What is a managed host and why does it matter?

“Managed WordPress host” is a buzzword that gets thrown around a lot. But there’s not a single definition everyone agrees on, as a recent Twitter conversation showed.

A couple of weeks ago, @benswrite asked his Twitter followers to share their thoughts on the best WordPress hosts. The factors people mentioned were varied, from simple, quick, and easy-to-use to a good value for the money and support availability. (We were honored to see Agathon mentioned, which is how we came across the thread!)

What is a managed host anyway?

One thing that came up during that conversation was the benefit of managed hosting. But it was clear different hosting companies (and their clients) use the term differently:

  • For some companies, being a managed host means providing self-service tools for their clients that don’t require the help of a support team.
  • For others, it means performing WordPress core and plugin updates automatically on behalf of their clients.
  • And for still others, it means help troubleshooting issues that happen on WordPress in addition to those directly impacting the server.

What Agathon offers WordPress bloggers

Because the definition isn’t clear, we don’t lean too heavily on this phrasing ourselves. Instead, we prefer to focus on our role as a hosting partner for professional WordPress bloggers. To us, that means:

  • Our hosting stack is built with WordPress in mind, to maximize performance and strengthen security for our clients’ sites.
  • Our support team has expertise to handle not just server issues but WordPress issues that arise from plugins and themes as well.
  • We come alongside our clients as individuals to help them troubleshoot problems or think through problems and solutions. If something is outside of our expertise (as with SEO or advanced site speed cleanup), we help them find someone who can help them.
  • We send quarterly site health reports to identify specific areas of improvement for our clients.
  • Our cloud servers are easily scalable to accommodate bursts of traffic and viral posts. And we never throttle our clients’ traffic.
  • We do everything we can to never leave our clients holding the bag when things go wrong.

What about automatic updates?

You may have noticed that automatic updates is missing from this list. The one thing we don’t do is automatically update WordPress core, themes, or plugins for our clients. Here’s why:

We encourage our clients to keep WordPress core and plugins updated. Out-of-date code can contain known security issues that pose an easy target for attackers. But unattended updates can also cause unforeseen issues or change critical functionality without warning. WordPress has a built-in automatic update for minor updates, which will make sure you have the latest security and bugfix updates in core. We recommend you manage major WordPress and plugin updates yourself so you can quickly identify potential issues.

And of course, we’re always available to help with tricky updates or to roll back changes that do cause problems.

The consensus to @benswrite’s question was that the best hosting company depends on a variety of factors, including the size and complexity of your site, the amount of traffic you receive, your own tech prowess, and more. And we agree completely!

If you’re looking for a managed host that considers themselves your partner, we’d love to chat. Agathon comes alongside you to help with all the technical bits and bobs so you can focus on content creation and running your business. Shoot us an email today to learn more!

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