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.
Best Managed WordPress Hosting
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’.
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:
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.
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.
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!
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.
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.
For small websites and those that are just getting started, Managed WordPress hosting might be overkill. A simple shared hosting or optimized WordPress hosting 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:
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.
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.
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.
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?
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.”
The entry-level option at SiteGround is the cheapest out there ($4.99 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 $14.99).
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.
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).
Coming in hot at second place is A2 Managed WordPress Hosting, starting at $11.99 per month. All of A2’s Managed WordPress accounts come unlimited SSD, unlimited bandwidth, Turbo servers and A2 Optimised WordPress.
If you’re unfamiliar with A2, their Turbo servers actually produce speeds 20x faster than regular servers, and their A2 Optimised WordPress makes sure your WordPress site is auto-optimised for speed without you needing to waste time tinkering with it.
They’ve also included all the usual bells and whistles with their plans, such as site staging, free site migrations, free CDN, SSL and SSDs.
If you’re planning to host multiple sites, best go for their 3-sites or unlimited plan. Their entry level plan may only cost $11.99/month, but you’re only given 1 site to host.
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 demanding 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. To learn more, read our in-depth Kinsta review.
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!
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 staff 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 enterprise use.
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.
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.
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.
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:
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!
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.