Heard about managed WordPress hosting and want to know what is it exactly and how it works? Welcome to this guide.
Managed WordPress hosting is a trend within the hosting industry. In this article, we will discuss what is managed WordPress hosting, when to use it, its advantages, and drawbacks. Plus we will test the most popular companies to dig out the best managed WordPress hosting depending on your projects, needs, and budget.
If you don’t have time, here are the best managed WordPress hosting providers in a nutshell.
Best Managed WordPress Hosting (2019) Table
|Liquid Web||$29||1.11S||99.996||Learn More|
|WP Engine||$35||1.34S||99.999||Learn More|
|WPX Hosting||$24.99||0.822S||99.992||Learn More|
What is Managed WordPress Hosting?
WordPress is the most popular CMS for building any kind of website (blog, eCommerce, business website, etc). It empowers 30%+ of the whole internet and 50%+ of the CMSs market share.
This popularity opened a new market within the hosting industry. In effect, hosting companies started wondering “why not set a dedicated environment where WordPress could run much faster and securely” to better serve the fast-growing WordPress community?
Then, they started bringing up servers to constitute a custom environment that will power only WordPress based websites. However, to really understand what managed WordPress hosting is, I think we should take a closer look at the word “Managed”.
In the web hosting field, “Managed” means advanced features, higher security, and hassle-free service. These three aspects combined leads to what experts call the “Concierge Service”.
As a final definition, managed WordPress hosting is the type of web hosting made to run only WordPress faster and securely, along with a concierge service.
How Managed WordPress Hosting Works?
In a standard web hosting environment, you pay for getting a place on a server. It doesn’t matter how much traffic you get, websites you install, or disk space you use. As long as you pay your hosting fee, you are totally free to do everything you desire on your server in most cases.
But, that is not the case with managed WordPress hosting.
In fact, before buying a managed WordPress hosting account, you should pay attention to the number of sites you have, your estimated traffic and bandwidth, and the amount of storage you need. It means you pay for:
- Each WordPress install
- The number of visits/month
- Email accounts
- Disk space you use
Different Types of Managed WordPress Hosting
YES, there is more than just one type of managed WordPress hosting. Actually, they are categorized according to the control panel they use which also determines how powerful they are. This having been said, there are two different types of managed WordPress hosting: Custom panel based and cPanel/Plesk based one. Let’s take a closer look at each to understand how they work.
Custom Panel Based
Most managed WordPress hosting companies are using a custom control panel instead of the traditional and well-known cPanel. Sure, cPanel is the most popular web hosting control panel and the perfect one for shared hosting. However, it presents some limitations that managed WordPress hosting can’t accommodate with. That is why specialized WordPress companies have opted using their own control panels.
The good news is that it allows you to manage everything into a single box. The bad news, on the other hand, is that the companies that have custom control panels do not provide email hosting. It means you can’t set your professional mail address like email@example.com. You should use third-party services like Google apps, RackSpace, or pay for it as an add-on from the company ($1-$3/month).
The second category is using our habitual cPanel or Plesk control panel. Those companies are more flexible and provide email hosting. It is also the cheapest option which in that way has a slightly lower performance (nothing deceptive).
Now that you know the different types of managed WordPress hosting, it is important to understand next, the advantages and drawbacks. Let’s move on!
Pros of Using Managed WordPress Hosting
Here are some benefits that come with the service.
#1. Better Performance
When a server is preconfigured to run specific software, the performance is much more evident. And, as managed servers are optimized for WordPress powered sites only, it is natural that they deliver faster speed than shared WordPress hosting. The optimizations include:
- Server-side caching
- Latest PHP version (PHP7.x)
- HTTP/2 protocol
- NGINX reverse proxy or its custom equivalent
- Super tuned servers to run only WordPress
- Dedicated cloud resources to run WordPress fast
#2. Higher level of Security
There are many threats capable of cracking down your WordPress site including malware, viruses, and most commonly, DDoS attacks. Managed WordPress hosting providers take security to its highest level with extra layers to make sure nothing would interrupt your online business—ongoing virus & malware scans, extra firewalls to prevent from DDoS attacks, and virus & malware removal to give you peace of mind.
Furthermore, they also provide advanced security features like account isolation in the cloud, automatic daily offsite backups, manual backups, and WordPress core updates & Upgrades.
WP Engine, for instance, provides 3 totally separated environments for each of your sites to make sure they are safe and unattackable.
#3. Premium Support
Support is the main reason why many people adopt managed WordPress hosting. The support staff is a team of WordPress experts always available 24/7 day and night and ready to troubleshoot any WordPress related issue. The only thing you have to do is to contact them. And, honestly, I hate ticket system but, thankfully you can reach out to the support through live chat and phone.
Some companies like WP Engine, Liquid Web, and Kinsta even go further by providing an auto issue scanning that detects and solve potential issues before they even occur on your site. It is like having your own developers ready to serve you. They take care of everything related to your site management and you only focus on growing your business.
The result: Again, peace of mind you need to succeed.
#4. Advanced WordPress features
Shared WordPress hosting already provides 1-click WordPress install and sometimes it also includes Git feature. Nonetheless, what if you want to go beyond these simple functions? You need advanced WordPress features and that is where managed WordPress comes at hand.
In effect, managed WordPress hosting companies supply you with advanced features like WP-CLI, Site cloning, and the time saver “Staging” feature that helps you test new changes or plugins without affecting your live site. Here are some features managed WordPress hosting comes with:
- Site Cloning
Cons of Managed WordPress Hosting
#1. Metered Hosting
With shared WordPress hosting, most companies will allow installing as many sites as you want on a given plan and don’t care about how much traffic you are getting.
Like it or hate it but…
Managed WordPress hosting, by contrast, marks the end of “unlimited hosting”. Basically, except some rare hosts like A2 Hosting who allows unlimited websites on its high tier managed WordPress hosting plan, most companies charge per number of sites.
Moreover, you also pay for the exact traffic and bandwidth your site consumes per month. However, I do prefer paying for bandwidth than for visitors/month.
Again, A2 Hosting seems to be the only host on earth that doesn’t count visits on their managed WordPress plans.
#2. Only WordPress
This is not a disadvantage as such because you won’t bother buying managed WordPress hosting if you don’t own a WordPress site, but I think it’s still worth pointing out.
Well; shared WordPress hosting allows you to do more than just WordPress. You can install other CMSs like Joomla, Drupal, or even launch a website in minutes with a website builder. By contrast, Managed WordPress hosting, do not allow this flexibility. With companies that have a custom control panel, you are bound to install only WordPress powered websites. Of course, there are exceptions made to some companies that use cPanel.
#3. No email hosting
It is a tradition for managed WordPress hosts to not provide email hosting especially those who have their own control panel. Their argument is that “emails take place, consume resources, slow down servers, and bla bla bla….”. As a result, they only do WordPress hosting and do not include emails.
Want a professional mail like firstname.lastname@example.org? Eurh forget because managed WordPress hosting doesn’t do that, with an exception made to only WPX Hosting. So you will have to use Rackspace, Google, etc. for your mails, or go with cPanel/Plesk based companies if you don’t want WPX.
#4. High pricing
Better speed, security, advanced features, and WordPress experts at hand to take care of your issues require a cost. And, honestly, that is what retains many bloggers from moving to managed WordPress hosting.
In fact, the pricing is far beyond standard hosting. Apart from A2 Hosting, WPX, and FastComet, you will generally need to pay around $30/month for one WordPress site. This leads us to the following question…
Is Managed WordPress Hosting Worth the Cost?
They promise faster speed, superior security, dedicated 24/7 support from experts, and advanced features that save you a lot of time. However, they charge nearly $30/month to host a single site in most cases. So the question is obvious: is managed WordPress hosting really worth the price?
The answer to that question depends on how deep you actually need the benefits they offer. Thus, let’s dig it out…
# How fast is fast?
Managed WordPress hosting loading time is generally close to 100ms-800ms. Even for complex sites, you could get 2s load time. A study by review signal has shown that managed WordPress hosts server speed is somewhere between 300ms to 1.5s. And, that is really impressive. But wait; is it enough to charge that high price?
I have to admit that page load time with shared WordPress hosting is usually between 1 to 5 seconds. More complex sites perhaps with long-form content full of graphics may take up to 5-9 seconds to load even with caching plugins installed (nearly 5x slower than managed WordPress).
Even so, when you shrink your images, use a CDN, avoid resource-consuming plugins and flashy themes, don’t host videos, don’t use ads on your blog, you could decrease loading time down to 700 ms-3s on a quality shared hosting provider.
So, if speed is the only factor you are looking for, managed WordPress hosting is not that worth the money unless you don’t want (or don’t know how) to take the extra steps to optimize your site load time. Quality shared hosting vendors like A2 Hosting and TMDHosting will do a good job.
# How Unique are WordPress Specific Features?
Ok; managed hosts claim to provide special features like WP-CLI, Git, site cloning, and staging areas. They also provide super tuned control panels from which you can monitor, manage, synchronize, and set access rules to all your websites (a huge time saver and game changer). It is an all-in-one tool to make your life easier. However, are they the only companies to supply you with those features? The answer might surprise you: Absolutely NO.
In fact, I have seen many shared hosting companies that provide WP-CLI and Git out of the box. Secondly, staging is now nearly available to anyone as it comes with Softaculous App Installer. I can hear you saying “WHAT?!” and yes that is the truth. You don’t essentially need managed WordPress hosting to set a staging environment in WordPress. If your shared hosting provider didn’t tweak the default SOFTACULOUS APP INSTALLER, you should get the feature out of the box and be able to set it in 2-clicks.
Furthermore, there are also some plugins that could help you set testing environments for your sites quickly (I have never used one though for now).
If WP-CLI, Git, Node.js, and Staging are the only gadgets you are looking for, then managed WordPress hosting is not worth the high pricing. There are some quality developer-friendly share WordPress hosts like A2 Hosting that have got you covered. See their full developer features here.
# How Secure is Managed WordPress Hosting?
After having dealt with dozens of web hosting companies for over a decade, it comes out that many offer basic virus scans (Good!). The bad news though, is that only very few provide any kind of extra security layer. That is a huge problem when we know that WordPress records the largest number of hacked websites each year.
With that in mind, you absolutely need a hosting service that takes security as one of the first priorities. And, that is where managed WordPress hosting pops-up. It provides advanced security level which is tough to implement on your own.
The extra security steps embrace:
- Ongoing server-level scans for malicious attacks
- Free virus and malware removal
- Free enhanced DDoS protection
- 24/7 humans server monitoring
- Accounts and databases isolation
- Free WAF
- Daily Cloud Auto-backups
- Offsite manual backups
- Onboard vulnerability checks
In short, no matter what happens, you can rest reassured that your business won’t be affected. Should your site get hacked; they fix and take it back quickly. Your site is infected by a virus? A managed WordPress host automatically strikes back, destroy the menace, clean and take your site back as it was. That is especially helpful when you rely on your site as an income stream.
Bottom line: If security is your main concern, then, YES managed WordPress hosting is worth the extra cost. Sure, some shared hosts really excel at security but, you won’t get superior defense than with managed WordPress hosting.
# Is the Support Really far Superior?
The WordPress ecosystem is constantly in development. There are always new updates, features, security patches, and many other aspects of the software to keep track with. There are so many potential innovations that it becomes overwhelming for non-techy guys to stay on top.
Now, the question is:
What do you value the most in your business: Time?–Or Money?
Because with managed WordPress hosting, the dirty face of WordPress is cut off from your to do list. The support staff sets your databases, install or transfer your WordPress core files, plugins, and themes. They then manage everything so that you have all your time to focus on growing your business. That is what support is meant to be.
Your site also comes in most cases with the top-performing premium plugins preinstalled to keep your site running efficiently.
Some companies even provide you high quality and premium themes and tools to help build the most professional and high converting site. WP Engine, for instance, offers 35+ StudioPress Themes worth $2,000 for free! That includes the famous smartpassiveincome’s theme!
Want more? Managed WordPress hosting providers also offer easy to follow expert tips to grow your business, ongoing backups (auto and manual) that are stored on separate servers, and safe WordPress updates.
In addition, they provide what I like the most: A 24/7 human live chat and phone support. It means you can pick your phone and talk to real people (WordPress experts) when something is wrong on your site. The coolest part is how fast devoted they resolve WordPress related issues. So much that I can’t help saying a BIG “Wahoo”. I will repeat myself—it is like having your personal WordPress developers’ army ready to shoot any issue.
Finally, I ask you the question again—What do you value the most: Time? Or Money?
Do you prefer wasting your time in trying to troubleshoot issues or optimize your site to keep it on top and running smoothly without getting any significant result and losing money on your business side at the end, or is it better to spend a few extra dollars per month and get it done fast and professionally?
Do you even have enough time to waste while you could be focusing on growing your business and making money? It’s up to you…
If you want to avoid the technical pains, get peace of mind, and have all your time to build, grow your website, and make money, then managed WordPress hosting is more than worth the extra bucks. On another hand, if you think you don’t need peace of mind (which you shouldn’t) to succeed, or you have enough lousy time (if you are stupid), or you have a certain technical knowledge to work on WordPress, then you can pass your way.Ultimately, for the quality of tech support and the concierge service you get, YES, managed WordPress hosting is worth the high cost. Thus, going with managed WordPress hosting for the support is the smartest decision you could make.Click To Tweet
Who is Managed WordPress Hosting for? is it Always the Best Choice?
Every WordPress website owner can use managed WordPress hosting. But, there are some particular cases where I don’t recommend it.
For example, when your site is getting a tiny 100 visits/day or nearly 5k/month, avoid managed WordPress; it is a waste of money in my opinion. Another case is when your site is not bringing in any money for now, or it is just a pastime and not a business.
Best Managed WordPress Hosting Providers 
WordPress software has become too much popular. So that most of the hosting service providers today are already offering managed WordPress hosting. The hard work though is to select the best one. Best being the one that suits your needs the most.
Many people trust GiantBlogger for one reason: we don’t just drink the advertising jargon you will find on the web hosting companies’ sites. We always go through real-life tests to determine which one is really performing well. And, no matter how big or reputable a company is; if the service is good, we sing it. But, in case they fail to the tests, we also take a real pleasure to cry it for you to be aware.
Our performance test process includes three main stages:
- TTFB— TTFB (Time To First Byte) is the exact time server takes to send the first string of information when a user tries to access your site. For cheap WordPress hosting one can accept up to 0.6s sometimes. But, when you are throwing $20+/month in managed WordPress hosting it is intolerable. The worst TTFB acceptable in this case is 0.4s. If TTFB is slower than that, we just give bad marks to the company.
- Bitcatcha Speed test— To test server speed from different locations
- UptimeRobot— We use uptimerobot to track how long does your site stays up and reachable to your users/clients and also the average speed. For shared WordPress, I always say that the minimum acceptable uptime is 99.94%. Again, when you are paying extra bucks per month for managed WordPress hosting, I think you deserve more—at least 99.95% uptime which results in a hard limit of 5mns of downtime per week. I insist; that is the hard limit. Lower than 99.95% uptime, we give bad marks to the company.
Let’s get in.
Custom panel based Companies
#1. Liquid Web
Founded in 1997, Liquid Web is one of the oldest and most experts managed web hosting company. There’s a reason why big names like Motorola, ESPN, FedEx, Red Bull, and Audi have gone Liquid Web. The company only knows “managed hosting” so all their servers are supper optimized for running fast and securely no matter the complexity of your website.
They have established a reputation for providing the best managed WordPress hosting service backed with the most helpful customer service available. Liquid Web has brought together a world-class Heroic Support staff to satisfying clients as well as a proactive Server Monitoring team, professionally educated and always available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
If you want hands-off powerful web hosting, Liquid Web is your best bet.
Most Managed WordPress Hosts have visitor-based plans and will charge you for bandwidth overuse. Assuming you own a fast-growing website, you could soon hit your bandwidth limits and start paying the overage fees. But, LW is an exception. They offer four plans (PERSONAL, FREELANCE, PROFESSIONAL, BUSINESS) priced respectively at $29, $69, $99; and $149/month. Each plan comes with unlimited visits and 5TB bandwidth! YES 5TB!
In case you need more websites, they also offer four enterprise plans which allow up to 300 WordPress sites (See it in detail here). Let’s now jump on the most important which is…
Liquid Web’s Performance
We are going to start with the TTFB which benchmarks how responsive a server is at delivering the very first byte of information.
The TTFB is 0.438s which an honest “B”. What about the actual server speed? Let’s find it out through the Bitcatcha speed tool.
The test shows that Liquid Web runs fast in most locations except in Singapore, Bangalore, and Sydney with 0.2s. It is still fast but, not as fast as the 8ms and 75ms in the USA.
Too good to be true? Let’s try something a bit harder with Uptimerobot.
Truth is coming out!
Let’s forget the idealistic 8ms got in the previous test and face accuracy. The actual speed here is 378ms (more realistic). Furthermore, the speed graph reveals that in hard conditions (heavy website) the lowest speed is 1.8s. Haha! Far from the previous 75ms.
For not leaving things half done, I also went through uptime to understand how long your website will stay up and running. The test has been run for 6 months and here is what comes out.
As you can see from the screenshot above, there has been only one downtime from March to August. The outage occurred on August 2 at 2:21:39 PM and it lasted for 11 minutes. Let’s see how it translates into your business…
1 day = 1440 mins, 6 months = 180 days = 259,200 mins.
(11 x 100)/259,200 = 0.004%. 11 minutes of outage leads to 0.004% of downtime.
100% – 0.004% = 99.996% remaining.
Ultimately, Liquid Web has had, for 6 months, a 99.996% uptime (prodigious).Visit Liquid Web
Kinsta is a specialized host that only knows and only does WordPress. It is the first managed WordPress host to use the Google Cloud Platform and also one of the top performings within the industry. Their infrastructure even relies on Google’s premium tier global network to supply your site with high reliability and faster loading time.
Kinsta has everything you could dream of to run a WordPress website efficiently and securely. From PHP7.x, HTTP/2 to NGINX and a Super Premium Redundant Network from Google Cloud Platform, they took care of each and every single aspect of WordPress Software to supply clients with the best hosting service ever made.
Another metric is Bandwidth. Kinsta’s plans are based on the number of visitors per month. I don’t like it because things could quickly become pricier as your website grows. Here is a complete article to understand how Kinsta Calculate visits for more insight.
On their STARTER Plan, for example, you can host only one WordPress site and you are limited to 20,000 visits/month. An additional 50GB of bandwidth is provided to serve your cached pages. The plan itself costs $30/month, and you can get 2 months for free on annual purchase ($300/year). I can’t finally really complain because of the features, speed and security level you get plus the fact you are hosted on Google Cloud Platform.
Note that Kinsta has the largest number of hosting plans including a STARTER and PRO plan, four BUSINESS plans, and four ENTERPRISE plans (10 plans in total).
All these are good but let’s see how they stand when it comes to performance.
Performances of Kinsta
They don’t also deceive when it comes to speed and uptime thanks to Google Cloud infrastructure. In effect, their servers deliver one of the best speeds in the market. Just look at the performance tests below.
The TTFB is 0.298s (one of the fastest) which is honorable and got a big “A” mark meaning that Kinsta servers are prompt in serving your site to visitors/clients. Let’s now see the actual loading time your websites will get.
Don’t know what to say.
Kinsta runs at 2ms from most locations and 1ms from Sydney. Honestly, it is unrealistic. Can you believe it?! A server that loads your website in 1ms! That is impossible in my opinion even if you have zero content on the website.
Therefore, I’m going to jump to my favorite and more realistic tool.
Haha! Truth comes out again!
The average speed from uptimerobot is 229ms and when you look at the graph, you see that the lowest speed is 1.156s. YES, it is fast but not like the biased 1ms loading time from the previous test.
As uptime can’t be gauged for one week or month only, we tracked Kinsta for 6 months and as you can see from the screenshot, there has been only one downtime from March to August. The outage occurred on June 28 at night (10:46:29 PM) and it lasted for 32 minutes. Again, let’s see how it translates into your business…
Kinsta’s Uptime Calculation
1 day = 1440 mins, 6 months = 180 days = 259,200 mins.
(32 x 100)/259,200 = 0.012%. So 32 minutes of outage translates into 0.012% downtime.
100% – 0.012% = 99.988% remaining.
Ultimately, Kinsta uptime for 6 months = 99.988% (great).Visit Kinsta
#3. WP Engine
Who could understand WordPress better than its creators? WP Engine is one of the first specialized WordPress hosting providers (if not the first) and is mainly owned by Automatic, the father of WordPress software.
Honestly, it is the most reliable managed WordPress hosting company. Yet, years back I was fighting them because of the plugins restriction, server location (only USA), and some minor security issues I have had with my social sharing plugin.
Nonetheless, WP Engine recently purchased Flywheel (which I’m still testing) and also moved their whole infrastructure to the powerful and most reliable Google Cloud Platform. It has been a smart move which grants them the power of being available everywhere thanks to Google’s 20 global hosting locations (as opposed to the US only in the past) making their servers run faster and securely than ever. And, I’m happy today to have them back into my list of top premium WordPress hosting providers.
Well; WP Engine plans start at $35/month ($29 if paid yearly) with 25K monthly visits, 1 WordPress install, and 50GB bandwidth (useful for visitors who browse more than just one page on your site). The two other plans cost $115 and 290/month which include 5 WordPress installs and 15 respectively.
Each plan provides server-side caching and powerful built-in performance tools to manage your sites with ease. The most flattering extra, in my opinion, is the 35+ StudioPress professionally designed themes worth + Genesis Framework $2,000 value included for free with each plan.
WP Engine Performance
First, let’s start with the TTFB as usual.
The TTFB reveals that WP Engine’s new infrastructure is worth trying with a circa 0.304s latency which naturally got “A” mark. I’m not surprised as they are now using Google Cloud like Kinsta.
Except for Sao Paulo, WP Engine has performed exceptionally. But, there is another 1ms loading time again, which I don’t trust so, let’s move on the hard truth through my favorite tool.
Once again, the truth comes out.
The average loading time from uptimerobot has been 386ms which is great. But, you can easily see from the speed graph that in hard conditions (when you upload heavy content), loading time can go up to 2.3s which has been the hard limit I have recorded from WP Engine before it drops to around 0.5s.
However, there is an area where WP Engine is the best and it is Uptime. Only one single downtime has been recorded for a long period of 6 months. The outage, this time, occurred on March 12 by 6:03:21 PM and it lasted for ONLY 03 minutes! (see screenshot above). Let’s now do the math…
WP Engine’s Uptime Calculation
1 day = 1440 mins, 6 months = 180 days = 259,200 mins.
(3 x 100)/259,200 = 0.001%. So an outage of 3 minutes leads to 0.001% downtime.
100% – 0.001% = 99.999% remaining.
Ultimately, WP Engine delivered the best uptime = 99.999% (Incomparable).Check WP Engine
#4. WPX Hosting
I’m pretty sure you’ve never heard of this company. And, I can’t blame you as it is a hidden gem within the managed WordPress hosting Cosmos. I like WPX Hosting because they have set a custom Apache and have also built their own WPX Cloud on a solid rock to make sure your business is reachable everywhere and every time.
If you are not a big fan of visitor-based offers (where you could end up paying for an overage fee) like me, here is your chance. In fact, instead of shaping their plans based on the number of visitors/month, WPX prefers full bandwidth-based offers which I really appreciate. They also provide email hosting, unlike most companies.
The cooler things with WPX Hosting are bandwidth and CDN. They have their own CDN and offer it for free to all their customers. As such, you’ll hardly hit your allocated bandwidth limit because the in-house CDN always comes to rescue.
For example, on their Business Plan which is the entry-level, you can host 5 WordPress Websites with 100GB of bandwidth, and it costs $24.99/month (get 2 months free on annual purchase ($249.96/year).
There is something I think I must point out: Did you know that this entry-level plan can handle a WordPress site with millions of visitors per month?!
Don’t believe me?
Here is the thing. WPX offers a free tool to calculate your bandwidth. You just have to fill in the number of visitors you are getting, the average page views per visitor, the weight of your homepage– and the tool gives you the bandwidth needed and their hosting plan that could accommodate with your site.
Let’s do a quick test: suppose you have a WordPress site that is 5MB in page size and receive 1M visits/month. Then, also suppose each of your visitors has 10 page views!
Ok; that is impossible because each of your readers can’t view 10 pages on your blog for a single month. Most will just have one page view. Also, 5MB is not obvious because most websites’ average page size is around 1MB-2MB. Many even weigh kilobytes only.
However, it is just a test. So let’s see what happens.
As you can see, their entry-level plan supports 1,000,000 visits/month without any problem.
How much does it cost? Only $24.99/month (get special 2 months free $249.99/year)
Please; do me a favor; try the tool (it is free) yourself because till now, I can’t believe my eyes.
Sight! Well; I have been so impressed that I even forgot the testing process. So let’s move on the most important part which is….
WPX Hosting Performance
The custom Apache and built-in cloud infrastructure have paid off. With a short latency of 0.233s (the fastest I have seen), WPX has an excellent TTFB which amazed me. And, that is just the beginning. See the screenshots below for more exciting metrics.
Their servers run fast in nearly all the locations with a few exceptions from Bangalore (428ms), Singapore (295ms), and Sydney (221ms). This time, the results are more realistic than with the previous hosts.
Want to go harder? Let’s go through Uptimerobot.
The average loading time from Uptimerobot has been 421ms which is still surprising me. Though, the most unbelievable part is how they tackle heavy websites. In fact, data from the speed graph fairly show that into extreme conditions, WPX loading time is only 1.2s.
When it comes to uptime, however, I have been less impressed. Sure, the overall uptime is great but, I have recorded five downtimes over 6 months. June has been the bad month for WPX with 3 outages. The first occurred on June 2 at 01:46:30 AM and lasted for 1 min, the second happened on the 21st at night and lasted for 6 mins, and the third outage occurred six days later on June 27 by 12:45:24 PM and lasted this time for 8 mins.
The two other downtimes have been recorded in May and August. The first one on May 17 by 6:30:41 PM which lasted for 6 mins and the last one on August 17 also, by 7:06:19 PM which lasted, this time, for only 1 min (see screenshot just above). While up to 5 downtimes have been recorded, it is important to point out that the total number lasted for only 22 minutes which is still lower than Kinsta’s 32 minutes.
Place to the math! I like doing it.
WPX Hosting Uptime Calculation
1 day = 1440 mins, 6 months = 180 days = 259,200 mins.
The downtimes period lasted for (6+1+6+8+1) = 22 mins.
(22 x 100)/259,200 = 0.008%. So an outage of 22 minutes translated into 0.008% downtime.
100% – 0.008% = 99.992% remaining.
Ultimately, WPX Hosting uptime for 6 months = 99.992% (Excellent).Discover WPX Hosting
These were the top managed WordPress hosts that use custom panels. Now, let’s see those with cPanel/Plesk.
Cpanel/Plesk based Managed WordPress hosts
#5. A2 Hosting
A2 Hosting started in 2001 and has built a solid reputation within the hosting industry. Their reliability and speed have brought many bloggers to spread the word. The company already has a shared WordPress hosting service and recently launched in January 2018 their managed WordPress hosting plans for more power and hands-free WordPress management. They launched it the A2 way—Support, Speed, Security, Usability powered by Plesk control panel.
A2 managed WordPress hosting is based on their 20x faster Turbo Servers built with LiteSpeed Server technology and Memcached along with the famous A2 Optimized in-house optimization for both speed and hassle-free security.
The A2 Optimized custom plugin provides advanced caching for:
- Static pages
- Browser caching
- Gzip Compression
And Minification for JS Files, Minify CSS Files, and Minify HTML Pages. It also supplies you with security features including:
- Custom URL for WordPress admin login (a huge jump)
- Block Unauthorized XML-RPC Requests
- Regenerate wp-config salts
- Deny Direct Access to Configuration Files and Comment Form
- Lock Editing of Plugins and Themes from the WP Admin
- reCAPTCHA on comments and login
With A2 Hosting, you get access to the latest PHP7.x and HTTP/2 protocol plus a Quadruple redundant network for reliability. And, as stated from the beginning, companies that use Plesk/cPanel provide email hosting. So with A2, you are able to have your custom professional email address like email@example.com (most managed hosts do not).
When it comes to hosting plans, they have four offers and each plan comes with unlimited traffic. That is really hard to find in the market and the top tier plan even allows unlimited websites!—Which is more than welcomed for those who build websites for clients and don’t want to worry about how many sites they can host on a hosting plan. I also have to mention that they have affordable prices—$24.46, $38.75, and $75.48 ( You can get a 60% Discount directly here $9.78, $15.50, and $30.19/month).
A2 Hosting Performances
The TTFB is 0.472s and got a “B” mark. Not the fastest but not the worst either. Let’s discover next, what happens from Bitcatcha.
Another “B”. A2 performs consistently except in Bangalore (723ms) and Singapore (379ms). Perhaps the lack of CDN which I didn’t activate and the fact I hosted the site on the USA (Michigan) datacenter.
Last but not least, let’s move to my favorite and more realistic tool.
It is confirmed…
The average speed from uptimerobot is 376ms and when you look at the graph, you see that in hard conditions, the slowest speed is 2.7s. Good but not the fastest I have seen. Honestly, that is not what I was expecting because their shared WordPress hosting Turbo Plan performs nearly the same. Psss don’t tell them.
Nonetheless, A2 Hosting uptime has been impressive. For 6 months, only two interruptions have been recorded. The first on April 18, at night, and the last on June 21, in the morning (10:34:06 AM). The first lasted for only 1 minute and the second for 15 minutes. So a total of 16 minutes of downtime has been recorded for 6 months.
Place to the math!
A2 Uptime Calculation
1 day = 1440 mins, 6 months = 180 days = 259,200 mins.
(16 x 100)/259,200 = 0.006%. So a 32 minutes of outage translates into 0.006% in downtime.
100% – 0.006% = 99.994% remaining.
Ultimately, A2 Hosting uptime for 6 months = 99.994% (Excellent).Check A2 Hosting
FastComet is an independently owned company and another hidden gem from the hosting industry. They started in 2012 and take each step to provide premium services and VIP customer support to their clients. The quality of service they maintain has valued them a fast-growing client base with 45,000+ customers from 83 countries worldwide.
They own and operate 10 datacenters that consolidate their Cloud platform including:
- Mumbai, India (recently)
I’m really captivated especially for an affordable hosting provider.
- Full account isolation for each customer
- Redundant network
- Free Application & Network Firewalls
- Dedicated resources for your only needs
- Free Virus & Malware scans
- Free Virus & Malware removal
- Latest PHP7.x version
- And more.
Sure; the other hosts in this post also provide these feature but, they are over 3x pricier which give FastComet a huge chunk.
Their offer comes into three plans: FastCloud, FastCloud Plus, FastCloud Extra and cost $9.95, $14.95, and $19.95/month respectively (you can get it 60% off = $3.95/mo here). The first plan allows 1 WordPress install, 25,000 monthly visits, and 30GB bandwidth to cover additional page views. The two others provide unlimited websites, 50K and 100K visits per month.
I recommend you the FastCloud Extra plan for optimal performance. It is the one I used during the tests. It offers 6 CPU cores, 6GB of RAM and RocketBooster which is a combination of six speed optimization layers including:
- LiteSpeed LSAPI
Additionally, your hosting environment is managed by cPanel and provides then email hosting for free. No matter your hosting plan, FastComet provides unlimited professional email addresses.
Performances of FastComet
The TTFB is 0.448s and got an honorable “A”. I’m surprised because I was not expecting such a good result from FastComet as it is the cheapest deal from the list. Now let’s see what is next.
More than expected…
FastComet performed great in the USA, Canada, and Europe. From Bangalore (411ms) and Singapore (264ms) though, it could be better. Maybe because the site is hosted on a USA server (choose the closest to your audience while buying your hosting account) and has no CDN activated.
However, I’m curious to discover what pops up from the last tool. Let’s see together…
As you can see, the average speed from uptimerobot is 539ms. An analysis of the speed chart reveals that in extreme conditions, the slowest speed is 3.6s. Seems like you get what you pay for. I have been even more surprised by what is coming next. See below.
The screenshot above explicitly shows three downtimes. The cool thing is they were short. The first happened on June 25 at midnight and lasted for 1 minute only. The two others occurred the same day (August 3) at night also. The first by 01:11:19 AM and the last occurred 7 minutes later (01:18:39 AM). And they lasted respectively for 2 mins and 8 mins. So downtimes have lasted for a total of 11 minutes (unbelievable).
Place to the math!
FastComet’s Uptime Calculation
1 day = 1440 mins, 6 months = 180 days = 259,200 mins.
(11 x 100)/259,200 = 0.004%. 11 minutes of outage translates into 0.004% in downtime.
100% – 0.004% = 99.996% remaining.
Ultimately, FastComet’s uptime for 6 months = 99.996% (Prodigious).Discover FastComet
Note: The speed tests have been made on the entry-level plans except with FastComet where I used the FastCloud Extra. So, a higher plan should deliver better performance.
Here we are.
Managed WordPress hosting is far secure, reliable, and offer superior tech support than shared, VPS, and even Dedicated hosting; there is no doubt about it.
Well; I can hear you saying “but a managed VPS” is only $59/month, allows unlimited websites, and at least 1TB bandwidth”!—That is right but the problem, though, is that you are not guaranteed the same quality of service and support. VPS doesn’t necessarily mean “WordPress optimized environment, high security level, and WordPress developers’ team at hand to troubleshoot your issues”. And, it also applies to a dedicated server.
The concierge service from managed WordPress hosting grants you the power to start, develop, and grow your business in peace of mind you won’t get anywhere else.
Thus, provided you have only WordPress sites, YES managed WordPress hosting is worth the few extra bucks per month. If you care about your business, don’t hesitate.
The conclusion to the above tests reveals that WP Engine and Liquid Web are the most reliable hosts with Kinsta and WPX Hosting being the fastest options.
Which one to Choose?
On another hand, if you are a blogger with multiple small websites, want email hosting, or you are budget concerned, I recommend you to check WPX Hosting, FastComet, and A2 Hosting. They are the smartest and cost-effective options. They provide excellent tech support and security features in addition to being affordable. Furthermore, if you are more concerned with disk space, then, Liquid Web should be your best friend. They offer 5TB bandwidth with each plan and at least 40 GB storage.
- For agencies, enterprises, and large budgets: Kinsta, WP Engine, Liquid Web
- For multiple small website owners, email hosting need, and small businesses & budget concerned: FastComet, WPX Hosting, A2 Hosting.
- For disk space demanding WordPress site: Liquid Web
Ultimately, though, my top choice is Kinsta.
It turns to you
What do you think about managed WordPress hosting? Which host do you prefer? Any experience or question? Share it in the comment below.
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