All The Best Managed WordPress Hosting Companies – Reviewed And Compared (2019)

WordPress Deals

If you need hosting for your WordPress website, there are some excellent companies out there with WordPress-focused hosting packages. As part of these packages, you can enjoy automated website updates and backups, as well as access to expert support staff who know WordPress inside out — plus a lot more. But which one’s the best and who should you trust with your website?

In this guide, we’ll look at the managed WordPress hosts who are widely considered to be the best in the business, including WP Engine, Kinsta, Flywheel, Pressable, SiteGround, Pagely, and WordPress VIP. We’ll not only cover the most important features you get access to, but we’ll also include data from test results that show which is the fastest and most reliable managed WordPress host out there today.

Let’s get started!

What Is Managed WordPress Hosting?

With managed WordPress hosting, you can expect to have your website hosted on a server optimized especially for WordPress websites to deliver faster loading times and less downtime.

Not only that, but you also get access to WordPress-focused features, such as the management of WordPress software updates, automated website backups and WordPress-centric security provisions.

Furthermore, as the staff at these companies are looking after WordPress websites all day, they should be able to quickly resolve any problems that may arise, as well as provide assistance with any queries you may have.

However, as the use of WordPress continues to grow, many web hosts are attempting to cash in on the WordPress boom by marketing their plans as managed WordPress hosting. In some cases, though, these are just rebranded generic hosting plans that pale in comparison to the best true managed WordPress hosting plans.

To avoid confusion, this guide only includes what are widely considered to be true managed WordPress hosting companies — such as those who only host WordPress websites and have built up a great reputation doing so. One exception to this rule is SiteGround. While SiteGround do host other types of websites, their managed WordPress hosting plans compare well to the other options in this guide, and they’re also a well-respected name in the WordPress community.

With managed WordPress hosting, you’ll pay more than you would for generic hosting. However, as this comparison will show, you do get a lot more for your money — including access to useful features that help make managing a WordPress website less time consuming and stressful.

About the Speed and Uptime Tests

For this comparison, the speed and uptime data from the in-depth Review Signal WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks was used to show how fast and reliable these hosts were.

To test the uncached performance, Load Storm was used to simulate real users visiting the site, logging in and browsing.

Load Impact was used to evaluate the cached performance by repeatedly requesting the homepage of the test websites.

Geographic response times from 11 locations around the world were also recorded using WebPageTest.

To measure the availability of the test sites, Uptime Robot and StatusCake were used to monitor downtime for a minimum of three months.

Thanks to Kevin Ohashi for all of the hard work involved in collecting this data.

Kinsta

Kinsta are one of the most well-regarded names in the managed WordPress hosting space — at least when talking to technical users with an appreciation for robust performance. Focusing on creating a highly optimized WordPress hosting environment, while also providing a selection of features that all website owners will find useful, Kinsta should appeal to anyone looking for a fast and secure home for their WordPress website.

If you sign up with Kinsta, your WordPress website will now be hosted on the Google Cloud Platform. However, as your site is supported and managed by the Kinsta staff, you get the best of both worlds by leveraging the impressive Google architecture, while also having access to a team of WordPress experts who you can turn to when you need help.

Kinsta WP Hosting

Features

At Kinsta, the focus is on providing you with the environment, tools and features to keep your website running as quickly as possible.

Core Features

When you choose Kinsta, you get access to the following:

  • Free SSL certificate.
  • Free WordPress website migration to Kinsta.
  • Daily website backups.
  • Website staging and cloning tools (not on entry-level plan).
  • SFTP access to your web space.
  • Database access via phpMyAdmin.
  • Dashboard for manually updating WordPress software and plugins.
  • Choice of 20 data center locations from around the world.
  • 24/7 live chat support.
  • Transparent overage charges.
  • Free CDN.
  • HTTP/2.0.
  • WordPress Multisite (not on entry-level plan).
  • Sites hosted on the Google Cloud Platform.

Some of the highlights from the Kinsta hosting plans include:

Staging Environment

Kinsta provide you with an easy-to-use interface for managing your account and WordPress websites. Part of the functionality of the Kinsta dashboard includes letting you quickly create staging websites where you can test out new plugins, themes and code changes without disrupting your live site. While some other hosts have a staging feature, moving content between the different environments is very straightforward with Kinsta.

Global Data Centers

Now that Kinsta use the Google Cloud Platform, their customers can choose from 20 data center locations for their websites. As well as hosting your website in a range of locations in the US and Europe, you can also choose from data centers in India, Asia and Australia to match where your audience are based.

Manual Backups

As well as the automatic daily backups, Kinsta let you create a manual backup of your site on demand through your account dashboard. Therefore, if you’re about to install a new plugin or change your theme, you can instantly create a restore point in case you need to roll back those changes.

Features Summary

Although the Kinsta dashboard isn’t quite as attractive as the Flywheel equivalent, it’s well designed and easy to navigate. This means tasks such as creating a new site, cloning a site or updating software are hassle-free. The choice of data centers should also appeal to anyone with an audience clustered in a specific region — especially if it’s a non-standard area such as Asia or Australia.

Kinsta Speed and Uptime Tests

A site hosted on the $30-a-month Starter plan was tested, putting Kinsta into the $25-to-$50-a-month category in the Review Signal tests.

In the Load Storm test that scaled from 500 to 2,000 users accessing a site hosted by Kinsta, the average response time was 505 milliseconds.

In a Load Impact test that scaled from one to a thousand users over 15 minutes, the peak average load time was 619 milliseconds.

According to the WebPageTest.org tests, the average load time of the Kinsta site, based on the times recorded from 11 locations around the world, was 1.34 seconds.

During the two uptime tests that were carried out on the Kinsta-hosted site, both Uptime Robot and StatusCake recorded 100 percent uptime.

Pricing

The Kinsta plans run from $30 a month to $1,500 a month for their top-tier enterprise plan.

The entry-level Starter plan includes 20,000 monthly visits, 5 GB of SSD storage, and 50 GB of CDN access. All plans include a free migration to move your WordPress website to Kinsta, but, if you want to host more than one site, you’ll need to choose a higher plan than the entry-level option.

Kinsta Conclusion

Although Kinsta do not have the same level of account sharing and collaborative features as Flywheel, you can still securely let other users have access to your account and the sites being hosted on it with the ability to control exactly what each user can do and see.

However, as our review showed, where Kinsta come into their own is their fast loading times and large choice of data centers. Therefore, if you’re looking for a host who’ll display your website as quickly as possible to your audience, no matter where they’re based, without breaking the bank and while still providing you with many useful features, Kinsta are a good option.

Visit the Kinsta website.

WP Engine

WP Engine are one of the most well-established managed WordPress hosting companies out there, so if you’re looking for a host with many years’ experience WP Engine certainly fit the bill.

Rather than focusing on a specific type of customer, such as web designers, developers or those new to WordPress, WP Engine have a feature list that should appeal to a wide audience. In short, if you’re using WordPress, then you’re in the WP Engine target audience.

WP Engine Managed WordPress Hosting

Features

Over the years, WP Engine have added more and more useful features to their plans. Some examples include the selection of high-quality themes from StudioPress that their customers get access to, development and staging environments for each website hosted, and the ability to create private transferable sites for clients.

Like Kinsta, WP Engine now also use the Google Cloud Platform, giving you a wide range of data center locations to choose from.

Core Features

Before we take a look at some of the standout features from WP Engine, here’s what’s available on their plans:

  • Free SSL certificate.
  • A free plugin to help with WordPress website migration to WP Engine.
  • Daily website backups.
  • Website staging and development environments.
  • SFTP access to your web space.
  • Database access via phpMyAdmin.
  • WordPress software updates managed by WP Engine.
  • Choice of 13 data center locations from around the world.
  • 24/7 live chat support (phone and ticket support available on higher plans).
  • Free CDN.
  • HTTP/2.0.
  • WordPress Multisite available as a paid add-on.
  • Access to 35-plus premium WordPress themes from StudioPress.
  • Sites hosted on the Google Cloud Platform.

Some of the highlights from the WP Engine hosting plans include:

StudioPress WordPress Themes

Every WordPress website needs a theme, and, while you can find some good free themes, the premium options generally look better and provide you with more options for your website. As WP Engine have acquired StudioPress, their customers now get access to some of the best WordPress themes available at no extra cost.

Developer-Friendly Features

In addition to targeting regular website owners with automatic backups and software updates, not to mention the library of themes, the development and staging environments that each website gets should help WP Engine attract developers and coders, too.

Thanks to the quick and easy process for moving content between the three environments, developers can safely experiment in the development environment, share their work when it’s ready with their clients or team in the staging environment, then instantly push those changes to the live environment when everything’s been tested and approved.

Like Flywheel, WP Engine also now have a transferable sites feature that lets customers create a private site that doesn’t count against the site allowance of their plan. This private website can be shared with clients who can take ownership of it when it’s ready to go live. Again like Flywheel, you don’t have to start with a blank WordPress website each time. Instead, you can quickly copy an existing website into the new site to serve as a foundation.

Scalable Cloud Hosting

Now that WP Engine are using the Google Cloud Platform as their hosting environment, the resources available to the websites of their customers can be instantly scaled without any downtime. As with Kinsta and Flywheel — other managed WordPress hosts using the Google Cloud Platform — WP Engine customers can choose to have their website hosted in a variety of locations around the world.

Features Summary

Although specializing can be good, WP Engine have broadened their appeal as the company’s grown. Bloggers and small site owners looking for a fast and managed environment for their WordPress website will find WP Engine appealing, as will more tech-savvy site owners who want to take a hands-on approach to creating and managing their websites.

WP Engine Speed and Uptime Tests

Unfortunately, WP Engine weren’t included in the 2019 Review Signal tests. According to the Review Signal website, if a well-known company isn’t included, it’s probably because they declined to participate.

Pricing

With the entry-level Startup plan priced at $35 a month, WP Engine are slightly more expensive than some of the other managed hosting companies covered here. However, you do get a relatively generous 10 GB of storage, a 25,000 monthly visits allowance, and 50 GB of bandwidth. If you’re happy to use one of the premium StudioPress themes, you’ll save some money. Also, if you choose to pay yearly instead of monthly, you’ll receive two months of free hosting.

WP Engine Conclusions

If you want to go with one of the most tried-and-tested names in managed WordPress hosting, then WP Engine are hard to beat. However, as the feature list demonstrates, you’re not just paying for the name but access to some genuinely useful tools and extras to help you to create and maintain your WordPress website.

Visit the WP Engine website.

Flywheel

Flywheel are a managed WordPress hosting company with plans aimed at creatives such as web designers and agencies. The user interface of the Flywheel account dashboards is really nicely designed, so if you appreciate a pleasant working environment alongside some impressive hosting features Flywheel could be for you.

Furthermore, Flywheel sites are now hosted on the Google Cloud Platform, and they’ve recently rebuilt their architecture from the ground up. Because of this, you can expect a faster and more resilient hosting service from Flywheel, with the resources available to your site able to scale automatically as needed.

Flywheel Managed Hosting

Features

To help Flywheel appeal to their target audience, the plans include some interesting features to facilitate collaboration and assist those managing multiple client sites, along with the ability to set up development areas for work-in-progress projects.

Core Features

When you sign up with Flywheel, you get access to the following features:

  • Free SSL certificate.
  • Free WordPress website migration to Flywheel.
  • Daily website backups.
  • Website staging and cloning tools.
  • SFTP access to your web space.
  • Database access via a custom interface.
  • Managed WordPress software updates with managed plugin updates available as a paid add-on.
  • Choice of ten data center locations.
  • 24/7 live chat support.
  • No overage charges.
  • Free Fastly CDN use.
  • HTTP/2.0.
  • WordPress Multisite available on all plans above the entry-level Starter plan.
  • Sites hosted on the Google Cloud Platform.

As well as the standard features, Flywheel offer some extras that you may find useful:

Website Blueprints

To help you save time, Flywheel let you package up themes and plugins to create blueprints that can be used each time you create a new WordPress website. If you find yourself using the same configuration each time you start a new project, this feature should help — especially as you can create multiple blueprints.

Demo Client Sites

Flywheel make it very easy to build demo WordPress websites when you’re creating sites for your clients. You don’t even have to make a payment until the site is ready to go live, giving you a private area where you can work in collaboration with your clients. When your client is happy with the site, they or you can make a payment, and the site will go live.

Local WordPress Development Tool

Another feature that will appeal to designers and developers alike is the Flywheel Local tool. This software makes it very easy to create local WordPress websites on your computer.

Unlike a regular local WordPress installation, Flywheel Local lets you privately share the sites you’re working on via a live link. You can also easily transfer the content, settings and design of your local WordPress website to one of your sites hosted by Flywheel, and vice versa.

Collaboration Features

As well as simplifying the process of giving your clients access to the sites of theirs you’re working on, you can easily create accounts for your team members or other developers you’re collaborating with. As each user gets their own username and password, there’s no need to share login details to provide access to your account and sites.

Features Summary

If you’re working with others or creating and managing sites for clients, then you’re sure to appreciate the features of Flywheel. As well as covering the managed hosting essentials, such as website backups and automatic updates, these extra features help Flywheel stand out from the competition.

You can view the full details in our recent hands-on Flywheel hosting review.

Flywheel Speed and Uptime Tests

The data for the entry-level Flywheel plan from the Review Signal under $25-a-month testing category was used in our hosting comparison.

In a Load Storm test that scaled from 500 to 2,000 users accessing a site hosted by Flywheel, the average response time was 1,790 milliseconds.

In a Load Impact test that scaled from one to a thousand users over 15 minutes, the peak average load time was 2,940 milliseconds.

According to the WebPageTest.org tests, the average load time of the Flywheel site based on the times recorded from 11 locations around the world was 1.27 seconds.

During the two uptime tests that were carried out on the Flywheel-hosted site, Uptime Robot recorded 99.966 percent uptime, and StatusCake recorded 99.98 percent uptime.

Pricing

The Flywheel managed hosting plans start at a relatively affordable $23 a month when billed yearly, and go up to as high as $266 a month for their top-tier Agency plan (although pricing can vary depending on your choice of server location). Flywheel also offer custom plans for those who need a bespoke hosting service.

After a recent refresh of their plans, the entry-level Flywheel plan is now more attractive than it was previously, thanks to an increase in allowances. On the Starter plan, you now get access to 5 GB of storage, 50 GB of bandwidth, and the ability to receive 25,000 visits a month.

If you want to host multiple WordPress websites on one account, including your own sites and client sites, you’ll need to choose either the Freelance or Agency plan, where prices start at $105 a month for the former and $266 a month for the latter.

Flywheel Conclusion

Flywheel are definitely worth adding to your shortlist if you’re looking for a host who’s experienced in working with designers, developers and agencies, and who understands their needs.

If you’re collaborating with clients or want an easy and user-friendly way to demonstrate the sites you’re creating for them, then the stylish Flywheel interface and extra tools make the whole process very straightforward.

Also, if you’ve considered hosting your site with Flywheel in the past, their recent adoption of the Google Cloud Platform should persuade you to take another look.

Visit the Flywheel website.

Pressable

Pressable hope to distinguish themselves from the competition by offering all of the same managed WordPress hosting features as the other companies in this field, but also having a stronger focus on delivering exceptional service and keeping their customers happy.

As part of their commitment to customer service, the Pressable team will support you personally when it comes to migrating your site to their servers or creating your first WordPress website. They also have a few other features that aim to help you get the most out of your WordPress website.

Pressable Managed WordPress Hosting

Features

The Pressable core features compare well to the other managed WordPress hosting companies — with a few additions to help them support their customers more effectively than the competition.

Core Features

Customers at Pressable get access to the following features for their WordPress websites:

  • Free SSL certificate.
  • Free WordPress website migration to Pressable.
  • Daily website backups.
  • Website staging.
  • SFTP access to your web space.
  • Database access via phpMyAdmin.
  • WordPress software updates managed by Pressable.
  • Single data center located in San Antonio, Texas.
  • 24/7 ticket support (chat support not available on the entry-level plan).
  • Free CDN.
  • HTTP/2.0.
  • Unlimited storage and bandwidth (just a visits allowance).
  • WordPress Multisite.
  • Selection of WordPress themes available via the Jetpack integration.

Some of the highlights from the Pressable hosting plans include:

Personalized Onboarding

When you sign up with Pressable, you’re assigned a personal contact on their support team. The idea is that having a consistent point of contact makes it easier to resolve any issues that may arise with your WordPress website.

If this type of arrangement appeals to you, or if you’re unsure about starting a new WordPress website or migrating an existing site to a new host, then Pressable could be a company to explore further.

WordPress Training

Another feature that demonstrates Pressable’s commitment to customer satisfaction is the WP101 video tutorial series that all customers get access to. We’ve reviewed WP101 before, but it’s a series of narrated videos that walk you through the main features of WordPress, as well as some of the other things you can do with this website software.

Normally, you’d have to pay for access to the WP101 video tutorials, but with Pressable it’s included with their hosting plans at no extra cost.

Jetpack Premium

Pressable customers also get access to the Jetpack Premium service, which is worth $99 a month. With Jetpack running on your site, you can enable features such as daily security scans with automatic resolutions of a large number of issues, content marketing tools such as a related posts widget, and enhanced website backups.

All of this can help to make it easier to run and manage a WordPress website.

Features Summary

It’s hard to qualify Pressable’s claims of being the most customer-focused managed WordPress host out there. However, after checking out their features, they certainly do offer helpful extras that most other hosts don’t, while also covering the essentials found elsewhere. However, the lack of 24/7 live chat support on the entry-level plan may not please everyone.

Pressable Speed and Uptime Tests

The plan from Pressable tested by Review Signal was the $25 Personal option, putting this host into the $25-to-$50-a-month category.

The Review Signal team recorded an average response time of 457 milliseconds in the Load Storm test that scaled from 500 to 2,000 users accessing the site hosted by Pressable.

In a Load Impact test that scaled from one to a thousand users over 15 minutes, the peak average load time was 758 milliseconds.

According to the WebPageTest.org tests, the average load time of the Pressable site based on the times recorded from 11 locations around the world was 2.14 seconds.

During the two uptime tests that were carried out on the Pressable-hosted site, Uptime Robot recorded 100 percent uptime, and StatusCake recorded 99.96 percent uptime.

Pricing

The Pressable plans start from $25 a month for their Personal plan, and go up to $3,000 a month for their VIP 4 plan. Custom plans can also be built if your needs don’t match any of the pre-defined options.

Unlike some of the other options in this guide, the $25 entry-level plan from Pressable lets you create up to five WordPress websites, rather than just one. You’ll have to share your allowance of 60,000 monthly page views between those five sites, but, if you do want to host multiple sites on one account, the unlimited storage and bandwidth should come in handy.

Discounts are available if you choose to pay yearly instead of monthly, and there’s a 90-day money-back guarantee, so you can see for yourself if the Pressable customer service lives up to the marketing claims.

Pressable Conclusion

Pressable are right when they state that most of the best managed WordPress hosts offer the same sort of features, so it’s good to see they’re actively trying to stand out from the crowd by offering extras their customers should find useful.

Visit the Pressable website.

SiteGround

Some may not consider SiteGround to be a true managed WordPress hosting company, as they offer hosting for a range of different websites besides those powered by WordPress. However, they do deserve a place in this guide as they also have some well-featured and well-regarded managed WordPress hosting plans alongside their relatively low-cost generic shared hosting.

SiteGround WordPress Hosting

Features

You do get a lot for your money when you choose one of the managed WordPress hosting plans from SiteGround, especially compared with some of the other options in this guide.

If you do decide to go with SiteGround, you’ll be dealing with a large hosting company who give you access to lots of resources, including a comprehensive library of online documentation, well-staffed help desks, and the experience that comes from hosting thousands of sites of all shapes and sizes. Although for some, the idea of trusting your website with a smaller, more boutique company may be preferred.

Core Features

Here’s a look at the core features SiteGround customers get access to before we move on to the highlights from this company:

  • Free SSL certificate.
  • Free WordPress website migration on middle and top-tier plans (this isn’t available on the entry-level plan, but a free plugin is available to help with migration, and it works well).
  • Daily website backups and on-demand backups on middle and top-tier plans.
  • Website staging on middle and top-tier plans.
  • SFTP access to your web space.
  • Database access via phpMyAdmin.
  • WordPress software updates managed by SiteGround with optional plugin updates.
  • Choice of four data center locations on three continents.
  • 24/7 support via live chat support, phone and tickets on all plans.
  • Free CDN.
  • HTTP/2.0.
  • WordPress Multisite available on all plans.

Some of the highlights from the SiteGround hosting plans include:

24/7 Support

All of the best managed WordPress hosting companies offer round-the-clock support in some form, but it’s rare to see 24/7 live chat, ticket and phone support available on all plans, including the entry-level options. As a SiteGround user, it’s accurate to say the live chat channel is very responsive, and the staff are very helpful when it comes to resolving issues and answering questions.

Automatic WordPress Updates and Backups

Even on the relatively low-priced entry-level plan, SiteGround customers get access to some useful managed hosting features. Updates to the WordPress software are taken care of by default, and there’s also the option of letting SiteGround handle plugin updates, too. Your website will be backed up automatically each day if you choose SiteGround, although if you’re on the entry-level plan you’ll have to pay a fee to have a backup restored.

WordPress Website Setup Wizard

If you’re new to WordPress, then you’ll appreciate being able to have WordPress pre-installed on your hosting account when you sign up. Not only that but you also get access to the SiteGround WordPress Starter feature that walks you through the process of configuring your site, choosing a theme and enabling some useful plugins. SiteGround-hosted websites also have an optional custom dashboard that aims to simplify the process of managing a WordPress site.

Features Summary

With plans that cover websites and audiences of all sizes, there’s plenty of room to grow through the SiteGround plans as your needs increase. However, their entry-level plan is a good-value way to enjoy many of the perks of managed WordPress hosting, including access to 24/7 support across three channels, and lots of helpful documentation.

If you want to know more about this host, you can see a detailed breakdown of their plans, features and performance in our SiteGround StartUp, GrowBig and GoGeek comparison.

SiteGround Speed and Uptime Tests

As mentioned, SiteGround have lots of different plans at a range of price points. For this guide, the data used was from the Review Signal under $25-a-month category, which tested the $19.95-a-month SiteGround mid-level GrowBig plan. Although this plan is listed as $19.95 a month, new customers can currently get it for $5.95-a-month for their first invoice of up to 36 months.

In these tests, the Review Signal team recorded an average response time of 407 milliseconds in the Load Storm test that scaled from 500 to 2,000 users accessing the test site hosted by SiteGround.

In a Load Impact test that scaled from one to a thousand users over 15 minutes, the peak average load time was 754 milliseconds.

According to the WebPageTest.org tests, the average load time of the SiteGround site based on the times recorded from 11 locations around the world was 1.43 seconds.

During the two uptime tests that were carried out on the SiteGround-hosted site, Uptime Robot recorded 99.993 percent uptime, and StatusCake recorded 100 percent uptime.

You can see how these results compare to the other managed WordPress hosts in this guide in the test results recap section near the end of this article.

Pricing

The SiteGround managed hosting plans start at $11.95 a month for the entry-level StartUp plan.

However, to get access to the majority of the SiteGround managed hosting features, the mid-level $19.95 GrowBig plan is recommended. It’s worth mentioning again that SiteGround offer some deep discounts to new customers, reducing the price of the GrowBig plan to just $5.95 for your first invoice of up to 36 months in length.

Choosing the GrowBig plan gives you the ability to create an unlimited number of WordPress websites on your account. You also get 20 GB of storage and unmetered bandwidth with the plan designed to handle around 25,000 monthly visits across all of your sites.

SiteGround Conclusion

SiteGround offer good-value, feature-rich managed WordPress hosting with generous allowances. Purists may not be satisfied with their inclusion in this guide, as they aren’t a WordPress-only hosting company, but, for almost everyone else with less demanding requirements, they’re worth taking a closer look at.

Visit the SiteGround website.

Pantheon

As well as the features found in typical managed WordPress hosting plans, Pantheon also have a number of developer-focused tools and services that broaden their appeal. Some examples include: Development, test and live environments for each site; version control tools for tracking changes between environments; and advanced site reporting to help developers monitor, repair and optimize their sites more effectively.

Alongside the WordPress hosting plans, Pantheon also have WooCommerce-optimized plans for anyone running an online store using WordPress.

Pantheon Image

Features

Pantheon are a popular choice with developers, and their feature list reflects this. One highlight in this regard is the availability of New Relic and its ability to provide in-depth website analysis and reporting. Thanks to this, enhancing site performance and spotting and fixing issues in the development and testing environments before they’re pushed to the live site is something that’s available to Pantheon customers.

Core Features

Before we look at some of the most interesting aspects of Pantheon, here’s a quick rundown of the core features that are available on all of their plans:

  • Free SSL certificate.
  • Managed WordPress website migrations to Pantheon.
  • Nightly automated website backups and manual backups.
  • Development, test and live environments for each website — with version control.
  • WordPress software and plugin updates managed by Pantheon.
  • Data center in Iowa, US with global CDN included on all plans and European server option for Enterprise customers.
  • 24/7 support via live chat support, phone, tickets and video conferencing on all plans.
  • Free global CDN usage provided by Fastly.
  • WordPress Multisite.
  • Websites hosted on the Google Cloud Platform.

Some of the highlights from the Pantheon WordPress managed hosting plans include:

WordPress Website Portfolio Management

If you’re going to be managing multiple WordPress websites, then the Pantheon Website Portfolio Management feature should be of interest. Called Upstreams, this feature allows centralized management of multiple WordPress websites.

Although not available as standard on the entry-level plans, if the idea of building website templates to help you quickly create new sites sounds appealing, as well as the ability to push changes to all of those sites at once, then this is one reason to take a closer look at Pantheon.

Professional Developer Tools

As mentioned, Pantheon customers get access to a good selection of developer-focused tools and features. As well as the New Relic reporting that helps with website optimization mentioned earlier, there’s also full-text searching of content and documents via Solr on the Performance plans.

Overage Protection

Unless you’re on the entry-level Basic plan, there’s no need to worry about billing issues if your website receives a one-time traffic spike, as all Pantheon Performance plans include Overage Protection. For customers on the Basic plan, overage fees are $2.50 per thousand visits per billing period. However, unlike some other managed hosts, there are no bandwidth limits on any of the Pantheon plans.

Features Summary

The Pantheon features do back up their claims to be a developer-focused managed WordPress hosting company. If you’ll be doing a lot of work on your site, such as editing code, testing out new plugins, and other tasks besides content creation, being able to quickly move data between the three different environments, as well as the other developer features, make Pantheon a host you may want to consider.

Pantheon Speed and Uptime Tests

For the Review Signal tests used in this comparison, the $50-a-month entry-level Pantheon Basic plan was tested in the $25-to-$50 per month category.

During the Load Storm test that scaled from 500 to 2,000 users accessing the Pantheon-hosted site, an average response time of 134 milliseconds was recorded by the Review Signal team.

In the Load Impact test that scaled from one to a thousand users over 15 minutes, the peak average load time was 28 milliseconds.

According to the results of the WebPageTest.org tests, the average load time of the Pantheon site based on the times recorded from 11 locations around the world was 0.82 seconds.

During the two uptime tests that were carried out on the Pantheon-hosted site, Uptime Robot and StatusCake both recorded 100 percent uptime.

Pricing

The Basic Pantheon plan is available for $50 per month and includes 25,000 monthly visits, 125,000 pages served and 20 GB of storage. You can host up to five domains on this plan, and there are no bandwidth limits.

However, if you want to use some of the more interesting features, such as New Relic performance monitoring, Overage Protection and Solr full-text search, you’ll need to choose one of the Performance plans that start at $175 a month.

Pantheon Conclusion

For anyone who needs access to the developer-focused features of the Performance plans, and is willing to pay their higher prices, Pantheon could be a great solution.

If the features of the Pantheon entry-level Basic hosting plan meet your requirements, though, you may find that Flywheel, Kinsta and WP Engine offer better value for money.

However, even if you’re looking for an entry-level managed hosting plan, Pantheon do have some features that aren’t widely available elsewhere, so be sure to explore exactly what they have to offer before disregarding their Basic plan.

It’s also worth pointing out that Pantheon do let you sign up for free and create a site you can work on before you’re ready to start paying and make it go live. This should give you a good opportunity to size up the features of this host.

Visit the Pantheon website.

Presslabs

The Presslabs managed WordPress hosting plans aren’t cheap, but even their entry-level plan has a generous monthly page views allowance. They also claim to be experts at handling the most complex WordPress setups. This, combined with their other features, makes Presslabs a company that owners of high-traffic websites may want to choose as their host.

Presslabs Image

Features

As Presslabs are focused on hosting complex and busy websites, they provide their customers with useful tools for monitoring and optimizing their sites. Part of this includes extracting data from their logs and presenting it in formats that are easier to understand and interpret than the raw data.

Because of this, you can quickly see information such as the query count, slow queries and memory usage for your website and its components. So, if you’re looking for a host that will help you to be proactive when it comes to improving the performance of your website, these Presslabs features should be attractive.

Core Features

As well as the performance monitoring and optimization features, Presslabs cover all of the essentials:

  • Free SSL certificate.
  • Free WordPress website migration to Presslabs.
  • Automatic website backups every 15 minutes.
  • Website staging environment.
  • Gitea access to your web space (no SFTP access).
  • No direct database access.
  • Managed WordPress software updates.
  • Choice of nine data center locations.
  • Email support during business hours and emergency telephone support for critical issues.
  • In-house CDN with unlimited bandwidth on all plans.
  • HTTP/2.0.
  • A hundred percent public website uptime service level agreement (SLA).

Some of the highlights from Presslabs include:

Support for Pro Publishers

Presslabs’ main point of difference is their focus on what they call pro publishers. So, if your site gets a lot of traffic, whether that’s unique visitors or multiple page views per visit, the Presslabs plans are optimized to meet your requirements.

Case Studies and Documentation

For those who like to really research their options before making a choice, rather than just signing up with a host that meets their budget, the Presslabs website has lots of information about their WordPress hosting environment, as well as client case studies to help you to make a decision.

Features Summary

After researching Presslabs, it does seem as though they’re suitable for important, high-traffic websites. The reporting and monitoring tools you get access to, as well as features such as frequent backups and unlimited CDN bandwidth, validate their claims to be a host for pro publishers. However, the lack of 24/7 telephone or live chat support may be a dealbreaker for some.

Presslabs Speed and Uptime Tests

While Presslabs have an entry-level $99-a-month Publisher plan, the Review Signal team tested the Presslabs $2,500-a-month Enterprise plan in the Enterprise hosting test category.

In the Enterprise category, the number of users accessing the site in the Load Storm test scaled from 500 to 10,000, and an average response time of 208 milliseconds was recorded for the site hosted by Presslabs.

In the Enterprise category Load Impact test that scaled from one to 5,000 users over 15 minutes, the peak average load time of the Presslabs site was 170 milliseconds.

According to the WebPageTest.org tests, the average load time of the Presslabs site, based on the times recorded from 11 locations around the world, was 0.74 seconds.

During the two uptime tests that were carried out on the Presslabs site, Uptime Robot and StatusCake both recorded 100 percent uptime.

Pricing

The Presslabs plans start at $99 a month for the entry-level Publisher plan, which has a comparatively high page views allowance of 150,000. Bandwidth, including CDN usage, is unmetered, and you also get 5 GB of storage for your website and its files. There’s a separate allowance for the database, which is 500 MB on the Publisher plan.

After the entry-level Publisher plan, there are the Publisher Plus and Publisher Pro plans, and their prices start at $299 and $599 a month respectively. These higher prices include greater page views, storage and database allowances, as well as support for WordPress Multisite. Interestingly, WooCommerce can only be used on the top-level Publisher Pro plan.

If you exceed your page view allowance, the overage rates start at $0.30 for every thousand additional page views.

Like many of the best managed WordPress hosting providers, Presslabs offer a custom enterprise service that can be tailored to meet the needs of each customer.

Presslabs Conclusion

With their entry-level plan starting at $99 a month, and having a relatively high 150,000 page views allowance and unlimited bandwidth, Presslabs should be of interest to owners of busy websites. In addition to this, they also have all of the features you’d expect from a premium WordPress hosting company — plus some useful monitoring tools.

If you want to try Presslabs without making a payment, you can sign up for a free developer account and start work on your site. If you’re happy with the service, you can sign up to a plan and make the site publicly available.

Visit the Presslabs website.

Pagely

Pagely were the first company to offer managed WordPress hosting, and, although they weren’t included in the latest Review Signal tests, they definitely deserve a place in any article about this type of service.

Pagely now focus on delivering high-end hosting. Their prices start at $199 a month for the VPS plans, and go up as high as $20,000 a month for their Pulsar plans.

This may seem expensive, but if your website requires the best hosting money can buy, and you’d like to join the leading companies that trust their site with Pagely, including Disney, Booking.com and Experian, this host deserves your attention.

Pagely Image

Features

With Pagely, the focus is on delivering the best performance possible for your website. Offering hosting for all types of WordPress websites, including WooCommerce stores and publishers of media content such as video, Pagely are worth considering if your budget can accommodate their plans.

Core Features

As a high-end host, Pagely aim to provide you with everything your website may need, including:

  • Free SSL certificate.
  • Free WordPress website migration to Pagely.
  • Automatic daily website backups.
  • Website staging environment.
  • SFTP access to your web space.
  • Database access via phpMyAdmin or a remote MySQL client.
  • Managed WordPress software and plugin updates.
  • Choice of 14 data center locations.
  • Live chat and Slack support during business hours, and 24/7 ticket support (telephone support available on select plans).
  • AWS CloudFront CDN on all plans.
  • HTTP/2.0.
  • 100 percent website availability guarantee.
  • Customer sites hosted on the Amazon Web Service (AWS) architecture.

Some of the highlights from the Pagely managed hosting service include:

Performance Optimization

To ensure your website is fast and secure, Pagely take care of performance optimization and code reviews, as well as managing WordPress software and plugin updates. They have their own suite of tools for website caching, image optimization and providing network security.

Adaptive to Customer Needs

The relatively high starting prices of the Pagely plans mean they can adapt their service to meet the needs of each client. If you think you have demanding or complex hosting needs, Pagely clearly state they’ll work with you to provide a solution that meets your requirements.

Use of Amazon Web Services Architecture

While some managed WordPress hosts, such as Flywheel and Kinsta, are now using the Google Cloud Platform, Pagely have partnered with Amazon Web Services to deliver cloud hosting on a cutting-edge infrastructure.

Features Summary

Unless you really demand the best for your site, Pagely aren’t for beginner bloggers and small website owners.

But if you’ve outgrown your current hosting arrangements, then Pagely have everything in place to ensure your website is well managed, fast and secure.

Pagely Speed and Uptime Tests

As mentioned, Pagely weren’t included in the 2019 Review Signal hosting tests, so there isn’t any speed and uptime data for them. However, based on their reputation, client list and set of features, you shouldn’t have any doubts about their performance.

Pricing

The Pagely VPS plans are their entry-level hosting options, and prices start at $199 a month. On the VBurst 1 plan, you can install up to five instances of WordPress, with 30 GB of storage, 20 GB of bandwidth, and 150 GB of CDN usage. Unlike many other hosts, Pagely don’t limit the number of page views or visits your site can receive.

After the VPS plans, there’s the Enterprise tier which starts at $2,500 a month, and then the Elite Publisher Pulsar tier which starts at $20,000 a month. If those options don’t provide enough power for your website, the soon-to-be-released NorthStack Serverless hosting could be what you’re looking for.

Pagely Conclusion

Due to their reputation and years of hosting experience, Pagely should be included in any discussion about managed WordPress hosting.

While their plans are no longer aimed at small website owners, if you have a big budget and your site receives millions of page views or more each month, you should definitely get in touch with Pagely.

Visit the Pagely website.

WordPress VIP

WordPress VIP is the managed hosting service from Automattic, the team behind the WordPress.com platform. The founder and CEO of Automattic, Matt Mullenweg, is also the co-founder of WordPress, so if you’d like to cut out the middlemen and host your website with a company that’s been involved with WordPress from day one this host could be for you. However, as we’ll soon see, because of its high prices, WordPress VIP certainly isn’t for everyone.

WordPress VIP Hosting

Features

The WordPress VIP services are aimed at high-end WordPress websites that need more power and performance than regular managed WordPress hosting can provide — and the features and prices reflect this.

WordPress VIP also have strict coding standards and don’t just take on any type of WordPress website. To give you an idea of the types of websites they host, some of their high-profile clients include the New York Post, USA Today Sports and News Corp Australia.

Core Features

WordPress VIP provide a completely tailored and bespoke hosting service, so whatever features a site needs, they’ll be able to deliver them. Because of this, all of the features from the other managed WordPress hosts in this comparison should be available if you sign up with WordPress VIP.

However, some of the highlights from WordPress VIP hosting include:

Pre-Onboarding Website Evaluation

Before WordPress VIP even take on a new client, they perform a thorough evaluation of the existing website. This includes an audit of the current website and its codebase from a security and performance perspective. Their team of WordPress experts then make a recommendation for going forward and whether that includes partnering with WordPress VIP or not.

Detailed Project Planning and Development

If you’re accepted by WordPress VIP, their involvement in your project continues. More than just a web hosting provider, WordPress VIP aims to be partners with their clients and will support them with planning the migration to their platform.

They can also help with creating a new website or optimizing an existing site. They provide training for clients, developers, editors and administrators on how to use WordPress effectively as well.

Unlimited and Managed Everything

To deliver the best hosting environment possible, WordPress VIP manage every aspect of a website, including backups, updates and security. There are no bandwidth, storage or visitor allowances to worry about either.

Features Summary

The selective approach to taking on new clients or partners means that WordPress VIP only host the websites that are the best fit for their service. So, while most websites aren’t suitable for WordPress VIP hosting, if you do make it through the selection process, your website will be in very safe hands.

WordPress VIP Speed and Uptime Tests

WordPress VIP were included in the Enterprise category of the Review Signal tests, and the $5,000-a-month plan was evaluated.

In the Enterprise category, the Load Storm test scaled from 500 to 10,000 users accessing the WordPress VIP site, where an average response time of 100 milliseconds was recorded.

In the Enterprise category Load Impact test that scaled from one to 5,000 users over 15 minutes, the peak average load time was 67 milliseconds for the WordPress VIP site.

According to the WebPageTest.org tests, the average load time of the WordPress VIP site, based on the times recorded from 11 locations around the world, was 0.91 seconds.

During the two uptime tests that were carried out on the WordPress VIP site, both Uptime Robot and StatusCake recorded 100 percent uptime.

Pricing

Because WordPress VIP create bespoke hosting packages for their clients, there are no prices published on their website. However, after doing some research, it looks as though the WordPress VIP prices range from $5,000 a month up to $25,000 a month, plus an initial setup fee that can be as high as $5,000. Although, as mentioned, the service does include unlimited bandwidth and storage, plus hands-on onboarding, migration and management of your website.

WordPress VIP Conclusions

WordPress VIP do appear to be the best of the best when it comes to managed WordPress hosting. Although, if you’re looking for top-of-the-range hosting, you should definitely include WP Engine and Pagely in your consideration.

Like the bespoke services from those two hosts, the WordPress VIP custom plans and packages are designed to provide you with everything your website needs. However, thanks to the application and invitation-only process for taking on new clients, not to mention the high prices, WordPress VIP won’t be an option for most websites. It’s interesting to see what’s available from top-of-the-range WordPress hosting, though.

Visit the WordPress VIP website.

WordPress Managed Hosting Speed Test Results Recap

Thanks once again to the great work carried out by Review Signal, it’s possible to see who offers the fastest managed WordPress hosting across a range of tests. Below is a summary of the results from the hosts featured in our guide:

  • SiteGround: Load Storm test 407 ms — Load Impact 745 ms — WebPageTest.org 1.43 seconds.*
  • Flywheel: Load Storm test 1,790 ms — Load Impact 2,940 ms — WebPageTest.org 1.27 seconds.*
  • Kinsta: Load Storm 505 ms — Load Impact 619 ms — WebPageTest.org 1.34 seconds.*
  • Pressable: Load Storm 457 ms — Load Impact 758 ms — WebPageTest.org 2.14 seconds.*
  • WP Engine: Not included in the 2019 Review Signal tests.
  • Pantheon: Load Storm 134 ms — Load Impact 28 ms — WebPageTest.org 0.82 seconds.*
  • Presslabs: Load Storm 208 ms — Load Impact 170 ms — WebPageTest.org 0.74 seconds.†
  • Pagely: Not included in the 2019 Review Signal tests.
  • WordPress VIP: Load Storm 100 ms — Load Impact 67 ms — WebPageTest.org 0.91 seconds.†
  • The plans tested from SiteGround, Flywheel, Kinsta, Pressable and Pantheon fell into either the under $25-a-month category or the $25-to-$50-a-month category. Because of this, the Load Storm tests for these hosts scaled from 500 users up to 2,000 users, while the Load Impact tests scaled from one user up to a thousand users.

† The plans tested from Presslabs and WordPress VIP were Enterprise plans, and therefore the Load Storm and Load Impact tests were scaled up to 10,000 and 5,000 users respectively.

Because of the different number of users in the Load Storm and Load Impact tests for the $50-and-under category and the Enterprise category, the results between these two types of plans can’t be compared directly.

As you can see from the results, you generally get what you pay for in terms of performance, with the Flywheel entry-level plan — one of the lowest-priced options — coming in with some of the slowest times in the Load Storm and Load Impact tests, while the most expensive WordPress VIP service had some of the best scores.

However, it’s not quite as straightforward as that, as the SiteGround GrowBig plan — which is the cheapest option included — did relatively well in the Load Storm and Load Impact tests.

All websites and their audiences are different, so your results will vary. However, most of these hosts offer some sort of money-back guarantee, so you do have the option of testing your site risk-free with these hosts.

Final Thoughts

As you can see, there’s a lot to take into account when choosing a managed WordPress host for your website.

Having a fast-loading website is important, but getting access to the right features can matter just as much, especially if you have particular requirements, such as being able to host your website in a non-standard location, or need the ability to securely share test sites with your clients.

Hopefully, this guide has provided you with all of the information needed to make an informed decision on which managed WordPress host you should choose.

Chosen a host? Which? Why? Thoughts?

By Joe Fylan

Joe is an experienced WordPress user who enjoys sharing the tips and knowledge he's picked up from using this fantastic platform for many years. You can find out more about Joe on his website.
Comments (policy)
  1. Igor Araujo says:

    I always ask myself if it’s really worth it to use a managed hosting. I’ve been digging deeper for a couple of months and I’ve got an answer.

    Most of these managed hosting set up a good environment in terms of infrastructure. Few of them uses Tier 4 datacenters with ssd IOPS guarantee and a giant network. Besides that they provide in-memory caching and are very careful with security. If you’re not willing to waste your time with all this (and I’m almost sure you aren’t), then this is perfect for you.

    I see most people going to managed hosting and hoping that all technical problems have ended, which might be true for some cases but we must keep in mind that most managed WordPress Hostings won’t resolve most of your application-related problems because they’re a hosting provider!

    If you’re looking for the best hosting options, go for it, managed hostings must be your choice. If you don’t want to worry about application-related problems anymore, you should hire an agency or a WordPress support company!

  2. Good informative article. A big factor for managed WordPress website hosting apart from the obvious, financial, is that you need to consider the level of support and expertise they provide. Is it 24/7 and how responsive are they? I would suggest thorough research first, conduct a few web searches with regards to their customer support before making a decision.

  3. Rajeev Dave says:

    Hello,

    Great Stuff,

    Really awesome article provide details all wordpress website hosting provider which can help lot more for wordpress users. Even I used siteground that is really awesome services provider for mainly wordpress users they provide default cache plugins and lot more option. I really recommend them for long term basis wordpress users.

    Thanks for sharing valuable information!

    Cheers!!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

All comments are held for moderation. We'll only publish comments that are on topic and adhere to our Commenting Policy.

Our commenting form also supports the use of Markdown.