December 05, 2018
Laptop on a desk with app icons

It can be a bit overwhelming when it comes to choosing a web host for your websites needs, and even more so for a site using the ever popular WordPress CMS. When terms such as ‘managed’ and ‘unmanaged’ are being used, different bullet points will fall under each category. And when comparing host to host, it can even be daunting on deciphering what exactly falls under the ‘managed’ umbrella, as well as the ‘unmanaged’ umbrella.

This article aims to help clarify ‘managed’ and ‘unmanaged’ WordPress offerings at Nexcess as well as identifying which you would most benefit from using.

Managed WordPress

Each host or company may define their own managed service level differently. Observing our own support comparison grid will give you an idea of the type of support and ‘managed’ features that you would get with Nexcess’ Managed WordPress solution.

With a managed host, the traditional responsibilities of server administration are now handled by us at Nexcess, allowing you and your team to get back to focusing on the business/developmental aspect of your site.

Some of these tasks can include installing a web server, maintaining and patching OS upgrades, or configuring the networking. Instead of full-blown server administration with unmanaged hosting, you get to just focus on the website. However, this does mean that you need to be aware of the environment variables set forth by Nexcess and will need to adjust site settings/ behavior to be compatible with the environment variables.

Who Would Be a Good Candidate For Nexcess’ Managed WordPress?

Someone who doesn’t have the required skill set to run a self-managed server right off the bat would be an ideal candidate for Managed WordPress.

Typical examples may include:

  • Web designers
  • Marketing agencies
  • Small businesses
  • The occasional mom and pop shop

Additionally, we offer premium plugins that are exclusive to our Managed WordPress offering. Some of these include Solid Central, Solid Security, and TinyPNG. which include features like tracking and viewing google analytics data, or checking the SEO status of a post. TinyPNG is added to help with automatic image compression, resulting in faster site speeds.

WordPress also makes it easy enough to design and customize a site. Add Solid Central, and you now have one main dashboard to control and update multiple sites through one universal login.

No need to worry about all the nerdy and techy stuff when you have the Most Helpful Humans in Hosting on standby ready to help.

Unmanaged WordPress

Here at Nexcess, we want to provide the best-managed experience possible, and we’ve incorporated what some would consider managed features into our self-managed services as well.

At the very minimum here’s what our introductory Hosting offerings come with:

  • Data Center(s)
  • Networking
  • Hardware
  • 100% Uptime
  • Application Infrastructure ( Control panel or software used to interact with the product )
  • 24/7/365 Support

Generally speaking, however, this particular self-managed service is ideal for folks who are all about their own customizations and have their own specific requirements for applications. Some don’t mind building the site and server from scratch. Sometimes there is a need for total control and working around host implementations is not doable, or restrictions are placed on the site.

Cloud Sites

Cloud Sites is essentially a pre-configured LAMP stack (offered as a platform as a service or PAAS) that can host PHP based sites, including WordPress.

This product encompasses both aspects of the managed and unmanaged services. It’s managed in the sense that we manage the networking, storage devices, databases, Apache and PHP servers, and the other included technologies. Where the unmanaged aspect would come into play is after the one-click install for WordPress is selected. But in regards to the application itself, it is not managed.

For example, a managed feature in Managed WordPress would be the automatic updating of plugins. In Cloud Sites, that feature is not available. The application itself is managed by the user, but the user is not managing the server, infrastructure, or the hardware.

Both of these platforms have their own separate limitations and have their own unique differences that your site administrator may like, whereas another may not. It really is a matter of determining the sites needs along with different host’s offering features.

The Difference in Managed Services

This is the beauty in ‘Managed’ Services. It no longer requires you to know all the technical and nerdy stuff that we thrive on. That’s not to say that some forehand knowledge isn’t required, but when it comes to the overall picture and what goes into running a server with tasks such as installing a web server, configuring vhosts, opening up ports that allow incoming and outgoing transmissions, installing and maintaining a database, and potential blacklisting are some of the areas that the administrator would solely be responsible for.

However, in some cases, an unmanaged host is the way to go because of potential host restrictions or environmental limitations. Make sure to look at the levels of support with each hosting provider you are checking out.

The grid below shows and highlights the levels of support per the classification of the services offered through Nexcess. This is our definition of ‘managed’ and ‘unmanaged’ services.

Chart that breaks down the different features between managed and unmanaged hosting plans

Final Words

As stated earlier, each host will vary and differ from one another when it comes to their defined managed meaning. However, our Managed WordPress offering is pre-configured out of the box with premium plugins that are not available through every host. These plugins would have extra costs to have installed to a site. These are now tacked on with every single managed WordPress offering. We provide the plugins as part of the default install to maximize the experience when hosting WordPress sites with Nexcess.

Additionally, not only do we provide premium plugins, but we have also incorporated backups, a user-friendly management portal, automatic plugin updates, staging sites, and NO overage charges.

Garrett Martinez
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