Managed WordPress hosting is not only the easiest way to get your website setup, but it’s also one of the most affordable hosting options when you factor in all of the support you’ll be getting and the fact that there are numerous plans available for any budget, and it’s also the most popular way to create a website, which means there’s no shortage of people out there willing to help you with anything you need.
There are countless, beautiful, very feature-packed WordPress themes out there that allow you to change the style and functions of your site in just a moment, and an endless array of different
WordPress is open-source software with many passionate people working to make it better all the time. WordPress is what is known as a CMS, or a content management system. It is a platform upon which you can create your website, and WordPress takes care of all the heavy lifting, so that all you’ve really got do it is add your text, customize things however you want, and you’re pretty much good to go.
Your WordPress installation is stored on a server owned by a hosting company. Once you’ve decided to use WordPress (it’s the correct choice for the vast majority of people, so good call), you’ll need to choose which type of hosting you want, and then you’ll need to choose a hosting company.
We’re going to be talking about the different types of hosting that you’ll want to consider, and we’ll help you decide exactly which one is the best fit for your website plans.
Let’s start things off by comparing unmanaged vs managed WordPress hosting and going over what differentiates them, and then we’ll recommend some of the absolute best hosting companies for WordPress sites, from all of the different categories of hosting, so that no matter how big or small your site is going to be, you’ll be with a hosting company that you can count on.
Managed WordPress Hosting vs. Unmanaged: Which is Better?
It’s not really a matter of better or worse, because these are two different things, and some people prefer unmanaged, whereas other people appreciate the benefits of managed a lot more. So, let’s just go over what you need to know about each type, and you can decide from there…
Unmanaged Hosting: In other words, “you’re on your own.” You are responsible for administrative tasks on your server, if something goes wrong it’s up to you to find the solution, if software needs to be installed or updated, that’s on you, ensuring there aren’t any security issues, knowing what to do if you get hacked, and optimizing your site’s performance is just scratching the surface of what’s involved with an unmanaged server, even if you’re only using a relatively simple app like WordPress on it.
The hosting company provides you with the raw physical hardware, and it’s up to you to go from there. This is good for people who are really into tech, and computer savvy, and want to have absolute 100% control over every single aspect of their server, and that have experience. If you’re just starting out, there are much, much easier ways to go, which brings us to…
Managed Hosting: With this option, the hosting company will help you out with just about everything, and getting your site setup and keeping it running smoothly is a BREEZE. Hosting companies, at least the good ones, have made the process so simple over the years. It used to be trickier, but now it really couldn’t be easier, especially with some of the top choices down below.
With managed hosting, they’ll help you get WordPress installed (Some of them even offer 1-click or auto-installer wizards for WordPress). Managed hosting plans give you access to tech support, included for free, that you won’t find with unmanaged hosts, who only offer support for hardware related things.
It’s pretty obvious that unmanaged hosting can be great for people who really don’t mind having it turn into a whole project, and who have a history and experience when it comes to managing servers. Managed hosting is for people who aren’t super tech savvy, or are just more interested in working on their website itself rather than toiling away maintaining their server.
Different Types of Servers: Which One Should You Choose?
In the lower price range, we’ve got managed shared hosting and we’ve got unmanaged VPS hosting. An unmanaged VPS is where you’ve got to set everything up yourself and maintain it and you don’t really get any support with anything software related, which is a huge pain if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Shared Hosting (Managed)
Who is it for?: For smaller websites, that aren’t super popular yet. For small business websites, and new sites that are just getting started.
Shared hosting is the best option for the vast majority of websites.
Managed shared hosting means that one server is home to a handful of different websites, you’re sharing the server with other people, and that brings down the price for everyone.
Since one server is plenty powerful enough to power quite a few websites, everyone gets a little slice of the resources, and as long as no sites are hogging too much power from the server, everyone’s sites continue to chug along nicely. Basically, you’re renting out a room in a hotel instead of renting out the entire hotel, since you can only sleep in one bed at a time.
Who is it for?: For websites that get a fair amount of visitors on a regular basis, typically websites for businesses that are earning money through their website and can invest in the higher price, sites that don’t quite need a fully dedicated server yet…
Now, imagine if that hotel took an entire floor and closed it off for you. You hear about rockstars or athletes renting out an entire floor of a hotel. In website terms, this would be a site that’s getting more popular, it needs to be able to handle more people at once than a single room could, and what we’re described here is called a VPS, or virtual private server.
A VPS is still a smaller piece of a larger server, but it’s more private than shared hosting, as explained by our example of renting a floor in a hotel. We already briefly discussed an unmanged VPS, but there are also managed VPS plans available, and we’ll be featuring some excellent brands.
This is kind of the best of both worlds, you get the lower price like shared hosting, but with the added performance of dedicated hosting, for sites that don’t quite need a dedicated server yet.
Who is it for?: Huge websites that get a LOT of traffic, big media companies, newspapers, magazines, large online stores…
Finally, there’s dedicated servers which are for very popular websites that get a lot of visitors. That would be like renting the entire hotel, every single room on every single floor. A dedicated server means the entire server is dedicated to hosting your website, and you aren’t sharing it with anyone else in any way, shape, or form.
The plus side is that you’ll have access to the full resources of the server, but the downside is that there’s nobody else in the hotel, so to speak, to split the cost with you – you’re stuck footing the whole bill, and some dedicated servers start at hundreds of dollars per month.
Which Managed WordPress Hosting Type Should You Choose?
A lot of companies that offer shared hosting also have options for VPS or dedicated servers, so it can be a lot easier to start out with an affordable shared host, then as your site grows, you can upgrade accordingly. When you’re staying with the same host, it’s really easy to upgrade your hosting plan, or even downgrade it if you bit off more than you could chew initially.
The main advantage of unmanaged hosting is that it usually costs a bit less, since the company doesn’t have to spend as much on support staff. However, most people end up needing some help from support at one time or another, and it’s way less expensive to have managed hosting than it would cost you to actually hire a developer to help troubleshoot your server if you run into some errors.
Hiring a professional to manage your unmanaged server can be quite costly, it’s usually a lot cheaper to just get a managed server, even if you only need to message support every once in a while.
Some of the companies we’re going to be featuring have such good managed plans for WordPress that it’s hard to imagine a beginner using anything else.
Managed hosting is definitely worth the price for people who haven’t spent a lot of time studying and learning how to manage servers. It’s not something you should just dive into and learn as you go, if you have an important website relying on a solid server, because it’s so easy to make a mistake or to overlook some small detail and ends up making your site easy for hackers to take control over.
With managed hosting, you know all the i’s are dotted and all the t’s are crossed.
Here are the BEST Managed WordPress hosts in 2018:
There are new hosting companies popping up everyday, and older ones closing down all the time. The following companies are all very established, and won’t be going anywhere anytime soon. With hosting, it’s so easy to setup a reseller account with any of the following companies, and to make it look like someone is running their own host, when in reality they’re just piggy-backing off a bigger host.
That’s fine and everything, but you’re better off just going right to the source and cutting out the middlemen. Here are our absolute favorite costs, in a few different categories, so that you can find an excellent solution no matter what your needs are, even if you still aren’t even really sure exactly what you need from a webhost.
Out of every host featured on this list, Bluehost has the easiest sign-up and setup process that we’ve come across.
You just sign up for your account, and WordPress is waiting for you, already installed and ready for you to start customizing it and adding your content.
We can’t even fathom how it could be any easier, no wonder tons of mom bloggers and business owners use Bluehost for their hosting. It used to take some experience and knowing what to do in order to set it up correctly, but thanks to Bluehost working so closely with WordPress itself and drastically optimizing their servers to run WordPress perfectly, it’s just so simple.
So, if you’re looking for managed shared hosting, and you want to use the WordPress platform to create your site, Bluehost is probabally going to be your best bet. The next two hosts that we’re going to be looking at are similar, with similar offerings, and they’re definitely worth considering as well, as an alternative to Bluehost.
In addition to shared hosting, Bluehost also offers VPS, dedicated servers, and more to choose from. If you’re just starting out, shared is the way to go, because it costs a lot less than a VPS or a dedicated server, and you won’t need all of the extra resources yet.
Bluehost’s shared hosting comes with the same level of awesome customer support, their team are literally experts at WordPress and will help you with anything you need, and they’re on call 24/7 so you can get the help you need, around the clock, quickly!
Siteground is an excellent hosting company – Their plans are in the same ballpark is Bluehost, they have similar offerings, and they excel in many of the same ways.
The big difference is that Siteground gives you a specific amount of resources in their shared plans and tells you exactly how many you can use, whereas Bluehost says “unlimited” with a little * that says your plan is unlimited, as long as you’re not using an excessive amount of resources.
Server resources are used up when people visit your site. Things like bandwidth are finite, there isn’t really a such thing as “unlimited”, especially since you’ll eventually get cut-off if you use too much.
In Bluehost’s defense, you have to really be abusing the server in order to run into any issues, and for the typical user, it may as well be unlimited, for all intents and purposes. None the less, it’s good that Siteground tells you exactly what you’ve got, so for a fast-growing site, you can plan your server needs accordingly and upgrade before you run into any trouble.
At the end of the day, it’s essentially the same, just two different ways of going about it.
Other than that, Siteground has amazing support too, reasonable prices, and some very tempting offers for first-time customers, too.
Hostgator is very similar to Bluehost, and they’re owned by the same company, but there are some minor differences, too. Both are among the very top hosting brands in the world, have been around for a long time, and have great track records considering how many millions of websites are hosting between them.
One trait we recommend using to choose between Hostgator and Bluehost is simply to visit them both, and go with whichever one is currently offering the best discount. It’s common to see various discounts and promotions from both of these companies, so if one of them has a better promotion listed on their site when you visit them, that’s probably going to be the right choice.
You can also lock in those discounts by signing up for a longer term, and that’s also highly recommended, as long as you plan to have your website online for at least a couple of years.
Knownhost’s managed VPS servers offer strong performance at a very reasonable price, starting at around $30 per month. It’s a step up in terms of performance from shared hosting, and is also managed, meaning you get full access to Knownhost’s excellent customer support who will help you with just about anything you could possibly run into.
Knownhost has very fast response times and their staff really know their stuff. As far as super high quality managed VPS plans go, Knownhost is among the most reasonable priced.
They have a lot of different options to choose from, but all of their servers are great, so find the one that fits your budget the best. It usually only takes a couple of minutes for them to reply to a support ticket, and they’ve always been very quick to solve any hiccups.
Their overall uptime is among the highest in the industry, and they offer free migrations so you can bring your WordPress site over if you already have one.
If you’re currently with a different WordPress host and you’re unhappy, Knownhost is a great company to migrate over to. In addition to their managed virtual private servers for WordPress, they also have shared WordPress hosting starting at around $6 per month.
WP Engine is an entire hosting company entirely focused on WordPress. While pretty much every host is going to support WordPress, this one takes it a step further. With other options like Bluehost, you can install any other software that you want, if there’s something you would rather use instead of WordPress.
With WP Engine, on the other hand, it’s all about WordPress and nothing else. They have completely optimized their entire platform around WordPress, creating a custom and unique experience. All their staff has to worry about is WordPress, so they’re obsessed with it, and experts.
WP Engine is on the pricier side, they offer shared WordPress hosting starting at $29 per month. You’re also limited in terms of how many visitors your site can have, and it’s not a terribly high amount until you get into their pricier plans.
InMotion is an excellent hosting company. They aren’t as big as Bluehost or Hostgator, but they’ve grown over the years quite a bit due to word of mouth and holding onto happy customers. While they aren’t quite as well known as some companies on this list, they’re still a gem.
They’re fully capable of handling even the most demanding websites, and they offer very reasonable prices, comprehensive packages, and solid around-the-clock support to help with anything you need.
Their “business hosting” plan is comparable to the shared hosting plans we’ve been looking at, it’s fully managed and comes with unlimited resources (Well, “unlimited” in the sense that we discussed earlier.)
Their Business plan is able to handle WordPress, but for a dollar more per month, you can get their WordPress Hosting package that is further optimized and completely built around WordPress. The difference between that, and the business plan, is that WordPress Hosting is only for WordPress, whereas the business option can run WordPress, or any other platform instead.
In between, you can see their VPS, dedicated, and reseller servers. A reseller hosting plan is good if you have clients that you manage, it allows you to keep track of everything in one place, without having them all on the exact same control panel account. It gives you that degree of separation between your client’s sites, but it’s essentially shared hosting just the same.
Liquidweb is a high-end VPS company. Their prices start in the $60 ballpark and go up from there. They are a very well established hosting company that has a great reputation, especially for really important projects like eCommerce online stores, business websites, and busy sites that need that premium treatment.
They have recently introduced the first managed hosting platform designed around WooCommerce in particular, which is an add-on for WordPress that makes it very simply to turn your regular WordPress site into a eCommerce powerhouse.
Liquidweb is also priced on the higher end, but it depends on how powerful of a server you too. Generally speaking, when you’re at the point where you need to spend $70 or $100 dollars per month on your site to keep it performing great, you’re going to be earning a lot more than that anyways, so it’s a very worthwhile investment.
Here’s a table that Liquidweb released that helps point out the difference between managed and unmanaged, or as they refer to it as “DIY hosting”.
With 20 years in business, and over 600 employees working for them, Liquidweb is one of the bigger premium hosting brands. They take the phrase “fully managed” very seriously, from this site: “We take on your server administration, including hardware management, network management, operating system and pre-installed software support, proactive security patches and updates, and proactive service monitoring and restoration.”
If you’re familiar with Vultr, you might be thinking, “Wait, what are they doing here?” Good point, because Vultr is an unmanaged hosting company. They have servers starting at a few bucks per month for something really barebones and simple, and their servers are easy to scale up.
Using a service called ServerPilot.io, you can add a control panel to an unmanaged server that helps you manage it yourself, so that you don’t have to go into Linux’s command prompt to make changes the hard way.
Going this route means you can save some money, still get solid performance, and essentially outsource to a paid ServerPilot account to use their support.
This is more for people who already know their way around hosting. It’s not a complex as the full “diy” method, but it’s not nearly as simple as some of the other options we’ve looked at either. It’s for people who want the convenience of managed hosting, but want to be more hands-on with the setup and maintenance process, too.
If how websites work is an interesting hobby for you, this could be a good way to dip your toes in the water a little deeper than shared hosting offers, but if you want to focus on your site itself, and leave the behind-the-scenes stuff to the professionals, you should choose any of the other options on this list instead. None the less, it worth mentioning as an alternative.
Final Thoughts & Overall Top Picks
There you have it, a handful of different hosting companies to choose from, that are all fully managed (except Vultr.)
If you’re setting up a WordPress site, you can’t go wrong with any of the choices on this page. Our overall top pick for beginners is Bluehost because they just make the whole process of creating a site so easy.
Their platform works so well with WordPress, it comes already setup for you, and its a great way to introduce yourself to the world of hosting and creating websites.
For Managed, Shared, WordPress hosting we recommend:
Now, if you need a little more gusto than shared hosting, maybe your site is already established, or you’re going to be using your site for business (Beyond just a simple small business site, in which case shared would still be totally acceptable), then you’ll want to consider stepping up to a VPS, which is a tier above shared hosting in terms of performance, and price.
For a managed VPS, we recommend:
SiteGround or Knowhost.
Siteground is one of the Top VPS Hosting companies out there and Knownhost has recently started offering shared hosting as well, but it’s their VPS’ that made them famous. They’re not the cheapest, and they’re not the most expensive, but they’re putting out some of the very best value in this space. Their servers are great, and they occasionally offer free upgrades to existing customers as they upgrade their offerings for new clients.