Are your websites not as fast and efficient as you feel they should be? Do you want more out of your host?
Managed WordPress hosts offer cloud hosting, integrated features for speed, performance and security, and a better quality of customer service.
In this post, we’re going to cover seven of the best managed hosts available for WordPress. And I’ll provide some recommendations for specific use cases towards the end.
The best managed WordPress hosts for 2020
Kinsta is a powerful WordPress managed host founded in late 2013. It’s a managed host exclusively and has an entire infrastructure powered by Google’s cloud servers.
It offers numerous features on top of the services it manages for you. These include an intuitive user interface in the MyKinsta dashboard, simple site staging, and developer-friendly tools like WP-CLI, SSH and Git. Support for WordPress multisite is available as well.
What services does Kinsta manage?
- Speed – Kinsta uses an innovative server setup (cloud hosting, Nginx, PHP 7.4, MariaDB, HTTP/2 and LXD software containers) to keep your site running at top speed. Its infrastructure is powered by Google Cloud Platform, which has over 20 data centers.
- Performance – A direct integration with KeyCDN within the MyKinsta dashboard gives you access to a global CDN network of over 30 data centers in a few simple clicks. This host also offers server-level caching (caching performed by WordPress caching plugins is based on PHP, which is less efficient) and uptime monitoring that checks the status of your site every two minutes.
- Security – The latest in server technology, frequent software updates, and active and passive measures keep the majority of threats at bay. Hardware firewalls and free SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt help as well. If your site is hacked, you’ll be given immediate priority among Kinsta’s technical support team, so you won’t need to go chasing down a WordPress developer or pay a third-party service to fix damage caused by hackers.
- Backups – Kinsta backs up your site once a day and offers automatic site restorations with the push of a button if you need to revert to an earlier version of your site. You can create manual backups as well when needed. Backups are stored for 14 days.
Pricing at Kinsta
Kinsta offers 10 fixed-rate plans and one custom plan. Pricing starts at $30/month for one WordPress site, 20,000 monthly visits, up to 10GB of SSD storage and up to 50GB of CDN storage.
All plans are backed by a 30-day, money-back guarantee.
2. WPX Hosting
WPX Hosting is a fast managed WordPress host that offers email hosting with unlimited emails and it’s own CDN service. You can see the features it offers below, but one of its weaker points is its lack of developer tools. Staging areas and FTP/SFTP access (WPX Hosting recommends FileZilla) are available, but things like SSH access and WP-CLI are missing.
WordPress multisite is supported, but WPX Hosting advises against using it on its servers as its websites are designed to use dedicated resources. WordPress multisite installations share resources by nature.
What services does WPX Hosting manage?
- Speed – WPX Hosting’s servers use the latest versions of PHP, Apache, MySQL and HTTP/2. Your websites are also stored on SSD’s.
- Performance – Unfortunately, WPX Hosting does not offer caching. You’re advised to use W3 Total Cache instead. They do, however, include a proprietary CDN with over 20 data centers worldwide in every plan.
- Security – Server-level security measures are implemented to keep most threats at bay. The host’s support staff will even remove malware and fix non plugin and theme-related bugs for you. Free SSL certificates are available as well. Lastly, you’ll have DDoS protection through a partnership with Incapsula. This service normally costs $299/month but is free for WPX Hosting customers.
- Backups – Backups are made daily, and you can also make manual backups on the fly. Backups are stored for up to 28 days.
Pricing at WPX Hosting
WPX Hosting’s plans start at $24.99/month or $249.96/year. This plan supports five websites, 10GB of SSD storage and up to 100GB of bandwidth.
Cloudways is a popular managed hosting company that offers scalable cloud hosting for a variety of different PHP-based applications, WordPress included.
Cloudways allows you to choose from several cloud hosting providers; Vultr, Digital Ocean, Linode, Amazon AWS, and Google Cloud.
Note: You can host on Cloudways with Digital Ocean starting from $10/month but we’ve found Vultr servers to offer the best performance to price ratio.
Choose your cloud hosting provider and the amount of server resources. Then, your server will be ready in moments and you’ll be able to install WordPress in a few clicks. It comes with a caching plugin installed and ready to go.
Want to scale up your resources at any point? You can allocate more resources in a few minutes.
The level of flexibility offered by Cloudways is not ideal for beginners, but if you’re tech savvy or willing to learn your way around the platform – you’ll get affordable cloud hosting that won’t break the bank.
What we’ve found to be especially useful with this WordPress managed host is the amount of control you have over your server. Especially in comparison to other managed hosts that offer very limiting control panels. The cost is a higher learning curve but the freedom to view server-level analytics and restart processes such as PHP can be extremely useful.
What services does Cloudways manage?
- Speed – Across the cloud hosting providers supported by Cloudways, it has over 60 data center locations for you to choose from. Its cloud-based server infrastructure is hosted on SSD’s and utilizes Nginx servers, the latest versions of PHP, HTTP/2, and your choice of database management systems, MySQL or MariaDB.
- Performance – Cloudways offers two forms of caching: Varnish Cache for caching at the server level and its own Breeze caching plugin, which complements its server caching with page caching. This plugin is free and also provides file exclusion, minification and Gzip compression. The host also has its own CDN service, but it’s an additional service and not integrated into the price of hosting. Lastly, the host monitors your site’s performance and security 24/7.
- Security – Cloudways has firewalls protecting each server, login and database security measures, and a free SSL certificate through Let’s Encrypt. Unfortunately, it doesn’t offer malware scans and cleanings for you. You’ll still be required to find third-party plugins and services to handle these.
- Backups – This host gives you complete control over your backups. You can choose from backup frequencies that range from one hour to seven days and backup retentions that range from one to four weeks. Off-site backups are offered by default, but you can also choose local backups. Manual backups are available if needed.
Pricing at Cloudways
Cloudways has a complicated pricing structure. It’s based on the server platform you choose as well as the tier you feel you need. The host operates in a pay-as-you-go manner on top of it, which can make it hard to predict what your monthly hosting charges will be. This is especially true if you experience numerous traffic surges.
Pricing starts at $10/month for DigitalOcean servers and the simplest server setup. Some services also cost extra. For example, off-site backups are enabled by default, but off-site backups cost $0.033/GB.
Servebolt is a powerful host that offers solutions for a variety of different platforms, including WordPress. It offers multiple versions of your site for different stages: development, production and staging. It also supports WordPress multisite.
A few developer-friendly features it offers includes support for Git, SSH, WP-CLI and Cron jobs. It’s also an official partner of Cloudflare, but unfortunately, this means it doesn’t offer its own CDN service or firewall.
What services does Servebolt manage?
- Speed – Servebolt has one of the most sophisticated server setups in the entire web hosting industry. It uses state-of-the-art hardware and an in-house Linux distribution. It also uses Nginx, HTTP/2, and its own versions of PHP and MariaDB.
- Performance – This host offers two forms of caching. The first is Full Page Cache, which implements caching at the server level. PHP-based caching is offered through its own complementary WordPress plugin and can be used in conjunction with the former caching solution.
- Security – All Servebolt servers are protected by AppArmor, which implements several server-level security measures. It also takes care of server maintenance and security patches, and site monitoring lets you know when your site has been hacked. Free SSL certificates from Let’s Encrypt are available as well. Unfortunately, Servebolt doesn’t have a built-in firewall or services to clean up hacks and malware nor do they allow you to install third-party security plugins. They advise you to use Cloudflare or Sucuri’s firewalls instead.
- Backups – Backups are taken daily and are stored for up to 30 days. You’ll need to contact customer service if you want to restore your site from a backup. Manual backups are available as well.
Pricing at Servebolt
Servebolt is one of the more expensive hosting options on this list. Plans start at $69/month for one site, up to 2GB of storage and ~400,000 pageviews/month. You can get started for free with an offline site hosted on a temporary domain. You won’t be charged until you purchase a hosting plan and bring your site online.
DreamPress is DreamHost’s managed WordPress hosting solution. These plans use cloud servers and differ from the host’s shared hosting plans. They offer staging areas and come with Jetpack free or premium pre-installed. You can also choose to use DreamPress’ own WP Website Builder, if you wish.
Domains and staging areas are available as well, and developers have access to SFTP, shell and WP-CLI.
What services does DreamPress manage?
- Speed – DreamPress uses a powerful server infrastructure and installs sites on SSD’s.
- Performance – Multi-layered caching at the server and site levels are built into each plan automatically. Plus, Jetpack’s CDN service is available for the Plus and Pro plans.
- Security – DreamPress offers pre-installed SSL certificates on its sites, and while it uses a quality hosting setup, its lack of security features is disappointing as a managed WordPress host. Its malware scanning and removal tool is a premium add-on, and it doesn’t have a built-in firewall.
- Backups – Automatic backups are taken daily, and you can take manual backups at any time. Plus, site restorations can be performed with one click.
Pricing at DreamPress
DreamPress’ plans start at $19.95/month or $203.40/year. This plan can sustain ~100,000 visits for one site. 30GB of SSD storage are available as well.
SiteGround is multi-platform host that offers a wide range of server types and hosting plans. Its managed WordPress hosting plans come with several features for developers, including staging areas, WP-CLI, SSH access, Git and white labeling. WordPress multisite is also supported, and email hosting is included.
What services does SiteGround manage?
- Speed – SiteGround’s servers are powered by Google Cloud Platform. It also uses Nginx and the latest versions of PHP. You also have the choice between using MySQL or PostgreSQL for your database.
- Performance – Some plans come with SuperCacher, SiteGround’s in-house dynamic caching solution. This solution offers multiple forms of caching that handle this technology at the server and page levels. SiteGround also offers a free plugin called SG Optimizer, which allows you to utilize the aforementioned caching, change PHP versions, minify CSS and JS files, optimize images, lazy load images, and implement Gzip compression. A partnership with Cloudflare allows you to enable a CDN for your site from the SiteGround dashboard.
- Security – WordPress now offers automatic security updates, and most managed WordPress hosts update WordPress core for you. SiteGround goes one step further by keeping your plugins up to date, though you can disable this feature as well. Malware removal and bug fixes are not included, but they do implement several custom firewall rules at the server level. Free SSL certificates are available via Let’s Encrypt.
- Backups – Backups are taken daily and are stored for up to 30 days. Manual backups are available as well.
Pricing at SiteGround
SiteGround’s cheapest plan starts at $47.40 for your first year. Subsequent years cost $143.40/year. Monthly plans are not available. This plan supports one website, up to 10GB of SSD storage and ~10,000 visits/month.
Nexcess is owned by Liquid Web, a popular WordPress host known for its technical services. Nexcess isn’t quite as technical, but it’s still fairly powerful. Development sites are available as are staging areas, and email hosting is included. WordPress multisite is also supported.
One particularly nice feature is the auto scaling feature. If one of your articles goes viral and needs to handle more concurrent users, Nexcess will scale your resources free for 12 hours.
What services does Nexcess manage?
- Speed – Nexcess offers cloud servers with SSD storage, Nginx, MySQL and the latest versions of PHP.
- Performance – Multilayered caching is integrated into every server, and CDN services are available through Nexcess’ partnership with Verizon Digital Media Services.
- Security – Malware monitoring and alerts along with filters for bad bots are implemented, but malware removal and bug fixes are not offered as services. Free SSL certificates are available via Let’s Encrypt, and the host will keep your plugins up to date automatically.
- Backups – Backups are taken daily and stored for up to 30 days. On-demand backups are available as well.
Pricing at Nexcess
Plans start at $19/month or $190/year. This plan supports one WordPress site, up to 15GB of storage and up to 2TB of bandwidth. The number of visits are not factored into each plan. A customer service representative will reach out to you to discuss if additional resources are needed, and Nexcess doesn’t charge overage fees.
Choosing the best managed WordPress host for your website
There are numerous options on this list, and even more available outside of it. When it comes down to it, choose a host that covers things you don’t want to take care of yourself at a price that makes sense for your business.
The best managed WordPress web host depends on your needs. So, now let’s take a look at some features that may influence your decision. I’ll provide recommendations too.
Which managed WordPress host is the best overall?
There’s no single best web host. The best depends on your needs.
For example, WPX Hosting is extremely cost effective and offers solid support. They even handle malware scanning & removal and offer a free CDN at no extra cost. Performance is excellent and they don’t charge by visits like some managed hosts (that can get expensive).
While their servers can cope with significant traffic, servers are still shared so that does mean there’s no way to scale to meet increased traffic demands if you need more resources.
For most sites, WPX Hosting is more than capable but high traffic sites may run into performance issues beyond 300,000 visitors/month.
On the flip side, we have Kinsta. They automatically scale server resources for you – the only limit is the number of PHP workers available on your plan. Their support quality is slightly higher than WPX Hosting and they’ll remove malware for you for free.
Note: PHP workers are what is used to handle dynamic tasks such as processing a payment, for example. Think of PHP workers like petrol pumps. If you only have 2 petrol pumps, you can only fill 2 cars at a time. The more pumps you have, the more efficiently people can use your petrol station. It’s a similar thing with PHP workers and websites. A lack of PHP workers can result in seemingly random errors such as 403 errors.
But they charge by visits which can get expensive.
On the other end of the spectrum we have Cloudways. They allow you to choose the resources you need and scale them within minutes. You can choose from several cloud hosting providers. Digital Ocean and Vultr are particularly affordable.
Support quality isn’t as high and they don’t include malware scanning/removal but you get a lot of performance for your money. For example, a $11/month Vultr server includes 1GB RAM, 1 CPU core, 25GB storage and 1TB bandwidth.
This is why it’s incredibly important to figure out what is most important to you.
Which host offers the best support?
We’ve worked with a lot of different hosts over the years and we’ve had a positive experience with each host on this list. Each one offers solid support.
However, some hosts are better than others. For example, Kinsta offer industry leading support – they’re extremely helpful and always available. And it’s a similar story with Servebolt and WPX Hosting.
Which host offers the best performance?
Performance will depend on a few different factors:
- Concurrent users on your server
- Concurrent tasks that require PHP workers
- Available resources on your plan
- The use of a content delivery network like StackPath or Cloudflare
In general, you can get good performance from every host on this list – we wouldn’t include them otherwise.
If your website doesn’t get much traffic and doesn’t have need for many PHP workers, any of these hosts could work well for you. WPX Hosting is a particularly good choice because of offers the best balance of price, performance, support, and functionality.
However, if you’re running a WooCommerce store, you will have different needs and a host like WPX Hosting wouldn’t be a good fit and Kinsta might be too costly. In which case, looking at Cloudways or Servebolt would be a good option.
Which web host offers easy scaling of resources?
Generally, any web host that offers cloud hosting will make it easy for you to scale your website.
For example, Kinsta runs on Google’s Cloud Platform and will automatically scale your server resources to meet increases in concurrent users (although it will be limited to your PHP worker usage).
Other hosts will have slightly different approaches. Cloudways allows you to scale resources as you need them via their dashboard and Nexcess will automatically scale server resources free for 12 hours.
Which web host offers the best value for money?
In terms of value, it’s difficult to beat WPX Hosting because you won’t need to spend any extra money on malware scanning, malware removal, DDoS protection or a CDN.
That’s all included for $25/month for 5 websites. Not bad right?
If you need a web host that offers more control and scalability, Cloudways cheapest servers are $10/month with no website limits. This can work out very cost effective, especially if you have a few different websites and you use something like Malware or Sucuri.
Siteground is another good option for affordability but it’s worth noting that their price jumps up significantly after the first year and monthly billing isn’t an option.
What about email hosting?
Some managed WordPress web hosts such as Servebolt and Kinsta do not host emails. Instead, you’d need to use something like Google Apps, or another email hosting platform.
Cloudways doesn’t offer email hosting directly but it has an add-on for RackSpace emails that’s easy to set up.
If you choose to host with WPX Hosting, DreamPress, Siteground or Nexcess – email hosting will be included.