The Best Web Hosting for WordPress

There are 2 clear standouts for managed WordPress hosting

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Pretty much every single web host out there can run WordPress, and run it just fine. But the very best web hosting for WordPress in terms of service and performance will be from a fully managed WordPress host.

To write this guide, I looked at the 6 top web hosts for WordPress sites. I’ve reviewed them all in more detail below. To summarize, there are six great hosts worth looking at, and two clear standouts.

The 6 Best Web Hosts for WordPress Sites Ranked

  1. WP Engine Best for Pros Plans start at $35/mo.
  2. SiteGroundBest for Beginners and Lower Budgets Plans start at $4/mo.
  3. Flywheel – Plans start at $15/mo.
  4. Kinsta – Plans start at $20/mo.
  5. Pressable – Plans start at $45/mo.
  6. Liquid Web Plans start at $99/mo.

For pros, I recommend WP Engine. It’s definitely the best option for managed hosting. I don’t recommend it for anyone who’s just starting out, as it’s pretty unnecessary.
It’s 7X more expensive than my budget pick. We’re talking $35–100/month versus $4–15. Depending on your business needs, this level of managed WordPress hosting may be more than you want (or want to pay for). But, trying to get serious and build a high-traffic blog or business? Then definitely use WP Engine.

Full disclosure: We use WP Engine for Quick Sprout.

Does that mean I think it’s the best for you? Like I said, not automatically. The best web host for you is always going to be an equation of price, performance, and service. In this guide, I’ll outline all of the best hosts for WordPress sites, the cost differences between them, and I’ll walk you through how to choose the web host that’s right for your situation.

For beginners, I recommend SiteGround. Plans start at $4/mo. That’s intro pricing for the length of your first contract, which can be as long as 3 years. After, it’ll jump to $12/mo. That’s a crazy good price for reliable hosting and some of the most important WordPress features built in. It’s also one of three hosts recommended by WordPress.

As for the other four options, I wrote in-depth reviews below, but my recommendations come down to this: I don’t think they’re worth the price jump up from SiteGround, or the savings from WP Engine. If you’re paying the premium, you’ll be happier with WP Engine’s services. If you’re not, then go with SiteGround. For smaller sites and just getting started, it’s perfect.

How to Pick a Managed WordPress Web Host: WPEngine vs SiteGround

First, “Managed WordPress” means the infrastructure your site is hosted on was tailor-made for WordPress, and everyone working behind the scenes has WordPress expertise. As a result, your website will be significantly faster, more stable, and more secure than on a typical shared hosting plan. Customer support will be more knowledgeable and more nuanced. And, a lot of the technical aspects of keeping your website up and running is done for you — no web admin know-how necessary. Fair warning: it’s also more expensive.

I’m not saying that shared hosting is bad. (In fact, for most small businesses, it’s what I recommend.) It just provides a different product and set of services. Remember, a shared hosting plan means your website lives on a server with lots of other sites — we’re talking in the thousands — that are vying for a finite amount of disk space, memory, bandwidth, processing power, etc. That’s no big deal if you don’t need many resources, but it’s obviously not a model built with optimization in mind.

Speaking of optimization: a shared server simply can’t be tailored to the applications it’s running. It has to be able to host and run many: WordPress, yes, but also Joomla and maybe Drupal, and a custom site, or a Node server. There’s a reason you don’t see many all-in-one blender/chopper/espresso machines in restaurant kitchens…

A fully managed WordPress host is different. It’s hyper-optimized to make WordPress run its best, because that’s the only app it’s running. And remember those firm limits on size and visitors from plan to plan? Those are there to keep resources evenly allocated and running smoothly.

  • Managed WordPress 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 shared server’s worth of 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 — lots of shared hosts do it too — but managed WordPress hosts all automatically install security updates too. The backup process is faster and more reliable, and daily and restores are typically free. WordPress is automatically (and correctly) installed. And 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.

WP Engine is significantly more expensive than SiteGround

Small, less complex, and low-traffic sites would absolutely still enjoy the benefits of the best managed WordPress hosting — just like someone who needs a couple of stitches for a cut on their finger would absolutely still enjoy the benefits of an elite plastic surgeon. Do you want to pay that premium? That’s your call.

If your site is just starting out, or your traffic is small enough that no one’s really going to notice a few minutes of downtime here and there, then SiteGround will do the trick. It’s a great shared hosting provider that’ll be more cost effective — and still has a few managed WordPress benefits built right into its basic shared hosting packages, including automatic core updates and daily backups.

If the higher price tag for a fully managed WordPress host doesn’t fit into the budget, and you don’t mind a couple of hours a month dedicated to site maintenance, I recommend starting there. You can always transfer your site to a managed WordPress host in the future. Read more in our review of the overall best web hosting services.

WPEngine is designed to deliver superior performance to WordPress sites, no matter how big or complex or heavily trafficked. And because a lot of the backend site and server maintenance is done by the host, it delivers superior support to those sites’ owners, too.

For businesses that can’t afford any glitches or downtime, and people who don’t have the resources to update, tinker with, and troubleshoot their sites, the price is absolutely worth it.

In-Depth Managed WordPress Hosting Reviews

1. WP Engine Best for Pro Users

WP Engine is the biggest name in WordPress hosting — when most people think of managed WordPress, they think WP Engine. It deserves its reputation. It’s often compared to a boutique 5-star hotel: its services are unique, elegant, and comprehensive.

If you look at the features that are included with WP Engine’s plans, you may be surprised at the price tag. For $30/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. (And those prices don’t take into account overage fees if, say, a blog post goes viral or a PR push hits it big.) You can get way more than that on most shared hosting plans for under $10/month — and get email hosting and a domain name bundled in.

Pricing structure of WP Engine plans
WP Engine’s plans are more expensive than a shared hosting provider — but the quality of service is worth it. Below, a partial list of WP Engine’s banned plugins.

Partial list of banned plugins on WP Engine

But features are not what managed WordPress hosting is about. You’re paying for service, and 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. If we use our hotel analogy, WP Engine does your dry cleaning and serves you three meals a day (plus snacks!) without you even having to call down to the front desk.

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.

For many developers and site owners, the biggest surprise with WP Engine is its exclusion of certain plugins and scripts — as in there is a list of both that will not run if your site is hosted on WP Engine. Plugin and script uniformity is how WP Engine maintains excellence, sort of like how a Michelin three-star restaurant has a much smaller menu than, say, a Cheesecake Factory. But, if your site wants to experiment with a plugin on the list, or already relies on one of those plugins, you’re out of luck.

2. SiteGround Best for Beginners and Smaller Sites / Smaller Budgets

SiteGround is one of WordPress’s three recommended web hosts. (The other two are DreamHost and Bluehost.) I like it, and maybe WordPress does for this reason too, because some elements of managed WordPress hosting are built into all of its shared hosting plans. You’ll get automatic updates, streamlined security, and expert technical support — all as part of even the most basic plan.

SiteGround Managed WordPress Hosting Plan Pricing List

That’s the plan I recommend for beginners on a budget. It’s called “StartUp” and 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. If you’re just starting out, this will keep your site up to date, and give you the help you need, plus the confidence to know that if anything did go wrong, you could revert your site without losing much.

3. Flywheel

If WP Engine is a boutique 5-star hotel, Flywheel is its hip younger sister. This isn’t to say WP Engine is stodgy. But Flywheel is newer to the scene, with a slicker, more user-friendly interface, and it has carved out a niche providing exceptional service to smaller-scale customers, as well as multi-client freelance designers and design agencies.

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 $15/month. That’s half of WP Engine’s lowest tier.

Flywheel's managed WordPress pricing for a single site
If you’re hosting a single website, Flywheel’s price of entry is very low — but you don’t get all the perks.

Its services targeted to freelance designers and agencies building sites for clients help it really stand out. Little nice-to-haves, like “blueprints” for the themes and plugins you use time after time, and 14 days on a free, password-protected demo site to show your work before having to pay, are built right in. Multiple collaborators have their own logins and can update files and manage the site. Transferring billing to a client is streamlined. These features aren’t at all necessary for lots of small businesses who only have their own one or two sites to manage. But if you’re in an industry that can take advantage of them, it’s gold.

4. Kinsta

A popular, robust managed WordPress host that emphasizes scalability. It’s pricing is on-par with WP Engine, with its lowest tier starting at $30/month for 20,000 monthly visitors. (It does have a mid-tier plan — $60/month for 40,000 visitors — whereas WP Engine rockets straight to a $100+/month plan.)

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 more or better tools. This is something Flywheel especially (and frustratingly) does: its lowest-tier plan doesn’t give access to a staging site, and CDN and multisite are $10/month add-ons until you’re paying at least $69/month.

5. Pressable

If you have only one website, skip Pressable. Like Flywheel, it’s designed to serve freelancers and agencies. Unlike Flywheel, its lowest-tier plan can accommodates up to 5 sites (and is $25/month).

If you are managing multiple sites, though, Pressable offers some unique packages that make it a competitive option: $25/month for 5 sites and 60,000 page views, $45/month for 10 sites and 200,000 page views, $90/month for 20 sites and 400,000 page views. The list keeps on going — Pressable has a ton of plans.

Similar to Kinsta, Pressable offers all its tools and features across all plans — even its lower tier starter packages — and emphasizes its free managed migrations. (Literally all you have to do is give Pressable your login and FTP info.) It also touts its superior customer support channels, which is one thing you can pay extra to access. Email tickets are available to everyone across all plans 24/7, but you’ll need to upgrade to get 24/7 phone and chat support, or dedicated Slack channel and consultative diagnostics.

6. Liquid Web

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. You can bulk manage all your sites from one dashboard. SSL certificates are handed out like candy. You have 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 — most people reading this are small businesses, not enterprise clients — but Liquid Web deserves its spot on a list of best web hosts for WordPress.

Recap: The Best Web Hosting for WordPress

Managed WordPress hosting is the most tailor-made hosting for any WordPress site. But that doesn’t mean it’s the right pick for your business. Yes, WP Engine is amazing, but it’s also more expensive, particularly for large amounts of traffic.

Seriously ask yourself where you stand on the Price / Service / Performance equation. What is your budget and how much service and performance can you get from that budget?

The Best Managed WordPress Hosts Listed by Price

  1. SiteGroundBest for Beginners and Lower Budgets Plans start at $4/mo.
  2. Flywheel – Plans start at $15/mo.
  3. Kinsta – Plans start at $20/mo.
  4. WP Engine Best for Pros Plans start at $35/mo.
  5. Pressable – Plans start at $45/mo.
  6. Liquid Web Plans start at $99/mo.

Update notes

  • Last updated February 19, 2019 – I’ve updated the page to make it easier to understand the price difference between Shared and Managed hosting. Yes, WP Engine is the best, but unless you’re a pro, it may be more than you need.
  • First published December 6, 2018

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