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Managed WordPress

Numerous service providers around the world offer managed hosting and security services for WordPress as an alternative to Automattic.

  • These alternatives lie on a spectrum between the simplicity of Newspack and enterprisey-ness of WordPress VIP
  • They are therefore best suited to mid-sized publishers with the resources and confidence to customize a WordPress solution on their own
  • You can find a full range of customization capabilities but typically a middling level of infrastructure, albeit at very wide-ranging price points
  • Sample media and entertainment customers include Stanford Daily News, Thomson Reuters, and Pandora

Likely fit

This sort of "plain vanilla" managed hosting is suitable for medium-sized publishers with deep technical resources and a history of mastering the WordPress platform itself. It could offer a nice middling alternative in-between Automattic's Newspack and Wordpress VIP options. Alternatively, it could suffice if you want to spend even less than Newspack, but in that event, you still need to consider the potential costs of customizing the WordPress application itself (which will fall to you).

At a glance

Primary Customer Fit

Mid-Sized Independent News Organizations

Secondary Fit

Small Independent News Organization

Most Active Geographies

Global

Official Support Hours

Email: Varies by supplier

Phone: Varies by supplier

Officially Supported Languages for User Interface

EN

Third-party Language Support Available?

Yes

License Model

Mostly monthly/annual subscription; also varies by supplier

Scope Summary

Publishing platform for those who have deep technical resources and aren't afraid of using third-party plug-ins for news-specific capabilities, including revenue/audience modules

Tech Base

WordPress, PHP

Cloud Model

Managed Service (PaaS)

Headquarters

Depends on vendor

Head Count

Depends on vendor

What customers report

  • The broad and deep open source community makes many third-party modules available to extend functionality and integrate with common digital marketing platforms
  • You can find extraordinarily diverse hosting/cloud options for nearly any budget; in fact, you can readily find cheaper (if less packaged) alternatives to Newspack
  • Many enterprise features (e.g., workflows, email, personalization) are not part of core; you will need to depend on external plug-ins
  • This sizable number of plug-ins have a potential to wreak havoc with your site: security holes, malicious attacks, incompatibilities, require someone to play close attention, and you may need to pay for that
  • Cheaper service providers have a tendency to use obsolete infrastructure

Background

  • By some estimates, WordPress is the most widespread tool for managing and building websites. Consequently, numerous hosting companies around the globe provide managed hosting for WordPress. This is essentially your own installation of WordPress (commonly known as Wordpress.org to differentiate it from Wordpress.com hosted by Automattic).
  • Originally a blogging tool, WordPress is universally admired for its simple setup and ease of use. This has caused the system to gain additional popularity as a more traditional web content management system. However, when it’s used as a CMS, you could run into its limitations quickly if you need more enterprise-y features like atomic content reuse and personalization.
  • Functionally, these providers provide editorial services that don't actually differ much from core WordPress. That means you get a block editor for creating content and then basic capabilities around publishing. As with WordPress VIP, if you have more sophisticated needs — such as ability to create different content types and workflows — you will not find them here. Your provider will point you to the vast collection of WordPress plug-ins that you can vet and deploy with a developer's help
  • There are several levels of services that these providers offer. Some provide shared hosting where you could install anything, including WordPress. Others provide a dedicated WordPress hosting where there are some optimizations done to the WordPress install. In addition, some also provide automatic updates, security, and patching of your WordPress setup. Some of the popular service providers are WPEngine, Cloudways, SiteGround, and Dreamhost. There are thousands of others, in every geography and every price point. Many will offer you really cheap monthly plans, but beware and remain cautious. Those cheaper plans often rely on obsolete infrastructure, already overloaded with the number of sites getting served.
  • Managed WordPress' pricing usually follows a monthly or annual subscription model. These prices depend on number of sites (or WordPress installations), bandwidth, storage, CPU, and other requirements. Service providers of all hues provide this service. These vary from shared hosting to Virtual Private Servers (VPS) to dedicated hosting. You can get started at $5 (USD) per month for shared hosting, but dedicated hosting will cost you a lot more, often 100s or 1000s of dollars per month. The difference in pricing is not just because of infrastructure (shared vs dedicated) but also because of non-functional attributes (reliability, scalability, performance), as well as additional services (e.g., integrations or custom plug-ins). In general, a wide array of cloud hosting options have emerged, though you should stay away from the lower-end alternatives.
  • In most cases, managed service providers do not get involved in implementations. You will need to bring an integrator on board or find internal WordPress resources for any customizations and extensions. The good news though is that you have full control on your setup and you can usually use most plug-ins and themes. You can also build your own plug-ins or themes. In this sense, these services are more similar to WordPress VIP than Newspack.
  • Although the out-of-the-box implementation is really simple, extending the platform isn't. Several WordPress enterprise customers have underestimated the level of developer effort required for plug-in development and integration. The platform's devops services remain a bit crude and seem to favor the single WordPress developer rather than a larger team collaboration.

Package scope (as reported by vendor)

Core platform - i.e., bundled in product (yes/no/beta) Add-On (yes/custom/3rd party)
Content lifecycle: author / classify / edit / approve / publish / re-purpose / archive / dispose
نعم
Basic digital / voice / media asset management
نعم
Support print publishing
Simple social media re-publishing
نعم
Optional modules: forms / polls / social widgets / etc
لا
نعم
Connector library (OOTB connectors, APIs, etc.)
نعم
Bundled CDN (with DDOS protection)
لا
نعم
User registration
نعم
Subscription management and fulfillment - digital
لا
نعم
الاشتراكات أو العضويات
التخصيص
لا
نعم
Ad management - digital
لا
نعم
Ad management - print
إدارة المحتوى
لا
نعم
الأبحاث
نعم
إدارة المحتوى
لا
نعم
Video management / OVP
لا
نعم
Audio management / podcasting
لا
نعم
صحافة البيانات والتمثيل المرئي للبيانات
لا
نعم
Classifieds
لا
نعم
Commenting / community features/
نعم
نعم
Newsletter production and management
لا
نعم
Notifications and alerts
لا
نعم
A/B testing
لا
نعم
SEO
لا
نعم
Multi-title management with variable inheritance
لا
Complex layout and subsite / subsection cloning
لا
نعم
AR- / VR- enhanced services
لا
نعم
تصنيف الجمهور إلى شرائح
نعم
Online user / partner forums
لا
Regular user group meetings
لا
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