Managed WordPress hosting is a bit like having your own personal tech team.
It’s a hosting solution that is tailor-made (and super optimized) for WordPress sites, and it’s a step-up from the cheaper ‘shared hosting’ options.
Best thing about it? It takes care of all the technical bits behind the scenes, so you can focus on growing your site.
Managed hosting keeps your website fully updated so it’s lightning fast and high performance. It backs everything up automatically and runs regular security checks, so it’s bulletproof against hackers.
It ‘manages’ your website behind the scenes and maintains consistent high performance. Perfect if you want tip-top results, but don’t have the time or technical know-how to tweak and manage things ‘under the hood’.
At a quick glance, these are my top three Managed WordPress Hosting options right now:
Many website owners wonder if managed hosting is worth the extra money, but if you’ve got big plans for your website, it makes a lot of sense. Here are the benefits in more detail:
Bottom line: It’s always up to date, always fast, always backed up, always secure.
Granted, it is more expensive than shared hosting, but the time saved (and performance gained) can be well worth the money.
For small websites and those that are just getting started, Managed WordPress hosting might be overkill. A simple ‘shared host’ may be sufficient in this case. Having said that, I still recommend managed hosting for beginners and pros alike. It’s ideal for:
Of course, managed hosts aren’t for everyone. There are one or two features that may put you off:
If you’re still with me, you’re probably thinking quite seriously about managed hosting, but there’s one big question to answer: which one’s the best?
We’ve ranked every host’s speed using Bitcatcha’s unique server speed tester. It records response time from eight locations around the globe and benchmarks the result against world’s busiest 10,000 sites. A ‘C’ rating, therefore, is not necessarily bad – it’s just comparably slower than an ‘A’ rated site.
The entry-level option at SiteGround is the cheapest out there ($3.95 per month!), and comes with auto-updates and daily backups. It’s great for beginners, but most will want the ‘GoGeek’ package (which is still pretty affordable at $14.95).
With the GoGeek package, you’ll get a 1-click staging area and pre-installed Git for WordPress. You’ll also unlock premium tech support and their ‘SuperCacher’ which will give you an accelerated boost of speed.
SiteGround claim there is ‘virtually no waiting time’ for support on chat and phone and only ten minutes first-response time for ticketed queries. We do find it true.
WPEngine are perhaps the biggest name in Managed WordPress hosting. They were one of the first to offer it, and now provide hosting for Cancer Research, Rightmove, HTC and a variety of other big-name clients.
The entry level option, ‘Personal’ is generous, offering a staging environment, one click backup, and free site migration. It’s perfect for up to 25,000 visitors per month, but you’ll have to upgrade to unlock more resources and 24/7 phone support.
Their server is located in the eastern United States, so the server speed is faultless if your audience is based there. I also love their 60-day money-back guarantee, so if it’s not working out, you can simply cancel it.
Kinsta’s big selling point is that it’s powered by Google Cloud, which they claim makes them faster than their competitors. Kinsta scores a solid A+ and provides super fast response across the US. They’re also the host of choice for Ubisoft and Asos, so they are no stranger to commanding clients.
They are the second host on this list to offer unlimited traffic across all plans (you only pay for bandwidth). The only catch is that the smallest package costs $100, so Kinsta is only really an option for businesses and bigger sites.
But if you need that much power, Kinsta has it in bucketloads. The service checks your website once a minute for security and support. You can choose your own CDN and boasts all the developer tools you could want (including a bespoke dashboard that is beautiful and intuitive). In terms of support, Kinsta’s median response time to a ticket submission is
9 minutes – in the last 90 days it has been decreased to 2 minutes – which is really good to know that they are improving.
DreamHost has a strong reputation as a web host, with over 1.5 million customers and a 2016 award for ‘Best Customer Service’. But how does their Managed WordPress service, ‘DreamPress’ work out?
DreamPress boasts no limit on bandwidth or visitors (“Bring on the traffic!”), which is something that most hosts charge a premium for. It’s the most traffic space you can buy for the price. There are also no restrictions on plugins and themes, so you have more control over the customization.
DreamHost’s speed is average against others on this list, but sufficient given the low price.
Cloudways standout feature is speed. It’s by far the fastest provider we tested, scoring the only ‘A’ rating in the group. The reason for the phenomenal speed is its cloud hosting facility. Cloud hosting is much more powerful and reliable than traditional VPS.
As for features, Cloudway’s managed WordPress hosting comes with 24/7 support and free migration across all packages. Advanced options come with GIT integration, staging URLs, and managed backups. There’s also an intuitive and user-friendly control panel – something that a lot of cloud hosts don’t have.
The entry-level plan at Media Temple is very generous. At $20 per month, you get free site migration, 30-day backup and restore, 24/7 support, staging and cloning, and 400,000 monthly visitors. Advanced users will also enjoy a ton of options including Git integration and SSH access.
The upgraded ‘Studio’ and ‘Agency’ options also include malware detection and removal and huge traffic/storage options. Speed is at the higher end of the servers we tested, especially on the US west coast.
Media Temple also have a menu of exclusive themes so you can keep design and development all under one roof.
Flywheel is one of the newer hosts on the market, and built specifically for designers and creatives. There is a super-cheap entry option at $15 that includes clever features designed to improve workflow with clients such as bill transfer and collaboration. Paying a little extra will unlock the staging feature.
It also comes with a custom dashboard where you can monitor multiple sites. Standard features include daily backups, round-the-clock security, free migration, and a helpful support team. According to our speed tests, Flywheel offers decent speeds in the US, but the response in Asia let it down against others in the list.
A complete managed WordPress host isn’t the right option for everyone, particularly newer or smaller websites. In that case, a cheaper option will be more than adequate. If that sound like something you’re looking for, here are a couple of bonus options:
Inmotion’s WordPress hosting is a solid all-rounder for small-medium sized websites, and comes with a bunch of good features as standard. In the cheapest category you’ll get a free website transfer, data backups and easy WordPress setup. Speed won’t disappoint you either, easily matching some of the more expensive hosts. The premium customer support option, however, will cost you a little more.
Bluehost is one of the best budget options out there. It’s slightly cheaper than Inmotion Hosting (mentioned above), but it comes with a generous toolkit.
Speed is consistently fast across the US, and stable around the rest of the world. It’s secure, and 24/7 customer support is available as standard. There are even some pro tools like CDN options. (And Bluehost is recommended by WordPress.org since 2005!)
Managed WordPress hosting is ideal if you’re looking for consistent speed, security and performance without having to worry about the technical stuff.
It’s perfect if you’re planning to grow your site and traffic significantly in the future and want a host that will grow with you.
As for choosing the right option, here’s a reminder of my three top picks:
Before you make your decision, consider the price, features and level of customer support that best fit your website.