened the possibilities for anyone, anywhere to create their own online presence. If you’re new to building a site, however, you likely have a lot of questions about the kind of hosting plan you need. 

That’s why we’ve set out to dissect two types of hosting plans: shared hosting vs. managed WordPress hosting. What are the differences? What are the pros and cons? And, most importantly, how can you secure your WordPress site, no matter the type of hosting you choose?

Choosing a hosting plan can feel like being caught between a rock and a hard place. A standard shared hosting plan is easy on the wallet, but does it give you the security you need? Managed WordPress hosting sounds like a dream with all of its features, but do the benefits justify the higher price?

Let’s dig in.

woman working at her kitchen table

What is shared hosting?

Shared hosting is like renting a room in a large apartment complex. There are multiple tenants, and each one has a private space (your website), but you all share common amenities like water, electricity, and parking (the server resources). 

Now, this arrangement can be quite affordable, but it does come with its share of challenges, especially if your neighbors are noisy or, in our case, have high traffic.

What is managed WordPress hosting?

Managed WordPress hosting, on the other hand, is more like living in a condo. The building management (hosting provider) takes care of all maintenance and updates, and they’ve invested in top-notch security measures to keep your space safe. In essence, you get a specialized environment optimized specifically for WordPress.

It is important to note, however, that managed WordPress hosting and shared hosting aren’t necessarily completely separate entities. Managed WordPress hosting plans can be on shared servers, or they can be on VPS or dedicated servers — it all depends on your specific provider. The primary differences lie in what’s handled by the host vs the customer.

For the purposes of this article, when we refer to “shared hosting”, we’re referencing a standard shared hosting plan that is not managed.

IT worker in a room of servers

Shared hosting vs. managed WordPress hosting (7 key differences)

Let’s roll up our sleeves and dive into the nitty-gritty differences between shared hosting and managed WordPress hosting. From performance to security, price, and support, we’ve got it all covered.

1. Performance

Shared hosting

With a standard shared hosting plan, your website is on the same type of server as everyone else, with the same features, no matter what software they run on their site. While there may be performance features included or available, they typically aren’t catered specifically to WordPress. In general, you’re left on your own to take care of speed optimization. 

Managed WordPress hosting

Managed WordPress hosting, however, typically shines when it comes to performance. Servers are optimized, caching mechanisms are advanced, and content delivery networks (CDNs) are streamlined. The hosting provider puts their foot on the gas, focusing on delivering high-speed and reliable performance specifically for WordPress websites. 

2. Security

Shared hosting

When it comes to shared hosting, there are typically some general security features that work for all types of websites. They aren’t specialized to WordPress and you typically need to handle the majority of your site security by yourself.

But the good news is, even if you’re on a shared hosting plan, you can give your site security a major boost with WordPress security plugins like Jetpack Security.

Managed WordPress hosting

Managed WordPress hosting is better when it comes to security. It can come with enhanced measures like regular malware scans, automated backups, WordPress-specific firewalls, and proactive monitoring. The hosting provider steps up to the plate, keeping your site secure and up to date with tools that are designed for WordPress.

What’s more, some of the best managed WordPress hosting providers partner with trusted security services and plugins. For example, Pressable, which solely has managed WordPress plans, includes Jetpack Security at no additional cost.

3. Updates and maintenance

Shared hosting

In the shared hosting realm, you’re in charge of managing WordPress updates, plugin installations, and overall site maintenance. While this may give you more control, it’s just one more responsibility on top of running your business or blog. And since keeping things updated is absolutely critical for functionality and security, it’s important that you’re always on top of things.

Managed WordPress hosting

Managed WordPress hosting, on the other hand, handles core WordPress updates, plugin updates, and security patches for you, allowing you to focus more on creating content and running your website. 

4. Support

Shared hosting

Shared hosting providers usually offer basic technical support, but it can sometimes feel like dialing up a call center. The quality and response time can vary greatly, and there’s a chance you might end up on hold when you really need help. 

customer service rep in a call center

And, while support typically can solve basic problems with their services, they have to know a little bit of information about each piece of website software rather than being experts specifically on WordPress.

Managed WordPress hosting

Managed WordPress hosting, however, usually provides strong support from knowledgeable staff who can assist with WordPress-related issues, optimizations, and troubleshooting. You know that whoever you’re speaking to is an expert on your specific type of website.

5. Customization and control

Shared hosting

With shared hosting, customization options can be limited. You don’t have full control over server settings and configurations, and these options probably won’t be tailored to WordPress. So, your server may not be set up in a way that’s ideal for your site, but you won’t be able to change it.

You will, however, have more control over the plugins you use on your site, especially when it comes to things like performance and security.

Managed WordPress hosting

Managed WordPress hosting can sometimes be more restrictive when it comes to customization, though this does depend on the type of server you’re using. But the server environment will be optimized for WordPress sites, so you may not even need to make many tweaks, if any.

Some managed hosting plans also restrict the plugins that you install on your website. So, there may be a tool you’d really like to use, but won’t be allowed to add to your site.

6. Price

Shared hosting

Shared hosting is usually the cheaper option because it doesn’t include as many features and tools. It’s like choosing a no-frills, budget airline.

Managed WordPress hosting

Managed WordPress hosting, on the other hand, is akin to flying business class. Yes, it comes at a higher price point, but for good reason. The extra cost covers added features, performance optimizations, and support. It’s a premium service for a premium price.

7. Target audience

Shared hosting

Shared hosting is the jack of all trades. It’s suitable for small to medium-sized websites, blogs, and personal projects with moderate traffic and resource requirements. And it typically has a variety of sites using different software, not just WordPress sites.

Managed WordPress hosting

Managed WordPress hosting is ideal for businesses, professional websites, ecommerce stores, or high-traffic sites that require optimal performance, security, and expert support. And for enterprises, a service like WordPress VIP is the way to go.

WPVIP homepage

Pros of shared hosting

1. Affordability

Shared hosting plans are generally more affordable compared to managed WordPress hosting. This makes them an attractive option for those just starting out, on a budget, or testing the waters of website ownership. It’s about establishing your online presence without breaking the bank.

2. A range of options

Just like a supermarket aisle full of breakfast cereals, there’s no shortage of shared hosting providers. Each offers various plans with their own set of features. That means you can browse, compare, and pick the one that fits your needs. From storage space to bandwidth and email accounts, the power is in your hands to decide what matters most for your website.

3. Suitable for low to moderate traffic

Shared hosting is not the most powerful of hosting options. However, for websites with low to moderate traffic, it gets the job done. You may not get five-star service, but it’s adequate for your needs, providing a platform for growth as you build your audience.

4. Flexibility

While the tools and setup of shared servers may not be tailored specifically to WordPress, you typically have a bit more control. There are no limitations on the plugins that you can install, for example, and you can handle performance and security however you’d like. 

Cons of shared hosting

1. Performance limitations

While you have more control over the performance tools you use with shared hosting, you’ll be responsible for figuring out the right setup for your site. Server resources aren’t allocated specifically based on WordPress requirements and WordPress-specific performance tools typically aren’t included.

laptop computer with lines of code

2. Security vulnerabilities

Again, you may have more control over your security setup, but the server environment also isn’t optimized for the security needs of WordPress. You’re on your own. This is why a top-tier WordPress security plugin is crucial to help you stand strong amidst potential threats.

3. Lack of specialized support

Sometimes, you simply need a specialist. Shared hosting providers typically offer basic technical support. But if you’re facing a WordPress-specific issue, they may not have the knowledge to get it resolved quickly.

Pros of managed WordPress hosting

1. Enhanced performance

Managed WordPress hosting is the Formula 1 car of hosting environments, designed specifically for WordPress speed and performance. With features like advanced caching mechanisms and content delivery networks (CDNs), your site can run at top speed, helping your users get a smooth ride every time they visit your website.

2. Better security

As we’ve emphasized before, security is critical. Managed WordPress hosting providers often partner with trusted security solutions or plugins like Jetpack Security, adding an extra layer of protection to your site. Features like regular malware scanning, firewalls, and proactive monitoring can go a long way towards protecting your hard work.

3. Automatic updates and backups

In the managed WordPress hosting world, updates and backups are often taken care of for you. They’ll ensure your site remains protected and up-to-date. Pair this with a reliable WordPress backup solution like Jetpack VaultPress Backup, and you’re in good hands.

4. Expert support

Managed WordPress hosting is like having a team of WordPress experts on your side. With this kind of hosting, you’re getting a wealth of WordPress-specific knowledge and expertise. 

woman working on a laptop with servers

Cons of managed WordPress hosting

1. Higher cost

As with many things in life, quality comes at a price. Managed WordPress hosting usually carries a higher price tag than shared hosting due to the enhanced features, performance optimizations, and support it provides. 

2. Limited customization

Managed WordPress hosting providers may apply certain restrictions on plugins or customization options to maintain server stability and security. This can feel a bit restrictive, especially if you’re used to having more control. But remember, it’s all in the name of keeping your site secure and performing optimally.

3. Not suitable for all websites

Managed WordPress hosting comes with a price tag that not everyone can afford. If you’re running a small personal blog with minimal traffic, the cost might outweigh the benefits. But if your website is a significant part of your business or organization, then the extra cost may be justifiable as an investment in your online success.

4. Dependency on the hosting provider

No matter the kind of hosting you choose, your site’s availability is dependent on the host. That’s why you should look for providers that guarantee at least 99% uptime. With managed hosting providers, however, you may also be relying on them to keep WordPress and your plugins updated. If they drop the ball for any reason, you may find yourself in an unexpected, tough spot down the road. 

How to choose between shared and managed WordPress hosting

list of recommended hosts from Jetpack

Selecting the right type of hosting for your WordPress site is a critical decision, and there’s no one-size-fits-all solution. Here’s a straightforward, three-step process to help you make an informed choice:

1. Assess your needs

Start by assessing your website’s needs. What tools do you want to use on your site? What level of support do you need? Do you have team members who can take care of maintenance tasks, or would they all fall on your plate?

2. Evaluate your technical skills

Consider your technical knowledge and comfort level when it comes to managing a website. If you’re technically inclined and have the time to handle site management tasks, shared hosting could be a suitable choice. On the other hand, if you’d prefer to focus on your business and leave the technical stuff to the experts, managed WordPress hosting might be worth the extra cost.

3. Consider your budget

Look at your budget. Shared hosting is more affordable, but remember that you get what you pay for. Managed WordPress hosting, while more expensive, offers a lot more value in terms of performance, security, and support.

It’s not about what’s good or bad, cheap or expensive. It’s about what’s appropriate for your unique situation.

In summary, choosing between shared and managed WordPress hosting is a decision that requires careful consideration. Weigh your site’s needs, your technical skill level, and your budget to make the best choice. And whatever hosting option you choose, ensure your site’s security is not an afterthought.

someone working on code on a laptop

Remember, no fortress is too robust, no lock too strong to keep out every potential threat, and that’s why a security plugin like Jetpack Security is a must-have. It offers robust protection features that work tirelessly to keep your site safe, secure, and running smoothly.

Jetpack Security: the best solution for WordPress protection

Regardless of the hosting option you choose, securing your WordPress site should be a top priority. And that’s where Jetpack Security steps in. This powerful plugin offers a robust suite of security features designed to protect your WordPress site from all angles, including:

1. Brute force attack protection

Safeguard your site from brute force attacks, a common method used by hackers to gain access to your site. They employ robots to try thousands of username and password combinations per second until they stumble upon the right one. But Jetpack stops these attacks in their tracks, protecting your site and preventing speed bottlenecks.  

2. Downtime monitoring

Jetpack Security keeps a watchful eye on your site, ensuring it’s up and running. If it detects any downtime, it’ll notify you right away. It’s like having a security guard who never sleeps, always vigilant and watching over your online property.

3. Spam protection

Spam can make your site look unprofessional and drive visitors away. And spam comments can even direct your followers or customers to unsavory websites, where bad actors can steal their information.

Jetpack Security’s WordPress anti-spam protection feature automatically filters out spam comments from comment and contact forms, so you don’t have to worry about them.

4. Malware scanning and automatic threat resolution

With Jetpack Security, you get automated, daily malware scanning to catch threats before they cause damage. It’s an early-warning system that’s constantly on guard. And if it finds a threat, it can often resolve it with just one click.

Jetpack Scan homepage

5. Real-time site backups

Jetpack Security also offers real-time WordPress backups. If anything ever goes wrong, you can quickly restore your site to a previous state. Those backups are stored separately from your server so that they’re protected even if your host is compromised. And if your website is completely down, you can still restore a backup.

As you can see, Jetpack Security is a powerful tool that can help protect your WordPress site, whether you’re on shared hosting or managed WordPress hosting. It’s not just a plugin; it’s peace of mind.

Frequently asked questions

Let’s now address some frequently asked questions to shed more light on this topic:

What is the main difference between shared and managed WordPress hosting?

The main difference lies in the level of tools and support offered. Shared hosting is a more affordable solution that provides basic hosting services. On the other hand, managed WordPress hosting provides a suite of advanced features, including automatic updates, enhanced security, and specialized WordPress support.

Shared hosting vs. managed WordPress hosting — which is best for my website?

It depends on your needs and your technical expertise. Shared hosting is ideal for small websites run by someone who’s at least moderately experienced with WordPress to manage it. Managed WordPress hosting is better suited for those who don’t have the expertise or desire to take care of website management tasks.

Is shared hosting suitable for high-traffic WordPress websites?

Generally, shared hosting may struggle to accommodate high-traffic websites. If your site attracts a lot of traffic, you may want to consider upgrading to a VPS or dedicated hosting plan. 

Are there any SEO advantages to using managed WordPress hosting?

Speed and security, both strong suits of managed WordPress hosting, are essential SEO factors. A faster, secure website provides a better user experience, which can help improve your website’s ranking in search engine results. 

Can I upgrade from shared hosting to managed WordPress hosting?

Absolutely! Many managed hosting services will help migrate a WordPress site for you. Otherwise, check out our guide on how to migrate a WordPress site

Is managed WordPress hosting more secure than shared hosting?

In general, yes. Managed WordPress hosting providers often offer enhanced security features to protect your site from potential threats. However, regardless of the hosting type, using a solid security plugin like Jetpack Security can give your site an extra layer of protection.

page full of code on a laptop

Unpacking the value of Jetpack Security

We all know prevention is better than the cure, but when it comes to cybersecurity, it’s even more profound. One security lapse, one successful hack, can ruin the trust you’ve painstakingly built with your audience. 

So, let’s break down how Jetpack Security does more than just prevent security breaches. 

1. It saves you time with automated scanning and resolutions

Consider the time you could lose trying to find a hidden piece of malicious code in your site’s back-end. Jetpack Security does this for you with its automated malware scanning for WordPress sites. It’s continuously hunting down potential threats, giving you more time to focus on growing your business. 

And if it finds something, it doesn’t just alert you — it gives you solutions to solve the problem (often with just a single click). We’re talking about swift damage control here, which is vital when dealing with cybersecurity threats.

Jetpack Security homepage

2. You’ll get peace of mind from advanced security features

We’ve already walked through the advanced features that Jetpack Security brings to the table: brute force protection, spam filtering, secure authentication, real-time backups, and more. But let’s talk about the psychological aspect here. 

Knowing your site is secure allows you to rest easy. It’s one less thing to worry about, one less potential fire to put out. And that peace of mind is worth its weight in gold.

3. Maintain business continuity with downtime monitoring and site backups

What if your site goes down in the middle of a peak traffic hour? Or what if you make a major site update and things go sideways? 

Jetpack Security’s downtime monitoring alerts you the moment your site becomes unavailable, enabling you to spring into action and resolve the issue. Meanwhile, site backups ensure you can easily revert your site to a previous state if needed.

woman working on a laptop in a server room

The final word: Shared vs. managed WordPress hosting

Now that we’ve walked you through the intricacies of shared and managed WordPress hosting, you’re well-equipped to make a choice that aligns with your needs.

Remember, the decision isn’t about good vs. bad or cheap vs. expensive. It’s about what’s appropriate for you. It’s about making an informed choice that supports your business growth while keeping your peace of mind intact.

And no matter which path you choose, a reliable security plugin like Jetpack Security can be the strong guardian that ensures you stay on track, maintaining a secure and smooth-running website. 

At the end of the day, your website is more than just a collection of pages and posts. It’s a representation of your business and your brand. And it deserves the best security you can provide.

This entry was posted in Hosting. Bookmark the permalink.

Jen Swisher profile

Jen Swisher

Jen is a Happiness Engineer for Jetpack. She has been working with WordPress and Jetpack for over a decade. Prior to starting at Automattic, Jen has helped small businesses, local non-profits, and Fortune 50 companies create engaging web experiences for their customers. She is passionate about teaching others how to create on the web without fear.

Explore the benefits of Jetpack

Learn how Jetpack can help you protect, speed up, and grow your WordPress site.

Get up to 50% off your first year.

Compare plans

Have a question?

Comments are closed for this article, but we're still here to help! Visit the support forum and we'll be happy to answer any questions.

View support forum
  • Enter your email address to follow this blog and receive news and updates from Jetpack!

    Join 112.3K other subscribers
  • Browse by Topic

  • %d bloggers like this: