WordPress managed hosting is the step away from the shared hosting trap. How good the service is will depend on the budget and the service provider.

I’m Adame, an experienced WordPress freelancer, and I’m here to help you decide whether or not WordPress managed hosting is worth your money.

THE CONCEPT

It’s ambiguous how service providers define a managed WordPress hosting nowadays. Here are a couple of features that could mean you are getting a managed WP hosting:

  • You have a designated CPU cycles and RAM to use
  • Your WordPress core is automatically updated/upgraded
  • Your theme and plugins are updated/upgraded hands-free
  • Your site is optimized, secured by the service provider automatically or by a human worker
  • Your website is backed up automatically and can be restored any time and under any circumstance
  • You can manage your server on your own, without technical knowledge

And a lot of fancy words to convince you to pay more, and more, and more.

The thing is, the real managed WP hosting should be more of a dedicated service than just giving you some tools to handle your WordPress easily.

For me, and for anyone actually, a managed WP hosting should have the following components (all of them):

  • The VPS should be fully optimized for WP with the latest tech and optimization like PHP7, Nginx, Redis, and other great performance-driven pieces of software
  • WP updates, upgrades should be taken care of, including fixes when something goes wrong
  • Security should be top notch
  • A backup system should be on and easy to recover when needed, plus a weekly archive, plus at least three months worth of backup available and ready to roll any time when needed
  • Everything should be handled by humans and not automated until something goes wrong
  • A highly available and competent support service
  • Ideally, the site should be hosted on a separate and scalable VPS

Anything other than the above shouldn’t qualify as a managed WordPress hosting. I’m saying that because some service providers are using Managed WordPress Hosting as a fancy appellation for either an enhanced shared hosting or an optimized hosting for WordPress.

On managed hosting, the human factor is the key. Without it, you are just dealing with an automation that can go wrong any given time without warning.

You can find these standards on one particular type of managed hosting. A quick tip: They are not the cheapest around

WHY GET ONE?

You picked, or are looking for a WordPress managed hosting for:

  • Improving performance
  • More efficient server management
  • Complying with your service provider request

A note about how shared hosting service can force your hand to upgrade to a fake managed hosting service.

As you know by now, after reading my guide covering shared hosting, one of the most attractive features/sales pitch of shared hosting is the unlimited everything. So, basically, it’s okay to load as many sites as you want, BUT, and this is what they don’t tell about, once you reach a specific performance cap, they will shut you down.

In other words, it’s okay to underuse your account. But you are not allowed to overuse it. So, basically, it’s an unlimited service, but with a given limit, which is as it sounds.

And this is where things get ugly. Some service provider won’t let get your site back unless you pay at least one month of managed hosting.

A typical loser behavior!

LOW-END VS. MID-RANGE VS. HIGH-END

WordPress managed hosting range will depend on how much features you are getting. There are three possibilities:

LOW-END

You can easily recognize it with the close pricing scheme as shared hosting. You give away the unlimited everything and concentrate more on one or a handful websites.

Compared to shared hosting, you get access to more features that can help you manage your WP website.

Keep in mind that you are still in a shared hosting environment.

Price range (/m)

  • Avrg.: $8
  • Lowest: $3
  • Up to: $15

PROVIDERS

All shared hosting service provide a managed hosting upgrade.

I stick with the same listing as mentioned before:

And you guessed it right, again. These are the top providers to avoid.

PROS

There is a bit of good on it…

Pricing is still affordable. It starts from $3 up to $15 per month, depending on how many websites you need to host and how much storage you need.

Performance is slightly enhanced. You usually get more CPU cycles that will help extend the limit of your performance cap, and a defined burstable/dedicated RAM (256/512MB) that might help run features-rich WordPress setup more smoothly.

This is theoretical. In real-world, we rarely find a dedicated resource on this kind of hosting. It’s more of a reserved resource, that might or might not be available when you request it.

You get a couple of additional useful features like an enhanced security protocol, a staging environment to experiment and a backup system to keep things under control if the worst happens.

Recap.

  • Affordable
  • Performance is better

CONS

Using a low-end WP managed hosting means that you are still on the bottom tier of shared environment. The only different is instead of being “total crap”, it’s just “crap”.

So, you suffer from all the inconsistencies, overcrowding, and unfair resources sharing you would experience on any shared hosting setup. But a bit less, though.

You will be billed per website this time around. If you have one website, that will sound fair, but when your folio has tens of websites, things will start to be pricey compared to your regular shared hosting plan.

Remember, you are still not getting the right performance for your money.

You are also billed by a monthly visits cap. Meaning that a successful or a high-traffic site might have to pay upgrade they don’t really need in term of performance.

Recap.

  • Shared hosting environment
  • Billed per # of websites
  • Billed per # of visits

I would say that it’s the best option of the worst hosting environment you could get. It’s still a shared hosting, but with a slightly better performance.

MID-RANGE

Mid-range is what I would define as where the real entry-level managed WP hosting starts from the service side.

You get a slightly faster performance, with a bit more assistance to handle some aspects of your WordPress site.

Price range (/m)

  • Avrg.: $20
  • Lowest: $15
  • Up to: $30

PROVIDERS

Here is a list of providers with a clean reputation and providing mid-range managed WP hosting plans:

PROS

The significantly enhanced performance is a noticeable characteristic.

You will probably find Nginx as a web server, PHP 7, and MariaDB combo. You also get an in-house caching protocol and a CDN.

These details can help considerably boost the website’s loading speed and performance.

It’s still a shared hosting environment, but built-in with a fairer resource share in mind, and scalable if needed to make sure all websites perform well.

The proprietary dashboard is another great feature. It’s not overloaded with features that the customer won’t need like Cpanel and similar commercial hosting management platforms. Fewer features mean that it’s focusing on the important ones, and it does them efficiently.

Updates and upgrades are niftier and efficient. It’s either a better automation or a prominent human monitoring helping things go smoothly. In both cases, you are unlikely to break the website while performing an update.

More serious security protocols kill the easy hacks before they happen.

Recap.

  • Performance boosts
  • Better servers (hardware)
  • Better server software
  • Better control over the servers
  • Fairer share
  • Better security

CONS

The pricing is a bit expensive especially if there is no performance boosts.

The low monthly visit cap is probably the deal breaker for many of you. It will give you the feeling that you are paying more than what it should be, which is true.

Technically, you are buying a shared hosting with a fairer usage policy, but you pay a premium price for it.

Recap.

  • Price
  • Billed per # of websites
  • Billed per # of visits

Better performance is still a good take for your money. But it’s still too pricey to be considered as the best option one could get.

HIGH-END

The pro league.

You deal with people breathing WordPress and know every single way to make a superhero out of it: FastSecure, and can handle picks like a champ.

The pricing is outrageously expensive.

Price range (/m)

  • Platform
  • Performance
  • Security
  • Support

PROVIDERS

Here is a list of providers with a clean reputation and providing high-end managed WP hosting plans:

PROS

The best performance you could get.

Servers are top notch and scalable. High-end managed WP service providers will rely on Amazon AWS or Google Cloud Engine. It’s not the cheapest ones, but in term of performance, reliability, and scalability, it’s hard to find any close competition to these.

You get access to a fancy setup too! Nginx as a web server, PHP 7 or HHMV, and MariaDB plus a high performance caching architecture are common components of the web server.

The server administration always feels ahead of its time. Both non-developers and developer will rejoice using it. We are talking about one-click staging/testing environments, a Git integration, WP-CLI and other fancy tools that make people do things right and fast.

It’s almost a hands-free hosting, as the support team will handle most of the tasks and willing to help on the most complex ones. La creme de la creme in term of support service.

Security is the toughest at there. It’s not only something impenetrable but in case the worst happens, most of these top service providers will fix hacked website on their watch for free.

Recap.

  • Top notch hosting platform
  • Best performance possible
  • Hackproof Security
  • Daily backup
  • Access to expert support (real one)

CONS

Price is the only downfall of these high-end WP hosting services. But you get real value, and significant performance while using their services.

We are talking about something at least around $100 per website/month.

One other disadvantage can be the quick upsell caps. For example, some providers will offer a 5Gb – 10Gb storage on their cheapest plan, which can really be quickly filled if you have a fast-growing content driven website.

Recap.

  • Price
  • Storage

The best in term of WP managed hosting. This is how good hosting a WordPress website could get.

I won’t bet on the low-end service providers. The gain in performance compared to the pricing isn’t worth the shot. Just totally forget about it.

Mid-range providers can be a good starting point for serious projects. You are still paying more than what you get, but at least, the performance and convenience are there. And to be fair, you are not paying billions :) You will get used to the slightly higher charge.

The high-end hosting platform is for established companies and web properties. Beginners can’t afford the $1k – $3k per year only for web hosting. That would be suicide But in term of hosting, performance, and service, it’s the pinnacle of the industry.

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