Do you really Need Managed WordPress Hosting?
Let’s face it:
Running a WordPress blog or site is no easy game. You have to take care of all the content, marketing, site design, social media, and so forth. But before you do that, you have to make sure your WordPress site is running smoothly and your current WordPress hosting provider isn’t giving you any headaches or issues.
Today, most of the web hosting companies out there focus on providing affordable solutions. It costs you less than $5 to get an account with a shared hosting provider. And that’s a great solution if you’re just getting started. But for a medium-sized or business site going for high-quality WordPress hosting is a better alternative.
By quality hosting, I mean managed hosting, which is specifically created for WordPress users. This new breed of WordPress hosting is becoming an increasingly popular option among WordPress bloggers and developers. It all started with WordPress.com VIP, but now there are numerous players in the market.
If you’re in a hurry, here are the top three hosting providers I recommend (& why):
WPEngine — WPEngine is for those who want a bit of everything. They are perfect is for you if want to scale without compromising the quality of support or losing developer friendly tools, all while not spending a fortune. Don’t forget to use our special wpengine coupon “wpkube20” to get 20% off.
SiteGround — Perfect for beginner / advance users, super easy to setup, and comes with a fantastic support. Unmatched rates & support is usually under 10 or 15 minutes, which makes them a perfect host for WordPress users. Use our siteground coupon to get 60% off, coupon already applied to above link.
FlyWheel — Flywheel is the kind of host you wouldn’t want to change. They are perfect for bloggers, agencies, and small business. Flywheel has a ton of unique features such as billing transfer, demo site, and blueprint (a tool that basically allows you to create sites with default theme & plugin configurations of your choice). WPKube is also hosted on Flywheel.
Here’s a quick comparison of the 3 managed hosting providers listed above (last updated on September 2020):
Managed WordPress hosting aims to provide faster loading times, better security, and expert WordPress support. But it’s a bit costlier than shared hosting companies. Managed WordPress Host’s servers are configured to provide better and faster WordPress performance.
In this article, I am going to provide some basic information on the 8 most trusted and best WordPress managed hosting services, so you can make an educated decision about what’s best for you and your business.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress Hosting is specifically designed and optimized for WordPress websites. In other words, it takes care of all the technical aspects of WordPress for you, allowing you to focus on creating and sharing great content. You don’t have to worry about site updates, site speed, up-time, or anything like that.
Many hosting companies use their own CDN and server-level caching, so you don’t have to rely on cache plugins such as W3 Total Cache or WP Super Cache. This type of hosting is perfect for those who don’t have any technical skills or time to manage a server.
The Pros of Managed Hosting for WordPress
Security – The main aim of premium managed hosting is to provide bulletproof security. They have a very tight layer of security on their servers, so you don’t have to worry about hacking, DoS attacks, malware, or other security issues.
Expert Support – It wouldn’t be fair to say that shared hosting providers have poor support. In fact, most companies have excellent staff who are well-trained and possess a good knowledge of WordPress. But they can’t assist you with things like performance, site functionality, WordPress errors, etc. With managed hosting support, you will get expert WordPress assistance, always.
Speed – Speed plays a significant role in site rankings and there a lot of things you can do improve it like implementing a caching plugin, using a content delivery network such as MaxCDN, and reducing image sizes.
Most of the managed hosting companies out there enable content caching at the server level, so you don’t have to rely on any external caching plugins.
If you’re going with a normal plan, then you might need to use a content delivery network to improve site speed.
Daily Backups – They take a daily backup of your site including content, data, themes, and plugins, which you can then download from the dashboard. This can save you some money, especially if you are using a paid backup or maintenance service such as VaultPress or BlogVault.
They also create a restore point. In case something goes wrong, you can easily restore your site to a previously working version with just one click.
Automatic Updates – They will automatically update your WordPress Core files to the latest version, as soon as an update is released. You don’t have to pay someone extra to update your site anymore—your managed hosting provider does it for you.
The Cons of Managed Hosting for WordPress
Expensive – There is a huge difference in the price of managed and shared hosting. An average shared hosting plan will cost you a mere $3.95 while a managed hosting plan will set you back $30.
Limitations – Basically, any plugin that consumes resources isn’t allowed. They also do not allow any cache plugins including W3 Total Cache and WP Super Cache. Here’s the full list of disallowed plugins shared by most managed hosts.
cPanel – If you are moving from shared hosting to Managed hosting, then you might find it difficult as they have a very different kind of user portal.
Top Managed WordPress Hosting Providers:
(Loads under 0.26s, starts at $30, and comes with fantastic support)
WPEngine hosting is one of the best managed options available out there. The price is a little bit higher compared to other managed hosting providers but that’s because the company emphasizes providing great support, fast loading times, and more secure servers. It has a team of WordPress experts who will keep your site fast and secure and it’s one of the most popular hosting companies. I mean, brands like HTC, Foursquare, and SoundCloud use it!
It also has a one-click backup and restore process included with all hosting plans. WPEngine will scan and monitor for hacking attempts and if your site does get hacked, the company will fix it for free. Some other features include:
- Staging area – It creates replica of your live site, so you can test new themes and plugins before applying changes to your live site.
- One Click Restore Point – In case anything goes wrong with your site, theme, or plugins, you can use the one-click restore point to set things back to how they were when everything was working.
- No need for any cache plugins – WP Engine’s custom-built EverCache technology delivers WordPress fast enough for Google and at scale.
- Hacking scans — If your site gets hacked, the company will fix it for free.
Pros: Easily add a CDN to your site with just one click, fantastic support for your WordPress site, extremely fast, and secure servers. It comes with EverCache, so no external caching plugins are needed, and regular scans for hacking attempts keep your site safe and secure.
Cons: WPEngine is a bit expensive compared to other managed WordPress hosting providers. Doesn’t offer the flexibility you might require in the plugin department.
(Loads under .4s, starts at $7.95, and usually responds to support questions in 15 minutes)
Note: SiteGround support is the hands down best and super fast. But you should know that their priority support is not available in their Startup plan. Also, you won’t get access to their premium caching solution & One-click staging on the Startup plan. So if you are looking for all those features, go with the GoGeek plan.
SiteGround is perfect for those who don’t have the money to spend on the more expensive hosting providers. SiteGround provides unique WordPress security and speed solutions at a very affordable price. It provides all the shared hosting features such as free WordPress installation, free domain name, support, free WordPress migration, email accounts and a lot more for just $3.95 per month.
Other features include:
- Unique WordPress Autoinstaller — Makes for easier setup.
- Autoupdater — Automatically update WordPress Core files and all of your plugins
- WordPress SuperCacher — For improving site performance.
- WordPress staging — So you can easily test out new features before a live launch.
- HHVM — For improving site speed, it loads faster (around 200ms) than PHP. But you should know this feature is only available on cloud hosting.
- WP-CLI comes pre-installed — So you can take the command line route to updates and multisite management, if you wish.
Pros: Offers convenient autoinstall, autoupdate, caching, and staging features for a super low price. Also comes with Git, WP-CLI pre-installed, and offers WordPress migration for no added cost. Plus, the security team is very proactive when it comes to security, they have an account isolation option, and they regularly patch security exploits, instead of just sitting back and waiting for a security release to come out.
Cons: Only comes with Cloudflare, if you are like me and want to use MaxCDN, you will have to use a third-party plugin such as W3 Total Cache or WP Total Cache plugin.
(Loads under 1s, costs $23, amazing dashboard, a lot of useful features, and a ton of happy customers)
Flywheel was built with designers and creatives in mind, offering managed hosting that specifically suits their needs. It’s more than just a hosting provider and instead focuses on streamlining the workflow for web designers everywhere. Some particularly nifty features include easy collaboration, billing transfers to your clients, and staging sites. Plus, you can manage all of your sites from within one attractive dashboard.
The Flywheel support team is staffed with WordPress experts, many of whom are designers so your biggest problems will always be entrusted to capable hands.
The pricing is very reasonable and scales up to meet your needs. It starts off with a pay-per-site plan that begins at $23/month. After that, there are bulk plans for more serious developers that start at $105/month. Custom plans are also available.
- Lightning speed – Designed specifically for WordPress sites so takes various factors that could affect speed into account. CDN is available.
- Nightly backups – Your sites will be automatically backed up each and every night so you can rest easy.
- Around the clock security – Flywheel constantly monitors your sites for hacking attempts and malware and will fix any discovered problems for free.
- More intuitive SFTP – Collaborating with other designers and working on client sites has never been easier.
Pros: Quick page load times, easy scalability, and the ability to use whatever plugins you want. Flywheel also has a highly-qualified staff of WordPress experts who can take care of your every need and concern.
Cons: Lacks the clout of big names like WPEngine. More expensive than shared hosting. Might be daunting to learn a new dashboard or interface on top of all of those you already use in the management of your business.
Note: I recently started using FlyWheel for a new project that I am working on, and their dashboard is super easy to use.
4. Bluehost WP Hosting
(Loads under 2s, starts at $12.49, and comes with bad customer support)
Bluehost promises fast and secure managed WordPress hosting at an affordable price. The most basic plan allows for 100 million visits per month and includes 2GB RAM, 30GB storage, and 30GB backup storage. It also offers an enhanced cPanel, 24/7 support from WordPress experts, and up to 5 ManageWP sites for added convenience. Security is top-notch, too, and comes with a SiteLock CDN and SiteLock Pro.
Pricing starts at just $2.95 for the first month and switches to $24.99/month after that. Notable features include:
- VPS-based — Built on a VPS platform, making for enhanced performance and site speeds.
- Includes ManageWP — Manage and migrate multiple WordPress sites all from within one hosting plan.
- Robust security — Includes SiteLock, an advanced CDN, and SiteLock WAF.
- Expert support — All hosting plans include 24/7 access to WordPress experts.
- Enhanced cPanel — Makes the transition from shared to managed hosting more seamless when working within a familiar interface.
Pros: Relatively affordable price, SiteLock security, VPS, and includes ManageWP for added convenience. It also has 24/7 support and an enhanced cPanel for a more robust yet familiar experience.
Cons: More expensive than some managed WordPress hosting plans, might not include as many features as other plans listed here, and doesn’t scale up as high for the largest developer needs.
Kinsta is a performance-focused managed WordPress host that’s rapidly shot up in popularity over the past couple of years.
Kinsta started as a high-end host, with the cheapest plan costing $100 per month. However, that changed in late-2017 and Kinsta has now become a lot more accessible to regular WordPress users with prices starting at just $30 per month.
So – why has Kinsta had so much success lately?
First off, it has all the features that you’d expect from a managed WordPress host like staging sites, automatic backups, server-level caching, etc.
Then, it’s built on the Premium Tier of the Google Cloud Platform. Beyond giving you access to the same infrastructure that Google uses for its own products, this also means that you can choose from 18 different data centers available on every habitable continent.
Other reasons to consider Kinsta include:
- Custom hosting dashboard – Kinsta’s custom hosting dashboard is super user-friendly and makes it easy to manage your site/server.
- Smart staging/backup features – Kinsta automatically backs up your site whenever you move from staging to production which makes it easy to roll back changes if needed.
- Performance-focused architecture – Kinsta is powered by the Premium Tier of Google Cloud Platform and includes the latest technologies like NGINX, PHP 7+, LXD containers, MariaDB, HTTP/2, and more. You also get a KeyCDN credit and premium DNS from Amazon Route 53 for no extra cost.
- 24/7 live chat support – Kinsta offers 24/7 live chat support through the always-present Intercom widget.
- Solid security – beyond firewalls and DDoS detection, Kinsta also adds WordPress login hardening, uptime monitoring, and plenty of other important security features.
- Free migrations – Kinsta offers unlimited free migrations from WP Engine or Flywheel. Otherwise, the number of migrations depends on your plan.
Pros: Kinsta has awesome performance, especially under scale, so your site will load fast no matter how many people are visiting. The custom dashboard also makes it easy to manage your site, and the built-in features like staging and automatic backups are really convenient. The Intercom chat widget also makes it easy to get help and the 24/7 support has quick response times.
Cons: Still not as affordable as something like SiteGround, especially if you have multiple sites. No phone support (this is by choice – you can read Kinsta’s reasoning here).
6. Pagely Hosting
(Loads under 0.09s, starts at $299, and overall perfect hosting for big businesses)
Pagely is well-known for its managed WordPress hosting with an emphasis on security. The company focuses on providing high-class security and fast loading websites. It has a number of great features such as automatic WordPress Core updates, plugin updates, daily backups, and a PressArmor custom WordPress security configuration that will keep the bad guys out and your site safe.
Plus you’re free to use any plugin or app. Pricing starts $499/month for 30 sites and 200 GB bandwidth (& all the core features), which include:
- Convenient updates: Automatic WordPress Core and plugin upgrades with minimal interaction required.
- Varnish caching: Advanced varnish caching layer for millisecond load times.
- Free reign on plugins: Use nearly any plugin or theme you want.
- Complete site scans: Includes real-time malware scanning and removal plus redundant firewalls and DDoS protection.
- PRESSCDN: This service starts at $9/month.
Pros: Feature-rich, security-focused managed WordPress hosting with an open attitude toward plugins and themes. Also offers PRESSCDN and varnish caching for quicker site load times.
Cons: More costly than some managed hosting providers.
(Loads under 2s and starts at $25)
Formerly known as ZippyKid, Pressable is a unique managed hosting service, and advertises itself as rated #1 in customer satisfaction. Its services are built on custom RackSpace hardware and has an appealing list of clients and testimonials. Pricing plans start at $25/month, which is capable of handling 15,000 shared pageviews per month.
All plans include the following features:
- Rackspace Hybrid cloud — The best servers for storing your sites.
- Daily backups — Your content will always be backed up on-time and automatically.
- SFTP access — Secure file transfer protocol so your data is safe even while in transit.
- SSL support — So you can set up shop and keep your customers secure, too.
- Malware scanning and removal — Never feel the effects of malicious hackers again.
Pros: Reliable, high-quality hosting designed specifically for businesses and developers. Includes malware scanning and removal, SFTP, SSL, and CDN for added convenience.
Cons: On the pricier side of managed hosting providers and might not offer the largest plans for those with extraordinary hosting needs.
WebSynthesis was started by CopyBlogger Media, the producers of some of the most popular WordPress-related products on the internet including the Genesis theme framework and ScribeSEO. Synthesis uses NGINX architecture to sustain twice the traffic while consuming 1/8 of the resources. It also uses the MediaTemple dedicated servers. Plans start at $47/month. Some of its features include:
- High quality servers — Experience superior uptime and page load speed.
- SEO — Keyword and social media research included.
- Robust security — Enhanced security defenses.
- Content marketing — Content and website optimization included.
- Site Sensor uptime monitoring — Keep tabs on site uptime at all times.
Pros: Uses NGINX architecture for fast load times and comes with SEO and content marketing tools. Also includes Site Sensor uptime monitoring and enhanced security features for ultimate protection of your content.
Cons: Price tag is much higher than competitors and might be out of reach of newer developers.
9. WordPress.com VIP
WordPress.com VIP isn’t your normal Managed WordPress hosting provider. Pricing starts at $5,000 per month and is fine-tuned for high traffic websites such as Time, GigaOM, MSNBC, and TechCrunch. The hosting is perfect fit for those who are looking for an enterprise level solution. Some features include:
- SaaS — Turnkey infrastructure lets you build your site with confidence.
- CDN — Security is a top priority.
- Hourly backups — So you’ll never lose a bit of data again.
- Flat pricing — Pay a set monthly rate and get unlimited traffic, bandwidth, and storage without paying a penny more.
- 24/7 support — For answering your most pressing middle-of-the-night WordPress questions.
Pros: Includes SaaS, CDN, backups, 24/7 support all for a flat price.
Cons: Designed for enterprise customers with a price tag to match. Definitely not appropriate for new developers or even those who build smaller websites.
Do You Really Need Managed WordPress Hosting?
It directly comes down to you and your needs. Managed Hosting is perfect for both small business owners & enterprise / high traffic websites. For bloggers & developers, SiteGround is perfect solution, costs less than other managed hosting companies and provides high quality support.
You need to think about the big picture here. What do you want to achieve with your site? What’s your top priority? If you anticipate building a lot of traffic to your site very quickly, then you’ll definitely need to consider a managed host, since it will likely allow for greater traffic volume and offers greater stability for WordPress sites specifically. If you just want to dabble in building a site for the first time, a managed host might be overkill.
Another thing to think about is the level of support and customization you require. While shared hosting offers one-click installations for your convenience, these can preload your site with settings you might not like, especially if you have some development know-how. Using a managed host gives you the control you need to make smart decisions during the installation process, particularly with respect to security. Again, it ultimately depends on what you want to do with your site for how you approach this hosting decision.
My Top Picks
After reviewing each of these hosting providers, I’m a strong proponent of these four hosting providers. Let’s take a look at their features, shall we?
SiteGround is for developers and bloggers who want features such as Git integration, a staging area, and SSL support at low prices. They are pretty inexpensive, plus offer free migration, and their support is relatively quick. Most of support questions were answered within an hour or two. Though, the guys who handle live chat aren’t the knowledgeable bunch. Meaning you will have to use their ticket support system for technical questions, instead of live chat support.
Flywheel is for people who aren’t developers. Flywheel entered the market very late, but were able to quickly establish themselves as an easy to use managed hosting solution for designers, small business owners, and bloggers. If you don’t want to deal with all the technical jargon, go with Flywheel. I don’t think any other company has a dashboard as slick and easy to use as Flywheel’s is. In a nutshell, Flywheel is for people who can configure / setup WordPress sites, but aren’t developers.
Are you a developer? Go with Pagely (they are now a bit expensive, though, costs $499 / month). Last year, Pagely moved their servers to Amazon and since then they have been pioneers in providing world-class infrastructure for small blogs, major WooCommere stores, membership sites, global corporate sites, and SaaS solutions. Their infrastructure technology includes HHVM, automatic daily backups, real time malware monitoring, built-in redundancy, developer friendly tools (SSH + GIT + Staging + WP-CLI + REST API), SPDY SSL acceleration, PressCDN, and Press Armour.
If you want a bit of everything, go with WPEngine or Kinsta. These options are for you if want to scale without compromising the quality of support and losing developer friendly tools…all without breaking the bank. I have been using WPEngine for a long time and never had any problems with them.
Which hosting provider are you using? What do you think about managed WordPress hosting as a whole? Please share your thoughts in the comments below.