In many ways WordPress has had a revolutionary influence on the Internet. Starting life as a humble blogging tool, the popular application soon evolved features common to those found in many specialist CMS applications, but without the steep learning curve.
The result has been explosive growth in the number of websites and the diversity of people able to publish them. Where previously technical skills had been required to create a website, now it is within reach of just about anyone.
On the positive side, the Web has become an even more democratic place for publication than ever before. The downside, for those who care about such things, is that many websites have become homogenized in their appearance, and not always for the better.
Whether we choose to look on the bright side or not, the simple fact is that WordPress is here to stay. For those lacking the technical ability to develop websites manually and lacking the financial resources to pay a skilled developer to do the job for them, it remains a viable means of self expression.
Skilled developers may find the limitations and overheads of WordPress to be somewhat frustrating, but it does provide a safe way to hand over editorial control to clients who don’t wish to pay for ongoing site management.
Having decided that you want to go ahead with using WordPress, you then come to the important decision of how and where you’ll host the site.
The choices for hosting type include:
• Managed WordPress hosting
• Standard hosting with WordPress installed
Advantages of managed WordPress hosting
Dedicated managed WordPress hosting is the quickest and simplest way to get a WordPress website up and running. This is suitable where you only will be hosting one site from a specific server location.
If you’re scratching your head in confusion at that statement, it’s probably not a matter that’s going to affect you. The fact is, you can host more than one site from a single server location, and there are certain circumstances where that may offer advantages. With managed WP hosting, that option is off the table.
A notable exception is Hosting Ireland, which does allow multiple sites to be hosted from a single account, making it ideal for web developers and resellers looking for an inexpensive way to provide fully developed WordPress sites to their customers.
The main thing in this case is that everything is already installed and ready to go, with none of the distractions found with regular hosting.
Managed hosting can also give you a little more security from attacks, though it’s not going to necessarily be able to fend off all attacks. The other side of it is that managed hosting makes it a little less easy to do investigative work on your own if your site security does get compromised. You’ll have to rely on tech support to do that for you.
You also typically won’t need to worry about keeping your WordPress installation up to date, as the hosting provider may take care of these things for you.
There have been some situations where updates have produced negative results, such as if you have plug-ins that are not compatible with the latest version of WordPress, but usually a call to tech support can resolve the problem for you.
One of the biggest advantages is that 100 percent of your hosting allocation is dedicated to your WordPress hosting, so if that’s all you’re intending to use your server space for, you don’t have other things taking up space and resources when you won’t be using them.
Disadvantages of managed WordPress hosting
Remarkably, even though managed hosting imposes greater restrictions and is less flexible, it is usually offered at premium rates. Presumably the slightly higher price is due to the configuration work performed by technicians when the site is initially set up for you, and the greater dependency on tech support that is expected.
Apart from cost, the main disadvantage is that there’s less flexibility. You’re locked into using WordPress, even if you later change your mind about wanting to. You can only realistically host a single site from your server space, and you don’t have access to the tools you’d find in a regular hosting set up such as those found in cPanel.
For novices who have no intention to use advanced features, this won’t be a major problem as these features aren’t necessarily ones you’ll want to access.
Another potential drawback is probably that you don’t have direct access to the MySQL database that the site uses, but that may be considered an advantage by some users, particularly those who need to work on a collaborative basis.
You’re better off with managed dedicated WordPress hosting solutions when you have a high traffic site and you don’t have time to take care of the administrative side. It’s the kind of hosting you need when you prefer to call tech support for help with problems instead of rolling up your sleeves and hunting for the solution yourself.
Advantages of regular hosting
Regular hosting is the most flexible option, because you can do anything you want with your allocated server space, including installing WordPress. If that’s all you’re going to do with it, then you may prefer the simplicity of managed WP hosting, though there are still some reasons to consider regular hosting.
With regular hosting you can easily create databases manually, and you have access to a vast array of website tools. It depends on the server software you’re running, but most sites are running in a cPanel environment installed on Apache servers.
You’re also able to install and test many different kinds of CMS or other software, and you can host multiple sites, subdomains and so on very easily.
Another advantage is that it’s usually cheaper, but money isn’t always the top consideration for all customers.
Disadvantages of regular hosting
Regular hosting is best for people who are confident in using web technology, and who dislike working with tech support. They see tech support as an unnecessary delay in getting problems solved instead of a welcome helping hand.
That’s the main difference between people who are likely to choose regular hosting instead of managed hosting when their chosen publishing environment is WordPress.
When you don’t have managed hosting, you have to do a lot more yourself. You can contact tech support when something goes wrong, but you’ll first have to experience something going wrong.
You will be responsible for installing and hardening WordPress yourself, and you’ll have to keep it updated yourself.
Where to get managed WP hosting in Ireland
There are a lot of different businesses offering managed WordPress hosting in Ireland, but of course they’re not all equal. Among the most popular and best offerings are:
• Hosting Ireland plans start at 5.99 euros per month, with unlimited bandwidth, 10GB of space (2 extra euros per month for 5GB extra if you should need it), and more extras than we can list. You also get 2 months free with annual subscriptions.
• WP Engine have pricier option with plans starting at around 19 euros per month. These plans don’t have unlimited bandwidth, but what is offered is still fairly generous. This is the right choice for those who prefer to deal with giant global corporations rather than local businesses.
• WordPlace is aimed squarely at complete beginners. Their paid plans start at just 5.99 euros per month, and come with 1GB of disk space and 10GB of bandwidth. They do offer a free SSL certificate, but not every site will need one, and the quality of the certificate is entirely up to the provider.
Managed WordPress hosting is the perfect solution for website customers who are planning only to use WordPress in their hosting and who prefer to leave the management to the providers.
As you can see from the three top WordPress hosting companies in Ireland listed above, the pricing for managed hosting doesn’t have to be off the charts. The unlimited bandwidth offered by Hosting Ireland certainly makes them the most attractive option, but WP Engine has the reliability of a huge corporation and WordPlace has the free SSL option on offer.
Hosting Ireland was also the only one of the three that made managed WP hosting optional, and the cost for this is only 1.40 euros more than the standard regular hosting plan, so this is further food for thought.