Are you a WordPress beginner who is wondering what is managed WordPress hosting?
During your research, you probably came across numerous managed WordPress hosting companies and found that prices of managed WordPress hosting is quite higher than the average shared hosting which you can get for as low as $2.75 per month.
If you’re like most people, then you probably thought: Why is there such a big price difference? Is managed WordPress hosting really that much better? Do I need managed WordPress hosting for my site? Is managed WordPress hosting worth the cost? If so, then which is the best managed WordPress hosting company?
If you have any of those questions, then you are in the right place.
In this article, we will highlight the pros and cons of managed WordPress hosting. We will also compare the top managed WordPress hosting companies by doing performance tests. You can use our research, knowledge, and experience to decide which managed WordPress hosting company is right for you.
After carefully reviewing and comparing dozens of provider, we have also hand-picked the best managed WordPress hosting companies of 2018.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Due to the popularity of WordPress, several web hosting providers have chosen to specialize in WordPress and offer what’s known as managed WordPress hosting.
Managed WordPress hosting is a concierge service where all technical aspects of running WordPress is managed by the host.
This includes security, speed, WordPress updates, daily backups, website uptime, and scalability.
The idea behind managed WordPress hosting is to offer a completely hassle-free experience, so you can focus on running your business and doing what you are good at.
One of the best parts about Managed WordPress hosting is the premium support. Your support is provided by real WordPress experts with lots of experience rather than someone who is reading a support manual.
Customers describe managed WordPress hosting as “a Five-Star Hotel for WordPress” and “like having an army of WordPress experts on your side”.
Pros and Cons of Managed WordPress Hosting
While managed WordPress hosting sounds amazing, it’s not for everybody. Take a look at the pros and cons of managed WordPress hosting before you make your decision.
Advantages of Managed WordPress Hosting
- Blazing Fast – Managed WordPress hosting servers are configured specially for WordPress. They are blazing fast even when your website gets a lot of traffic.
- Security – You are practically hacker-proof when you go with a managed WordPress hosting provider. They have a very tight security layer that actively scans for malware and block all hacking attempts.
- Expert Support – Unlike other web hosts, the staff is highly knowledgeable in WordPress. They advise you against using plugins that impact performance, solve problems faster, and much more. It is like having an army of WordPress experts on your side for assistance.
- Daily Backups – They create daily backups and offer restore points if you ever want to revert.
- Automatic Updates – You don’t have to worry about updates because they are done automatically.
- No downtime – No matter how much traffic your site gets, your website will probably never go down.
- Dev Tools – Although it varies by host, you usually dev tools such as staging area, version control, etc.
You are probably thinking that the advantages sounds pretty attractive, are there any downside?
Disadvantages of Managed WordPress Hosting
- Price – Managed WordPress hosting is significantly more expensive when compared to shared hosting. Base plan usually starts around $29/mo. where as shared hosting plan starts at $3.95/mo. But if you factor in the cost of running a large website and the salary of system admin, then this will sound like a pretty good option.
- Limits – Because the server architecture is specialized for WordPress, often you are limited to run only WordPress based sites. But that’s what you were looking to do anyways. You also cannot run all WordPress plugins. Managed WordPress hosting providers block plugins that slows down your site. So this is not entirely a disadvantage, but it can be an issue for larger companies.
- Less Control – Since someone else is managing all the technical aspects, you don’t have nearly as much say as to what gets changed. But isn’t that the point? You don’t want the hassle of managing things yourself.
Now that you have read the pros and cons of managed WordPress hosting, you’re probably wondering if it’s the right solution for you.
When do you need Managed WordPress hosting?
If you are a beginner who is starting a blog, then you DO NOT need managed WordPress hosting. You should start with regular WordPress hosting which is a lot more affordable. We recommend Bluehost which is also one of the official WordPress hosting providers.
Now if you are a small business or have a high-traffic website, then it makes sense for you to get managed WordPress hosting. The decision really boils down to your needs.
If you lack the technical skills, then average web hosting can become a hassle as your site grows. With an average hosting (shared, VPS, or dedicated), you are responsible for security, updates, speed, uptime, etc.
As a business owner, you have two options. You could either hire a system admin to manage your website, or you can use a managed WordPress hosting provider.
If you want something that is hassle-free, blazing fast, and offer mind-blowing support, then you have your answer. Basically, if your website is your business, and you can’t afford it to go down, then pay the extra bucks for the exceptional service that you will get with managed WordPress hosting.
In the end, you have to decide whether you can justify the cost for the value. If low cost is your biggest priority, then go with a non-managed WordPress hosting provider.
Now that you have read all about managed WordPress hosting, it is time for you to make a decision. We run several sites that get millions of pageviews per month. We have tested and worked with all top web hosting companies in the industry. After having helped 100,000+ users and years of experience, our founder Syed Balkhi have personally hand-picked some of the most well-reputed managed WordPress hosting providers for you. Each of these managed WordPress hosting companies provide excellent service and support. We give each of them a perfect 5 out of 5 star rating. Check out the list of best managed WordPress hosting providers.
Best Managed WordPress Hosting Providers
WPEngine is VIP WordPress hosting. Their hassle-free hosting offers fast and robust servers that can handle anything. Your website is practically hacker proof, and their mind-blowing customer service makes you feel like king. They offer automatic security updates, daily backups, one-click restore points, automatic caching, top-tier security, one-click staging area, and more. WPEngine is like having an army of WordPress experts on your side for assistance. Brands like HTC, FourSquare, SoundCloud, Balsamiq, and many others use WPEngine for their WordPress hosting (Just sayin'). If you are a business who do not want to deal with the technical side of running your blog, then WPEngine is the solution for you.
SiteGround is one of the most popular and highest rated hosting provider in the WordPress community. With SiteGround you get the power of managed WordPress hosting, without the restrictions that come with traditional managed hosting providers. You get blazing fast servers, top-notch WordPress security, premium 24/7 expert WordPress support, automatic WordPress updates, free backups, CDN, and amazing developer tools such as one-click staging and version control. SiteGround also offers multiple data centers in USA, Europe, and Asia. They’re an official ‘WordPress’ recommended hosting provider. On top of all this, they have a special 60% discount for WPBeginners readers.
One of the oldest web hosts started in 1996, Bluehost has become the largest brand name when it comes to WordPress hosting. They are an official ‘WordPress’ recommended hosting provider. With Bluehost, you never have to worry about your website being slow even when there is a lot of traffic. Their 24/7 expert support is always there to help when you need it by phone, email, or live chat. They are rated #1 in web hosting for small businesses. On top of that, they are offering WPBeginner users an exclusive 50% off discount, a free Domain, free SSL, free CDN, security firewall, staging sites, and other dev tools.
Started in 1997, Liquid Web has become the leader in managed VPS hosting, managed cloud hosting, and dedicated server hosting. They are famous for their fast and high quality support, known as 'Heroic Support'. All Liquid Web hosting servers are highly tuned for speed, performance, and security making it a completely hassle-free hosting solution. Their WordPress hosting option includes staging sites, automatic updates, and an intuitive dashboard to manage all your sites in one place. There's a reason why top companies like Motorola, Red Bull, ESPN, Audi, and FedEx use Liquid Web.
DreamHost has been around for 18 years, and is known for making web hosting easy. You get custom dashboard, 1-click WordPress install, automatic WordPress updates, unlimited space, unlimited bandwidth and free SSDs which makes your site 200% faster. DreamHost powers over 600,000 WordPress blogs and websites. There are no setup fees, and you also get a free domain.
Best Managed WordPress Hosting Comparison (2018)
After reviewing our top picks for managed WordPress hosting companies, you might still be wondering which is the best managed WordPress hosting company for your website?
We have created a few additional resources to help you choose the best managed WordPress hosting for your business:
- Managed WordPress Hosting Quiz
- Detailed Managed WordPress Hosting Performance Comparison
- Side-by-Side Managed WordPress Hosting Feature Comparison
Choosing the wrong hosting can cost you more money and headache. The goal of these resources is to help you pick the best managed WordPress hosting company from the start.
Managed WordPress Hosting Quiz
With all this information, it’s quite easy to get overwhelmed. After reading this guide, often users email us asking for personalized recommendations for managed WordPress hosting suitable for their growing websites.
To make this process easier, we have created a managed WordPress hosting recommendation engine. This simple quiz will help you decide which managed WordPress hosting suits your particular needs.
All you have to do is accurately answer the questions in the widget below:
If you still want to get personalized help in choosing a managed WordPress hosting company, then feel free to drop us a message using our contact form. One of our team members will get back to you within 24 hours.
Detailed Managed WordPress Hosting Performance Comparison
The reason WPBeginner users trust us is because our reviews are result of real-time tests, accurate data, and actual usage.
Instead of relying on information available on hosting company’s website, we actually sign up for managed WordPress hosting providers to properly test their services.
We use professional benchmarking tools and run thorough tests to measure performance and reliability of each provider.
To make sure our tests are accurate across all managed WordPress hosting companies, we sign up with each hosting company and create a sample website. Next, we install a default theme and fill the site with dummy data including images and media. This way our test site resembles like an average WordPress website.
Here is the breakdown of our step by step testing process.
First, we measure the website speed across multiple managed WordPress hosting companies. We use Pingdom for this test, which is an industry leading website speed testing service.
Next, we test how a managed WordPress hosting company would perform during peak traffic. For this we use Load Impact service to send virtual users (VU) to each website and see how the hosting server would handle increased requests from multiple connections at once.
Last but not least, we use Bitcatcha service to test server response times across numerous geographical locations including United States, London, Singapore, Sao Paulo, India, Sydney, and Japan. This helps us decide which managed WordPress hosting is best for which geographical location.
Now that you know our exact testing process, let’s compare the performance of the top managed WordPress hosting companies.
WP Engine is one of the most popular managed WordPress hosting providers. Their hosting plans include powerful in-house performance optimization, managed updates, 1-click staging environment, and more.
Here are the results from our WP Engine performance tests:
First we tested our sample WP Engine website for speed.
As you can in the screenshot, our test site loaded in less than a second. That’s faster than 96% of all tested sites. Considering that we didn’t need to install any performance optimization this result is quite impressive.
But how does WP Engine performs under peak traffic?
To test performance under traffic, we ran the Load Impact test on WP Engine server. During this test, we gradually built up to 100 unique visitors to see how the server would handle increased requests from multiple connections at once.
The green line in this graph represents page load time and the blue line represents number of users on the site. As you can see that WP Engine server performance remained steady throughout the test as the numbers of users increased.
Next, we tested the WP Engine server for more accurate response time.
For this test we used Bitcatcha to test server response time more accurately from multiple geographical locations.
As you can see in the results, WP Engine server response time remained under less than half a second on all geographic locations. It was particularly great in the United States.
In our detailed WP Engine review, we also evaluated their customer support, features, and pricing. After our analysis, we find WP Engine to be the best managed WordPress hosting provider for any kind of website.
- PROS: Highly optimized for WordPress performance with fully stable managed hosting
- PROS: 1-click staging environment, free SSL, and integrated support to add CDN service as an addon
- PROS: Powerful yet easy to use custom hosting control panel with excellent customer support.
- CONS: Prices are slightly higher for advanced plans, but totally worth the $$$.
SiteGround is one of the top-rated hosting companies in the WordPress community. They offer unique in-house performance optimization and security which is why they’re one of the officially recommended WordPress hosting providers.
Here are our results for SiteGround performance test:
As you can see in the screenshot, our test site on SiteGround server loaded in less than a second (649 ms to be precise) for a server in Dallas, Texas. That’s faster than 95% of all tested websites, which is amazing.
But how would our SiteGround test site perform under peak traffic?
To test this, we ran the Load Impact test on SiteGround servers. During this test, we gradually increased to 100 unique visitors to see how the server would handle increased requests from multiple connections at once.
In this screenshot, the blue line represents the number of active virtual users on the site. The green line is the server load time. SiteGround performed almost consistently except for a spike at 50 users on the site. It quickly recovered and page load time remained steadily low even with more users.
Next, we ran a more detailed and accurate response time test. For this, we used Bitcatcha to test accurate server response time from different geographical locations.
Our SiteGround test site performed exceptionally well in the United States and all other locations except Japan.
If your target audience is mainly in Asia, then you can ask SiteGround to move you to their Asia-Pacific servers to remedy this.
In our detailed SiteGround review, we also evaluated their customer support, features, and pricing.
After our analysis, we find SiteGround to be an excellent choice for managed WordPress hosting. Their servers are incredibly fast and support is available 24/7 by knowledgeable and friendly staff.
- PROS: Awesome WordPress support, great uptime, blazing fast speed, and free SSL.
- PROS: They are one of the officially recommended WordPress hosting providers.
- PROS: Free site migration
- CONS: No free domain
Bluehost is one of the most popular hosting companies in the world and an officially recommended WordPress hosting provider.
Let’s take a look at our Bluehost performance test results. Note: this isn’t the typical Bluehost shared hosting. This is an optimized WordPress hosting product that’s powered on their VPS infrastructure.
We first tested our test site on Bluehost servers for speed.
As shown in the screenshot, our test site loaded in less than two seconds. That’s faster than 85% of all tested websites. Keeping in mind that the test site wasn’t using any performance optimization plugins, this result is very good.
After that, we ran the Load Impact test on our Bluehost test site. This test allows us to see how our test site would perform during peak traffic.
We gradually increased up to 100 unique visitors at once to see how the server handles increased requests from multiple connections at the same time.
Here is the result screenshot:
In this chart, the blue line indicates number of active virtual users on the website, and the green line shows server load time. The server load remained stable through out the test even at peak traffic.
Next, we used Bitcatcha for more accurate server response time test from different geographic regions.
Response times for our Bluehost test site were exceptionally great in the United States loading under a fraction of a second. Response time in other locations was a bit higher but still under less than a second.
If your target customers are in the United States, then this would be highly beneficial for website.
We also evaluated their customer support, features, and pricing in our detailed Bluehost review. After this thorough analysis, we believe that Bluehost is a great managed WordPress hosting provider for any kind of website.
- PROS: 50% discount on managed WordPress hosting + free domain + free SSL
- PROS: Officially recommended by WordPress
- PROS: Highly optimized WordPress experience
- PROS: Freedom to do more than just WordPress
- CONS: Sometimes support can be slow
Liquid Web is another excellent managed WordPress hosting company popular among WordPress community. They offer multiple levels of hosting plans including managed WordPress hosting, VPS, cloud sites, and dedicated hosting.
Here are the results from our Liquid Web performance tests:
First we tested our test site for speed using Pingdom website speed testing tool.
As you can see in the test result, our Liquid Web test site loaded in less than a second for a server in San Jose, California. That’s faster than 91% of tested sites.
Next, we wanted to see how Liquid Web holds up under peak traffic load.
To measure this, we ran the Load Impact test on Liquid Web servers. We gradually built up to 100 unique visitors at once to see how the server handles increased requests from multiple connections.
In this chart, the blue line indicates number of active virtual users on the site, and the green line shows the server load time. As you can see the server load remained stable through out the test even at peak traffic.
Next, we tested Liquid Web’s server response time using the Bitcatcha tool which measures response times from different geographic regions.
As you can see in the results, our Liquid Web test site responded with in less than a second. The response time was particularly great in the United States.
We also evaluated their customer support, features, and pricing in our detailed Liquid Web review.
After thorough analysis, we find Liquid Web to be an excellent managed WordPress hosting service for all kind of websites.
- PROS: Incredibly fast managed WordPress hosting with powerful features.
- PROS: High performance servers, SSL included, excellent support.
- PROS: Plenty of options to scale and grow your business. Excellent for enterprise.
- CONS: Price is slightly higher
DreamHost is a reliable name in hosting industry. They offer shared, VPS, dedicatedm, and managed WordPress hosting plan called DreamPress.
Here are the results from our DreamHost performance tests:
First, we ran the speed test on our test site on DreamHost server.
As you can see in the results, our test site loaded in less than half a second. That’s faster than 97% of all tested sites, which is incredible for a site with no performance optimization plugins.
That’s great but how does DreamHost server performs under traffic?
To test this, we ran the Load Impact test. We gradually increased traffic to up to 100 users to see how server responds to multiple connections.
The blue line is the number of active virtual users on the site, and the green line is the server load time. As you can see in the results, our test site remained stable through out the test.
Next, we ran the response time test to accurately measure server response time from different geographic locations.
As you can see in the results, our test site responded with in less than half a second for all geographic locations. Response time was particularly great in the United States.
In our detailed DreamHost review, we also evaluated their customer support, features, and pricing.
After our thorough analysis, we find DreamHost to be a good option for managed WordPress hosting services.
- PROS: Super-fast managed WordPress hosting service
- PROS: Each plan includes custom control panel, free SSL, SSD storage.
- PROS: Easy to scale suitable for all budgets.
- CONS: Staging site only available with Advanced plan.
Best Managed WordPress Hosting (Quick Recap)
Now that you have compared performance test results of the top managed WordPress hosting companies, you need to decide which one fits your needs.
To make this easier for you, we have created a table with a side-by-side feature list. Here you can easily compare the best managed WordPress hosting companies.
|Hosting||Cost||Free Domain||Free SSL||Staging|
In our in-depth managed WordPress hosting review, we believe that if you are looking for a reliable managed WordPress host, then WPEngine is your best option. Their plans are reasonably priced, incredible performance, with free SSL and 1-click staging at $14.50 is by far the best value.
If you are concerned about costs, then you should go with either Bluehost or SiteGround because they offer highly optimized managed WordPress hosting which now comes with powerful developer tools like staging and more.
If you’re a large company and looking for truly enterprise level service, then we recommend using Liquid Web or WP Engine. Both offer outstanding service, but Liquid Web is famous for their heroic support.
In fact, you can’t go wrong with any of the best managed WordPress hosting companies that we have compared above. They all offer hassle free WordPress hosting, with blazing fast servers, great uptime, friendly support, and prices to match your budget.
Managed WordPress Hosting FAQs
Over the years, we have helped thousands of users and have heard every hosting related question imaginable. Here are the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about managed WordPress hosting.
Do I need managed WordPress hosting to start my website?
Managed WordPress hosting offers a premium hosting environment specializing in WordPress. It includes expert WordPress support, automatic updates, and performance optimization for WordPress. This premium experience often costs extra but offers a completely hassle free WordPress hosting.
If you are concerned about price, then you can see our guide on how to build a website on shared hosting like Bluehost which costs $2.75 per month and comes with a free domain. You can always upgrade your site to managed WordPress hosting later if you need it.
Can I install Plugins on Managed WordPress Hosting by myself?
Yes, you can. Managed WordPress hosting makes it easy to update all your plugins automatically from the dashboard. It doesn’t stop you from installing WordPress plugins. However, some managed hosting companies may block some plugins that are not compatible with their hosting environment.
Can I Install WooCommerce in managed WordPress hosting?
Yes, you can. WooCommerce allows you to add an online store to your website. You can install it on your managed WordPress hosting like you would install any other plugin. You can also see our comparison of the best WooCommerce hosting companies.
How much does it cost to build a website on managed WordPress hosting?
The total cost of your website is calculated based on hosting costs, domain name, and SSL certificate. The cost of maintaining your website will grow as your website grows. We have created a detailed guide on how much does it cost to build a website with breakdowns for different scenarios and how to control your costs.
I already purchased a domain. Can I use it with my managed WordPress hosting?
Yes, you can. Once you register a domain name, you are free to use it with any hosting company. You will just need to change domain settings and point its DNS to your managed WordPress hosting company. Each managed WordPress hosting company has step by step instructions on how to do that. See our guide on the difference between domain name and web hosting.
Do I need to buy domain and managed WordPress hosting from same company?
No you don’t. You can buy managed WordPress hosting from one company and domain name from a different company. However, it does help to get them from the same company as you will not have to change DNS settings, and you will be able to manage your domain and hosting under the same dashboard. Some companies will even offer you a free domain with purchase of hosting.
Do I need to buy any addons when purchasing managed WordPress hosting?
During the sign up process, some managed hosting companies will offer to sell you add-on services. You can safely uncheck them as they would add to the cost of your hosting bill.
Later on, if you feel you need one of these add-on services, then you can simply add them to your hosting plan from your account dashboard.
How do I migrate my WordPress site to my new managed WordPress hosting account?
Some managed WordPress hosting companies offer free site migration. They may not mention it but if you ask, they will transfer your website. Some hosting companies may offer migration service at an additional cost. You can also move your website to your new host on your own with no downtime.
Do managed WordPress hosting companies keep backups of my site?
Yes, many of them do. However, we don’t recommend relying on your hosting company’s backups. You must always create your own backups by using a WordPress backup plugin.
Can I change my managed WordPress hosting later?
Yes, you can totally change your manage WordPress hosting company if you are unhappy with them. Most hosting companies offer migration services that you can utilize with minimum downtime.
What are the best managed WordPress hosting companies in your opinion?
Our top choices for managed WordPress hosting are:
- WP Engine – Best overall in terms of performance, reliability, pricing and features.
- SiteGround – Low cost managed WordPress hosting with friendly support and great performance.
- Bluehost – All the features of premium managed WordPress hosting plus free domain and ultra fast servers.
- Liquid Web – Truly enterprise WordPress hosting experience with heroic support.
This last question is not by mistake. We still get this question a lot even when we refer users to this guide.
We hope that this guide helped you find the best managed WordPress hosting for your website. If you have a managed WordPress hosting question that we missed, then please send us a message using our contact form. One of our team members will respond back within 24 hours.