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’.
Why Would I Need Managed WordPress Hosting?
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:
1. Specifically optimized for WordPress
The servers are fine-tuned and optimized for WordPress alone. A specialist service is always better than a general one.
The software behind your site automatically updates to the latest version, so it’s always at the highest performance. There’s no need to check and install updates manually.
3. Bulletproof security
Security is perhaps the biggest incentive to upgrade to a managed WordPress host. The auto-updates and specialist hosting environment means it’s better guarded against hackers and other security issues. As you’ll see, most hosting platforms run regular security checks, and may actively remove malware.
4. Super speed
A slow website can negatively affect your sales, conversions, and user experience, but speeding things up manually takes a lot of effort and skill. The best hosting uses built-in caching and (often) provides a CDN to super-charge your website speed automatically.
Managed WordPress hosting platforms typically offer daily backups. You can sleep soundly knowing you won’t lose your website if the worst happens!
6. 24/7 support
It’s always good to know there’s an expert on the end of a phone if you start getting unexplained 505 errors. Managed hosting packages usually include access to a premium support service so you can skip the queue and speak to real developers.
7. Flexible & scalable for huge traffic
Managed hosts can handle a lot more traffic and bandwidth than a shared host. If you get a sudden spike of traffic, your site won’t crash.
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.
Is Managed WordPress hosting for me?
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:
- Bloggers or businesses that want to focus on running their site, without worrying about updates, backups and behind-the-scenes technicalities.
- Anyone who plans to grow their traffic fast and sees regular spikes in visitors.
- Any website that cannot afford any downtime.
- Anyone who values great support.
The downside of Managed WordPress Hosting
Of course, managed hosts aren’t for everyone. There are one or two features that may put you off:
They are more expensive than shared hosts. You can expect to pay between $15-$60 per month for a managed host, whereas you can pick up a shared host for as little as $1.99.
2. You can only use WordPress
This might seem like an obvious point, but it’s worth noting! If you also run websites on Joomla or Drupal, it’s pretty useless.
3. Lack of control
The beauty of managed hosting is that it’s self-sufficient. It updates, manages and tweaks everything to improve performance automatically. If you’re the type of person that loves to poke around, test things, and make changes yourself, you might find it restrictive, as access is sometimes limited.
4. Plugin restrictions
Some managed hosts prohibit the use of certain plugins. Why? Plugins suck up valuable resources and slow down performance, so some hosts ban the most resource-hungry ones. That said, most managed hosts come with the best plugin features already built in (like caching, backups etc.)
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?
Ranked: The 9 Best Managed WordPress Hosting
A quick note on speed
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 calculates the average. Scores below 180 ms is ranked “A+” and scores from 181 ms to 210 ms will be ranked “A.”
- cPanel & SSH access
- Free CloudFlare CDN
- Free daily backup
- Git & staging
- Servers in 3 continents
"Best for beginners & webmasters on tight budgets."
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.
What’s not good with SiteGround
- The entry-level option is more limited than competitors, but the price does reflect that.
- Not really a fully managed WordPress hosting but the features offered are pretty the same.
We monitor SiteGround closely as we are hosting with them. Check out our SiteGround review for everything you need to know about the host (Our test sites, server speed test, term, etc).
- 40 GB SSD
- Free site migration
- PHP7 supported
- 90 day money back
- No plugin restrictions
"Best for small-medium sized business owner. "
With Inmotion Hosting’s WP1000-S plan, you won’t be seeing features like GIT, but you’ll get to enjoy exclusive features like BoldGrid integration and no plugin restrictions. However, the one thing that really helps Inmotion stand apart from the competition is their insane server stack.
You’ll be able to enjoy speeds up to 10x faster than regular shared hosting with their built-for-speed combination of SSD, NGINX server set-up, advanced server caching!
On top of all that, Inmotion offers a 90-day money back guarantee.
At a price point of only $4.99 per month (37% off – special deal only for Bitcatcha readers) it’s one of the best value for money plans for small businesses and bloggers!
What’s not good with Inmotion Hosting
- No git. Max speed zones are effective, but is a little outdated compared to having data centres spread out across regions.
- Check out can be a frustrating process.
- Google Cloud powered
- Unlimited visits
- Daily backups
- WP expert as support
- Hack fix guarantee
"Ideal for mid-large businesses & enterprises."
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.
Their smallest package costs
$100 $30! – updated January 2018 – 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.
What’s not good with Kinsta
It costs $100 per month. Kinsta’s smallest plan now starts from $30 /month.
- No email hosting. Kinsta recommends G Suite for email hosting ($5 /mo for Basic plan)
- 600 human support
- No plugin restr.
- Auto image compress
- Site mgmt tools
- Full server access
"Ideal for enterprice WordPress hosting"
Liquid Web is one of the more premium hosts out there, but their hefty price tag is justified with their many unique features.
They have one of the – if not THE biggest – support teams in the industry, with over 600 support staffs to maintain their around the clock support.
You get to enjoy unlimited pageviews with all of their plans, but you’re limited to only 1 site with their entry level Personal plan.
Their automatic image compression tools work wonders to keep your site light and quick, while their developer tools allow you to work quickly with access to SSL, Git and WP-ClI.
We recommend Liquid Web for medium-large enterprice use.
What’s not good with Liquid Web
- No email hosting. You’ll need separate email hosting
- Pricey – Their entry level plan costs $69 per month. (With our link you pay $34.50 for the first 2 months)
- Allowed only 1 site with their entry level plan. Pay more for their other plans to host more sites.
- Fully managed
- Professionally tweaked
- Daily backups
- Malware scan
- Firewall, CDN ready
"It’s one of the most well-rounded options out there."
WP Engine 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.
What’s not good with WP Engine
It’s more expensive than many competitors (Exclusive deal! 20% discount on first bill – Starts from $19.33/mo), but they do back it up with strong service and reputation.
- WP Engine has a list of prohibited plugins, which is worth looking at before you commit.
- 24/7 support is only available to premium customers.
- Cloud hosting
- Responsive support
- No contracts
"Managed cloud hosting for everyone."
Cloudways is a managed cloud hosting. you can choose to deploy WordPress through Cloudways on the cloud of your choice, like AWS, Digital Ocean and Linode. 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.
What’s not good with Cloudways
- Cloud hosting can be a little technical, but the user-friendly control panel does help smooth out the process.
- Cloudways is built on top of other cloud hosting facilities. They have minimum control over the hardware.
- 1TB transfer /mo
- SSD database
- CloudFlare w Railgun
- 24/7 live support
"Ideal for beginners & mid-sized businesses."
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.
What’s not good with Media Temple
- There are numerous anecdotal reports about poor customer support.
- Launch sites fast
- Free demo sites
- Collaboration tools
- Bulk plans available
"Built from the ground up for designers & agencies."
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.
What’s not good with Flywheel
- The entry-level option offers little more than shared hosting alternatives, so you’ll want to start with the $30 per month package to unlock feature like staging site.
- If you’re used to cPanel, you may not like the custom dashboard (although after a few uses, it’s easier and more intuitive than cPanel).
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 is couple of bonus options:
- Linux & cPanel
- Unlimited resources
- Automatic backup
- Resource protection
- CloudFlare CDN
"Suitable for small sites & beginners."
Bluehost is one of the best budget options out there.
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. Unlike Inmotion Hosting with no CDN included, Bluehost supports Cloudflare.
And Bluehost is recommended by WordPress.org since 2005!
What’s not good with Bluehost
- There’s no free site migration.
- Some reports have cited slow load speeds and support responses.
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.