Well, if you’re a developer working with WordPress every day, then you might want to believe that it’s indeed the case. For people like that, setting up efficient servers with Linode or DigitalOcean is a breeze. But as Chris Lema very accurately pointed out, WordPress is far from simple, especially for your parents, your neighbours, or whoever else simply wants a website without getting their hands dirty.
For the end user – who might not be that much familiar with the technical stuff – WordPress is just a black box that allows them to have their work/posts/articles/products published on the web. And it should stay that way too.
So, companies offering managed WordPress hosting seem to be a good response to that need. Or are they?
What is managed WordPress hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting means that hosts handle basic hosting administrative tasks, such as installing WordPress, security, speed, WordPress updates, daily backups, website uptime, and scalability.
But hold off on the WordPress hosting companies thing for a moment. Let’s talk 1/4 mile drag racing.
If you wish, you can drag race with your everyday stock Honda Civic.
But if you watched The Fast and the Furious, you know that in order to get some real good 1/4 mile times out of it, you need to get specific work done to that Civic.
… Get a tricked out turbo charger, a tuned chip, better tires, a better tuned gearbox that puts the power to the wheels quicker (or whatever, I’m no expert here).
So at the end of the day, you still have the Civic, but it’s been optimized to perform at its best in a 1/4 mile drag race.
WordPress hosting is somewhat the same.
Under the hood (no pun intended), a web server is a web server, and it’s usually built with the same components. Every car has an engine, some wheels, and all the other usual parts. But it’s how these parts are set up, and what kind of specific parts they are, which makes all the difference. It’s what makes a car purpose-built for one thing or the other.
While all web hosts can handle WordPress, best managed WordPress hosting has been optimized for WordPress websites specifically.
More than that, it usually features some side-services revolving around things like expert support, automatic updates, backups, and so on. Think, a concierge WordPress hosting package, where you not only get the hosting, but also everything else that will enrich your experience further.
Essentially, having your website hosted on a managed WordPress hosting platform gives you the freedom of not having to worry about the technical stuff, and simply focus on what’s the true essence of your work online – running your business, publishing content, selling your products and what-evs.
What’s the difference between shared hosting and managed hosting?
Here are some of the things that you usually don’t have to worry about if you’re on a managed WordPress hosting plan vs. its shared hosting counterpart:
When do you need managed WordPress hosting?
Okay, so let’s answer the big question: Why and when do you need managed WordPress hosting?
Use best managed WordPress hosting companies for:
Keep in mind, though, that the things listed below are not deal-breakers by any means. They are just the realities of managed WordPress hosting, and potentially what makes this kind of hosting unique and optimized for the WordPress platform specifically:
- Usually more expensive than shared hosting. As we talked about a while ago, you can get a reliable shared hosting plan for $5 a month. With managed hosting, it’s usually in the $15-$50 range (or more).
- Most of the time, you can only run WordPress sites on this kind of hosting. This is due to the architecture of the server itself and its settings. That being said, for 99% of the users this won’t be an issue, for obvious reasons.
- Some of your favorite plugins might be banned by the host. Due to the optimizations made by a given managed WordPress hosting company, some plugins can be banned from the servers. Most commonly, this is done to prevent those plugins from slowing down the server, straining the database, interfering with caching, making too many HTTP requests, and so on. For instance, WP Engine’s list of disallowed plugins is a good reference here.
- You have less control. If you enjoy taking a look into the WordPress core every once in a while to fix this or that, you might find this difficult to do with some managed WordPress hosts. The environment tends to be more closed down in some areas (although specific modifications are possible … just not all of them).
The managed WordPress hosting comparison and reviews
Okay, so with all the theory out of the way, let’s now talk specific recommendations, and why you would choose one platform over the other.
1. SiteGround ( www.SiteGround.com )
Among their entire offering, the GrowBig and GoGeek plans stand out as the best managed WordPress hosting options. The former is a more affordable setup ($6.45), while the latter is more powerful (less accounts on the server) plus offers “geeky” features ($11.95).
Overall, the GoGeek plan is a nice solution for people who want to experiment with the platform on their own, apart from getting all of the standard hosting features that come out the box.
- Officially recommended by WordPress.org.
- Free Let’s Encrypt SSL for all plans.
- Git integration.
- Free PCI compliance (for e-commerce).
- SSD drives.
- CDN included.
- Multiple websites on a single account.
- 24/7 support. Via phone as well.
- Free backup and restore features.
- Even though the cheapest plan goes from $3.95 / mo, it won’t be the best solution for most high-traffic sites.
2. WPEngine (www.WPEngine.com)
Despite some rough episodes along the way (problems with their growing infrastructure), WP Engine seems to have found their balance. Right now, they offer managed solutions that are somewhere in the middle of the road between beginner-friendly, and developer-friendly WordPress hosting.
- CDN included, starting from plan “Professional.”
- Great scalability – suitable for websites rapidly growing in traffic.
- Free automated migration.
- 24/7 phone support, starting from plan “Professional.”
- High overages cost, even up to $1 per every 1000 visits.
- It’s reported that WP Engine tends to modify native WordPress code quite heavily, making it hard to move to another host in case you need to do so in the future.
3. Flywheel (www.getflywheel.com)
Potentially great for designers, small business owners, freelancers, bloggers, and all non-technical people in general.
- Ultra beginner-friendly and easy to use.
- Data centers around the world – your website will perform well no matter where your audience is.
- Built-in caching and automatic backups.
- Additional server features can get expensive. For instance, if you want SSL, CDN, and multisite ability, that’s an additional $30 / mo on top of your current plan.
- Phone support only 9am-7pm CDT.
4. Kinsta (www.Kinsta.com)
- Powered by Google Cloud Platform and their premium tier network.
- 1440 daily uptime checks per site.
- Free CDN.
- Automatic scaling.
- Support for Let’s Encrypt, SSH, WP-CPI, Git, and more.
- Free website migrations and hack fixes.
- Staging and cloning environment.
- Quick SSD storage.
- The cheapest option is $30, significantly more than some of the other options on this list.
- You get only 3GB of disk space on the cheapest plan. Seems a bit low.
5. Pagely (www.Pagely.com)
- Real-time malware monitoring.
- Advanced developer features.
- Automated daily backups.
- Built-in redundancy.
- Great scalability.
- You can use nearly any plugin or theme you want.
- No phone support at all, even on the highest-tier plans.
- The highest prices on this list – starting at $299 / month.
6. GoDaddy (www.GoDaddy.com)
- Very affordable if you want to launch 1-5 websites.
- One-click staging sites.
- An SSL certificate for free for one year.
- SiteLock Professional malware detection and removal.
- Ready to handle as many as 400,000 monthly visitors at the $7.99 / month price point.
- Quick SSD storage.
- You need to be careful going through their checkout process / shopping cart. There’s a lot of upselling going on … for things you might not necessarily need. Most of those additional offers are enabled by default.
Managed WordPress hosting – comparison table:
Okay, with all that talk out of the way, let’s now compare the details of the top managed WordPress hosting platforms out there:
|PRICE (MONTHLY)||$3.95, $6.45, $11.95 / month.||$29, $99 , $249 / month.||$15, $30, $75 , $100, $250 / month.||$30, $60 , $100, $200, $300, $400, $600, $900 / month.||$299 , $499, $999, $1249, $2249 / month.||$3.99, $4.99, $7.99 , $13.99 / month.|
|~ 25,000 visits monthly||~ 25,000 visits monthly||~ 25,000 visits monthly||~ 20,000 visits monthly||not disclosed||~ 400,000 visits monthly|
|No. of websites allowed|
|Support||24/7 online and phone support||24/7 online support (phone for higher-up plans)||24/7 online support, limited phone support||24/7 online support||24/7 online support||24/7 online support, chat, phone|
* The user review ratings for each of the hosting platforms come from ReviewSignal.com’s library of Twitter-scavenged user opinions.
** This post contains affiliate links, which means that if you click on one of the product links and then purchase the product, we’ll receive a small fee. No worries though, you’ll still pay the standard amount so there’s no cost on your part.