Why I Don’t Use Managed WordPress Hosting

I love the idea of managed WordPress hosting, and have considered moving to it myself several times. I’ve written a glowing review of Kinsta, because I believe they really do try their best to make WordPress as painless as possible. However, I’ve always pulled back at the last minute. There are three basic reasons why I think managed WordPress hosting is unsuitable for me:

  1. They charge by the website
  2. They block important plugins
  3. Too much centralization

I explain all of these in more detail below.

Table of Contents

“Per-Website” Charge

Because they heavily manage each WordPress installation, providers like WP-Engine and Kinsta have plans that restrict the number of sites you can host on them. For example, the starting plan for $30 from Kinsta only allows you to host one website. The same goes for WP-Engine.

Here’s a screenshot of Kinsta’s plans:

Managed WordPress Plans Charge Per Website
Managed WordPress Plans Charge Per Website

And for WP-Engine:

  • Startup – 1 website
  • Growth – 10 websites

My problem however is that I have three websites, and only one of them gets any serious traffic. So right now, I have a generous plan with my current hosting provider on which I host all three of them. This doesn’t cause any performance issues, because I’m really using my resources on just one of them – this one – WP-Tweaks. For fifty bucks a month, I think I should be able to host as many websites as I want!

Managed WordPress providers don’t make a distinction between “high-performance” websites and low performance ones. They don’t charge for a chunk of resources like normal hosting, but instead make you pay per-website instead. If I were to migrate everything to one of these providers, I would end up paying three times of what I pay now!

This would mean a waste of money for me, and so I stick with traditional web hosting.

Blocking Core Plugins

To maintain their performance standards, these providers impose heavy restrictions on the kinds of plugins you can install. Their solution is to provide this functionality themselves so that you don’t need to use anything else. This way, they’re able to integrate important functionality in an efficient manner that doesn’t stress their servers.

The banned plugins fall into these categories:

  • Backup
  • Caching plugins
  • Database intensive plugins
  • Duplicate functionality

Again, I like the idea. By doing this, they’re able to avoid potential resource crunches and angry customers. It also cuts down on support requests, and allows them to forecast and fine tune their server usage with much more precision than would otherwise be possible. Unfortunately, some of these might be paid plugins that we already subscribe to. Or customers might prefer the plugin functionality over what the managed WordPress host provides.

For example, if you want to backup your site to an offsite location using a plugin like UpdraftPlus, your managed WordPress hosting provider won’t allow it. It’s a different matter that I wouldn’t use UpdraftPlus myself, but hey – different strokes for different people!

Too Much Centralization

This one is my personal preference. I like to decentralize my hosting add-ons as much as possible. Managed WordPress providers tend to centralize all moving parts of your website onto one platform. While I have no doubt that this increases efficiency, I believe that it makes everything more susceptible to failure.

A managed WordPress hosting provider will integrate the three following components of web hosting:

  1. CDN
  2. Backups
  3. Security

Personally however, I like to separate them out. I think Cloudflare is a better CDN than any of the others. Kinsta for example, relies on the KeyCDN network, which I found has exactly the same cache retention policy as Cloudflare, with an additional domain lookup to boot. So even if I did use Kinsta, I wouldn’t want to use their CDN network.

Similarly, I prefer to have a 3rd party take care of my offsite backups like DropMySite. I have nothing against Kinsta’s backup systems, and I’m sure they do a fantastic job. It’s just a philosophy of wanting to keep all my core functionality separate. I want to reduce the chances of catastrophe by eliminating any single point of failure.

Alternative Recommendations

As an alternative to managed WordPress hosting, I would choose a high-tier plan from a solid web hosting company like NameHero. Unfortunately, I can no longer recommend SiteGround, so NameHero is my host of choice, thanks to its LiteSpeed web server, DropMySite integration, offsite backups, and excellent customer service. Here’s a complete NameHero review with an explanation of all its features.

This is a 55% off coupon from NameHero to get you started:

Because it’s ordinary hosting, I can add all three of my WordPress websites on the 3rd tier plan, which suits me perfectly. I personally know the NameHero CEO Ryan Gray, so I can speak to his commitment to quality web hosting. Using a plan like this, I can craft my web hosting architecture the way I want, and by using the plugins I want. It allows me to separate out critical functionality so I can somewhat recover from catastrophic failure (god forbid).

Bottom Line

Managed WordPress hosting is too restrictive for me. I understand what they’re trying to do, and appreciate their philosophy of “no hassle” WordPress hosting. But ultimately I’m more comfortable with the idea of making my own choices to suit my needs. Managed WordPress services go with a “one-size-fits-all” sort of approach, and that’s just not what I need for my website.

About Bhagwad Park

I've been writing about web hosting and WordPress tutorials since 2008. I also create tutorials on Linux server administration, and have a ton of experience with web hosting products. Contact me via e-mail!

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