What You Need to Know About Managed WordPress Hosting

Over the past ten years or so WordPress has played a huge part in democratizing the web. These days, just about anyone can create a blog in minutes with the world’s favorite content management system without having to worry about any potentially confusing technical matters.

However, there are many important things that happen “under the hood,” so to speak. Those back end issues impact many sites. Other people find that updating WordPress and its plugins is a hassle. While WordPress is an awesome content management system, managing the manager can be a hassle.

Luckily, a market has sprung up that will take care of that responsibility for you – managed WordPress hosting. In this post I will explain what it is, who might need it and why. I’ll also feature a few companies that are in the managed WordPress hosting business.

What Is Managed WordPress Hosting?

In a nutshell, managed WordPress hosting deals with all of the backend tasks related to running a WordPress blog so that you don’t have to. That way, you can focus on what truly matters: selling your products and/or services to customers.

They will host your site, of course. Beyond that, they also bring specific WordPress experience and work to optimize your site in many areas: speed, security, uptime, updates to the WordPress core and plugin compatibility. Sean O’Brien, Director of Marketing at Pagely, summarizes what he sees as the key benefits of managed WordPress hosting:

Security, Speed (SEO), and Updates. We work exclusively and seek to maximize all three.

Who Should Get Managed WordPress Hosting?

Managed WordPress hosts help on a variety of fronts. But the option is not for everybody. For example, Pagely’s plans start at $24, with more expensive options offering more features. The cost is not crippling, but it also is not anything to sniff at. Personal bloggers would probably be better off without managed hosting.

On the other hand, small businesses and big corporations should definitely consider it. The cost of managed hosting pales in comparison to that of hiring a system administrator. Purchasing a managed WordPress hosting plan will be cheaper than paying someone to work for your company and solve the issues.

Also remember that managed hosting is geared specifically towards WordPress. If you want your site to be on the cutting edge, having a provider focused on your content management system can pay off. Jerod of Copyblogger Media, which runs the managed WordPress host Synthesis, argues that exact point:

WordPress is a wonderful piece of software, but it also has its idiosyncrasies that must be addressed. If you do not choose a managed WordPress host, you will not be getting the best performance, security, and support possible. Period. So if your site means a lot to you, then having a host who specializes in delivering the best experience to you and your readers should mean a lot to you too.

How Hard Is It To Switch?

With normal hosting, migrating a site from one provider to another can be frustrating. Managed WordPress hosts aim to take that painful process and make it painless. The results are great. You can generally expect to have a migration with minimal downtime – most managed WordPress providers will test your site on their servers and let you see a preview before they switch the DNS information.

Jerod explains:

The key is giving people the ability to preview their sites before changing any DNS settings. This allows the migration to occur “in the dark” without the live site being affected … thus, no downtime.

The details vary from provider to provider – some managed WordPress companies will move any site for free, while others charge an additional fee. Chris Piepho, founder of Lighting Base, describes his company’s approach:

A big selling point for Lightning Base is that we offer free site migrations, and are able to complete most transfers within 24 hours of receiving login information. Reassuring customers is not generally a big issue — no downtime is involved with a migration, and we check out sites for errors on our system before helping to make the DNS change.”

You should, of course, always research how different companies handle (and charge for) site migrations. Sean O’Brien summarizes Pagely’s policy:

…we assist with migration for free on Professional and Enterprise accounts, and we offer migration for a fee on the other plans. Cost varies based on complexity. We move sites all the time so there are rarely any issues.

What Will I Get From Managed WordPress Hosting?

While it comes at a cost, managed WordPress hosting has some key advantages, and many of these are reasons why WPExplorer is hosted on WP Engine.

  • Increased site speed
  • Bolstered security
  • Reliable uptime
  • Updates to the WordPress core
  • Checks for plugin compatibility.

Security

Security is key. With WordPress powering about 18% of the web these days, it is a big target for spammers and hackers. Managed hosting services take security very seriously. Jerod details the Synthesis approach:

We provide daily malware scans from Sucuri for every WordPress install we host. And in the event of any breach, we take full responsibility for cleaning it up and locking the site back down. In addition, we have been among the most proactive in the business in preventing the scourge of WordPress: brute force login attempts … We also take daily backups of every WordPress install as well, so no Synthesis site is ever more than 24 hours removed from a complete restore.

Other services offer similar security features to protect your site.

Speed

These companies also take faster speeds as a point of pride. One thing to note, however, is that increases in speed will vary depending on where your site is at right now. Chris Piepho writes:

There is no real way to state an average – I’ve seen some advertisements regarding this and find it incredibly misleading…for sites that are already fast, there might be a small change, but you can’t improve much on really good … For sites experiencing slowness, there is a very real chance they can see a large improvement.

What About the Alternatives?

There are always other options, so which one you choose depends on your needs. WordPress maintenance companies claim to have superior service, but it comes at a price. I explored this in an earlier post here on WPExplorer. Virtual private servers and dedicated servers are another option, but you should keep in mind that they do not specialize in WordPress. Chris Piepho weighs in:

Compared to a smaller VPS, our services are generally price-competitive while taking care of all the management headache. Compared to a dedicated server, Lightning Base will be more expensive, but clients benefit from our experience in running large numbers of WordPress sites — if they need to hire someone to get similar expertise, it will be much more expensive than our service.

As always, managed WordPress hosts stress their expertise. Sean O’Brien continues:

Our service is far superior if you’re running WordPress. Our techs are well versed in all details of WordPress including plugins, themes, and upgrades, whereas a typical tech at a standard hosting company may not know anything about WordPress.

Is Managed WordPress Hosting a Good Investment?

Should you ultimately choose managed WordPress hosting? You know your individual situation the best, so only you can decide. Hopefully, the information that I presented here will help you with your choice.

The pricing of managed WordPress hosting seems fairly reasonable, especially for businesses who would normally have to pay someone to deal with these issues. Some people feel that they can handle their own WordPress issues on the back end. If you are one of those people, it may be a good idea to stick with what you are currently doing.

Whether or not to get managed WordPress hosting ultimately comes down to a logical analysis of costs and benefits – will the time you save and the features you gain end up saving more money than you spend on managed WordPress hosting? If the answer is yes, then it is hard to justify not making the switch. If the answer is no, you can take a page from Dory’s book and just keep on swimming.

Tom Ewer
Post Author: Tom Ewer

Tom Ewer is a professional blogger, longtime WordPress enthusiast and the founder of WordCandy.

Disclosure: This page contains external affiliate links that may result in us receiving a comission if you choose to purchase said product. The opinions on this page are our own. We do not receive payment for positive reviews.
Got something to say? Join the discussion.
  1. Mark & Phil says:
    No mention of WP Engine?
    • AJ Clarke | WPExplorer says:
      AJ Clarke | WPExplorer
      There is a small mention, but you are correct, there probably should have been a bit more. We use them here at WPExplorer and LOVE them, I think they deserve a whole post, which I am intending to do in the near future.
      Admin
  2. Ashraf Kamal says:
    Pretty much helpful for me, reading just before placing an order. Thank you very much.
  3. Very helpful article, I wish I stumbled upon it before selecting a host :P Now a days there are so many Managed WordPress hostings all of a sudden it seems. It will be great if you could do a comparison of not just the top 3-4 but like a top 10, because I feel there are a lot now, like lightning base, wpoven, getflywheel etc.
  4. Mary Smith says:
    IMO Managed hosting is well worth the extra dough. I am really happy with my managed hosting with WP-Engine. I was with pressable but the site ran so very slow and they don't even offer backup. You have to make your own s3 account and backup there. Now I am thinking of moving to WPOven, there plans seem very tempting, almost all the features of WP-Engine but very sensible pricing. Has anyone tried them and can share there experience ?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Hi Mary, We are actually using the WPEngine "Enterprise" plan which is a dedicated server and we couldn't be happier. It is expensive though! We haven't tested WPOven yet, but I don't get a "good vibe" when looking at their site. There is something about a site lacking a good design that makes me wonder how good their services are if they aren't willing to spend the extra time and money on a solid looking site.
      Admin
      • Mary Smith says:
        Hi AJ I see what you mean about the WPOven site. I agree it could look a lot better. looks no where near the standard of WPEngine. I have bought a "Tiny" plan from them and I must say I was impressed by the client Dashboard they provided. It was clean simple with lots of information. So far the site is running fast and there support has been satisfactory. They don't have amazing 24/7 support nor do they have phone support but all of my tickets were answered in around 3-4 hours max. I am also looking to try Kinsta if WPOven disappoints me. Do you suggest any other lower priced manged hostings I should check out Thanks Mary
        • AJ Clarke says:
          AJ Clarke
          Hi Mary, That's great, thanks for sharing your experience! I may have to reach out to them and see if I can get a test account to review them. Right now we are running a SiteGround free hosting giveaway on our blog, maybe you'd like to enter that as well ;)
          Admin
  5. Avery Grayson says:
    Hi... Some good points you have made. For over a year now, I've been investigating managed WordPress hosting companies and trying to reconcile myself to the additional cost, since we include hosting for our clients via our Webmistress Service. Because of the premium services these companies provide, their cost really doesn't scale for us to “throw it in” like we had been doing in the past, without increasing the cost of our maintenance plan. Plus, there’s the email hosting issues, and I’ll get to more on that later. Before some days I visit Hostbuddy.com, where I found very good information about hosting.
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      Hi there, If all the sites are using WordPress then a managed Wordpress solution can really save time and also most have built-in cache to keep your sites running fast. Things like emails can always be setup with a 3rd party site. Really just comes down to your budgets. It's also possible if you are creating sites for clients to let them know their cost is going to increase a little, however, their service will be better.
      Admin
  6. Omair Mahmood says:
    Thank you for writing such a useful article. I registered a domain through wordpress.com It was also hosted by wordpress, and it was $18 a year. They only gave 3.5 GB space but the benefits were wonderful. I was part of WP bloggers community, sharing my blogs and reading theirs. Plus it was giving support to Urdu language, which is not provided when you install WP on any other hosting. So all my themes automatically converted to RTL. The sharing plugin was wonderful, I was able to synchronize my blog with social media accounts. The only problem was that WP does not accept payments from my country Pakistan. So I decided not to continue with it. AND NOW MY QUESTION Does managed wordpress hosting give me benefits I have mentioned above?
    • AJ Clarke says:
      AJ Clarke
      This depends on where you are purchasing your managed WordPress hosting each service provides different benefits. We currently use a premium plan at WPEngine and LOVE it.
      Admin
  7. Tom, insightful post. I am interested in hearing more about your experience with managed WordPress hosting companies. From your post, it appears security is a top priority for every managed WordPress company. I recently read an article similar to yours that mentioned many managed WordPress hosting companies place security as their number one priority. The article is here if you’re interested: pagely.com/managed-wordpress-hosting Is there one company that offers security at a higher level or is there one company that does it the best?
    • I recommend you check out M3Server. You get free automated malware scans with all WordPress hosting plans.
  8. Hey AJ, Can here is any difference between wordpress hosting and managed wordpress hosting.
    • Kyla
      Yes, and it's a big one! Almost every web host supports WordPress but you have to install, manage and update your WordPress installation on your server. With Managed WordPress hosting the web host takes care of your WordPress installation for you so you can worry less about your hosting and spend more time focusing on your actual content! :-)
      Admin
      • So you mean managed WP hosting is better than WP hosting or here is also any drawbacks of managed WP hosting.
        • Kyla
          In my opinion managed hosting is better than standard for most users. It makes managing your own website that much easier plus there are a lot more opportunities for the hosting company to optimize their servers specifically for WordPress (which can mean faster & more secure hosting). Of course there are exceptions, but since most of our readers are bloggers and small business owners I would definitely recommend managed hosting if it fits in their budget :-)
          Admin
          • So which one is better pagely or wpengine. As mentioned in above post wpexplorer hosted on wpengine because of it's features. can wpengine provide value for money response. Thank you Kyla for your quick and supportive response.
            • Kyla
              We've never used Pagely so I can't give an accurate opinion on them, but we've been extremely happy with WPEngine for the past 3+ years. Our websites and theme demos load fast, they take daily backups for us, the user portal is just awesome, their support team is on point, and we love not having to take care of our own server :-)
              Admin
  9. We currently use StackPress for our clients sites. Their Let's Encrypt integration sealed the deal for us.
  10. I agree that it's about finding the service that's right for you -- and it's not just about balancing time vs money (though of course that's important too). Clients of our managed WordPress hosting service have told us that they love it because they don't have to worry about their site going down, or about things going wrong because of updates etc, because we'll look after it for them. So it's also about peace of mind.
  11. LvlySumn says:
    I am on a GoDaddy Managed hosting and pretty satisfied so far
    • Kyla
      That's great to hear! We had fun reviewing that one and we actually use it for a few personal websites :-)
      Admin
  12. Thank you for answering all these questions! If I may add, many people might think that " why spend my money on something that I don't need now". Well, they don't need it yet! Managed hosing is a way for people spend least time maintaining their websites and taking care of security. Wiredelta recently published a blog post about the importance of managed WordPress hosting and I would advise you to read it. You will get some more information before making such an important decision as choosing a hosting company:
  13. Adarsh M says:
    And I have seen some Managed WordPress Hosting providers where WordPress is pre installed. Managed WordPress Hosting provides better performance and its really great. Thank you

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