Google’s Mueller on Self-Hosted WordPress vs Wix

Google’s John Mueller answered a question on Reddit about migrating an SMB site from Wix to a self-hosted WordPress environment. He gives his take on this particular scenario and discusses the relative pros and cons of managed and self-managed WordPress for SMBs in this context.

Small and Medium Business (SMB)

SMB means small to medium business, and the meaning of these sizes is not set in stone, there are multiple definitions.

Generally speaking, a small business is one with fewer than 100 employees. A medium-sized business is one with between 100 and 500 employees, with some definitions as high as 1,000.

Managed and Self-Hosted WordPress Hosting

Managed WordPress hosting is a managed environment where a web host takes care of all the technical maintenance related details of hosting a WordPress site.

Things like security, caching, content delivery networks (CDNs), security, updates, and backups are all handled by managed hosting companies.

This allows SMBs to focus on their core business without having to hire in-house web developers to maintain website security and updates.

The trade-off (and a benefit) of letting the web host handle the technical details is that managed WordPress hosts can impose restrictions on the plugins that can run in their environment to protect the security of all users and improve performance. This is a good thing and a positive feature of managed WordPress hosting, not a disadvantage.

A self-hosted environment is where website publishers are responsible for backing up their website and keeping it up to date.

The trade-off here is that a self-hosted environment allows businesses more freedom to use any necessary solutions, including using their own custom-developed plugins, which means having to hire or train someone in-house to handle maintenance and security chores.

Managed WordPress hosting costs more than self-hosting, but it costs less than hiring or training someone to handle technical issues.

SMBs are switching from Wix to self-hosted WordPress

The person who asked the question on Reddit explained that a neighbor was migrating from Wix to a self-hosted WordPress environment.

They explained that the current Wix site is doing well in terms of page speed and ranking.

The person who started the discussion noted:

“…his current site has an SEO score of 98 on Beacon, and clients keep telling him that he is the first local company to show up in search results.”

It’s probably not unreasonable to assume that the SEO of a self-hosted WordPress site built for SMB is fixing something that doesn’t need to be fixed.

Sounds like the business is doing well on Wix.

John Mueller says Wix is ​​good for SEO

Google’s John Mueller answered the question, first addressing Wix and SEO, and then discussing self-hosted WordPress sites, which is what businesses switching from Wix to WordPress are doing.

Mueller said:

“Wix is ​​great for SEO. A few years ago, it was pretty bad at SEO, but they’ve made huge strides and are now a great platform for businesses. The reputation is still there, but don’t let it sway.

What they’ve done in recent years is pretty good, including making it trivial to have a really fast website (as you can see in the Lighthouse score – speed is only a fraction of SEO, admittedly).

If Wix works for them, and they don’t need more, there’s no reason to switch. “

John Mueller discourages SMEs from moving to self-hosting

Mueller went on to explain that a self-hosted WordPress environment might not be suitable for small to midsize businesses without a dedicated web support team.

I think it’s important to realize that Mueller’s answer is given in the context of discussing a specific SMB with limited network support, moving from a well-performing Wix site to an unmanaged WordPress environment.

Mueller responded:

“In particular, don’t move to self-hosted stuff.

Hosting a website yourself creates a million little hassles, businesses without a dedicated support team will have a hard time doing the right thing and will end up being hacked + have to invest a lot of money in improving infrastructure over time (speed , security, functionality).

Some people like a challenge, but if your neighbor likes to run a non-IT business, they shouldn’t be running their own servers (eg hosting WordPress themselves).

I know it’s still somewhat popular to run WP yourself, but for SMBs with other ideas, it’s definitely a bad thing.

There are managed and managed WP setups, they cost money, but they do these things for you.

Wix does all of this for you, too. Squarespace etc – similar. “

Google’s John Mueller on Reddit

Google's John Mueller on SEO Reddit

Managed hosting or software as a service?

Companies like Wix and Squarespace offer a software-as-a-service (SaaS) approach, a platform fully optimized for businesses with the goal of making it easier to get online and do business, while the technology part is no longer available so small businesses can focus on their business.

For businesses opting for a WordPress solution, managed WordPress hosting does pretty much the same thing, with some limitations.

Wix may have advantages over managed WordPress hosting because they are highly optimized for SEO and page speed capabilities, which is good for small businesses that don’t want to deal with the technical aspects of maintaining and ranking their website.

Managed WordPress hosts optimize their hosting environment for speed and security. It’s perfect for businesses that ultimately want to scale up or take full control of technology and SEO.

As John Mueller observed, it’s clear that if Wix is ​​working for small businesses, there’s no reason to move to a different platform.


The original discussion is available here:

My old neighbor is getting a company to build a new website for his business…

John Mueller’s reply can be accessed via his Reddit profile:

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