Pagely is celebrating seven years in business this month. The company pioneered the concept of managed WordPress hosting, planting the seeds for what Pagely co-founder Joshua Strebel estimates to be a channel worth “$1 billion inside of the larger $16-18 billion hosting market.”
In a post titled “Managed WordPress Hosting is 7 years old,” Strebel describes how co-founder Sally Strebel originated the idea of a “website builder” service that would manage all of the technical aspects of content management for the customers of their small web design agency. They built a WordPress-optimized platform to make this a reality for a handful of customers in 2006 but didn’t find the right way to promote and market it until 2009.
“We made significant improvements to the codebase and relaunched the service as Pagely later that year,” Strebel said. “We doubled down on the Managed Hosting aspect by writing automation code to automatically update WordPress plugins as well as WP core, refined the security footprint of our server stack to address common exploits, and defaulted sane settings on popular caching plugins to improve speed.”
Over the years Pagely’s offerings have changed and the company now focuses heavily on enterprise customers as opposed to entry-level hosting products. The technology behind the platform has changed many times but the core service idea is still the same: to help customers scale their sites with hosting specifically optimized for WordPress.
Strebel’s post highlights the impact that managed WordPress hosting companies have had on the wider hosting industry. Companies like Pagely, WP Engine, Flywheel, and many others have tailored their performance, security, tooling, and support to their customers’ specific needs, forcing the larger hosting companies to step up their basic offerings to attract customers who use WordPress.
“The Managed WordPress hosting market has pushed all hosting companies to improve their offering and support of WordPress, regardless of price range,” Strebel said. “Many of the once exclusive benefits of Managed WordPress are now available through most providers. This has made the ecosystem better overall.”
As WordPress now powers 26% of the web, the market for managed WordPress hosting is growing. Strebel shared a few of his predictions for this market in the next seven years.
“The technology side of Managed WordPress will, to some degree, likely be further commoditized where improved security and decent caching routines will be more prevalent across the board,” Strebel said. He predicts that more enterprises will continue to adopt WordPress for their public-facing marketing and sales websites.
“There will likely be significant M&A activity in the coming years as consolidation wraps up a few players,” Strebel said. “This may actually clear a path for more diversified niche Managed WordPress hosting offerings that cater to even more narrow segments of the market.”
Review Signal’s recently published 2016 WordPress hosting performance benchmarks ranked Pagely among the top tier of hosts that provide $500+ enterprise level services. In contrast to the rapid technological changes the company has weathered in the hosting industry, Strebel said Pagely’s strategy for success remains simple:
“Investing in our people and focusing on the customer,” he said. “It’s a recipe that wins over the long term.”