THERE ARE 2 CLEAR STANDOUTS FOR MANAGED WORDPRESS HOSTING
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So you’ve decided to build your site with WordPress?
But what hosting is best for your new WordPress site?
We’ve gone through all the hosts, many of which we’ve used ourselves, and ranked the best options for you.
The 6 best WordPress web hosts ranked
#1 – Bluehost — Best value per dollar for WordPress sites
Price starts at $2.95/mo
24/7 phone and chat support
WordPress recommended host
Bluehost is one of the most popular and trusted web hosts. They’re also one of the three hosts that WordPress officially recommends.
They’re a perfect choice for WordPress sites. Once you sign up, you’ll be able to install WordPress super easily. You’ll have your site live within 15 minutes from now.
Bluehost also has some of the lowest pricing around, plans can get as a low as $2.95/month. That’s crazy low.
Yes, you will be on shared hosting. So if you or someone else on your server gets a huge spike of traffic, your site could go down. But honestly, this almost never happens. I’ve had websites on shared hosting for over a decade and never had a site go down.
The value per dollar that you get from Bluehost on a WordPress site can’t be beat. And it’s more than powerful enough for the vast majority of websites. They’re also widely recommended throughout the industry and have the official recommendation from WordPress. For the vast majority of folks, Bluehost is the best option.
#2 – SiteGround — Good all-around option
SiteGround is one of the other WordPress recommended web hosts. You also get some advanced features for WordPress like automatic updates and enhanced security on all the Siteground plans.
Just remember, the quality of these features won’t be as good as a full managed WordPress host like WordPress. There’s only so much customization that can be done on normal hosting. It’s still a great option for most folks though.
I recommend the “StartUp” plan, you’ll get up to 10GB of space and up to 10,000 visitors for 1 site. The intro plan is $4/mo. for the length of your first contract, then will bump up to $12/mo.
The three features I love best are the WordPress autoupdates, 24/7 WordPress-knowledgeable support, and free daily backups. This covers most of the problems you could run into, freeing up more of your time to focus on your business or project. Read more about their services in my complete SiteGround hosting review.
#3 – WP Engine — Best for pro users
Starts at $35/month
Biggest name in WP hosting
A premium product with a premium price
Easily the all-around best
For pros, I recommend WP Engine. It’s definitely the best option for managed WordPress hosting. If you’re trying to get serious and build a high-traffic blog or business, use WP Engine. It’s, by far, the most widely known and respected company for managed WordPress hosting.
Full disclosure: We use WP Engine at Quick Sprout.
I don’t recommend it for anyone who’s just starting out since it’s much more expensive. We’re talking $35–100/month versus $4–15. Most WordPress sites would do much better with Bluehost or Siteground. Not only will you save a bunch of money, you won’t need the serious features that come with WP Engine.
For $35/month, you can host one 10GB site with a limit of 25,000 monthly visitors. The next tier of service is a hefty $115/month for five sites and 100,000 monthly visitors. If you get a spike in traffic and go over these traffic limits, you’ll get hit with overage fees.
Service is where WP Engine shines. As a managed host, it maintains speed and security at the server level — meaning you don’t have to do anything at the site level. You don’t have to research and rely on plug-ins to shave seconds off your load time, or become an expert on the best practices for building a lean site. You don’t have to carve out time to update your install and plugins, or run backups, or implement security features to ward off brute force attacks. WP Engine takes care of it all behind the scenes.
Customer service is also excellent, with 24/7 chat support for all tiers of service, and 24/7 phone support starting at the second tier. Its ticketing system is trackable, and its knowledge base is one of the best. And because support is an expert at one thing only — WordPress — the answers you get from human interactions tend to be nuanced and comprehensive.
Every time I’ve had to reach out to their customer support, I’ve always been impressed. The speed, thoroughness, and expertise is world-class.
#4 – Flywheel — Best for freelancers and agencies
Price starts at $14/month
Geared toward freelancers and agencies
Easily build and transfer sites to clients
Flywheel is a managed WordPress host for freelancers and agencies. If you build sites for clients, you should seriously consider Flywheel.
Compared to WP Engine, Flywheel has a significantly lower price for entry. Flywheel’s plans are divvied up by number of sites — three plans for a single sites, and another three plans for multiple sites (with a customizable enterprise option thrown in) — which gives even little starter sites a chance to get in on the fully managed WordPress game without having to pay for more than they need. Flywheel offers a single site plan with 5,000 monthly visitors and 5GB of disk space for $14/month. That’s half of WP Engine’s lowest tier.
As a freelancer or agency, you’ll get great features like like “blueprints” for the themes and plugins you use over and over again. And 14 days on a free, password-protected demo site to show your work before having to pay. You can also easily transfer billing on any of your sites to a client.
Most businesses won’t need features like these. I don’t for example. But I really wish Flywheel was around when I was building websites for clients back in the day. It would of saved me a ton of time and made me look like a true pro with how seamless everything is.
If you build sites for clients, start using Flywheel.
#5 – Kinsta — Alternative managed WordPress hosting
Price starts at $30/month
Premium managed WordPress hosting
All features included across all plans
Built for scalability
If, for some reason, you don’t want to use WP Engine as a premium WordPress host, go with Kinsta.
Kinsta is also a full managed WordPress host with similar prices. So it makes a great alternative if WP Engine isn’t an option for you.
A popular, robust managed WordPress host that emphasizes scalability. Pricing starts at $30/month for 20,000 monthly visitors and scales up from there:
The plans keep going too, Kinsta can handle any volume of traffic that you need. You won’t have to worry about switching from outgrowing them.
One especially nice thing about Kinsta is that you get access to the same features across every plan, as opposed to upgrading to a higher-priced plan to unlock something. It also makes Kinsta’s pricing super simple. Pick the plan based on your traffic and you’re good to go.
#6 – Liquid Web — For power users
Price starts at $29/month
Designed for advanced users
Extreme customization available
Liquid Web is the most expensive host on our list. It’s a powerhouse designed to service other powerhouses — its cheapest plan is $99/month for 10 sites. But if you’re an enterprise customer, or are charged with manning multiple WordPress sites, little will go wrong when you use Liquid Web. It automatically updates WordPress and your plugins.
Let’s say that you need more control than any of the other hosts on this list. But doing everything yourself through AWS isn’t appealing. Then Liquid Web is for you. You won’t have to do nearly as much setup and upkeep as AWS while still having a lot more control than other hosts give you.
You’ll get all-level access to MySQL, SFTP, and SSH. You also get Git version control. Security, speed, and customer support are virtually unparalleled. Liquid Web is obviously not right for everyone. Small businesses should choose one of the other options, Liquid Web would be way too much. For power users, Liquid Web could is the WordPress hosting that you’ve been looking for. Use coupon code QUICKSPROUT to get 40% off 2 months of any Liquid Web hosting plan.
What is managed WordPress web hosting?
First, let’s go through normal WordPress hosting. You’ll get a regular web host and that host usually gives you an easy way to install WordPress. You have a host, WordPress is installed, and that’s it.
Most “WordPress hosting” works like this. The installation can be a “1-click” install but nothing special happens after that. You get the basic version of WordPress, the same version that you’d get if you installed WordPress on a server that you owned.
Managed WordPress hosting steps things up a notch, you get a bunch of extra stuff.
Instead of a basic host with WordPress installed, everything is built from the ground up with WordPress in mind. The hosting infrastructure is tailored to WordPress and the hosting company usually customizes WordPress itself to make it better. Your site will be a lot faster, will be more secure, and you’ll have much better support since the hosting team specializes in WordPress.
The downside is that managed WordPress hosting is more expensive. This makes sense, you’re getting more value so the price is higher.
Here’s what to expect with managed WordPress hosting:
- Managed WordPress web hosting is faster. More server- and application-level optimization provided by the host = better speeds. Caching is done at the server level, versus with front-end plugins. MySQL and PHP is configured to the best version for WordPress.
- It’s more secure — and therefore more stable. The behind-the-scenes teams are only looking to stop WordPress-focused attacks and can enforce WordPress-specific policies on its users (e.g. banned plugins). This automatically correlates to more uptime.
- Customer support is better. The help desk and support staff of a managed WordPress site are WordPress experts. They understand your site and the plugins you’re using. They are essentially optimized to help you — not a normal host with customers running all sorts of applications. On top of that, managed hosts have built their business model on providing service, unlike cheaper hosts that may have not invested in customer support or who may even purposely provide “unbearable tech support.”
- More maintenance is done for you. Automatic WordPress updates aren’t hard to come by, managed WordPress hosts all automatically install security updates. The backup process is faster and more reliable, and daily and restores are typically free. WordPress is automatically (and correctly) installed. You also usually get a staging environment to try new things with no risk to your current site.
These types of services alone can justify the increased price tag of managed WordPress hosting. As one WP Engine user explained, simply running WordPress updates and doing QA can take about 30 minutes a month. If you or your dev’s time is worth $50/hour or more, you’ve essentially paid off an entry level WP Engine plan right there.
In addition to managed WordPress hosting, it’s worth also considering a 24/7 WordPress support partner. There are companies that are fully dedicated to supporting you in your WordPress needs, if you need more help with the technical stuff.
Recap: The best WordPress web host
Most folks should go with Bluehost or Siteground for their WordPress hosting. Once you set up your account, you can easily install WordPress with just a few clicks. From there, you have a fully functioning WordPress site at a low hosting cost.
You do have the option to go with managed WordPress hosting which gives you premium features, speed, and security. It’s worth considering for folks building high-traffic websites. We use managed WordPress hosting for Khooji.com. WP Engine is the best option here.