Managed WordPress hosting has been gaining traction in the past few years. You will see a host of companies offering managed WP hosting. Some of these companies will offer only managed WordPress hosting. Some others will have this format of hosting as one of the several hosting options they offer.
Irrespective of which company you select, what you get in return of a high cost is a worry-free hosting solution that lifts all the technical burden so that you can focus on what matters the most – your website and its content!
Now, with dozens of companies all claiming to be the best, which one should you select? To make your job easy, I have compiled a list of the 5 best managed WordPress hosting solution that I have come across so far.
What are those options?
If you are short on time, here are my top picks:
- Liquid Web Managed WordPress Hosting
- Flywheel Managed WordPress Hosting
- Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting
- Rocket Managed WordPress Hosting
- WP Engine Managed WordPress Hosting
Yes, there are many more options that you will get when you start looking for managed WP hosting solutions but they have some or the other serious problem that prevented them from making to this list.
Of course, there are other review sites who will disagree with my listing and ranking. However, what you see here is based on real testing, and not some copy, edit, and paste review. After testing over 14 different and most popular managed WordPress hosting providers, I narrowed on these six because of their features, performance, and user-friendliness.
So, without further ado, let’s begin with the list and find out some interesting details about each one of them. I will conclude with some general FAQ that you should be aware of to make informed decision.
#1. Liquid Web Managed WordPress Hosting – Offers Integrated Email
The Liquid Web managed WordPress hosting is the only company here on this list that will offer you an integrated email solution. It means that you don’t have to depend on third-party email providers for email hosting. Liquid Web offers and all-in-one package, ideal for everyone looking for this format of web hosting.
In my tests, I found that this hosting provider can deliver blazing fast websites even with CDN disabled. You can enable CDN to further enhance your website’s performance, especially when you add new themes, plugins, images, videos, and content.
Their customer service is friendly and they have a fantastically designed user interface with everything arranged neatly. In fact, even if you are a rookie when it comes to dealing with managed WP hosting, you will find it to be a cakewalk.
Here are the pros and cons of using Liquid Web managed WordPress Hosting:
- Surprisingly easy-to-use user interface.
- Excellent performance with blazing-fast websites even without a CDN.
- SSD servers with Nginx and PHP 7.4 support.
- Provides free email and access to webmail. You don’t have to pay for it and you don’t even have to use a third-party email provider.
- Brilliant customer service and great response time.
- Gives server-side caching using Redis and Varnish.
- Offers automatic backups as a part of any plan you choose.
- They don’t have a cap on traffic or pageviews.
- They offer integrated CDN, but you are free to use any other CDN of your choice.
- They also offer staging and development environments.
- You can get a free SSL from Let’s Encrypt. You can install any SSL of your choice.
- You can create stencil sites that are basically website templates that you can create from any website you build on their platform.
- You will get auto-scaling feature for dealing with increased traffic. If traffic drops, the extra resources will be released.
- They are quite expensive.
- You don’t get any money-back guarantee. In case of a yearly subscription, you can ask for a refund when you cancel your subscription midway. They will pay you back for the unused months.
In case you want to read my full review of Liquid Web managed WordPress hosting, you can visit this link.
#2. Flywheel Managed WordPress Hosting – Best for Agencies, Freelancers, and Designers
When I say that Flywheel managed WordPress hosting is best for agencies, freelancers, and designers, I mean it! This is the only managed WordPress hosting provider that offers unique workflow tools that agencies, freelancers, and designers usually need.
Of course, it has one of the most beautifully-designed user interfaces, but there are a few avenues where the company should think of redesign, or at least inclusion of or simplification of a few features.
Unlike Liquid Web that offers integrated email solution, with Flywheel, you need to arrange for such solutions by yourself. The free SSL installation is a bit tricky, but nothing so difficult that you cannot manage or accomplish.
Flywheel offers Genesis framework and 30+ StudioPress themes to help you build a website. Unfortunately, the themes by StudioPress aren’t highly optimized themes, and they can potentially slowdown your website (which is what I found in my Flywheel review).
However, properly optimizing your website with well-coded themes and plugins along with other optimization features will help you to get a blazing-fast website.
As far as the customer service is concerned, the interaction with the company’s live chat support gives a very comfortable feeling, and they ensure that you feel like a premium customer. They are patient and take time to listen to all your queries and answer them accordingly.
- Brilliantly designed user interface that is easy to navigate and understand.
- Amazing server response time.
- Offers staging environment and ability to clone sites.
- Free SSL, free migration, server-side caching, and nightly backups included with all plans.
- Pro-active protection against hacks and malware injections. Promise to reinstate site free of cost in case of an unfortunate hack.
- Server-side caching and integrated CDN.
- Free Genesis framework and StudioPress themes.
- Set of workflow tools for agencies, designers, and freelancers.
- PHP 7.4 ready.
- SSD storage.
- Very responsive customer service.
- The Genesis framework and the StudioPress themes are pretty rudimentary, and they can possibly slowdown your site.
- No control over caching and CDN settings.
- $25 per month extra charges for automatic plugins update.
- $25 per month extra charges for performance insights.
- Slightly confusing SSL installation.
#3. Kinsta Managed WordPress Hosting – Offers Automatic Database Optimization
Kinsta is one of my long-term favorite. It is simple and yet powerful enough to handle small to large WordPress-powered websites. It comes with a brilliant user-interface. One of the most unique selling points of Kinsta is its automatic database optimization under which the company will run a script on a website-by-website basis and figure out whether they need to increase memory allocation for PHP or not.
What’s more? They also offer proactive protection against hacks and malware injection and even promise to clean up a site free of cost in the event of an unfortunate hack or malware infection. Yes, you will get all those things like daily backups, free SSL, staging environment, site cloning capabilities and more.
The customer support is available round the clock and unlike Flywheel, they are slightly professional. Yes, they will listen to everything you have to say and resolve your query, but they will retain a professional tone instead of being friendly and making you ultra-comfortable. That’s the reason why placed Kinsta in the third place.
As far as performance is concerned, the server response time is brilliant and according to Google PageSpeed Insights, the server responds in just 150 milliseconds. That’s brilliant! The company offers free CDN in collaboration with KeyCDN. However, the CDN doesn’t seem to be working fine in my tests. It is not necessary that you have to use their CDN. You can use some other CDN.
Kinsta supports PHP 7.4 and offers many other useful tools like adding redirect rules, adding IP deny rules, setting manual backup points, and more.
Overall, Kinsta is a powerful managed WordPress hosting provider and it is very user-friendly.
- Simple, clean, and intuitive interface.
- Offer staging environment and temporary URL.
- Provides integrated CDN and server-side caching.
- Easy integration with Gmail MX records of GSuite.
- Proactive protection against malware injections and hacks, and a promise to clean up a site in case of an unfortunate hack.
- Allows site cloning.
- Free SSL, free migration (both professional and automated), free advanced analytics.
- Integrated features like IP blocking, redirection rules, etc.
- Easy scaling on demand.
- Brilliant customer support.
- Kinsta CDN can break your site.
- Plans are a bit expensive.
- No Web Application Firewall.
#4. Rocket Managed WordPress Hosting – Offers WAF
Rocket managed WordPress hosting is a new player in the market. The company offers a very powerful, and yet a very intuitive interface. The usual features like free SSL, free backups, PHP version selector, etc. are all present.
One of their unique selling points is the free Web Application Firewall that will protect your website from hacks and malware injection. What’s interesting about their interface is that you can install plugins and themes directly from inside the client dashboard, and even enable auto-updates for themes, plugins, and even WordPress core.
You get to create staging environment as well so that you can make changes to your website without impacting the production site. Once you are happy with the overall changes, you can publish them quickly to the production site.
However, I did notice that there was an UI glitch. When I published a site from the staging environment, the process seemed to be never-ending, and I had to refresh the dashboard to find out whether the site changes were published or not.
As far as the performance is concerned, Google PageSpeed Insights did not offer satisfactory results for mobile devices. However, for desktop, everything looked top-notch.
This doesn’t mean that you cannot achieve a better score for mobile devices! You can! All you need to do is to optimize your website properly.
The customer support was a bit disappointing as I found that they have a tendency of putting the blame on your instead of looking for errors that may originate from their end. You can read my entire review here.
- Beautiful dashboard design.
- Allows creating a staging site.
- Allows enabling auto-updates for themes, plugins, and website core.
- Allows installing themes and plugins directly from the Rocket dashboard.
- Allows selecting PHP version. Default version is PHP 7.4.
- Offers WAF.
- Offer automatic backups, but you are free to manually backup your site and database.
- Some UI glitch exists.
- Not really superfast, but optimization can improve performance.
- Pretty expensive.
#5. WP Engine Managed WordPress Hosting – Offers a Proprietary Technology Called LargeFS
WP Engine is one of the oldest managed WordPress hosting providers in this world. The company offers a clean interface for account management. However, when it comes to site details and working to site settings, I somewhere feel that the interface could use some overhaul and simplification.
Just like any other managed WordPress hosting solution, WP Engine also offers staging and production environments. You can use get integrated CDN, create redirect rules, create backup points and more.
They also offer Genesis framework and StudioPress themes for free to all subscribers. But as you read in the case of Flywheel, the framework and the themes aren’t really that great. They will push you to buy the Genesis Pro framework and the relevant StudioPress themes. Yes, you will get free SSL, free site migration, temporary URL, etc.
The problem with their site migration is that it is an automated service using a plugin. They do not offer manual site migration as offered by top competitors on this list. Automated migrations can lead to errors.
WP Engine will offer Global Edge Security via Cloudflare and charge you $30 for that. You can get the same thing directly from Cloudflare for $20. That’s quite disappointing!
As far as performance is concerned, it is not really up to the mark when you use the free Genesis framework and related StudioPress themes. I will suggest not to use them. Rather, you should go for better themes (such as GeneratePress) to get fast-loading websites.
If you want to learn more about WP Engine managed WordPress hosting, you can read my full review here.
- Powerful platform with intuitive interface.
- Easy to build a site in minutes.
- Offers StudioPress themes and Genesis Framework for free.
- PHP 7.4 available.
- Allows creating staging site and offers free SSL.
- The offer server-side caching.
- Their proprietary LargeFS technology allows users to increase their storage space to practically unlimited by utilizing Amazon S3 object storage. However, users need to pay for Amazon S3.
- Charges extra for Cloudflare’s Global Edge Security.
- Charges money for smart plugin manager plugin that allows for auto-updates of plugins.
- Charges extra for multisite installation.
- Pricey solution. There are cheaper options available.
- Free Genesis framework and StudioPress themes are outdated and rudimentary, and they may slow down the site.
Okay, that’s my pick for the best managed WordPress hosting providers. However, there are many more that you can try out.
Here are some honorable mentions that you should check out:
- SiteGround Managed WordPress Hosting [Cheapest option you can get]
- Bluehost Managed WordPress Hosting [Has a big reputation in Shared Hosting, and is recommended by WordPress.org]
- Presslabs Managed WordPress Hosting [It is really expensive]
Now that I have given you my list of best managed WordPress hosting solutions you can get, it is time I address some basic questions about this particular format of hosting.
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting is a specialized type of hosting that allows hosting only the WordPress CMS. The hosting environment is fine-tuned for ensuring smooth running of the CMS. The providers take care of all the technical aspects. They ensure that the servers are functioning at their optimal level and all necessary software are up-to-date.
They also ensure that the servers are protected against threats like malware injection, DDoS attacks, hacks, etc. Apart from security, they also take care of speed, caching, CDN, backups, website uptime, scalability, etc.
Because managed WordPress hosting is a concierge service, the hosts also offer premium support that is available 24×7.
Of course, such premium service comes with additional costs, but what you get in return is a hassle-free hosting experience so that you can focus on what matters the most – your business continuity.
What are the Benefits of Managed WordPress Hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting comes with several benefits. Those are listed below:
Managed WordPress hosting providers are known for offering superior support. In general, all hosts employ support professionals who are trained in WordPress. The support is usually extended via 24×7 chat, but there are options of ticket system, knowledge base, and sometimes phone support.
All managed WordPress hosting companies offer SSD storage and high-performance servers that are fine-tuned to work with WordPress. The servers come preinstalled with software that are known for offering best performance. While the choice of software may differ from host to host, all of them ensure that they are offering the latest technology for the chose software.
They also ensure high uptime, high security, and other basics that ensure the continued availability of the websites hosted on those servers.
For instance, most of the managed WordPress hosting providers will offer PHP 7.4 by default, which is known for stability, speed, and security.
Data Center Locations
The number of data centers offered by companies will differ. Some will offer more and some will offer less. However, most of them will offer data centers that are strategically located to ensure that your website remains as close as possible to your visitors.
You will not find a single managed WordPress hosting provider who will not offer automatic backups. It is a standard feature that you will find with every host in this category. Automatic backups ensure that you don’t have to worry about backing up your website from time to time.
Managed WordPress hosting providers will usually offer daily automatic backups so that you always have the backup of the most recent copy of your website. You can also restore these backups with a single click.
Staging environment is a unique concept. In this, you can create a replica of your production website and then make changes to the replicated website. Those changes can be anything from website function to website design. Making those changes on a live website doesn’t really make sense. Such live changes can hamper the user experience.
With a staging site, you can make those changes on the replicated website and when you are ready, you can publish those changes on the live site with a single click. This ensures that the user experience is not hampered.
Many (including me) argue that if you really want a completely developer-friendly environment, you better opt for options like DigitalOcean, Vultr, UpCloud, Linode, etc. These are DIY hosting services and they are the most famous cloud hosting platforms.
These DIY hosting platforms will offer only virtual VPS on bare metal servers where you have to install everything by yourself. You will get access to command line interface and everything is extremely technical. This makes them a perfect platform for developers.
However, managed WordPress hosting providers have amped up the competition by offering developer-friendly features like Git, WP-CLI, SSH access, and more. These features allow developers to run different PHP versions between staging environment and production environment, create custom setups like reverse proxy configuration and Bedrock, etc.
It is true that people opting for managed WordPress hosting usually do not want to take care of the technical things and hence, noobs go for it. Still, these options are available just in case developers want to use them.
Managed WordPress hosting providers take security of the servers very seriously and engage in proactive server security. They not only monitor the server round-the-clock to prevent hacks, malware injection, DDoS attacks, but also implement several security measures so that such things can be stopped before they even happen.
Managed WordPress hosting providers deploy both hardware firewall and software firewall to prevent such malicious things from impacting their high-performance servers.
One of the best features of managed WordPress hosting is that they allow easy scalability. Even if your website is experiencing intermitted bouts of high traffic, you don’t have to change your plan to get a higher or pricier plan. The system resources can scale up to meet the increased demand caused by sudden high traffic. When the traffic subsides, the extra resources will be released.
This method ensures that you pay only for what you are using instead of paying extra consistently even if you are not using the extra resources.
Scalability of system resources simply mean that the RAM and CPU cores allocated for your website will increase when required and the extra memory and CPU will be released when you no longer need it.
Can You Install Plugins of Your Choice on Managed WordPress Hosting?
Of course, you can! There is no such restriction that you cannot install plugins of your choice. In fact, managed WordPress hosting providers will not install plugins for you. You have to do that by yourself. You have to install the themes of your choice, and you have to ensure that whatever you are installing is not creating conflicts. The hosting provider will not take care of those things.
Can You Use a Pre-Purchased Domain with Managed WordPress hosting?
Yes, you can! Every managed WordPress hosting will give you a temporary URL to work with. When you are satisfied with what you have built, you can point your domain to the server of the managed WP hosting where your website sits.
Is It Necessary Buy Add-Ons Offered by Managed WP Hosting?
No, it is not necessary. Though such add-ons often enhance the overall functionalities of a website, you don’t really need them. Those add-ons will often cost you extra. So, be careful. Buy only if you truly need them.
Do Managed WordPress Hosting Providers Really Give Blazing-Fast Websites?
With the most rudimentary setup – yes, you will get blazing-fast website with any managed WordPress hosting. By rudimentary I mean the basic Twenty Twenty theme and no plugins (with WordPress 5.6, you will get Twenty Twenty-One theme).
Whether or not your website remains fast after you install your theme of choice and your necessary plugins will depend on how well you optimize your site. If you are using heavy images, a poorly-coded theme, too many ads, many scripts, etc., your website will load slowly even on the fastest of servers.
So, optimize your site properly if you really want a fast website. You can get a fast website even on a shared hosting platform.
Will Managed WordPress Hosting Providers Migrate Your Site?
Yes, they will! Most of them will offer manual migrations and some will offer only automatic migration. There are some who will offer both. The difference between a manual migration and an automatic migration is that in manual migration, a human experience in WordPress will manually move your site from one server to another.
In the case of automatic migration, the host will provide a plugin that will move your site from your existing host to the managed host of your choice. The automatic migration will still need your manual intervention. The problem with automatic migration is that there can be errors after migration is done. You have to fix those errors by yourself.
Will Managed WordPress Hosting Providers Offer Backups?
Yes, every managed WordPress hosting provider will give you an automatic backup feature in which the host will take backups (automated through the system) and store it remotely. You can then download the backup to your local disk or you can restore it directly with a single click.
Backups are usually free and included in the plan. Depending on the frequency of backups you may be charged separately. Generally, hosts will offer one backup a day. Some will retain each backup for seven days while some will retain them for 14 days. The most generous ones will retain backups for 30 days.
Can You Change to a Managed Hosting Provider Later?
Yes, you can always change from one managed hosting provider to another. After all, what you will be moving will include your website files and your database. They are independent of the sever software and hardware. So, there are no such restrictions that you cannot change to a different managed WordPress hosting provider later.
How Much Does a Managed WordPress Hosting Cost?
The cost will differ from one host to another. The industry standard is USD 30 a month, but you can get hosts that will offer starting plans from as little as $15 a month. The price will depend on the hosting provider and the plan you select. So, it is literally impossible to say how much it will cost for you.
Is Managed WordPress Hosting the Right Choice for You?
May be! Whether this format of hosting is a right choice for you or not will depend on whether you are willing or unwilling to take the technical burden of managing the server or not. Most people who opt for managed WordPress hosting do not want to deal with the technical aspects.
If you are ready to handle the technical burden, you don’t have to purchase a managed WordPress hosting. If you want to avoid it, you better go for a managed WordPress hosting. I, for instance, always use DigitalOcean cloud hosting, because I am willing to learn all the technical things. You may not be like me!
So, which managed WordPress hosting provider should you select? In my opinion, you should go for Liquid Web. They are the best (according to me). However, you can try out any one of the five listed in this article. All of them have unconditional money-back guarantee. If you don’t like their services, you can always ask for a refund within the 30-day money-back guarantee period.