The 6 Best Managed WordPress Hosting Companies: An Honest Review

best managed wordpress hosting review

Searching for the best managed WordPress hosting providers?

If you’re a WordPress user, managed WordPress hosting is a great way to optimize your site’s performance and security while also getting access to convenient features to make your life easier.

However, it can be tough to find a good provider because pretty much every web host now offers some type of product that they call managed WordPress hosting, and not all are created equal.

To help, we’ve collected your six best options based on objective data. Beyond that, we’ll also introduce you to what managed WordPress hosting is before we get to those hosts, and compare it to some other hosting types later on.

Let’s dig in…

What Is Managed WordPress Hosting?

In general, managed WordPress hosting is a set of concierge features and optimizations all geared towards helping you more successfully host WordPress sites. It’s not necessarily its own hosting “type” – it’s more a label for the types of services that you’ll receive along with your hosting.

There’s also no governing entity that decides which hosts can and cannot call themselves managed WordPress hosting. As such, you’ll find all different types of hosts offering these plans at a variety of different price points.

For example, SiteGround uses a shared hosting environment for its WordPress plans but still markets them as managed WordPress hosting. You can also go the other way with dedicated WordPress hosting, though most popular managed hosts use some type of cloud VPS for their plans.

For our purposes, we’re not going to get too hung up on the underlying hosting infrastructure. Instead, we’re going to define managed WordPress hosting as hosting that:

  • Puts in place performance optimizations, such as WordPress-optimized page caching, a content delivery network (CDN), and/or other tactics.
  • Employs WordPress-specific security rules, like a web application firewall (WAF) and tactics to protect the WordPress login page.
  • Has useful management/maintenance features like automatic updates for the WordPress core, automatic backups, staging sites, etc.
  • Has support staff who understand WordPress.

Six Best Managed WordPress Hosting Providers

In order to objectively determine the “best” hosts, we’ll turn to third-party data (and I’ll also pepper in some of my own thoughts as I’ve personally tried all of these hosts at this point).

This includes data from Trustpilot, WhoIsHostingThis, CodeinWP, and Review Signal. You can learn more about this methodology in our post on the best WordPress hosting.

About this Hosting Review

We are affiliates for the hosts on this list (other than Liquid Web). If you click a link and go on to buy the hosting, we’ll earn a commission. We’re affiliates for these hosts because we’ve collected and analyzed thousands of real, unbiased customer reviews on WordPress hosting, and that data shows that these hosts are the best hosting in their category.

1. Kinsta

Kinsta

Trustpilot

(5)

WhoIsHostingThis

(5)

CodeinWP

(10)

Review Signal

(100)

Aggregate

(100)

4.859.2296%

Based on the objective data that we’ve looked at, Kinsta is the overall best managed WordPress hosting. It has the best overall user satisfaction, the best support rating, and earned Top Tier status in Review Signal’s 2019 performance benchmarks (though Kinsta didn’t participate in 2020).

In my experience (and the testing that I’ve done), it’s also generally the fastest managed WordPress hosting.

In addition to those accolades, Kinsta includes all of the managed WordPress features that you’d expect including:

  • Server-level caching via Nginx Fast_CGI cache, along with a companion plugin to help you purge the cache
  • Built-in CDN powered by KeyCDN
  • Automatic and on-demand backups with 14-day storage
  • Automatic WordPress updates
  • Easy one-click staging sites
  • Firewalls and DDoS protection
  • Uptime checks every two minutes
  • Hack-fix guarantee if something gets through the proactive security rules

Here are the prices for the first three tiers, but Kinsta also offers many other plans, which allows for easy scaling.

StarterProBusiness 1
Price/mo.$30$60$100
Websites125
Visits20,00040,000100,000
Storage10 GB20 GB30 GB

You can get two months free if you opt to pay annually.

2. SiteGround

SiteGround

Trustpilot

(5)

WhoIsHostingThis

(5)

CodeinWP

(10)

Review Signal

(100)

Aggregate

(100)

4.858.647389%

You may be surprised to see SiteGround on this list, as SiteGround also fits the definition of shared hosting. SiteGround is a popular shared host that offers managed WordPress hosting features (everything from WordPress-specific caching improvements to free WordPress backups and staging sites), though it’s not limited to WordPress like most other managed hosts.

If you’re looking for cheap managed WordPress hosting, SiteGround is probably your best bet. Despite its comparatively cheap prices, SiteGround still performs well in objective data on user satisfaction and also earned Top Tier status in Review Signal’s 2020 performance benchmarks.

If you’re looking for managed WordPress features, you should skip SiteGround’s entry-level plan and go for the GrowBig or GoGeek plans. On those plans, you’ll get:

  • Server-level caching
  • Automatic and on-demand backups
  • Easy staging sites
  • Automatic WordPress updates

Like most shared hosts, SiteGround uses discounted monthly rates for your first billing cycle to draw you in. When you go to renew, you’ll need to pay full price. For that reason, I highly recommend locking in its promotional prices for the full three years if possible as there’s a huge difference in price between promo vs regular pricing.

GrowBigGoGeek
Promo Price /Mo.$9.99$14.99
Regular Price /Mo.$24.99$39.99
WebsitesUnlimitedUnlimited
Suggested Visits25,000100,000
Storage20 GB40 GB

3. Cloudways

Cloudways

Trustpilot

(5)

WhoIsHostingThis

(5)

CodeinWP

(10)

Review Signal

(100)

Aggregate

(100)

4.34.58.147884%

Cloudways is a bit different than these other managed WordPress hosts. However, I still think it fits on this list, and I’ll explain why after I cover how it’s different.

The unique thing about Cloudways is that Cloudways itself doesn’t provide the hosting infrastructure. Instead, it’s a managed service that lets you choose your own preferred cloud hosting provider from a list that includes DigitalOcean, Linode, Vultr, AWS, and Google Cloud.

Cloudways then automatically configures that hosting for WordPress and gives you lots of managed features.

So – is it managed WordPress hosting? I think yes because it still has:

  • WordPress-optimized caching via its Breeze plugin
  • Staging sites
  • Automatic backups
  • Firewalls
  • Etc.

Cloudways also markets itself as managed WordPress hosting.

However, Cloudways is going to be a little bit more technical than the other hosts on this list. For that reason, I would recommend it more for advanced users.

The upside is that you can get excellent performance even on the cheapest tiers. For a moderately-trafficked WordPress site with properly configured caching, you can get surprisingly fast load times on just the entry-level DigitalOcean plan ($10 per month).

I won’t list prices here because there are far too many variables – you can check out all of the options on the pricing page.

In general, plans start from ~$10 per month for DigitalOcean, Linode, and Vultr servers. AWS and Google Cloud plans start more from ~$35 per month.

4. Flywheel

Flywheel

Trustpilot

(5)

WhoIsHostingThis

(5)

CodeinWP

(10)

Review Signal

(100)

Aggregate

(100)

3.79.087881%

Flywheel is a popular managed WordPress host that markets itself towards designers and agencies, though anyone can use it. The marketing angle is because Flywheel has tools that simplify life for designers/agencies, like easy client billing transfer. But in terms of the hosting product itself, it’s got everything regular WordPress users need.

In 2019, Flywheel was acquired by WP Engine, another host that you’ll see on this list. This acquisition has led to some standardization between their plans, but Flywheel is still run as a separate entity and uses separate infrastructure powered by Google Cloud.

Personally, I think that Flywheel has the nicest hosting dashboard of any tool on this list, though Kinsta also has a polished dashboard. Beyond that, you’ll get all the standard managed features that you’d expect like:

  • Automatic WordPress updates
  • Automatic daily backups + manual backups
  • Server-level caching
  • One-click staging sites
  • Integrated CDN
  • Free/easy SSL certificates
  • Free hack fix and malware removal

One notable “goodie” that you get with Flywheel (and WP Engine) is free access to the popular Genesis Framework and all StudioPress child themes. If you like those child themes, this offers extra value, but it doesn’t add much if you already have a favorite theme.

Here are the prices for the first three tiers:

TinyStarterFreelance
Price/mo.$15$30$115
Websites1110
Visits5,00025,000100,000
Storage5 GB10 GB20 GB
Bandwidth20 GB50 GB200 GB

You can get two months free if you opt to pay annually.

5. Liquid Web/Nexcess

Liquid Web

Trustpilot

(5)

WhoIsHostingThis

(5)

CodeinWP

(10)

Review Signal

(100)

Aggregate

(100)

3.84.58.577281%

Liquid Web is a popular hosting provider that offers managed WordPress hosting through its Nexcess brand. Liquid Web acquired iThemes, a popular WordPress developer, in 2018 which has allowed the Liquid Web team to build iThemes’ products into its managed WordPress offering.

For example, all of the plans come with iThemes Security Pro and iThemes Sync. You’ll also get all the “standard” managed WordPress features like:

  • Automatic daily backups and storage for 30 days
  • Easy staging sites
  • Automatic updates for WordPress core and plugins

One notable thing is that Liquid Web doesn’t bill you based on your visitor numbers like Kinsta or Flywheel – instead, you’ll pay based on your bandwidth.

Here are the pricing details for the first three tiers, but there are four other plans if you need to scale further.

SparkMakerDesigner
Price/mo.$19$79$109
Websites1510
Bandwidth2 TB3 TB4 TB
Storage15 GB40 GB60 GB

If you want to give it a go, you can test it out with a 14-day free trial of the Spark plan.

6. WP Engine

WP Engine

Trustpilot

(5)

WhoIsHostingThis

(5)

CodeinWP

(10)

Review Signal

(100)

Aggregate

(100)

2.848.867775%

WP Engine is probably the most well-known managed WordPress hosting provider, though it doesn’t score as well as these other hosts in the objective data.

WP Engine now markets itself as a “WordPress Digital Experience Platform” rather than “just” managed WordPress hosting. That feels a bit jargony to me, but I guess the argument is that you’re also getting the Genesis Framework/StudioPress child themes, the GeoTarget add-on, and the optional Genesis Pro plugin (the result of another WP Engine acquisition – Atomic Blocks).

Still…it just feels like managed WordPress hosting to me. 😃 That’s not a bad thing, just my suggestion to avoid falling for the marketing copy. You’ll get:

  • Multiple staging environments (Staging & Development)
  • Integrated CDN
  • Server-level caching via Varnish and Memcached
  • Free/easy SSL certificates

Overall, WP Engine is still one of the leaders in the managed WordPress hosting space. However, at this price point, you’ll probably be better off with Kinsta, which is the conclusion of our in-depth Kinsta vs WP Engine comparison.

WP Engine also has an odd pricing structure – it jumps from $30/mo. to $115/mo. with no option in between. Kinsta gives you that $60/mo. middle-ground, which is nice when you outgrow the entry-level plan.

StartupGrowthScale
Price/mo.$30$115$290
Websites11030
Visits25,000100,000400,000
Storage10 GB20 GB50 GB
Bandwidth50 GB200 GB500 GB

You can get two months free if you opt to pay annually.

Is Managed WordPress Hosting Right for You? Comparing It Vs Other Options

To finish things out, let’s go through a managed WordPress hosting comparison to help you decide if this type of hosting is right for you…or if you should maybe go with another type of hosting.

Managed WordPress Hosting vs Shared Hosting

For this comparison, I’m going to compare managed WordPress hosting vs generic shared hosting, rather than something like SiteGround.

Basically, the only reason for a WordPress user to choose shared hosting over managed WordPress hosting is the price – managed WordPress pricing will always be higher than generic shared hosting.

When it comes to features, performance, support, and more, shared hosting is not as good as managed WordPress hosting. However, it’s cheap, and sometimes that’s the most important thing, especially for a low-traffic site.

👉 5 best WordPress shared hosting providers

WordPress Managed Hosting vs Unmanaged

Unmanaged hosting is basically the opposite of managed WordPress hosting. It doesn’t come with any of those convenient features. In fact, it might not even have basic packages installed, like PHP or your web server. You’ll need to install whichever stack you prefer. For example, LEMP or LAMP.

The downside is that it’s a lot more complicated. So if you’re a casual user, you’ll definitely want to stay away from unmanaged hosting.

However, if you have the tech chops to pull it off, unmanaged hosting has two big advantages:

  • You can create a really high-performing hosting environment for cheap. With just the $5 per month DigitalOcean cloud VPS droplet, you can have a super-fast site.
  • You can set it up exactly as you want. Prefer Nginx over Apache? Easy – just install Nginx instead of Apache!

A nice middle-ground here can be to use a dedicated WordPress hosting control panel. This makes unmanaged hosting simple enough for non-developers (though you’ll still want some tech chops). Some good options here are:

How to Choose the Best Managed WordPress Hosting

Now for the important question – which is the best managed WordPress hosting for your needs?

The Overall Best Option

Again, if you want the overall best managed WordPress hosting product, all of the objective data says that you should choose Kinsta. Kinsta has:

  • The highest Trustpilot rating
  • A perfect WhoIsHostingThis rating
  • The top overall rating in CodeinWP’s survey and the best support rating
  • Top Tier status in Review Signal’s 2019 performance benchmarks

Beyond that, I’ve also had excellent personal experiences with Kinsta and it’s always performed well when I’ve tested it.

The “Budget” Option

However, while Kinsta is priced competitively vs other hosts like WP Engine and Flywheel, Kinsta is still a big step up if you’re coming from shared hosting.

So – if you can’t afford Kinsta’s $30 per month entry point – then your next best bet is SiteGround. SiteGround is still shared hosting, which gives it a much more affordable entry-point. But at the same time, it still manages to pack in a lot of managed WordPress features, especially if you go with the GrowBig or GoGeek plans.

If you’re using SiteGround, I highly recommend trying to lock in as many years upfront as possible – the deal is not quite as sweet once you get past the promotional prices (this is especially true after a June 2020 price increase).

A Good Option for Advanced Users

Finally, if you’re an advanced user, look at Cloudways. While Cloudways is a little different (as I noted above), I think it still fits the spirit of managed WordPress hosting and it offers exceptional performance at a very low price. It’s just probably not the best spot for non-technical users.

Final Thoughts

If you’re still on the fence about whether or not you need managed WordPress hosting in the first place, you can also check out our full collection of the best WordPress hosting, which includes both managed and non-managed options. You can also read our guide on how to choose hosting to pick the right host.

And if you still have any additional questions, let us know in the comments or join our Facebook group.


3 Responses

Comments

  • Juan Lavieri says:

    Excellent information, presented clearly and concisely. Just what I needed to read.
    Thank you very much.

  • Phil says:

    I know this post is titled 6 best managed hosting companies, but I’m curious where WPMUDev falls on your overall list. I’ve been jumping around from web host to web host for the better part of a decade (1and1, bluehost, siteground, rebel, etc.) and I’ve finally decided to settle in with them.

    They initially started as a premium WP plugin provider, but in the last year have expanded to managed hosting as well. Their plugins cover performance, image optimization (Smush Pro is probably one of the best available), site security, white label branding, marketing and so much more.

    Their managed hosting starts with:

    Price/mo: $10/mo
    Websites: 1 (with support for multisite)
    Visits: 20,000 (no actual restriction)
    Storage: 25GB SSD
    Bandwidth: 1TB

    Anyhow I know they’re new to the managed hosting game, but I just think they should be evaluated and considered as opposed to just re-hashing the same big players year in year out.

    Thanks for the great post!

  • Tim Nolte says:

    It really surprises me that Pantheon is not on this list.

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