Managed WordPress hosting came about because many WordPress sites, from small time bloggers to large businesses, wanted more security and support than was provided by standard hosts. They wanted expertise from hosts that focused solely WordPress. With Pagely providing the first managed WordPress hosting solution, in 2006, and others like WP Engine following soon after, the managed WordPress hosting market was born.
While managed hosting costs more than budget hosts, many site owners say that the extra expense is worth it. Strong customer support, nightly backups, and automatic core and plugin updates are the foundation of managed WordPress hosts.
This article is an introduction and overview to four leading options for managed WordPress hosting. It is not a full breakdown of the services that these hosts provide. It is also not a complete list of all managed WordPress hosts.
Pagely was the original managed WordPress host. It was founded in 2006. Run by the husband and wife team of Joshua and Sally Strebel, Pagely is active in the WordPress community, and hosts the annual PressNomics WordPress conference.
Pagely is a low-cost entry to managed WordPress hosting, especially for single-site owners. For multiple sites, the per-site pricing plans can cost more than other managed hosts. Pagely starts at $24 per month for personal sites. Professional plans start at $149 per month. Custom enterprise pricing is also available.
- Lower pricing for personal plans versus other managed hosts.
- Automatic core and plugin updates.
- Nightly backups with 14-day retention.
- Pressarmor security guarantee if site gets hacked.
- Additional $5 per month for FTP access.
- Pricing is based on per-site basis. More expensive than other hosts for multiple sites.
- Limited monthly bandwidth.
WP Engine has strong support from many prominent members in the WordPress and development community. Automattic, the company behind WordPress, has invested in WP Engine, which gives it added credibility.
WP Engine is obsessed with speed — an advantage over other hosts. WP Engine goes as far as limiting which plugins customers can add to their sites; the blacklist is extensive. It is well known for one-click staging.
WP Engine starts at $29 per month for single-site, personal hosting. Professional and business plans start at $99 and $249 per month, respectively.
- Security guarantee — will fix your site for free if it gets hacked.
- Customers receive 5 percent off monthly bill for every hour of downtime.
- Highest ratio of customers to technical employees.
- Unlimited data transfer.
- Git version control.
- One-click staging area.
- One-click backup and restore points.
- International data centers.
- Content delivery network fees are extra on personal and profession plans.
- Limited personal plan features.
- Plugin blacklist is limiting for those with specific plugin needs.
- No SSL security provided with personal plans.
Copyblogger Media — owners of Copyblogger, Genesis, and Scribe SEO — built Synthesis because they saw an opportunity based on their own experience of running a 2.5 million visitor-per-month website. Synthesis has the same managed features as its competitors, but has additional built-in support for sites on the popular Genesis WordPress theme framework.
Synthesis added its Scribe content marketing software to every Synthesis account earlier this year. Joost de Valk, founder and CEO of Yoast, the popular WordPress plugin and development firm, said this of Synthesis, “In Synthesis, I don’t see a hosting provider. I see a hosting partner. This is what I needed as Yoast.com continues to grow and evolve.”
Synthesis starts at $27 per month. Enterprise plans cost $300 per month. Custom packages are also available.
- Highest monthly visitor traffic limit of all starter plans.
- Added support for Genesis framework.
- Extra built-in search engine optimization features.
- Scribe content marketing software on every account.
- Amsterdam data center for European customers.
- 30-day money back guarantee.
- Low storage (3GB) for starter package.
- Limited monthly bandwidth.
- Additional cost for SSL security on starter package.
- Content delivery network not included on any plans.
Pressable just changed its name, from ZippyKid, at the time of this writing. Pressable said it needed to change because the ZippyKid name confused enterprise clients. The founder states the name is a play on “WordPress” and “scalable.” According to Post Status, a WordPress news site, the rebranding is part of a larger shift to offer more features for developers and administrators who maintain multiple sites for others.
Pressable has a competitive pricing structure, especially for owners with a few low-traffic sites. The entry-level plan starts at $25 per month for five websites; the other hosts on this list charge that much for just one website, albeit with more monthly visitors allowed. Pressable also offers $45 and $90 monthly plans, with each tier allowing more sites and page views. Pressable also offers a $750 per-month premium plan for sites with more than 1 million monthly page views.
- All plans come with premium content delivery network at no extra cost.
- 1-click staging included.
- Partners with Google Speed.
- No extra cost for dedicated IP addresses.
- Lower monthly page view limits compared to competitors.
- SSL security support costs an additional $10 per month.
- Migration assistance not included in any plans.