Managed WordPress Hosting Compared

In this post we take a look at companies offering managed WordPress hosting. These companies have in-house WordPress experts and have built their hosting system from the ground up to be tailored for the specific needs of a WordPress site.
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For those of you who are looking for a reliable WordPress hosting solution, WP Mayor recommends SiteGround for shared hosting.

However, if you are looking for something more secure/powerful/managed and WordPress-specific, I would look elsewhere. Managed WordPress hosting offers distinct advantages over traditional shared web hosts. These companies have in-house WordPress experts and have built their hosting system ground up tailored for the specific needs of a WordPress site.

Let’s take a look at what the top managed WordPress hosts offer:

WP Engine

Managed WordPress Hosting Compared wp engine

WP Engine is often described as the WordPress managed hosting company that everyone else wants to beat. They have a great following and an army of happy customers who sing their praises daily.

Here at WP Mayor, we currently host with Servebolt but have hosted many of our important sites with WP Engine and always worked well with them. Read our WP Engine review to learn more about our experience with WP Engine.

WPEngine is one of the earliest pioneers in WordPress-focused/specialized/optimized hosting, and are still the largest in that category.

They offer features specifically for your basic WordPress needs. These include:

  • Access to the popular Genesis theme framework and 35+ StudioPress themes.
  • 24/7 chat support on the basic plan (24/7 phone support for more advanced plans).
  • Automated SSL certificates & Global CDN.
  • Automated backups, one-click restores, and staging areas.

WPEngine also has a lot to offer on the enterprise tier. Run your website on Google Cloud Platform (GCP) and Amazon Web Service (AWS), as well as a dedicated clustered environment with redundant data centers, multi-zone availability, and load-balancing.

Brands like SoundCloud and WPBeginner rely on WPEngine for their hosting needs.

Managed WordPress Hosting Compared wp engine pricing

Prices for signing up with WP Engine start at $35/month (for 1 site and up to 25,000 visits per month), which is a great deal when you consider all the goodies that deal packs. The Growth plan (previously known as the Professional plan) is an even better value at $115 (which includes hosting for 5 sites and maximum 100,000 visits per month), bringing down the cost per site drastically. WP Engine also offers a fantastic 60 day money back guarantee, which is the longest guarantee of its type that you can get from any managed WordPress host at the moment.

Get started with WP Engine

Kinsta

Managed WordPress Hosting Compared kinsta

Some of our sites are hosted by Kinsta and the experience with them so far has been excellent, both in terms of hosting and support.

Although Kinsta is a relative newcomer in the market (started in 2013), it has quickly made a name for itself thanks to its affordable pricing and great overall performance. These features successfully attracted top clients such as Buffer, Ubisoft, and TripAdvisor.

Kinsta is well-suited for just about any type of hosting need because of basic must-haves that include free migrations, daily backups, state-of-the-art security, and a dashboard where you can view important website information at-a-glance, manage users, and access analytics.

All plans come with 24/7 expert support and staging environments where you can test out plugins and themes.

Managed WordPress Hosting Compared kinsta pricing

Kinsta offers enterprise hosting with the most affordable plans for this tier. Their most affordable enterprise hosting plan starts at $600/month, which includes 60 WordPress installs, 1 million visits, 60GB disk space, and unlimited bandwidth. Of course, you don’t have to be an enterprise business to benefit from all of the features that Kinsta has to offer.

When using Kinsta as your web host, you’ll also have access to a range of add-ons that include Cloudflare Railgun, Elasticsearch, Redis, extra backups, and Nginx reverse proxy, among others. Note that Kinsta charges overage fees for when you exceed a certain number of website visits, or hit your CDN limits.

Get started with Kinsta

Pagely

Managed WordPress Hosting Compared pagely

With clients such as Disney, Visa and Comcast, Pagely is one of the more well-known premium WordPress hosting providers on the market. Despite the impressive client-list, their plans start at $199, making their hosting accessible to any size business. What sets Pagely apart is their focus on over-the-top service/support and their flexibility.

Pagely customers get what they call “Tierless Support”. This means that you’ll always get help from an experienced WordPress hosting expert rather than having to deal with different tiers of support technicians. Their positive customer reviews online show that they’re definitely doing something right in this respect.
 
Their unique ARES Gateway allows them to create completely custom hosting environments on a per-site basis. This means they can handle anything you throw at them — no one is an edge case, any technical need can be met, and every problem has a solution. Through these custom solutions, as your company grows, they can easily adapt to your changing needs, making Pagely a host you will probably never outgrow.

Although they do not offer entry-level plans — their cheapest option for VPS hosting starts at $199/month and their enterprise solutions start at $2500/month — you know you’re backed by a supportive and reliable team. Pagely is designed and engineered from the ground up to support high-demand WordPress sites with a focus on data reliability, so you’ll want to look elsewhere if you have simpler needs.

Pagely’s powerful features include:

  • A modern hosting stack to make your site faster. This includes world-class infrastructure built from the best AWS has to offer, including high-end EC2 instances, dedicated RDS running Aurora (5x faster than MySQL), and all the bells and whistles you’d expect like included CDN, HTTP/2 SSL acceleration, etc.
  • Ability to backup your website with Amazon Web Services (AWS), which provides you with scalability and redundancy — it creates an automatic backup and replacement in case of website system failure.
  • 24/7 support (albeit no phone support).

Get started with Pagely

Liquid Web

Managed WordPress Hosting Compared liquid web

Since it was founded in 1997, Liquid Web has been a leader in managed VPS hosting, managed cloud hosting, and dedicated server hosting.

Liquid Web positions itself as a premium service in that it takes care of everything WordPress-related for you, down to the little details you may miss. From automatically issuing you SSL certificates and compressing your images to keep your site efficient, to automatic daily backups that can be stored off-site for safety and speed, Liquid Web has got you covered.

Not only that, Liquid Web supports both Linux and Windows servers, allowing you to oversee multiple sites at once. Liquid Web also includes WordPress site staging and quick 24/7 support (called “Heroic Support”).

Managed WordPress Hosting Compared liquid web pricing

On the downside, Liquid Web does not offer unlimited storage and monthly data transfers. Liquid Web does not offer any shared hosting plans because they target SMBs with sites, stores and applications, as well as websites for designers and developers. It’s no wonder that Liquid Web is used by top brands such as Home Depot, National Geographic, FILA, and Motorola.

Pricing plans for Managed WordPress hosting start at $29/month.

If you’re running an e-commerce website, don’t forget to check out their WooCommerce hosting!

Get started with Liquid Web

Pantheon

Managed WordPress Hosting Compared pantheon

Like Kinsta, Pantheon is a relative newcomer on the scene. It started in 2010, and has built up an impressive list of clients including MIT, SendGrid, and Patagonia. According to their website, Pantheon is both your WordPress host and sysadmin all rolled into one — anything you need to build a WordPress site, they have and will take care of, for you.

Their enterprise-level solution claims to be the fastest and most scalable in the market due to its container-based infrastructure. Add to the fact that Pantheon is a “multi-tenant platform-as-a-service” where all client sites run on the same platform infrastructure via the Google Cloud Platform. They used to only offer hosting for Drupal websites but now offer Managed WordPress hosting, as well.

Pantheon’s strengths lie in their ‘dev’, ‘test’ and ‘live’ environments, and how they’re set up. These allow for direct development and version control, which allows you to perform accurate tests and ensures that the code you’re releasing performs consistently across all three stages. You can even manage security by controlling who on your team can push the website ‘live’, one of the tools on their Pro Dev Tools for Teams.

Managed WordPress Hosting Compared pantheon pricing

All of Pantheon’s plans include:

  • Managed HTTPS.
  • Global CDN.
  • Automated backups.
  • 24/7 chat support.
  • Managed site migrations.
  • Version control and workflow.

Pantheon’s hosting plans start at $29/month but prices can go as steep as $10,000 per year, depending on your needs. You can use their price calculator to determine your needs and related costs.

Get started with Pantheon

My WordPress Managed Hosting Recommendations

Having reviewed the offerings of all these WordPress managed hosting companies, I still feel that WP Engine offer the best deal.

The rest however also do offer very good packages, so I wouldn’t cross out any of them.

Pagely has been established longer than WP Engine, if my memory serves me well, and they’re one of the pioneers of the WordPress managed hosting industry.

If I were looking for WordPress managed hosting, I would go for WP Engine, but everyone has his own requirements, so don’t rush.

Contact each of the hosts above and ask them all you need to know. See how they respond to your emails and you’ll have a good idea how support will be when you actually sign up.

All owners of successful sites will be looking for specific things when looking for a managed host, and each of these hosting options give you a different mix. It’s good that we have a choice, and I also look forward to see other companies enter this exciting niche of managed WordPress web hosting.

What are your experiences with the hosts mentioned in this review?

This article was updated in May 2019 by Maddy Osman.

Some of the links below are affiliate links, if you click through and purchase a package we will receive a commission that helps keep WP Mayor running.

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41 Responses

    1. Thanks Adrian, I hadn’t come across Presslabs, having a look at their site right now, looks like another good service.

      I expect many new managed hosting providers to pop up this year, as it’s a lucrative niche. There’s a lot of demand for WordPress-specific hosting, since more and more bigger websites are moving to WordPress.

      We’re also going to be see many theme shops offer their own hosting this year, I’m pretty sure of that.

      And as far as we users are concerned, the more competition there is the better!

    2. Dear Adrian thanks for mentioning us!

      As Jean and Austin were saying indeed the competition is good for the customers, making the service better. I would add that this is good also for the entire internet, as more and more sites are faster making access to information easier.

      I’m glad to be part of this story and even more glad to help various bloggers and publishers solve their WordPress hosting issues!

    3. I tried both and I prefer wpengine. Here are the main reasons;

      Reason-1: my speed tests, ping and tracert showed better results at wpengine

      Reason-2: Support is much better at wpengine. They are very helpful and friendly. The support team at websynthesis is not very cooperative, not helpful, and has very rude attitude.

      wpengine also has instant Chat Support you can use anytime.

      Reason-3: wpengine has better back-up system. You can create backup points, then when you need it, you can select a backup and hit “Restore” to restore your site to a previous version instantly. So I always create a new backup points before you I make any changes or add anew plugin etc. I can also download .zip files of my backups for safe keeping.

      So I do not have to pay extra for daily or instant backup services.

      Reason-4: Security; wpengine has their in-house system for vulnerability scanning. They also use SecTheory and Sucuri for external network connections. they scan and monitor your web site and database for known vectors and exploits.

      I am not affiliated with any of the hosting companies. These are my honest opinion and experience after I use them both. Choosing a reliable hosting company, especially the one you feel comfortable contacting them any time for support and advice is very important. I hope this helps for other web site owners.

      Best regards.

      1. I would agree with your observations. Live chat is something WP Engine have introduced very recently, and it’s a welcome addition to their great support systems.

  1. Hey Jean, thanks for writing this piece! There are several managed hosts that people can choose from in the industry, which is a good thing for customers. It means they have hosts competing over them by continually adding features and improving their service. At WP Engine, we are hiring more and more WordPress experts on support, and will be adding some new features to our WordPress platform this year. I’m excited for the year to develop!

    And if anyone is looking around for a good managed WordPress host, check around on reviews and see what people are saying on social networks like Twitter. Just a search for the various companies will reveal a lot. I’m obviously super biased in favor of WP Engine, but it’s really the actual customers of a company that can tell a prospective customer about the quality of their customer experience.

    Thanks again,
    -Austin

  2. Like Austin mentioned, looking at reviews and actually reading what people’s experiences are is a great way of gauging the services offered by individual hosts (ignoring the stupid comments… e.g. “rubbish”).

    The other thing to consider is your requirements as an individual based on level of experience, the support you may need, the money you have and the traffic to your site to name but a few.

  3. Jean,

    Thanks for the post. I have been looking around at the different hosting options that are geared to WordPress. I noticed that you made the switch to WP Engine, and I was curious about the change in responsiveness that you have experienced. Have you run any site diagnostics that show a comparative before and after? If so, do you have any data that you are willing to share?

    Thanks

    1. Hi Matt, unfortunately I don’t have any before and after statistics, but my backend is definitely faster now. Front end also feels faster, and tools like Pingdom confirm that it is fast.

      Having said that, I wouldn’t make the switch from shared hosting to managed WordPress hosting on the sole basis of speed improvements. Sometimes the change will be only half a second to 1 second, that’s good but with managed hosting you’re getting much more than a speed bump.

      Being with WP Engine I now can sleep easily knowing that they have a secure environment and will also fix my site in the unlikely event of it becoming infected with malware. I know that they will automatically keep the WordPress core updated to the latest version, and give advice on optimisation and which plugins to use.

      So I think its more a question of overall infrastructure and knowing that there are WordPress hosting experts managing your site 24/7. When you ask a question you get a very knowledgeable response, many times a support ticket can lead to you learning something new about the way WordPress works.

      Hope that helps with your decision.

  4. I switched over to WPCloudLayer on recommendation from a friend who hosts there. I’ve really like it so far, no malware, good speed, nice support and no more worrying about my site upgrades. I’d recommend you check it out as an alternative to these other services. I also like WPEngine for awhile, but not the interface.

  5. I want to be big and one of the services mentioned here. Thanks for the review Jean, I hope I can use them soon 🙂

  6. Tell my why you would not use Zippykid for a new blog? They give you a CDN and 100,000 page views a month. If you need more you pay $20 and have 200,000 page views a month that’s a lot of pages. They offer that NetDNA CDN standard along with edge cast is an option for agencies plans. WP engine, web synthesis and Pagely are all awesome.
    It feels like you are not Comparing zippy kid as a true peer to them
    Currently they only thing they don’t offer is any affiliate links or any money for affiliates.

    1. You are right in that Zippy kid at the moment cannot be really compared to the others, as they have just one offering. That is the main reason why I wouldn’t go with them. I prefer to host with someone who has established plans for bigger sites and can guarantee that there won’t be any problems if the site becomes successful.

      Quality wise I have little doubt that Zippy kid are among the best and that is why I still opted to mention in them in this article.

  7. Having reviewed managed WordPress options I went with Page.ly because it’s slightly more affordable when moving up from a shared host and I needed mp3 hosting which WPEngine didn’t offer and it was fundamental to my site. Also Page.ly offered a UK server which made sense for me as the site was serving UK visitors. I didn’t realise however that Page.ly don’t offer email with their hosting so I’m glad I’d signed up for Google Apps several years ago on the domain! Thanks for the article though.

    1. I just wanted to chime in on what was said above by Tony
      because Zippy kid does offer four plans not just the one.
      As of late December of last year Zippy kid started offering
      four plans solo, small agency, enterprise and high profile
      I believe that you can compare them directly with the other excellent hosts you mentioned. You here is a link to their pricing page where it shows the plans on the Zippy Kid website.

      I can say without a doubt every one of these managed WordPress hosts are light years ahead of standard shared hosting or VPS hosting. WordPress is a unique product and you have listed the best in the business I don’t think you can go wrong with any of them.

      I will say this only Zippy Kid provides anycast DNS with MX records the ability to use e-mail.
      Page.ly does offer any cast DNS however you may not use their MX records making it so you cannot use e-mail if you want to use their DNS. I believe if you are a reseller you have the ability to use MX records through Page.ly’s DNS

      I’d say that your fine off with AWS Route 53 or DNS made easy if you want to have AnycastDNS for under $25 year outstanding DNS to go along with your outstanding web host.

    2. The link sorry
      https://www.zippykid.com/pricing/
      as far as what you said regarding if you get big. Are you saying that send grid was not a rapid growth company? they host 1% of all the e-mail on the web now 2 years ago they were unknown. I apologize but I don’t think saying a blogger should not go with ZippyKid because their blog could take off and use as much traffic as send grid did over such a short amount of time and is it because zippykid would not be able to handle scaling with it? I am confused by your statement that they would not be a good fit. I hope you agree with me If you can handle sendgrid’s rapid popularity where people must login and check their stats using the sendgrid Zippy kid website most likely you’ll handle a blogger’s rapid popularity. let me know if I’m missing something I apologize if I am.

      1. I’m sorry I wasn’t very clear in that comment. You are right in that Zippykid (especially now with their 4 offerings) are looking as good as the other providers. When I wrote the original post it seemed that Zippykid just wasn’t as polished in their plans (and not their technical expertise) as were the other providers. So as a prospective customer I’d rather go with someone who has well defined plans, that way I can also know what expenses I will incur if my blog grows.

        Thanks for pointing out the new plans and the insight into using email, I am going to go ahead and update the post to reflect Zippy Kid’s new plans.

      1. That’s a very interesting point right there Austin, I hadn’t considered the issue of legal jurisdiction with regards to the physical location of servers. Thanks for bringing that up.

  8. Thanks that reminds me there is a free hosted Email like Google Apps. Now that google cost $5 a box there is still Zoho Mail
    https://www.zoho.com/mail/?src=zoho

    I understand exactly why none of the hosts listed about would never allow somebody to use their hosting account to host e-mail off of meaning they would be the ones serving the e-mail. For many good reasons mainly because if somebody spammed someone else and you shared that IP it would get blacklisted thus impacting more users than the person who created the problem.

    I think it’s a shame that Google apps is no longer free accounts. They were helpful very helpful to many people. However there is a product Zoho Mail that is similar and you can get three 5 Gig e-mail boxes for free. After that it just $2 Per a box. https://www.zoho.com/mail/?src=zoho while there verification methods are very similar to Google you cannot simply copy and paste any JavaScript script you must create a cname or upload a file to root. Regardless it’s free and I think many bloggers that don’t need many mailboxes will really start using this service one big pluses it migrates your old mail into your new mailbox with just the username and password required.
    http://zohomail.wiki.zoho.com/

    1. Thanks for mentioning Zoho Mail, it’s indeed a valid alternative to Google Apps. The latter might be considered cooler but Zoho Mail is great if you’re looking for something free.

  9. Thanks for updating the information about us and our pricing :). A couple of things to clarify about us, and our offering..

    1. We’re the first and only hosting company that provides customers with insight into their production site with New Relic (https://www.zippykid.com/2012/03/14/managed-wordpress-hosting-support-what-you-should-expect/)

    2. We’re the only company that’s taking advantage of the Rackspace infrastructure, and the Openstack initiative, so we’ve built our own WordPress cloud platform, on top of dedicated hardware at Rackspace.

    1. Thanks for chipping in with this useful information 🙂 Could you expand on the 2nd point? I’m sure many people won’t really understand what that entails and how you differ from competition in this respect.

  10. Jean,
    It means we’re the only company on this list that’s SSAE16 compliant, as we don’t use public cloud infrastructure.

    This isn’t a big deal if you’re a small business or an a-list blogger. But some fortune 500 companies will not add you as an authorized vendor if you can’t pass these requirements.

    This is true enterprise class hosting, where it’s not just the hardware you have, or the number of visitors your website gets, but your ability to follow certain processes internally within the company. As we said almost two years ago, WordPress is a mature platform that’s not just for blogs (https://www.zippykid.com/2011/10/18/wordpress-its-not-just-for-blogs-any-more/). So we’ve been building a company and a system that will allow companies with process requirements to use WordPress easily, since then.

    In the end, our decision to abandon the public cloud infrastructure that Rackspace, Linode, or Amazon provide, and build our own cloud using open source technology from multiple vendors, is what allows us to truly meet the need of a large company, as opposed to just being able to handle large spikes in traffic.

    Our system is the newest out of all the players in the market. We’re still working out the kinks in it, so we spend $0 in marketing. This is usually why most people think we’re not capable of doing so many things :).

    Our founder Vid Luther will be speaking in detail about these changes at a PHP conference in Chicago during the month of May, a lot more details will come out then.

    1. That’s very interesting, thanks for sharing that here. I think the focus of the different hosting companies mentioned in this post is being revealed through this discussion. Hats off to you guys for putting your money where your mouth is when it comes to really taking WordPress to the next level and creating true enterprise class hosting. Looking forward to seeing all the details emerge.

      1. Apologies for butting in after I commentated just now and forgot to mention ZippyKid
        I do believe they offer a great service and if I am correct they take care of caching on all sites hosterd with them

  11. PS: In the interest of full disclosure, Sendgrid is no longer a customer of ours, they wanted more control of their development as they’re doing some cool things with their documentation site that requires non-WordPress stuff which we weren’t going to be able to support. We’ll be updating our site and removing Sendgrid as one of our customers.

  12. For bigger / business websites managed wordpress hosting is affordable. We have several small niche sites. All are wordpress based and I am searching a “fire and forget” host (=managed). Are their also services with special packages for small sites with lower pricing plans?

  13. Some Available WordPress managed hosting are WPEngine, WPOven, Page.ly, Synthesis, Lighteningbase, zippykid.

    I have found that among the available WordPress managed Hosting basic plans of Synthesis and WPOven can handle more than 30K/Mo visitors . Synthesis has a maximum limit of 75K/Mo with daily limit of 2500 visitors. WPOven doesn’t have any limit. the only limit in some hypothetical scenario would be that available 2TB Bandwidth per plan gets exhausted, which is very unlikely to happen.

    Site Migration is not included in Page.ly and Zippykid in their basic plan, though they have some other very good features. Synthesis charges a Fee for doing Migration. WPOven and lighteningbase offered free Site migration.
    i want to go for WordPress powered site with fully managed hosting. So far i have checked info on Synthesis, Page.ly,WPOven, Zippykid, WPEngine and lighteningbase WPEngine appears to be more popular. WPOven offers dedicated IP, dedicated VPS and Premium plugins and themes even with their basic plans. lighteningbase is the cheapest and looks fairly suitable for my single site. but i doubt its scalability.

    But A friend of mine had 3 wordpress powered sites with WPEngine, but it was turning out to be very expensive at $87/Mo for him. So we looked into other options like Synthesis, WPoven, Zippykid and lighteningbase who provide fully managed wordpress hosting and allows migration in their basic plans.

    WPoven provides unlimited sites for $39.99/Mo. But we ultimately changed to lighteningbase as we had only three sites. lighteningbase at $9.99/Mo bills us $29.97/Mo which turns out to be cheaper. So, conclusion is that if you want the cheaper options you should go with lightenningbase. If you want more features go with wpoven. If you want to go with popular choice then go with WP Engine.

    1. Hey Ratan,

      Great summary of data you’ve collected. I think you’re right on about most everything here. WP Engine is a bit more expensive than the other hosts, but we also think we add a maximum value for the price. I mean, if you need to go with the cheapest option, then that’s how you need to make your decision, and that’s fine. At WP Engine we have the largest support staff per customer, and we’re always adding more smart folks who genuinely care about your sites.

      In terms of features, nobody has more features than we do. We’ve got a one-click staging area, and the ability to deploy from staging -> production with a single click, daily backups, git push for version control, site stats in the portal, and the ability to manage all your sites from a single window.

      Our goal is to make our WordPress platform so valuable to your development and content creation process, that we save you time and hassle with your sites on a daily basis.

      -Austin

  14. Hi there! I just wanted to ask if you ever have any issues with hackers?

    My last blog (wordpress) was hacked and I ended up
    losing months of hard work due to no back up.
    Do you have any methods to stop hackers?

  15. Hey

    Thanks sharing great information about Managed WordPress Hosting even I used WP site hosting for wordpress blog its great solutions more advance then others hosting like godaddy. Even for WP Engine security purpose also good too may be it will be costly but better solutions for all wordpress!

    Thanks for sharing valuable information!

    Cheers!

  16. Kinsta looks good, but it’s rather expensive. BitWP (bitwp.io) has been pretty fast, cheap and hassle-free for me.

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