- 1 Managed WordPress hosting
Set up & maintain a server yourself
If you’re at all concerned about the performance of your WordPress sites, you really only have two paths when it comes to hosting them:
Obviously not all managed WordPress hosts are the same.
Some do it better than others (and are usually a lot more expensive than others 💸💸💸). However all managed WordPress hosts have a few problems in common.
Control over your hosting environment is severely restricted. Forget about root access, you’ll be lucky to have CLI access at all. They may not even support Git.
Because managed WordPress hosts have to optimize for everyone, it means they optimize for no one in particular. And you don’t have control to optimize for the particular needs of your sites.
Managed WordPress hosting is expensive if you want speed. You can expect to spend $400 per year for just a single site and over $1,200/year for 2-5 sites. And that’s just assuming you have moderate traffic. If you have high traffic, the costs balloon. The more sites and the more traffic you have, the more expensive it gets.
What happens if you get a surge of traffic in a given month? Maybe you had some kind of launch. Because managed WordPress hosting plans are limited by visitors per month, you’ll either be billed for going over your plan or they will automatically upgrade you to another plan.
Setting up & maintaining your own server means saying goodbye to the problems with managed WordPress hosts.
You can have as many sites as you like with as much traffic as it can handle (which is a lot more than you might think), as long as you implement and keep up with best practices.
One of the biggest advantages of having your own server is that you are in full control. Root access, the works.
If you think tweaking the Nginx caching rules will speed your site up, you can try that. If you need to install a non-standard PHP extension, you can do that.
So yes, managing your own server is better than managed WordPress hosting in important ways, but those advantages still pale in comparison to the much larger issues of spending hours setting up a server yourself and worrying if you’ve done it right.
Then there’s the ongoing worry about security. Am I doing enough to keep my server secure? What should I be doing? You don’t have time to be reading system administration blogs to keep up with security notices and best practices.
Are you backing up your site files and database? You’ll need to set that up manually. And what about SSL? You’ll need to set up Let’s Encrypt and figure out how to request, install, and configure SSL certificates for each of your sites.
Want to automatically deploy when you push new code to GitHub? Good luck setting that up. You’ll need to set up a new server to listen for webhook requests and has full permissions to overwrite all the files in your project.
Usually the server runs on a non-standard port, so you’ll need to poke a hole in your firewall as well.
Then there are things that should be simple, like adding a new site to the server. You’ll need to SSH in and run a bunch of commands, except you won’t remember all the commands, so you’ll need to look them up. You’d put the commands in a script for next time, but don’t have time right now.
You’ll need to duplicate Nginx config files and tweak them for your new site. Maybe you make a mistake and take down all the sites on your server. Maybe you don’t but now you’ve exhausted your morning and don’t have time to answer that client email. Even something as simple as adding a new site is a huge hassle.
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