Let's talk about shared hosting and managed hosting. Quite often, we see the two being compared when in reality, they should not be compared. They're quite different. In some ways they're similar, and in some ways they're different.

Shared hosting is commonly when you have a lot of websites, a lot of customers, on one server. That means your website is on the same server as your competitors or your partners or anybody that has a website on the internet. You can go to SiteGround and get a shared server. They're usually inexpensive so that you are renting that space with many other people.

Think of it as you owning a house and you've got a mortgage to pay, versus you renting an apartment in an apartment complex and many people are paying for the mortgage.

There are some vulnerabilities to that. A couple of vulnerabilities being if one of the sites on the server is slow, your site can slow down. If one of the sites on the server gets hacked, your site can get hacked. It's more vulnerable now. There's a lot of other things to think about like if one other site is using too many resources and the server goes down, that means your website is going down even though your website did nothing wrong.

Now, let's talk about managed hosting. Managed hosting is actually when you have a host that manages the maintenance of your website, like what Nexcess offers. Typically the host also will offer some sort of support for the entire stack.  Meaning, if you have a problem with a theme or a plugin or something like that on your site, they will help you troubleshoot what the issue is rather than just saying, "Go to the theme developer," or "go to the plugin developer," they will actually do their part to help you identify the problem. They may not go to the extent of coding a solution if it's not their product at fault, but they will help identify a problem. Really what that means is a managed host is a support team for you, right?

Managed hosting can be on a shared server. For example, SiteGround offers managed hosting, but it's on a shared server. There are other types of servers that are different than shared servers.

There is a VPS, which is a virtual private server, where you still have a shared server, however through software the websites are being separated from other customers. Technically it's sort of like partitioning your hard drive on your computer. You're separating the data. If one part fails the rest should not unless the entire actual drive fails, which is a hardware issue, not another customer issue.

Then there are private servers, where you have your own physical server that runs your data only. Then there are cloud servers. Think of how Amazon and Netflix. It's all coming from cloud servers, which means they run fast to deliver content for you because it's delivering it from the closest server cluster in your area. That also means it's redundant, so your website is on multiple servers in multiple locations.

You cannot compare shared hosting to managed hosting

However, you can have a managed host that is a shared server. At Imagely, our hosting is managed hosting in the cloud. In fact, it's Amazon cloud servers. Amazon went on record years ago stating that every minute that their website goes down, it costs them $20,000 in sales. That's how much money Amazon makes on a regular basis. Think about it when you're hosting on Imagely Hosting, you're relying on the same servers that Amazon relies on to make sure their websites are up and running.

Next time you are looking for the difference between a shared host and a managed host, don't think about it like it's the same thing. One complements the other. In reality, what you should want is a managed host that's controlling, actually maintaining your website for you. They're not going just to send you on your way if you have an issue. They're not going just to say, "Oh, it's WordPress. You need to go to the WordPress forum and figure it out." They're going to identify the problem that you're having with your WordPress instance and help you come up with a solution, whether that solution is contacting the WordPress forum, or whether that's contacting the WordPress developer of your theme or plugins.

Shared hosting ... yeah. It's all right. It's affordable, but you do get what you pay for, and there are vulnerabilities. There are vulnerabilities with every host, but my recommendation as someone who's been using WordPress for a very long time, for over ten years, is to go with a platform that is designed for you.

Imagely Hosting is designed for photographers because photographers don't want to fuss with their website. They don't want to work for the website; they want the website to work for them.

That's the difference between shared and managed hosting. They're quite different. Very, very different.

For more information on shared hosting and managed hosting, read these articles from WinningWP and The Theme Foundry.

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