Shared vs Managed WordPress Hosting: Pros, Cons & Main Differences Explained

By Richard Goodwin •  Updated: 08/07/19 •  11 min read

Whether you’re just starting a WordPress site or already have one, it pays to know the difference between shared vs managed WordPress hosting…


Shared vs Managed WordPress Hosting – Definitions

Shared vs Managed WordPress Hosting
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Benefits of Managed WordPress Hosting

Shared vs Managed WordPress Hosting
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The difference between managed and shared WordPress hosting is like night and day. Managed WordPress hosting is vastly superior on all fronts – from speed to security. With managed hosting, your entire site is “managed” for you, so you don’t have to worry about security issues, problematic plugins, back-ups, or updates. Everything is done for you, leaving you to focus on content and building your brand.

But that’s just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the benefits of managed WordPress hosting. Here’s a quick breakdown of why ALL websites and blogs, regardless of size, should be using managed WordPress hosting:

The #1 Top Managed WordPress Hosting

There are many, many WordPress hosting options out there right now, shared and managed, but our current #1 picks for the best WordPress hosting right now are as follows:

Host CompanyRATINGFeaturesBEST DEALS

100%
  • Blazingly Fast Page Load Speeds (#1 For Speed)
  • Free CDN Access
  • Access To 35+ Premium StudioPress Themes
  • Three Staging Environments
  • 100% Uptime
  • Variety of Plans For Sites of All Sizes
  • Outstanding Customer Support (24/7) 
  • View Latest WP Engine Deals
[maxbutton name="WP Engine"]

98%
  • Insane Load Times (Under 1.5 Seconds)
  • Free Migration
  • Free SSL
  • Free CDN Access (Up To 50GB)
  • Simple Back-End
  • Excellent Customer Support
  • View Latest Kinsta Deals
[maxbutton name="KINSTA"]

80%
  • It's Shared Hosting; So Not As Fast As Kinsta/WP Engine
  • 99.9% Uptime
  • Cheaper Than WP Engine/Kinsta
  • Free Email
  • 24/7 Support
  • 10GB Storage
  • Includes Website Builder
  • View Latest Offers
[maxbutton name="SITEGROUND"]

The #1 Problem With Shared WordPress Hosting

Shared vs Managed WordPress Hosting
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If you’re a complete beginner that is just starting out and you have no idea what you’re doing or whether or not your site will eventually turn into a business, then there is an argument that using cheaper hosting is beneficial. But the only reason for this is that you’re going to be paying for it out of your own pocket, so why spend more money than you have to, right?

Bluehost, for instance, is one of the more popular options for shared WordPress hosting. It’s cheap and it will run your site. Just don’t go expecting anything in the way of speed or customer service/assistance. It will run your site, but it will not do it quickly and if you want to actually rank one day for keywords, this simply will not cut the mustard.

For me, there are a few key reasons why you should avoid shared hosting and invest in managed WordPress hosting (even if you’re just starting out):

  1. Speed – This is the #1 reason you’d go with a managed WordPress hosting solution is speed. With something like Kinsta or WP Engine, you will shave seconds off your site’s load times. And seconds matter when you’re talking about SEO. If your site loads in under 2 seconds, you’ll rank higher and enjoy decreased bounce rates and more page-views per session. But the main thing is speed – Kinsta is RAPID, which is why it is used by big, Fortune 500 companies.
  2. Scalability – If you’re just starting out, but you have big aspirations for your WordPress site, managed hosting, again, makes the most sense. You start on a basic package (say, 30,000 visitors per month) and then increase the package to a higher one when you need to. The key here is you WILL NOT be penalized for generating traffic spikes. The servers will handle huge influxes of traffic, unlike shared hosting, and this will all combine to help raise the profile and perception of your site – both in Google’s and your users’ eyes.
  3. Technical Support – Having access to round-the-clock, knowledgeable support staff is perhaps one of the best reasons to go with a managed WordPress host like WP Engine or Kinsta. Bluehost has a 1.9/10 rating on Trust Pilot; that is diabolically bad. Even for a hosting company. Conversely, with Kinsta, you get instant access to experts whenever you need them. Case in point: I needed all the URLs for one of my sites exported. I asked the support staff how I would go about doing this, and they went away and did it for me! I didn’t even have to ask! And that is what you call customer service.
  4. Premium Themes – All WP Engine customers get access to the company’s portfolio of premium WordPress themes. These can be used to completely overhaul the design of your blog or website. And best of all, accessing them costs you nothing – it’s all part of the WP Engine experience. On the market, if you bought one of these premium WordPress themes it’d set you back anywhere from $60 to $300. That is exceptional value and another huge USP for WP Engine.
  5. Access To CDN Networks – Content Delivery Networks (CDN) makes your content load faster, depending on the region it is being viewed in. That’s the simple explanation anyway. CDNs work via server networks all over the globe, so if a user on your site is in LA, they will be served the content from the server nearest to LA. This makes the page load faster, rather than routing it from your actual server’s location which could be in Finland or Australia!

Speed is a Ranking Factor…

If you only take one thing away from this post, make it this: premium, managed WordPress hosting will make your site run faster by upwards of a couple of seconds, depending on how well optimised your site’s theme and plugins are. If you’re coming from something like GoDaddy or Bluehost, the difference will be like night and day.

When I switched to Kinsta it shaved almost five seconds off my site’s load time. And guess what happened next? All my rankings tracked upwards, and not just a few – hundreds of keywords bounced upwards. Site speed and load times are super important from an SEO perspective. The slower your site is the less chance it has of ranking. By lowering your speed to sub-1.5 second levels, you’re drastically increasing your chances of outranking your competitors, providing you can produce engaging, quality content.

Make no mistake: if you want to compete online, you need speed – and for speed, you need managed WordPress hosting at the very minimum. You just cannot afford to cheap-out on hosting. It’d be like trying to win the Indy 500 in your mom’s Hyundai. This is why, even for beginners and new sites, you should always start as you mean to go on with solid, fast WordPress hosting like Kinsta or WP Engine.

Shared vs Managed WordPress Hosting – Final Words

Shared vs Managed WordPress Hosting
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Is there any case where shared hosting is appropriate? Yes, there is. If you’re simply looking for hosting for your chess club’s website or something non-commercial, like a personal blog, shared hosting like Bluehost will be fine. You don’t need speed here, just something to run your site so a few people can access it.

But as soon as you start talking about business and making money, or competitive niches that you want to rank in, well… that’s when you need to start looking at and investing in premium WordPress hosting. Why? Simple: because ALL your competition is using premium, high-speed hosting, so if you’re not you are placing yourself at a massive disadvantage – even if your content is better.

It’d be like turning up to a powerlifting event, where everybody’s on steroids, and you’re not. You wouldn’t stand a chance; they have a superior advantage over you because they’re taking steroids. This is EXACTLY what premium hosting is like compared to shared hosting – it’s hosting on steroids. And in today’s ultra-competitive marketplace, you need every advantage you can get your hands on.

My advice? If you want access to ultra-fast managed WordPress hosting and things like free premium WordPress themes, go with WP Engine – as a platform, it is phenomenal, especially if you want to update the look and feel of your site and/or blog.

Happy with the design of your site and just want ultra-fast hosting and market-leading customer support? Go with Kinsta, it’s what I use on all my sites and it is amazing for speed, scalability, security, and customer support.

Or, check out our Guide To The Best WordPress Hosting Platforms for more details on both…

Shared vs Managed Wordpress Hosting
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Richard Goodwin

Richard Goodwin has been working as a tech journalist for over 10 years. He is the editor and owner of KnowYourMobile.

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