For a very, very long time now I’ve been running my WordPress websites on a cloud based virtual server. I’ve been through many different providers including the likes of Linode, AWS and most recently DigitalOcean. It’d be fair to say that overall, the experience of each provider was good, if not great.
Recently however, I decided to move my sites to a managed WordPress hosting solution. The migration is not complete just yet, but it will be by the end of this month.
Running your own cloud based server has many different advantages over a managed solution. Apart from the obvious (complete control) it also enables things like…
- Allows you to run your own deployments
- Do more than just host websites, you can even host your own mail service
- Access to private cloud storage
- Host your own private code repositories
- And lots more
You also get to play system admin and very quickly learn how to manage your own server which is a useful skill to have as a developer.
By moving from a virtual server where I had pretty much carte blanche over what I could do on the server, to a managed WordPress hosting solution, I am giving up a whole lot of control. While it may sound like a lot to give up, it is in fact the exact reason why I am moving to managed WordPress hosting.
When managing a cloud based virtual server goes wrong
It’s awesome to have complete control over your server… until things start to go wrong.
While I haven’t had any really major incidents (i.e. data loss), there have been multiple times where I’ve got alerts during the middle of the night because my server went down. In the past I’ve had to spend countless late night hours working to get my server back up after it crashed.
Now it may very well sound like a server crashing during the middle of the night is caused by some incorrect configuration. Maybe due to an increase in load that the server wasn’t setup to handle. Perhaps caching gone wrong. All things that a competent system administer should be able to avoid. And if you are thinking that, you are exactly right.
Many of the issues that I experienced were due to my lack of system administration knowledge. While I feel that I can scale code pretty well, I don’t know very much about scaling hardware/servers.
Why I chose managed WordPress hosting
So the the real point here is that I’m not a system administrator, I’m a developer. I know the basics of system administration and can keep a small, simple server running for a long period of time. But it’s not what I am focused on and definitely not what I am a master of.
I’m far better off spending my time building WordPress plugins and applications and letting someone else manage my hosting. Someone who is passionate and an expert at it.
The older I’ve grown the more I’ve come to realise that I can’t do it all. It’s far better for me to focus on getting great at a few things and let someone else, who is an master at things that I am not, do what they do best.
This is definitely not always practical but the more tasks I can outsource, the more time I have to become a master of the things that I want to get good at.
For me, WordPress hosting is exactly one of the areas where I’m better off letting someone else do the hard yards.