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 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 Genesis Framework and Premium 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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).
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”).
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 $19/month.
If you’re running an e-commerce website, don’t forget to check out their WooCommerce hosting!
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.
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.
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.
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