Is Managed WordPress Hosting Really Worth the Cost?

Posted on January 11, 2021 by in WordPress | 15 comments

Is Managed WordPress Hosting Really Worth the Cost?

Managed WordPress hosting is one of the most popular hosting options for WordPress websites. One downside is that it’s more expensive than non-managed hosting. This raises the question: is managed WordPress hosting really worth the cost? In this article, we’ll answer that question and provide a few options to consider.

What is Managed WordPress Hosting?

Managed WordPress hosting is a hosting plan that’s designed specifically for WordPress and provides a few services that take some of the pain out of maintaining your website. Managed WordPress hosting optimizes your WordPress website and handles security, backups, maintenance, and performance improvements.

Plans often include unmetered traffic, daily backups, server-side caching, staging environments, free auto migrations, email, SSL, CDN, collaborator options, white labeling, 24/7 support, etc.

These features do come at an extra cost. Before we look at that cost, let’s see what we’re comparing it to.

Non-managed WordPress Hosting

For comparison, most non-managed hosting plans do not include most of the features mentioned above. Some do include email, SSL, CDN, and 24/7 support. These cost extra for some hosts.

Typical prices for non-managed hosting (comparing several hosts) average:

  • Shared – $8.99 per month, 1 website, 10-50GB storage
  • Plus – $12.99 per month, 50-unlimited websites, 20GB-unlimited storage
  • Pro – $24.99 per month, 100-unlimited websites, 40GB-unlimited storage
  • VPS – $29.99 per month, unlimited websites, 120GB storage, 6GB RAM, 4TB transfer

Note – prices do vary. You can get this type of plan cheaper, but this is about average for a plan that works well. You do get what you pay for. Also, keep in mind that “unlimited” doesn’t mean completely unlimited. Many of these plans have shared servers, so your server resources are shared by other websites on the server.

What are the Advantages of Managed WordPress Hosting?

Here are the main advantages of managed WordPress hosting.

Setup

WordPress is installed automatically with all the plugins the service plan uses. This is especially helpful for setting up all the important plugins, special features such as WooCommerce, etc.

Server and Speed

All the settings from the operating system to the file system to server-side caching are preset and optimized, and WordPress is already installed. The server doesn’t have to run other types of websites or content management systems.

Server-side caching makes the site load much faster. A standard cache plugin has to load WordPress before it can deliver the cached page. Server-side caching lets the host serve the cached files before WordPress loads. This makes the site load faster and uses less bandwidth and server resources.

Most include CDN (Content Delivery Network) to serve your website to the visitor using the server that’s geographically closest to them to help speed up the loading times.

When a server can be completely optimized for one system it will run faster, smoother, and more reliably. This results in more uptime for your website and faster loading speeds.

Clean Hosting Dashboard

Dashboards for managed hosting can focus on WordPress. Most dashboards focus on a variety of options that must apply to various platforms. This results in a cluttered dashboard with features you can’t use or don’t need. By focusing on WordPress, you can get information and see features that are specific to your website such as traffic statistics, performance issues, etc.

Maintenance

Updates, security, and backups are handled by the host. This alone can save you time and money.

Updates – rather than just automatically updating themes and plugins, managed WordPress hosting goes a step further by only updating products once they’re tested and stable. Security patches are applied immediately. The latest WordPress updates are applied automatically to help keep your WordPress installation secure. Plugins with problems can be deactivated or blocked by the host.

Security – the website is more secure because security can be built around your specific website’s theme and plugins. Malicious login attempts can be blocked quickly and accurately because this is built into the server. The host can monitor your website and the plugins for known security issues. If a plugin has a security issue, the host can uninstall the plugin to protect your website.

Backups – hosts automatically backup your website and handle the storage of the backups. Hosts can apply them back to your website, and you have access to the backups so you can apply them yourself. This not only saves you time, but it also saves you money from having to purchase premium backup plugins and online storage space.

Staging Environments

Hosts provide a staging environment that includes a copy of your website that only you have access to. This can be used to design your site, test plugins, add code, make customizations, troubleshoot problems, etc., before applying them to your live website.

Support

Since the host focuses on WordPress, support associates are more knowledgeable of WordPress and the plugins they use.

What are the Disadvantages of Managed WordPress Hosting?

There are a few disadvantages of managed WordPress hosting to consider.

More Restricted

Most hosts restrict the plugins that can be used on the website. This does make the site safer, but it can be frustrating when there aren’t good alternatives, or you already own the premium version of the plugin. The plans are also limited to WordPress.

Costs More

As expected, the extra services that managed hosting provide come at an extra cost. You get more, but you pay more.

What are the Costs of Managed WordPress Hosting?

To look at the costs of managed WordPress hosting, let’s look at a few hosts that have partnered with Elegant Themes to provide Divi-specific managed WordPress hosting.

Flywheel

Flywheel

Flywheel includes super-fast Divi-optimized servers, project management and team collaboration tools, website cloning, secure SFTP, 24/7 live chat, and more.

The plans include Divi installed, Divi-optimized servers, free SSL, CDN, caching, staging environments, and assisted migrations.

  • Tiny – $15 per month, 1 website, 5,000 visits, 5GB storage, 20GB bandwidth
  • Starter – $30 per month, 1 website, 25,000 visits, 10GB storage, 50GB bandwidth
  • Freelance – $115 per month, 10 websites, 100,000 visits, 20GB storage, 200GB bandwidth
  • Agency – $290 per month, 30 websites, 400,000 visits, 50GB storage, 500GB bandwidth

Pressable

Pressable

Pressable was created by the same people behind WordPress.com and WooCommerce. It includes personalized onboarding, a user dashboard with easy access to all the tools, and more.

The plans include Divi installed and optimized, jetpack premium, free SSL, CDN, caching, staging environments, free auto migrations, and 24/7 support.

  • Essential – $14 per month, 1 website, 10,000 visits, 10GB storage
  • Personal – $24 per month, 1 website, 30,000 visits, 20GB storage
  • Starter – $40 per month, 3 websites, 60,000 visits, 20GB storage
  • Pro – $88 per month, 10 websites, 150,000 visits, 30GB storage

Siteground

Siteground

SiteGround is the lowest monthly cost of the Divi hosting companies, bring the prices down to compete with non-managed hosting plans.

The plans include Divi installed and configured with your license key, optimized for Divi, unmetered traffic, free SSL, CDN, caching, staging environments, free auto migrations, free email, and 24/7 support. Larger plans add speed-boosting, staging, collaborators, white labeling, etc.

  • Startup – $6.99 per month, 1 website, 10,000 visits, 10GB storage
  • GrowBig – $9.99 per month, unlimited websites, 25,000 visits, 20GB storage
  • GoGeek – $14.99 per month, unlimited websites, 100,000 visits, 40GB storage

WP Engine

WP Engine

WP Engine isn’t optimized for Divi, but it does work well with Divi. Servers are fast and reliable, and there are lots of plans to choose from. You can create your own custom plan based on your needs.

The plans include free SSL, CDN, Evercache, LargeFS, staging environments, free auto migrations, and 24/7 support.

  • Startup – $25 per month, 1 website, 25,000 visits, 10GB storage, 50GB bandwidth
  • Growth – $95.83 per month, 10 websites, 100,000 visits, 20GB storage, 200GB bandwidth
  • Scale – $241.67 per month, 30 websites, 400,000 visits, 50GB storage, 500GB bandwidth
  • Custom – $?? per month, 30 websites, millions+ visits, 100GB+ storage, 400GB+ bandwidth

Is Managed WordPress Hosting Really Worth the Cost?

Managed hosting costs about 50% more for what seems to be similar specs:

  • Non-managed WordPress hosting usually costs less than $10 for the lowest plan for 1 website and 10-50GB of storage.
  • Managed hosting averages around $15 for the lowest plan for 1 website and 10-20GB of storage.

The main difference is you get a lot more services with managed hosting that can save you a lot of time and headache. Managed hosting is worth it if you need those features.

It’s possible to handle many of these tasks yourself or install plugins to handle them for you on your non-managed website, but they do take a lot of time, and setting up plugins can leave features unselected, conflicts, and problems unresolved. Many of the features require premium versions of plugins, so their costs will need to be considered.

If you just need a test environment, don’t get much traffic, performance isn’t critical, strongly need to use banned plugins or code, have a low budget for your website, or you prefer to micromanage every detail, then you shouldn’t choose managed hosting. For all other websites, I strongly recommend managed WordPress hosting.

Managed WordPress hosting doesn’t solve every possible problem with your WordPress website, but it does solve enough problems to handle the main issues for operating a WordPress website. It’s built around WordPress’s strengths and weaknesses. This makes it fast, stable, and secure. When a server can focus on doing one thing, it can do that one thing better.

We want to hear from you. Do you use managed WordPress hosting for your website? Let us know about your experience in the comments.

Featured Image via johavel / shutterstock.com

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15 Comments

  1. This is an irresponsibly misleading article. I have vetted all the options listed here and have been hosting with SiteGround for years. The $14.99 advertised is an introductory rate that will jump up to $39.99 as of the time of this writing. SiteaGround has also raised prices significantly in the few years and at this point they are outrageously priced given what you are getting in return, and considering they lure you in with false advertising like you see here for $14.99. I would recommend anyone reading this article due their due diligence as this article is just shameful click bait to make more money for elegant themes.

    • I agree, I moved away from Siteground last summer, I was a long time loyal customer who was rewarded with price hikes every 6 months after the initial discount period. They do have decent support, but I was getting sick of the price hikes for a mediocre hosting. I moved to Cloudways and haven’t looked back. Extremely fast servers with very good tech support. I have recently built 2 sites with Cloudways and after optimization, both sites load in .4 to .6 seconds. I could never dream of such speed on Siteground. Plus I pay 1/3 the price for Cloudways and I pay monthly and the charges do not go up. What more can I ask? Fast service, no price gouging!

      • Thanks so much for the tip about Cloudways. I have been a very loyal and longtime customer as well but I can’t describe how desperate I’ve been to get away from SiteGround’s outrageously deceptive business practices. I have feared there wouldn’t be anything else out there worth the agony of migrating my 25 sites. But your recommendation convinced me to test Cloudways on my next client build and go from there.

    • What hosting brand do you suggest for managed wp hosting then?

  2. I have yet to come across ANY managed WordPress hosting that’s worth the (extra) cost. My experiences so far have been EXCLUSIVELY negative. From standard environment variables that weren’t up to par with what WordPress required to server-side caching that did a MUCH worse job than a plugin like WP Rocket.

    Even the server response times were worse when comparing it to your run-of-the-mill standard hosting package. So I’d never ever recommend managed WP hosting. I would even pay MORE to get “normal hosting” as I consider managed hosting that much worse.

    My experiences have been with UK hosting providers for a client who was searching for a host there. I’m based in Germany and you can’t really compare German hosters with US hosters. Even the bad German hosts tend to outperform the supposedly good US hosters. It might be the only area in which I believe that my country is far ahead to the average level of service in the US… but I’ve never come across ridiculous limitations like the # of files on my webspace that seems to be semi common in the US in Germany. And to top it all off, the hosting here is on average even cheaper than US hosting providers…

  3. Situated in the UK I use 1&1 IONOS where the price is the same regardless of managed or standard. There are a number of packages but 1 website costs £2 per mth for 12 mths plus taxes then £4 plus taxes after that or for unlimited sites £9 per mth for 12 mths then £18 after that. All the normal stuff is included – free SSL, Free email etc. and they are reliable and they pay commission on introductions. Worth a look.

  4. I think managed is great for people who build their own sites and don’t have the time or money to pay someone to commit to regular updates. I love the built-in CDN on WP Engine – their sites are zoom zoom. But for me personally, I avoid them because of the restrictions.

  5. Even though I manage my own servers using Digital Ocean droplets and the excellent Webinoly (and EasyEngine before that and nothing at all even earlier), I believe that wondering whether you should go to a managed server or not is a good indication that you should go to a managed server.
    Things can go wrong very easily for whatever reason, and if you don’t know how to fix the problem, or at least restore it on time, it can be very frustrating and time consuming.

  6. For beginners like me, hosting is a hell of difficult work in site making. I wasted a lot of time on my last project because of shitty hosting. This is a very helpful article regarding the hosting issue.

  7. I moved recently to WP Engine and I am almost completely satisfied. The service support is fantastic (night and days compared with gandi, if comparable…) the site is fast, but I got some issue with the pricing. I understand the efforts put into the offer but between their base plan and mid-plan there is too much of a gap, something really intermediate would help many others like me who do not enough money to invest every year into a hosting plan but still is ready to invest a minimum for very good service and offer.

  8. We were on a shared host before, now switched to Kinsta managed hosting and we love it! Super smooth transition and the speed has more than doubled!

  9. Sorry, but where is Kinsta

  10. Managed definitely has some pros compared to non managed like stagings and security, but if you invest some more time in the initial setup phase and go with non managed you have more control and in the long run dont have to pay too much. But thats just my experience

  11. A great summary of the features of managed WordPress hosting! I use a shared solution and, for my business at this stage, it works just fine. I’m able to easily handle the tasks that are included with managed hosting so I don’t think it would be worth the extra cost for my business. And I find the thought of plugins being restricted a little scary. I can understand why they would do that but I’m not sure it would work for me. Good to have read this so I can make an informed decision – thanks!

  12. It was a good read on & managed hosting. I was looking for this topic for a long time but couldn’t find a good piece of content that can be reliable. Now it’s cleared to me that I need a managed hosting as I’m owning a big company and I’m ready to pay a big amount for hosting & I’ve not got enough time to maintain the hosting by myself. I must give a suggestion to readers that, It is worthy if you do not have enough time to manage your hosting & you’re ready to pay a good amount for your hosting. Anyway, Great job! it was very useful. Thanks for putting top-notch content in the article. I would like to be here again to find another masterpiece article!

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