9 Leading Options for Managed WordPress Hosting
As WordPress has continued to increase in popularity, a number of companies have found ways to meet the hosting needs of WordPress users by offering managed WordPress hosting. While most web hosts offer an easy WordPress installation, they don’t usually provide support for WordPress, themes, and plugins. This new breed of hosts that specifically target WordPress users often provide support for WordPress related issues. Additionally, and equally important, their servers are configured for the best WordPress performance.
This article will provide some basic information on 9 of the leading providers of managed WordPress hosting, and at the end I’ll share some of my own thoughts.
WPEngine is one of the best options available. They have several well respected members of the WordPress community on their team, including as advisors and investors. WPEngine emphasizes page load speeds and security. They say that their average customer’s website load 4 times faster after switching to WPEngine, partly due to the caching system that they developed. The also have their own CDN service to further enhance page speed.
As far as security is concerned, they have a one-click backup and restore process included in their plans. They also scan and monitor for hacking attempts, and if your site does get hacked they will fix it for free.
Page.ly is one of the leaders in managed WordPress hosting. They have a number of features that are ideal for customers who want as little needed maintenance as possible. Those features include automatic WordPress core upgrades, automatic plugin upgrades, automatic backups, pre-installed plugins, and 2 minute setup. In addition, performance and security is improved through varnish cache, available CDN, security and hosting from Firehost.
Pricing starts at $19.95 per month for sites with less than 10,000 visitors per month. Other plans range from $49.95 to $650 per month for high-traffic websites.
Synthesis is the hosting division of Copyblogger Media, the parent company of Copyblogger and leading WordPress theme shop StudioPress. The hosting division started after they had great success and better performance hosting their own websites. With thousands of customers using the StudioPress themes and their Genesis framework, offering hosting makes sense.
The primary selling features of Synthesis are performance and security, which are concerns of just about every website owner using WordPress. They offer migration services (for a fee) for customers who want to move to Synthesis. The $90 migration fee also includes things like file cleanup and permissions lockdown. You will get the best performance if you’re using their Genesis framework.
Pricing starts at $27 per month for a single-website plan that is intended to serve 2,500 daily unique visitors. Other plans are priced at $97, $147, and $300 per month, intended to support from 20,000 to 300,000 daily unique visitors.
WPWebHost was one of the first companies that I was aware of to offer hosting specifically for WordPress. Their clients include a number of popular blogs, and they have partnered with some leading themes shops to give exclusive discounts on premium themes for their customers.
Currently, their pricing starts at $3.48 per month for a plan that is suitable for 30,000 visitors per month. Other plans are available for $44.95 and $119 per month and suitable for 50,000 to 150,000 visitors per month.
Like Page.ly, CloudyPress offers automatic upgrades of the WordPress core and plugins. The cloud hosting service offered scalable resources, free CDN, and security monitoring. Nightly backups are run for added protection.
Pricing starts at $19 per month for a plan that supports 25,000 page views per month. Other plans are available for $49 and $99 per month, supporting 50,000 – 50,000 page views per month.
ZippyKid advertises that your site will load 3 times faster on their servers. They achieve this through the use of a CDN, caching, and servers that are configured specifically for WordPress. Additionally, their servers allow scalability that can support spikes of traffic.
Pricing starts at $25 per month for one website with up to 100,000 visitors per month. A developer’s plan is also available for $100 per month that allows for up to 10 websites each with 100,000 visitors per month.
Kahuna Host has partnered with leading premium theme providers like Press75, Organic Themes (coming soon), and Headway Themes (coming soon). Their customers get WordPress installation and a premium theme in one installation. With Kahuna Host you can have full control to use other scripts on your site for things like e-commerce, forums, membership, and whatever else you need.
Pricing starts at $20 per month for a plan that supports 30,000 visitors per month. Other plans are available for $50 per month and $150 per month, supporting 200,000 – 1,000,000 visitors per month.
Lightning Base offers managed WordPress hosting with fast page loads due to varnish cache, a global CDN, and more. For security they offer comprehensive firewalls and hacking recovery help. Lighting Base will even take care of your site migration and CDN and caching set up.
Pricing starts at $9.95 per month for a plan that supports up to 10,000 page views per month. Other plans are available for $19.95 – $99.95 to support 25,000 page views to 250,000 page views per month.
WebsiteHall offers managed WordPress hosting with security hardening, 24/7 proactive security monitoring, migration assistance, and more. Pricing starts at $9 per month for a plan with 10 GB of storage and 100 GB/month of bandwidth.
Is Managed WordPress Hosting Right for You?
For disclosure, this site is not hosted with any of the companies mentioned in this host. We use a dedicated server from Eleven2. There is a lot to like about managed WordPress hosting, and a few things that are a little concerning. In the end, it’s like a lot of other things in life. What’s right for you depends on your situation.
Pros of Using Managed WordPress Hosting:
Performance and reliability. Hosts that specialize in WordPress are able to customize their servers to be optimized for WordPress-powered sites. Most web hosts allow you to use whatever CMS or scripts you choose, so the servers may not be configured to maximize WordPress performance. This is especially true if you are using a low cost shared hosting account. If you have a VPS or a dedicated server you will have more control.
As you noticed in the descriptions of the companies above, page load speed is a major selling point for many of them. With visitors that expect fast loading and search engines like Google using load speeds as a factor to determine search rankings, it can have a major impact on your site and your business.
Security. WordPress is an incredibly popular content management system, and with the popularity and the fact that it is open source comes some added security risk. While it is possible to address security concerns on your own, these hosts take added precautions when compared to standard hosting.
Hands-free maintenance. While the features of each company vary, several offer automatic WordPress and plugin upgrades. If you (or your client) are not interested in taking the time to do these things manually, or if you would feel more comfortable with someone else taking care of it, this can be a significant factor.
Support. With managed WordPress hosting you’ll get support from people who really know WordPress. With most web hosts you’ll get support from people who kind of know WordPress, but for some issues you’ll be on your own. Many of the companies mentioned in this article will even attempt to support issues with themes and plugins in addition to core WordPress issues.
Cons of Using Managed WordPress Hosting:
With all of the pros, there are a few cons as well. You’ll have to weigh these cons against the pros to determine if it is a good fit for you.
Support. WordPress-specific support was mentioned as a pro, so you may be wondering why it is mentioned as a con as well. The quality of support isn’t the concern. It’s more about the support options and the support hours. Of the companies listed in this article, only ZippyKid and WPEngine provide a phone number on their website. It’s possible that others provide a phone number to customers who are logged in.
Most also do not mention their support hours, and with smaller staffs (compared to leading web hosting companies) it is unlikely to be 24/7. WPWebHost does offer 24/7 support. WPEngine’s more pricey plans include telephone support from 9:00 am – 6:00 pm Central time.
This is the biggest issue, in my opinion. You never know when you’ll need assistance and it’s nice to know that someone will be able to help around the clock, and even by phone if you prefer to call.
Pricing. The prices of just about every managed WordPress host will be higher compared to the leading web hosting companies. In reality, this isn’t much of a factor because the increased performance and security are likely to more than make up for the higher price.
What’s Your Experience?
Have you used any of these companies? What is your experience and your opinion?
Published June 22nd, 2012 by Steven Snell