The online industry is the fastest growing industry nowadays. People are finding more and more ways to promote their business online. One of the best ways to promote your business is a personal website that represents you or your company. However, websites are not only meant to promote your business, you can also use these websites as a source of passive income. For example, a blog website can be a good source of passive income. But without a domain, theme and hosting, your website doesn’t exist for the public. Finding a theme I would strongly recommend you taking a look at Themeforest, they have a great selection of themes and templates which you can use for your website.
There are a ton of different hosts out there, all who says they support WordPress, but in this jungle of hosts, what do you choose for your website? In this article, I will focus on the best WordPress hosting options, but before I get into the main topic, let me tell you what managed WordPress hosting is and how it will help you with your website.
All the hosting companies offers different fees and resources for their server setups. Whatever resources your website need depends on 2 main factors:
- How heavy is it to load.
- How many monthly visitors do you have
If you have a high number of visitors, you need the resources to run your website without interruptions, please do take this into account when you read this article.
All the hosting companies explained below support WooCommerce. The bigger your WooCommerce webshop is, the more resources you’ll need. Therefore, choosing between the hosting companies, this should be a factor for you.
- What is the difference between Shared hosting and Managed WordPress hosting?
- What is managed WordPress hosting?
- Best managed WordPress hosting in-depth comparison
What is the difference between Shared hosting and Managed WordPress hosting?
The biggest difference is your freedom. With Managed WordPress hosting you get a very locked hosting environment, which is for your own good as it brings a lot of benefits, such as a test environment where you can test changes, automatic backups and much more. With a Shared hosting you have bigger freedom, but be careful as you are fully responsible for your Shared hosting and it’s possibilities.
I have previously used Shared hosting, but found it to be too exhausting having to optimise it every week, whereas with Managed hosting I have Kinsta working on optimising the server every week to the new standards. This saves me a ton of time, plus I gain a lot of features by this. Kinsta have their own built-in cache plugin which works great, and plays like a charm with WP Rockets cache plugin.
What is managed WordPress hosting?
Managed WordPress hosting is like the “bricks” in a “building” that contains the complete structure, but at the same time also provides different shapes and designs according to your needs. Managed WordPress hosting offers many convenient features to make your website more secure, manageable, and fast. A managed WordPress hosting takes some responsibility off your shoulders and makes sure that your website runs stable and smoothly. This is the reason why it is one of the most demanded options for many website operators today. Lately a ton of different managed WordPress hostings has popped up, I have however focused on the four best managed WordPress hosting out there right now in 2021. They are tried and tested, and the comparison is based purely on performance, user ratings and personal experience. My favourite feature using a managed WordPress hosting is the staging environment. This is basically a copy of your website on another domain where you can play around without touching your live site. It creates such a safety net for me. Every time I have a plugin update, I update it on my staging environment to see what it does to my website. If nothing breaks, I can push it to the live site, if something breaks I can fix it before I push it to my live site. This makes me so much more professional as my live site never has issues. If you are in a hurry, you can take a quick look at the comparison table below, where you will get a quick overview.
|Price /month||Monthly traffic||Websites||Storage||Specificity|
|WP Engine||$25||~25,000 visits||1||10 GB||Best for power users and big traffic.|
|Kinsta||$30||~25,000 visits||1||10 GB||Best over all and price according to quality.|
|Flywheel||$15||~5,000 visits||1||5 GB||Easiest to use, especially designed for DIY-ers or beginners.|
|Presslabs||$99||~150,000 visits||1||5 GB||Cloud-native WordPress hosting.|
Best managed WordPress hosting in-depth comparison
Based on user reviews and my personal experience here are the full details of the above-mentioned hostings.
Depending on the reviews, I found this to be the most popular managed hosting. Therefore, I decided to give it a try. The hosting plan I chose was the basic startup plan, and this hosting package is suitable to handle a lot of traffic sent to smaller websites or blogs.
This basic plan offers 1 WordPress installation and with this package you can handle up to 25000 visitors per month which can be counted as a good start for a new website or blog. The SSD storage in this hosting package is 10 GB which is more than enough for small websites even with many pictures and assets. Besides, this is not the only plan they offer. Growth and Scale are the 2 other plans from $95 and $241 respectively, with more advanced options and bigger monthly visitors and disk space options.
If you run a larger business and want to customise some features, you can also choose their customise plan. A great tip; if you sign up for an annual billing plan, you can save additional through their annual discount offer.
Registration is easy; you just need to fill out the registration form. The best part is that you don’t have to pre-install WordPress before you sign up, this is an essential part of using managed WordPress hosting. The WP engine team will take care of this. As soon as you are finished with the registration, you will receive a confirmation e-mail from the team, which will inform you about all your essential information and important data for your new website.
Uptime of the WP engine
I have been using WP Engine for three months and have found that the uptime is 100% for me. They are really stable, you can really rely on WP Engine.
Loading time of WP engine
Depending on the users’ ratings, I can say that the loading time is the same worldwide, but I have found USA’s loading time to be better than in other countries. You can compare the loading time in the following table. Countries outside the US measure 2.26 secs which is quite fine.
|East coast, USA||1.53 seconds|
|West coast, USA||1.18 seconds|
Their customer service is not limited to e-mails only. You can contact them via the help desk or the live chat option that appears immediately after opening their website. If you are looking for a higher or customised plan, you can reach them via their phone number, which you can find in their price list.
Their response time is swift, and I say this based on my personal experience, as I have faced some problems, contacted their live chat, and received a reply within a few seconds. So if you encounter any issues or want to change your plan, you can contact them, and customer support will contact you back within a short time.
If you are looking for managed hosting that offers you the best performance at low prices, with a control panel that quickly gives you an overview of your website. You need to try Kinsta, one of the best hosting companies. Kinsta provides a variety of plans for you to choose according to your needs. The basic plan starts at $30 with 10 GB of storage with free SSL and CDN. All their servers are really in the high performance category within all hosting providers.
The other hosting plans range from $60 to $1500, and as your plan increases, you’ll get more and more features. Which means, if you are not satisfied with your current hosting plan and would like some additional specifications, higher hosting plans are available. Moreover, they are offering free migrations and hack fix guarantee on all the plans.
Kinsta’s main focus is to optimise their hosting facilities. Kinsta is the most powerful managed WordPress hosting when it comes to hosting large numbers of visitors. Kinsta operates on the principle of the Google cloud platform. To make the website more accessible and easier to use for visitors, it uses Google’s infrastructure. By using the Google cloud platform, it adds an extra layer of security and stability for you as an end-user, the reason being Kinsta needs to live up to the rules and standards set by Google.
When you use Kinsta, you don’t see the traditional cPanel user interface, but instead, you get a custom panel to use which focuses mainly on the important things for you. In contrast, the less important things are hidden behind the bars. That’s why Kinsta is a managed WordPress hosting, because it takes care of every server management task for you.
Kinsta’s account management is great. Instead of having multiple accounts, you have one account which can have access to multiple organisations. Where on other hosts you often need to have multiple accounts, this saves a lot of time if you have clients you work with for instance.
Kinsta’s backup module is rather extensive, and every time you push between the live environment and staging environment, daily automatic backups are automatically created so if something goes wrong, you will always be able to rollback. Moreover, they create frequent backups for you throughout the week.
The staging environment is definitely one of my favourite features as I like to test a lot of different changes, it also makes me stand out more professional as I don’t have issues on my live site, because I update the plugin before I update it on my live site. Kinsta has made it a one click staging which is just even more amazing and easy.
Kinsta do offer a free Content Delivery Network, also known as a CDN, which will deliver your images and static files. It’s great, and it’s an add-on which is included in your hosting plan. It is really necessary to use a CDN, especially now after Googles new Core web vitals update.
If you are a power user you might need to use the premium AMP module. Kinsta does have this as an option for an additional cost of USD 100 per month, per website. This will lower your loading speed instantly, and of course it will let people with low internet connection use your website like they were using 5G. This extra cost is definitely worth it, if you are a big website with a ton of visitors.
Unlike WP engine’s, pre-installed WordPress is not part of their plan, but you can ask them to install it for you by checking a single box during registration. However, it’s very simple to install it, it’s a one click installation and then you’re up and running.
Uptime of the Kinsta
If you compare Kinsta with WP engine, you will find that the uptime of Kinsta is slightly less than WP Engine. That does not make it any less powerful. Still, Kinsta’s uptime averages 99.98 over the last three months, which is quite good.
Loading time of Kinsta
The loading time of Kinsta is constant in all regions. However, in the USA it is faster than in any other country. Also, the loading time is faster than WP engine, and you will get excellent results regardless of where your audience is coming from. See the table below for comparison.
|East coast, USA||1.27 seconds|
|West coast, USA||1.69 seconds|
If you compare this table with the WP Engine’s loading table, you will notice a significant difference in their loading time.
The best thing about their customer service is that they are available around the clock, and Kinsta representatives know WordPress very well. So if you encounter problems with your hosting service or even your WordPress website, you can contact them via their live chat or ticket support depending on your urgency.
Furthermore, you do not have to be confronted with the cPanel when contacting them. This increases the chances to contact the expert support team in the first place. Their response rate is swift, the support team usually answers you within minutes.
If your budget is low and you want to create a website with advanced features, there is no better hosting service than Flywheel. The basic package, called “Tiny,” starts at just $13 per month, and now you might be thinking how you will get full functionality with such a small budget. To your surprise, even on this budget, Flywheel covers almost all the features mentioned in the other managed WordPress hosting provider, moreover you get excellent performance.
In the tiny package, you get 5 GB of SSD storage along with 5000 visitors per month. This package is especially suitable for beginners, not only because the budget is small, but because it gives you the same features that any other large package can offer. Also, Flywheel’s other packages are less expensive and range from $25 to $242 per month. These packages are best suited for freelancers or agencies.
The features Flywheel offers include multi-site support, daily backups, staging sites (this is a cool option, especially for those who always want to try something new. So you can get a preview before releasing the new things to the public). Additional features include SFTP and a free SSL certificate. You will also not be notified that you need to update your WordPress, but Flywheel will take care of it on your behalf. It is also easy to use, the features are accessible, and customisation is simple. So you don’t have to be a professional to use this hosting provider.
Overall, the hosting provider offers simple functionality, and the WordPress installation is extremely easy. If you have previously used a host, you will need to migrate your site (this migration is done free of charge by Flywheel). However, if you don’t have a website, you will need to create a new website at Flywheel. You can do this by creating a website locally on your PC using the Flywheel tool and then export it to Flywheel’s Live Setup. This creates a safe development flow for you, which is extremely easy to do.
Uptime of the Flywheel
If we look at the performance of the last four months, Flywheel’s uptime is almost perfect. I.e., 99.99% in August and 100% in the following months.
Loading time of Flywheel
With Flywheel, you have the option to select your hosting server from multiple locations worldwide. This means you can choose the server that is closest to your target audience. Follow the table below to check the load time for different locations.
|East coast, USA||1.68 seconds|
|West coast, USA||2 seconds|
If we compare Flywheel’s upload time to Kinsta’s, there is a slight difference in their performance, which means that Flywheel’s performance is close to Kinsta’s.
Flywheel’s customer support is available 24/7 in the form of a live chat. But if you want to submit your query, you can also use support tickets. Since Flywheel is made exclusively for WordPress, the representatives there will help you only with your WordPress related problems.
You will also find many WordPress related articles in the blog section that will help you a lot with numerous issues you might experience. And if you have gone through their FAQ section, you don’t need to contact the support because you will find detailed answers to any of your questions in this section.
If you are a publisher, and your site gets a lot of traffic then Presslabs Hosting is for you. Their main goal is to meet the needs of their customers for this purpose Presslabs offers three packages. Presslabs starter package is more expensive than the other three managed WordPress hosting options we have discussed above, it starts at $99 for 1 site with 5 GB of SSD storage. Still, Presslabs price is according to functionality. The other packages named Publisher Plus and Publisher Pro, range from $299 to $599.
All packages have some additional fees per 1000 additional page views. However, there is no limit to the delivery of your pages and CDN.
You may think that this managed hosting is expensive, so what is the point of using it? Presslabs offers the first cloud-native WordPress hosting with infrastructure based on Kubernetes. So the price is based on functionality since no other managed hosting provides such functionality. Besides, it can manage many visitors as mentioned in the table in the beginning of the article.
Presslabs WordPress-centric CDN serves the images and static files which are optimised for media usage only. Presslabs continuously monitors third-party tools and automatically converts the malfunctions into support tickets. Presslabs engineers process these support tickets. It also offers an automatic backup of your website after every 15 mins.
Presslabs offers you a one-click installation, and during the configuration of the Presslabs dashboard, you will find the possibility to create your website. So you don’t need to install WordPress; your WordPress site is created together with the Presslabs dashboard. However, if you already have a WordPress site, Presslabs offers you a free migration.
Uptime of Presslabs
Two tests were made to check the uptime using Robot and StausCake on Presslabs website and the results were 100% uptime.
Loading time of Presslabs
I have tested a Presslabs website (https://www.cultofmac.com) for loading time on WebPageTest.org for 5 different locations and the results are given in the table.
|East coast, USA||1.9 seconds|
|West coast, USA||1.8 seconds|
Their customer service is not available around the clock, you can only contact them during business hours (09:00 – 23:00 EET or 07:00am — 9:00pm GMT). Also, they do not offer a live chat system; you can reach them on emergency phone numbers for critical cases.
They will always try to get back to you within 24 hours after your request submission.
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In summary, all the managed WordPress hostings we discussed above have performed well, and their startup packages, except for Presslabs, are not expensive. However, the features of Presslabs are quite different and yet striking, so we can say that the high price of Presslabs is justified and a must-have for publishers and large website owners. Though, if you are a beginner, Flywheel is the best choice for you.
You probably know now that except for Presslabs, all the hosting platforms are very similar except for the add-ons. It’s extremely different what add-ons you get in the different companies, and this is definitely a factor you can differentiate them on.
If none of the above fits your needs you might check out Siteground, it’s a great alternative. Siteground might not be the prettiest interface, but they do offer power and server resources on their website. Siteground is a fantastic versatile hosting company who offers powerful, yet simple use of their platform. Their servers, do run on Google Cloud as Kinsta does. Siteground has been around for ages, and is being recommended by Woo the company behind WooCommerce, WordPress and Yoast, so check out Siteground if you didn’t find the above of your interest.
Bluehost is another great option, however Bluehost has not always been a managed WordPress hosting, and it’s not Bluehost’ main focus, therefore I don’t see them as a great option when you have to choose between the different hosting companies. Bluehost is though a great option if you are looking for a diverse hosting platform with a great support through their live chat.
In the end there are a ton of options out there, like Dreamhost, Hostgator and many more, but I’ve focused on the companies which I see have managed WordPress hosting as their main focus. I myself use Kinsta which is in the middle and my favourite between the hosts, as I get a little of everything plus great support. They are reliable and always happy to help me within a few seconds, where I did experience with some other hosts I had to wait longer for answers. Even some hosts asked me to make a support ticket, and if you have a pressuring issue, a support ticket is just not fast enough.
Is it necessary to monitor uptime of the website hosts?
Yes, because these uptime tools notify you immediately if something goes wrong with your WordPress or any other website. So you can fix it as soon as possible. Often it comes within the toolset given, but not all hosts. In the end you can choose to use a diverse tool to monitor.
Why do I need a managed WordPress hosting?
If you are a beginner or have no technical skills, Managed WordPress Hosting should be a priority for you. In that case, a Managed Host provides a hassle-free experience and takes care of security, speed, WordPress updates, and other things for you.
Can I create a WordPress site without hosting?
WordPress offers two versions: WordPress.com and WordPress.org. With the “.com” version, you don’t need hosting, but it is necessary to purchase hosting if you use the “.org” version.