In this guide, we’ll also be talking about how to decide on the right kind of hosting for your blog’s needs—for instance, choosing between shared hosting or managed WordPress hosting.
That being said, the latter is our main topic of discussion today, so let’s get to discussing managed WordPress hosting.
7 Best Managed WordPress Hosting Plans in 2021
WP Engine: $25.00/mo
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What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
As the name suggests, managed WordPress hosting is a WordPress-specific hosting plan where your provider manages all of the technical aspects of operating your site (and server). Examples of the features that come with managed hosting plans include daily backups, tested updates to plugins & themes and regular security monitoring. Managed WordPress hosting plans are great for sites with a solid blog business plan that already generate a decent amount of traffic and make some money to justify the cost. An established blog should have professional-grade security and ultra fast page load speeds.
And if you’re wondering why WordPress, it’s one of the most popular content management systems on the planet—powering close to 40% of the Internet. That, and other recent blogging statistics show that WordPress is only growing as the top CMS of choice for blogs and business websites around the world.
Advantages and Disadvantages of Managed WordPress Hosting
Managed WordPress hosting tends to be more expensive than shared hosting alternatives. But, there are some meaningful advantages of upgrading to managed hosting once the time is right for your blog.
Advantages of Managed WordPress Hosting
For small businesses and blogs with an existing revenue stream, getting a managed WordPress hosting plan is a smart move as it offers several advantages. Here are a few:
Fast and reliable. Because managed WordPress hosting is tailored to WordPress websites, their tech stack is built around optimizing your specific type of website. This results in a fast and reliable site for you—and a pleasant experience for your visitors.
Expert support. As WordPress specialists, managed hosting providers understand WordPress very well from a technical perspective. This means they can quickly diagnose any challenge (like plugin conflict issues or server-level problems) and solve it efficiently.
Offers easy site staging. Particularly for websites that are a source of real revenue, it’s important to have a staging environment to try out big changes before pushing them to your live site. This is one of the benefits you get with most managed WordPress hosting plans.
Enhanced security. Again, as WordPress experts, managed hosting providers understand the loopholes hackers take advantage of to gain access into WordPress websites. As such, they can anticipate this and create enhanced security solutions for your site.
Peace of mind. The peace of mind that comes from knowing that you’ve got a team of experts working behind the scenes to ensure your website is running well, is priceless. Not only does this lift a weight off your shoulders, but it also frees up your time and energy to focus on activities that’ll help you grow your blog for the years to come.
No downtime. One of the biggest disadvantages of shared hosting plans, is that they (often) set traffic limits. Once you cross those limits, your website can go down temporarily. This is never the case with managed WordPress hosting—and if you do go over your traffic allotment for the billing cycle, there’s simply an overage fee that’s assessed while your site remains fully online and operational.
As you can see, managed hosting is certainly worth the extra expense—once your blog is ready for it.
Disadvantages of Managed WordPress Hosting
Nothing in life is perfect, and that includes even the best managed WordPress hosting plans. However, it does come close to perfection as far as WordPress hosting is concerned. Let’s take a look at the drawbacks.
Pricier than shared hosting. This is probably the biggest disadvantage of managed WordPress hosting—you’ll have to pay a little more in order to get this higher performance service. For new bloggers or small businesses running on a tight budget for blogging costs, the expense of managed hosting plans can be prohibitive.
Limitations on plugins you can use. Plugin usage is usually somewhat restricted on managed WordPress hosting plans, particularly when it comes to resource-hungry plugins that eat up a lot of memory or storage. This can be a setback if a particular plugin you need for your website isn’t allowed, though just about all managed hosting providers are willing to make accommodations or help you find an alternative that achieves the same end result.
Ultimately, with the power and flexibility you get from managed WordPress hosting, you probably won’t need as many WordPress plugins running behind the scenes on your blog anyway. Plus, the investment you make should be earned back as your blog will be better-optimized to load pages faster and keep visitors coming back for the great experience your site delivers.
When Do You Need Managed WordPress Hosting for Your Blog? (Who’s it for?)
If you’re a somewhat established blogger with plans to remain in business for the foreseeable future—and need exceptional security & high performance, yet have little time to personally handle the technical bits and optimizations for your site—then managed hosting is perfect for you.
You’ll pay a bit of a premium for all of the additional features that come with managed hosting plans (compared to their shared hosting counterparts), but you’re getting a more robust service that’s designed for blogs and websites that are at least beginning to generate revenue and can afford to upgrade their hosting experience.
Now without further delay, let’s dive into my reviews and comparisons of the best managed WordPress hosting plans on the market in 2021.
1. Nexcess: $19.00/mo (Managed WordPress Hosting by Liquid Web)
When it comes to managed WordPress hosting plans, one of the first service providers you should consider is Nexcess (by Liquid Web). Having been around since 1997, this veteran hosting provider has become one of the go-to solutions for many established blogs and brands. Unlike most managed WordPress hosting providers, Liquid Web wholly owns the data centers they host their Nexcess client websites on.
Nexcess (and their parent company, Liquid Web) has been a leader in advancing a lot of the performance standards in the hosting industry. Their Nexcess cloud technology, which has long been known for powering large eCommerce sites, is now integral to powering their managed WordPress hosting plans—so blogs and content-focused sites can also get amazing load speeds without relying solely on caching (plus, you don’t have to worry about high traffic spikes slowing anything down). It’s a bit technical, but their plans come with 10 PHP workers per website, whereas other hosting companies typically only offer 2.
But as they say, age is just a number—the real question is, what does this veteran hosting service have to offer?
Features in Nexcess Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
One reason Nexcess has carved out a name for itself in the hosting industry, is how feature-rich their plans are. Some of the features you can expect include:
High-speed performance and auto-scaling
No overage charges or traffic limits
Automatic image compression
Multiple site management tools
Development tools including Git, WP-CLI and SSH
Free SSL certificate
14 day free trial on all WordPress plans (no credit card required)
Stellar 24/7 technical support by phone, chat and email
Thanks to their advanced technology stack, Nexcess is able to offer pretty exceptional and flexible managed WordPress hosting plans at a low price point for the industry. And unlike with many web hosting services, you won’t get in trouble for going beyond your resource usage on the days your website enjoys a spike in traffic.
Pricing Plans for Nexcess Managed WordPress Hosting
How much should you expect to spend for these feature-rich managed WordPress hosting plans?
Nexcess options start at $14.25/month with my discount code (regular pricing is $19.00/month)—which you’ll activate by using my discount link here, making them one of the most affordable managed hosting options on the market. Here’s a snapshot of how much you should budget for, depending on the plan that best suits your needs:
There are a few higher-tier options beyond these first three, but if your hosting needs don’t fit into any of these plans, you can always reach out and get a custom plan created too.
Pros of Nexcess Managed Hosting
Earning the top spot as one of the best managed WordPress hosting providers is no easy feat. Here are some of the pros that help Nexcess rank so high amongst the best:
Fast servers. Thanks to technology like PHP7, SSL and Nginx, all Nexcess plans are optimized for ultra fast load speeds.
No Plugin Limits. Most managed hosting plans have restrictions on the plugins you can install. Not Nexcess. You’re free to use any WordPress plugins you want on your site.
Guaranteed Uptime. How does 100% uptime sound? That’s exactly what Nexcess guarantees. And if you experience any downtime, you get 10x the amount of time (in credits) that you were down.
Cons of Nexcess Managed Hosting
Thankfully, the drawbacks here aren’t major, or as numerous as you can uncover with other providers.
Limited data center location options (2 in the US and one in Europe), not a big deal
Access to some premium WordPress themes is limited (though it tends to only be more obscure/outdated themes)
Pricier than some of the competition, but with the best overall combination of features, support and value
Verdict: Best Overall Managed Hosting Provider 👍
No matter your blog niche (or the number of websites you’re running), if you’re looking for a managed WordPress hosting plan that’ll help power your business to its fullest digital extent, then Nexcess has the best all around offering for you to run with as your blog begins to grow in readership.
Kinsta is another very high quality hosting provider to keep on your radar as you shop around for managed hosting plans.
While they’re one of the smallest companies in the industry, Kinsta has made a name for itself for offering very premium managed hosting services. That’s why the company has attracted a lot of popular brands who don’t want the hassle of managing anything technical with their website added to their already busy schedules.
Features in Kinsta’s Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
So what features make Kinsta a great managed WordPress hosting option? Let’s quickly look at some of the features you can expect to get from Kinsta’s plans:
Built with Next-Gen Infrastructure
Secure and fast servers
Free CDN for every plan
Supports Let’s Encrypt, SSH, WP-CPI, Git and other developer tools
Daily Backups with regular updates
Free website migrations
Pricing Plans for Kinsta’s Managed WordPress Hosting
I’ll be honest, Kinsta isn’t the cheapest option on our list here. However, it certainly offers some of the best value for your money in this space. How much should you expect to part with for a managed hosting plan from Kinsta?
One major feature I like, is that Kinsta has one of the most flexible pricing plans on the market. Offering web hosting from as little as $30.00/month (1 website and up to 20,000 monthly visits) all the way to $1,500/month (150 websites and up to 3 million monthly visits) for enterprise solutions. All plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee and you can work with their support team to customize the individual features of your plan anytime.
Pros of Kinsta’s Managed Hosting
For a relatively newcomer in this space, Kinsta has learned the ropes of the industry very quickly. In fact, so well that the platform offers several advantages that make it an almost irresistible option:
Powered by Google Cloud Platform
Uptime checks every 2 minutes
Free website migrations and hack fixes
Staging and cloning environment
Weekly automatic MySQL database optimizations
Ultra-fast SSD storage
Cons of Kinsta’s Managed Hosting
Looking at the feature set, Kinsta can be a very appealing managed hosting solution for businesses of all sizes. However, it does have some cons. Here are two of the most significant:
Pricier than other options here on this list (but you do get a great value)
Bottom tier plans have low monthly visit thresholds, which in practices pushes you up higher in pricing tiers
Verdict: A Top Contender, but Higher Pricing 👍
With super-fast load times, excellent security and many other notable features, Kinsta definitely stands out amongst the myriad of managed WordPress hosting providers out there. And because the brand has been dedicated to WordPress hosting since 2013, you can expect expert help from their support team.
uPress is focused on simplifying WordPress hosting (and management) for both individual website owners and agencies alike, especially for non-techies.
With an exceptionally well-designed and user-friendly control panel, accessible support that speaks plain English (or geek, if you prefer), security and speed optimized for WordPress sites and a relatively low price tag, uPress is a hosting contender worth looking into.
Features in uPress Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
Here’s a preview of the features you can expect in a uPress managed hosting environment:
Lightning fast website loading time
Proactive security protection designed for WordPress sites
Automatic daily backups (plus easy one-click backups)
Intuitive, customizable control panel and dashboard
No monthly visitor limitations
Super easy-to-use development area and test environment, CDNs, support for WordPress MultiSite and NoSQL mode (with more advanced plans)
Pricing Plans for uPress Managed WordPress Hosting
uPress’s plans offer a lot for a low price. Their starter Personal plan provides a low barrier to entry at $15/mo, while still providing a decent amount of storage:
uPress also offers VPS plans for those technically-inclined who want full control of their server environment:
Verdict: A Fantastic Entry Level (Fairly Priced) Provider 👍
With speedy load times, great customer support and other very impressive features for the comparably low price point of $15.00/mo, uPress is one of the best places you can start your managed WordPress hosting journey on a reasonable budget—and still have the backing of a solid company that’ll grow with your blog over the months and years to come.
Another great company that offers excellent managed hosting is Flywheel.
Consider Flywheel as David taking on Goliath, as they’re also relatively new to the managed WordPress hosting industry (though to be fair, they were purchased by WP Engine not too long ago). Now armed with the financial backing of one of the largest WordPress hosting providers on the market, Flywheel packs a punch strong enough to attract the attention of all.
Features in Flywheel’s Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
When it comes to managed hosting, the deal sealer is a feature set that helps you run your website with as little effort as possible. And that’s exactly what you get with Flywheel.
Self-healing technology for improved uptime, speed, and reliability
Free CDN for every plan
Built-in caching and automatic backups
Free SSL for all plans
Security built specifically for WordPress
24/7 live chat customer support
Pricing Plans for Flywheel’s Managed WordPress Hosting
Flywheel is both beginner-friendly when it comes to ease of use—and their managed WordPress hosting plans are pretty wallet friendly too. Here’s a snapshot of their pricing:
With plans starting at $15.00/mo as a monthly option or $11.25/month on annual billing (for 5000 monthly visits, 50GB disk space and 20GB bandwidth)—Flywheel was built with small businesses in mind. Fortunately, scaling as your business grows is as easy as upgrading to their higher-tiered plans.
Pros of Flywheel’s Managed Hosting
What advantages does Flywheel bring to the table? Some pros that have given Flywheel an edge over other big players in the managed hosting space include:
Powered by Google Cloud Platform
Easy to use, thanks to the ultra beginner-friendly interface
Data centers around the world
No overage charges
Relatively inexpensive pricing
Cons of Flywheel’s Managed Hosting
As a newer kid on the block, Flywheel does have a few hurdles it could overcome in their managed WordPress hosting plans. Here are a couple:
Additional server features come at a higher cost
No phone technical support (limited to email tickets and chat)
Verdict: One of the Best Budget-Friendly Managed Hosting Plans 👍
Flywheel offers great managed WordPress hosting plans for designers, small businesses and freelancers. Built for non-technical people, it’s a great solution for those who don’t want to spend precious time fiddling with the technical side of their websites. Plus, their platform is built for those looking at budget-friendly hosting—without skimping on features.
If ever there’s a name that’s been synonymous with managed WordPress hosting for years, it’s WP Engine.
A veteran in managed hosting, WP Engine is particularly known for ultra-fast hosting and reliable solutions. Whether you want to host a personal blog or a complex site for your business, WP Engine’s managed WordPress hosting plans will have you covered—though you may pay a little more for similar features you’d get from their competitors above.
As a quick highlight, the in-house caching technology WP Engine has developed, amongst other features, ensures that your readers will have the best possible experience on your website. Let’s take a look at WP Engine’s features:
Features in Flywheel’s Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
Features-wise, WP Engine offers some of the best array of solutions around. Here’s what you can expect if you choose them:
Robust structure and highly redundant systems
Free SSL certificate and CDN ready
Free automated migration
Daily backups, firewall and threat detection
Award-winning customer support
Multi-site ready plans
Pricing Plans for WP Engine’s Managed WordPress Hosting
While certainly not the cheapest managed hosting provider on this list, you do get a lot of features out of each plan with WP Engine:
Pros of WP Engine’s Managed Hosting
Having been in the industry much longer than most competitors, what advantages should you expect from this veteran managed WordPress hosting provider?
CDN included for all plans
Great scalability (especially if your website traffic is growing fast)
Excellent 24/7 chat support for all plans (24/7 phone support for the “Growth” plan and above)
19 server locations around the world
Free access to the Genesis Framework and +35 StudioPress WordPress themes
Free SSL certificates
Cons of WP Engine’s Managed Hosting
WP Engine may be good, but it’s certainly not perfect. Here are a few drawbacks of their managed hosting plans:
Pricing can be prohibitive for bloggers on a budget
High overage costs that add up quickly if your blog gets surges in traffic
Add-ons can be pricy if you want to customize your plan
Verdict: Great Service, but Over-Priced Compared to Alternatives
Let’s face it, WP Engine’s managed hosting plans don’t come cheap for the similar features you can get at a lower price point when choosing comparable providers like Nexcess or Flywheel. The upside with this provider, however, is that you do get exceptional support for your money. From solid performance to reliable tech support, WP Engine has been in the managed hosting industry for over a decade and they know what they’re doing.
Another well-known veteran in the managed hosting space is Siteground. While not technically a dedicated WordPress hosting solution, Siteground is one of only three web hosting solutions that come recommended by WordPress—which earns them a rightful spot on this list.
One reason Siteground is so popular with WordPress users is that it provides a very stable hosting environment. As a result, uptime is usually close to 100% and loading speeds tend to remain well above the industry average. Siteground offers just about everything you can want in a budget-friendly managed hosting service.
Features in Siteground’s Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
In the hosting business since 2004, Siteground has managed to create some of the most popular hosting features on the market. Here’s what to expect:
Full server management
Free domain name (blog name) and 5 free managed IPs
Free Let’s Encrypt SSL and CDN included
Free PCI compliance (for e-commerce stores)
Fast SSD drives
24/7 VIP support via email, live chat and phone
Pricing Plans for Siteground’s Managed WordPress Hosting
Looking at Siteground’s feature-rich plans, you’d be inclined to think it’ll cost an arm and a leg to get set up. However, Siteground actually offers one of the cheapest managed WordPress hosting plans on the market—though to be fair, the features and support levels don’t stack all the way up to competitors for their lowest-tier plans. Check out their pricing structure:
For as little as $6.99/month, you can get managed WordPress hosting from Siteground. Compared to all of our other options here, that’s the cheapest sticker price you’re going to see.
Pros of Siteground’s Managed Hosting
Siteground has built a solid reputation by being an affordable solution that also packs a lot of pros into their plans:
Host unlimited websites on a single account (for the Grow Big and Go Geek plans)
WordPress SuperCacher for improved site performance.
Data centers in 6 countries on 4 continents
24/7 support via email and phone
Free backup and restore features
Cons of Siteground’s Managed Hosting
While Siteground’s budget-friendly plans may be tempting, you’ll have to consider some of the limitations that come along with them before signing on the dotted line. A couple of the biggest drawbacks are:
Site staging isn’t available on the StartUp (cheapest) plan
Limited storage availability on all of their plans
Verdict: Cheapest Managed Hosting, but Feature Limited
Whether you’re setting up a simple blog or business website, Siteground’s managed WordPress hosting plans make for an affordable way to get you online without the technical headaches.
If you’ve got deep pockets to get ultra-fast premium managed WordPress hosting for your brand, then Pagely should be at the top of your list. Hailing as the first dedicated, managed WordPress hosting company founded in 2006, you can expect a finely tuned offering from Pagely. However, their web hosting solutions were very clearly built for those more technically inclined.
Pagely has invested in a tool stack that ensures all their servers are optimized for speed, security and exceptional performance. A simple look at the platform’s features will show just how advanced their managed hosting plans are.
Features in Pagely’s Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
As I said, Pagely is not a cheap option (more on pricing in a moment) but their features match the premium pricing for large brands that seek a high degree of customization:
Modern hosting stack that includes NGINX, PHP, Redis
Extremely advanced security (like real-time malware monitoring)
Automatic daily backups
Expert technical support that gets hands-on
Developer tools built specifically for their platform
Pricing Plans for Pagely’s Managed WordPress Hosting
So, how much does a managed WordPress hosting plan from the future cost? First off, Pagely has two types of plans—Developer plans (starting at $199/mo) and Premium WordPress hosting plans (starting at $499/mo). Here’s a look at how much you should prepare to invest if you choose Pagely as your managed WordPress hosting partner.
With plans starting at $199/month and going all the way $3,600 or more, Pagely is a managed WordPress hosting solution for businesses that are already making bank and looking to provide a stellar experience to their visitors.
Pros of Pagely’s Managed Hosting
Does Pagely offer any advantages that warrant investing in their managed WordPress hosting plans? Oh yes, they certainly do. Here are some:
Powered by Amazon Web Services (AWS)
VPS (enhanced privacy and security)
No limitations on plugin usage
Great scalability into the millions of daily visitors
Excellent support and monitoring
Cons of Pagely’s Managed Hosting
One of the only drawbacks you’ll get with Pagely (apart from their steep pricing) is phone support—or lack of it on some plans.
Phone support only available on their most premium plans (however, you can get 24-hour support via ticketing and live chat)
Verdict: One of the Best on a Truly Unlimited Budget
For businesses that need industry-leading security and performance, Pagely is one of the best managed WordPress hosting solutions available on the market. That’s if you can justify the pricing. If you run a massive website though, with their advanced technology and robust infrastructure—you’re sure to get more value out of their plans than you would just about anywhere else.
Managed WordPress Hosting: When Do You Really Need it for Your Blog?
Considering that managed WordPress hosting plans are more expensive than their shared hosting counterparts—are these plans really worth the investment?
The question remains, when do you really need managed WordPress hosting for your blog? Well, to answer that you need to consider a few big elements of where your blog is at today.
Traffic and Growth. If you anticipate growing your website quickly and driving a lot of traffic in a short space of time, then you definitely need managed WordPress hosting. This will free up your time to do what really matters to your business (like writing great blog posts) without having to worry about scaling the technical side of your website and monitoring its performance.
Technical Know-How and Time. Let’s face it, managing a website, particularly a growing one, is no simple feat. It needs a bit of technical knowledge. More than that, it requires time to keep everything updated and running at optimum levels. If you don’t have the technical knowledge or simply lack the time to maintain a website, then managed WordPress hosting is your best option. For a small monthly investment, you get peace of mind knowing experts are taking care of your website. You also have more time on your hands to tend to more pressing issues.
Customization and Flexibility. One of the biggest disadvantages of shared hosting is that you have no wiggle room to customize your hosting. This is where managed WordPress hosting comes into play as most plans will give you the flexibility you need to meet more specific hosting needs. With greater control, you’ll better dictate what you can do with your website.
Security and Support. Particularly if you’re starting a blog as a side project or building a revenue-generating website, security is of the utmost importance. And advanced security is one of the core features you get with managed WordPress hosting. Apart from security, hands-on support is another advantage of managed WordPress hosting. When something stops working on your website, you can be sure it’ll get sorted out expediently.
So, do you really need managed WordPress hosting?
If you’re an established blogger that needs exceptional security and high performance, yet have little time to personally handle the technical aspects and optimizations for your site, then managed hosting is for you.
Which Managed WordPress Hosting Plan is Best for You?
By now, you’ve probably noticed that not all managed WordPress hosting plans are created equal. Each hosting provider has their own strengths and weaknesses.
This makes it a bit tricky (or simpler, depending on how you look at it) to choose the right plan for your needs. To help you compare and decide, here’s a quick summary of each hosting provider and who they’re most geared towards helping with their offerings:
Nexcess by Liquid Web. Best overall managed WordPress hosting solution. Their plans strike the best balance between price and feature set. To top it off, Nexcess offers exceptional performance that can’t be beat.
Kinsta. If you’re comfortable leaving your website in the hands of true WordPress gurus, then Kinsta is a great. Not only will you get stellar hosting, but their technical support is manned by WordPress experts, which means quick resolutions to any challenges you face—though their plans do cost a little more than some of the others on this list.
uPress. For those that want to tap into the power of managed hosting on a tight budget, uPress is going to be your best option for getting started today. Plus, with their technical support team, you’ll be partnering with a brand that can grow alongside your blog in the years to come.
Flywheel. Flywheel was built for non-technical website owners. Featuring an easy-to-use dashboard as well as a super-dedicated team working behind the scenes, you won’t have to do anything technical if you go with them.
WP Engine. Robust security and great performance are the hallmarks of this web hosting provider. However, it comes at a price premium compared to their competition.
Siteground. If you’re on a true shoestring budget, but really want managed hosting, then this is your best bet. While their performance is good, you’ll still have to make concessions in other areas (like bandwidth and support, which can both be a bit slow).
Pagely. If your team is technically savvy and can afford the hefty costs, Pagely is one of the best options for a large-scale online business. Advanced developer tools make it easy for you to customize your hosting and the technical features of your website to your heart’s desire.
So which of these managed WordPress hosting plans should you go with? Well, it depends on your needs. I’d place my recommendation on Nexcess where you truly can’t go wrong.
However, one thing is certain—whichever provider one you go with on this list, you won’t regret it.
If you’d rather not make a long-term commitment, check out my picks for the top monthly billed hosting plans on the market today.