WordPress is the most widely used CMS. It is used by amateur bloggers, professionals, large enterprises and e-commerce stores. WordPress is hosted on shared, dedicated and managed servers. Managed hosting for WordPress has several benefits, whether in a cloud or on traditional server. Here are eight features you should look out for when choosing a managed hosting provider.
Effective user interface
The primary reason for choosing managed hosting is usability. Businesses want to avoid employing a dedicated technical person to handle hosting issues. This means that the user interface for handling hosting related issues must be easy to use and designed to enable operation by a non-technical staff. Sometimes when WordPress users are required to manually update themes and plug-ins they must be able to do so without breaking into a sweat. The user interface is therefore a critical component of any managed hosting service. A fresh installation of WordPress should be painless and quick in a managed hosting environment.
Migration is another aspect which requires close attention. Mature WordPress websites who wish to migrate to a managed environment must be able to do so without complex and difficult processes which may lead to loss of data and content. Many managed hosting providers have automated tools to enable quick and hassle free migration.
Even the best hosting environment cannot ensure 100% security. Modern viruses can do incalculable damage to your website and database. Regular and complete backup is essential to meet any eventuality. Ideally backup must be performed on a daily basis. It must be stored in a different server and preferably in a datacenter which is situated in some other geographical location.
CDN (Content Delivery Network)
CDN or Content Delivery Networks have lately become very popular. A CDN can dramatically improve download speed of web pages. Moreover, CDN can ensure faster downloads all over the globe. A managed hosting service must therefore provide connectivity to a suitable CDN service provider. The cost of CDN services should be included in the hosting package itself. If not, the cost of CDN should be factored into the total cost of managed hosting.
The importance of security cannot be understated. Every day is a new one for servers and websites. No environment is totally free from attacks from malicious viruses. Huge websites and networks have been dramatically brought down by sudden attack by viruses. Adequate anti-virus measures must be incorporated to avoid downtime. Additionally, your server must be placed in a datacenter with secure physical environment with protection against fire, flooding and natural calamities like earthquakes.
Updates for themes and plug-in
Managed hosting service providers should have tools which automatically update themes and plug-ins to ensure smoother operation. Sometimes updates can create problems in website due to incompatibility issues. Such situations cannot be avoided. Ideally, you should be able to test your website in a safe environment before going live. This will ensure that you don’t experience any downtime during the upgrade process. Technical assistance should be available while upgrading themes and processes. You should be able to revert back to your original working version in case you encounter problems. Sometimes, issues may crop up which defy logic and automatic updates may turn out to be fatal. A demo server where all aspects can be thoroughly tested comes in handy in these circumstances.
Till now we have been talking about administration of managed hosting. The client side is equally or more important. Various scientific studies have shown that considerable revenue loss can occur to enterprises due to slow download speeds. Users are fickle minded and are likely to abandon a site because of issues related to slow speed. Managed hosting must be fine-tuned to enable fast access. This can be achieved in various ways. Loading of servers plays a crucial role in download speed. Proper load balancing is an important factor which must be ensured.
Usually DNS or Domain name Server/System is not considered while selecting a managed hosting provider. DNS plays a vital role in download speed of web pages. A faulty DNS may lead to break in connectivity and websites going down as a consequence. A DNS combined with a CDN can become a technically complex issue to manage. The DNS structure must be discussed with the managed hosting provider.
While considering a managed hosting service, you generally tend to ignore the finer points. A server, whether managed or otherwise, should have proper configuration. Cache is that part of the memory which is used to store temporary data. A large and fast cache can lead to faster download speed. A fast CPU has to be configured with a suitable cache. A server cache is divided into L1, L2 and L3 depending on where it is situated. Size and type of cache can drastically improve performance of a web server.
An ideal WordPress managed hosting should have all features which have been discussed. Servers must be configured properly to guarantee efficiency of operation. In addition, cost must be factored in while choosing a provider. Cost saving is a distinct possibility since you don’t need a dedicated technical hand to manage your server.
One of the issues faced by enterprises while managing online resources is of scale. Many businesses face a surge in traffic during certain times, putting stress on server resources while remaining idle most of the time. New online ventures have to scale up suddenly at short notice. WordPress managed hosting can alleviate some of the pain by automating the scaling process.
WordPress is a dynamic CMS and is updated at a fast pace. Keeping track of updates can be tiresome though unavoidable. Usually updates consist of security patches which are created to counter specific threats. Updating WordPress is therefore critical. Care should be taken to ensure that the themes and plug-ins used are compatible with the updates. A WordPress managed hosting can take care of these issues. Using WordPress managed hosting, enterprises can focus exclusively on their business while professionals take care of their online assets and infrastructure.