Are you looking to move to managed WordPress hosting? If you’ve been using shared hosting but find it no longer powerful enough for you site, this post is for you.
I’ve talked before about how shared hosting is best for a new blog. But as your blog traffic grows, you need to think about upgrading your hosting. Shared hosts can’t handle really high traffic sites, which means you’ll have to move up.
All the way back in 2008, I started ShoutMeLoud on cheap shared DreamHost hosting. But as ShoutMeLoud grew, I knew I needed to upgrade my blog’s hosting to keep everything running smoothly.
That’s why I eventually made the switch to managed WordPress hosting. I moved through a few managed hosts until I found Kinsta, which is where I currently host ShoutMeLoud. Kinsta is definitely one of the best managed WordPress hosts, but I’ll also list some other good ones at the end of this post.
If you’re a newbie, I still think you can go with a cheap WordPress host. If your blog is starting to gain some traffic, though, you should definitely look at managed WordPress hosting.
Before I tell you the best hosts, I want to share a little about what you should expect from a good managed WordPress host.
What do the best managed WordPress hosts offer?
It goes without saying that good managed WordPress hosting should take care of all the technical details of hosting your WordPress site. This lets you focus on doing the fun stuff like creating content and marketing your blog.
The best-managed hosting should do more than that, though. Here’s exactly what I looked for when I was choosing the best managed WordPress hosts:
Caching to make your site fast
I’ve talked about the best WordPress caching plugins before, but when you choose a good managed WordPress host, they’ll do caching at the server level. This is the most effective form of caching. With server-level caching, you won’t even need to install a plugin to make your blog as fast as possible.
Excellent support for any problems
If you’re paying for managed WordPress hosting, you have a right to expect really good support. All the managed hosts I put on the list have 24/7 support from WordPress experts. That means if you ever run into any problems, you can contact your host and instantly get help from a dedicated WordPress expert.
Staging areas so you don’t break your site
Here’s why staging areas are important for bloggers:
They let you test out changes to your site before you make them on your live site.
So if you want to add a new plugin, or try out a new theme, you can do all the set up in your staging area and then just apply the changes to your live site when you’re happy with everything.
It’s a really good trick for making changes easily. Most shared providers don’t offer this service, so this is definitely something unique you get when you pay for managed hosting. On Kinsta, creating & deleting staging site is easy.
Daily automatic backups
It can be very stressful when all the content you’ve worked so hard to create is wiped out because of a technical issue. Think of how damaging it would be to lose all your site’s data and have to try to recreate everything.
Having backups is absolutely essential for your WordPress blog.
With a good managed WordPress host, you’ll never have to worry about this. All the hosts on this list will back up your site every day so that your data is always safe. Not only will it be backed up, but if you ever have any issues, you can easily restore to a previous day’s backup when everything worked ok.
This is a great feature for peace of mind from knowing that your data is always safe no matter what happens.
Good security so you never get hacked
Because of how popular the WordPress platform is, hackers just love targeting WordPress sites. It’s sad, but it’s true.
That’s why I picked managed hosts who go above and beyond to protect your site from hackers. All these hosts will scan for malware, protect you from DDoS attacks, and watch for intrusions. With shared hosts, you have to rely on yourself for security. But managed WordPress hosts will do all the little things to keep your site safe.
The best managed WordPress hosting providers
So now that you know the things I look for in a good managed host, here’s my list of the best WordPress managed hosts for your high-traffic blog.
Kinsta is what I use to host ShoutMeLoud, so that’s why it’s number one on this list.
They built their hosting plans specifically to make heavy-duty WordPress sites run fast. They use Google Cloud infrastructure and all the best technologies like Nginx, HHVM, PHP5-FPM, Redis and Memcache. This makes sure your site runs blazing fast.
As popular as ShoutMeLoud has become, I can still get page load times under 1 second with Kinsta hosting.
Their support is also top-notch. When I moved ShoutMeLoud to Kinsta, I had some problems with older plugins not working with PHP 7, and the Kinsta CEO even stepped in to help. That’s dedication to offering great support.
Kinsta also offers other great features like:
- Unlimited visits – some other managed hosts charge you per visit.
- Data centers on three different continents so you can pick the location that’s best for you.
- Daily & on request automated backups
- Security – multiple firewalls and security scans to keep your site safe
- Easy-to-use staging area
- Competitive pricing
Speaking of pricing, here’s what you can expect to pay at Kinsta:
Their cheapest plan starts at $100 per month and goes up from there. I’m on their business 4 plan with custom pricing. An advantage for being their early customer.
As you can see below, I like Kinsta so much that I prepaid for a whole year of service back in May:
From personal experience, I can definitely say that Kinsta is a top managed WordPress host.
WPEngine is another really popular managed host. One nice thing about them is that they offer a more affordable plan than Kinsta. I have had some trouble with them in the past, but I know a lot of other people who are happy with them.
If your blog isn’t big enough to need Kinsta’s power, you can go with one of WPEngine’s plans to still get a lot of the benefits of managed WordPress hosting while paying less money.
WPEngine’s cheapest plan starts at $29 per month for one WordPress site and allows up to 25,000 visits per month. So if your blog is still getting less than 25,000 visits, it’s a good affordable option.
All WPEngine’s hosting plans include helpful features like:
- Built-in caching. WPEngine has their own Evercache technology to speed up your site
- Staging areas
- Backups and one-click restore points
- Security scans
- Expert support
Keep in mind that all their plans charge you per visit, unlike Kinsta who allows unlimited visits. That’s why I only recommend WPEngine hosting for blogs that receive well under 25,000 visits per month. Otherwise, you’re in danger of getting hit with big overage charges like I did.
Here’s what WPEngine’s plans cost:
Page.ly is a good managed WordPress host who allows you to have unlimited visits to your site like Kinsta.
They have seven different plans which makes it easy to pick the one that’s right for you. Just make sure you pick one that gives you enough bandwidth, or you can always add more bandwidth as you need.
All Page.ly’s plans have these basic features:
- Total updates for your WordPress software and plugins
- Built-in Varnish caching
- Daily backups
- Developer tools like GIT and WP-CLI
- Staging areas
Page.ly’s cheapest plan is $99 per month, which puts them in a similar price range as Kinsta.
Pressdium is a good option for entry-level bloggers who still have a limited budget. Their plans start at $49 per month, which allows up to 30,000 visits per month. Remember that, like with WPENgine, you’re limited by visits when you host with Pressidium.
Their plans all include these features:
- Automatic updates
- Staging sites
- Caching and CDN support
If your site gets under 30,000 visits per month, Pressidium is a good, affordable option.
I hosted ShoutMeLoud with Cloudways for four months before I moved away. They’re another good option for people on a budget because they have plans starting at just $15 per month. But unlike the other hosts on this list, Cloudways isn’t specific to WordPress, so you won’t get a fully dedicated WordPress host.
It’s still managed hosting, but if you want the best WordPress experience, I recommend you go with one of the other hosts on this list if you can afford it.
A few other good options
I think the ones I listed above are the best, but if you’re still interested in some more options, here’s a quick list of some other good managed WordPress hosts:
Which host should you pick?
It’s always hard to give a recommendation because your choice should depend on your exact site. I think you should try to stay with shared hosting as long as you can.
Once your site grows big enough, I always recommend Kinsta if you can afford it. You get awesome support, fast speeds, and unlimited visits.
No matter what, you’ll need to consider your own needs as they apply to things like pricing, features, visits, support, and scalability.
Have you used one of these managed WordPress hosts? Which is your favorite? I’d love to hear about your experiences in the comments.