Best Managed WordPress Hosting 2018 – Top 8 Web Hosts Compared

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best-managed-wordpress-hosting

As WordPress turned 15 this year, it’s time for an update on the Best Managed WordPress Hosting in 2018.

Managed WordPress Hosting has continued to skyrocket in popularity. It seems as if each month another web host releases their new managed WordPress hosting product. But, who has the Best Managed WordPress Hosting in 2018?

Last year, we thoroughly tested four of the top premium managed WordPress hosting providers (WP Engine, Media Temple, Flywheel, and DreamPress). For 2018, we’re expanding our comparison study to include a wider price range of hosting plans, as well as adding some of the newer managed WordPress packages for what we consider to be the Top 8 managed WordPress hosting plans available.

Quick Summary

The bottom line results of our managed WordPress hosting study for those of you pressed for time:

 Web HostPriceSpeedComments
WP EngineWP Engine$35 mo. – $290 mo.1.563sRecommended
SiteGroundSiteGround$3.95 mo. – $11.95 mo.1.254sRecommended
InMotion HostingInMotion Hosting$6.99 mo. – $114.99 mo.1.526sRecommended
Liquid WebLiquid Web$69 mo. – $289 mo.1.609sRecommended
A2 HostingA2 Hosting$12.97 mo. – $37.97 mo.1.809s 
PressablePressable$25 mo. – $225 mo.1.645s 
DreamPressDreamPress$16.95 mo. – $35.95 mo.1.626s 
Media TempleMedia Temple$20 mo. – $60 mo.1.573s**No SSL

Best Managed WordPress Hosting Details

Here are the full details and results of our managed WordPress hosting study, including a profile on each web host.

Table of Contents

What Do You Get with Managed WordPress Hosting?

Who Are the Best Managed Hosts?

WP Engine
SiteGround
InMotion Hosting
Liquid Web
A2 Hosting
Pressable
DreamPress
Media Temple

How Do They Compare?

Account Manager Control Panels
WordPress Installation and Website Setup
Website Speed and Performance Testing
Website Backup and Restore
Website Staging
Site Security
Customer Support
Money Back Refund Guarantees
Recommendations and Conclusions

What Do You Get with Managed WordPress Hosting?

Best Managed WordPress Hosting Features
Let’s be clear on what we consider as a fully managed WordPress hosting plan. Although many web hosting providers make claims as to having an optimized or managed WordPress hosting package, a true fully managed WordPress hosting solution should include the following:

  • Automatic Software Updates
  • Automated Daily Backups
  • Advanced Caching Technology
  • Optimized Servers and Network Environment
  • Proactive Security Against Malicious Attacks
  • Staging Environment for Development
  • Expert WordPress Customer Support
  • Pre-Configured WordPress Admin
  • Additional Features for Developers and Consultants

1. WP Engine

wp-engine-managed-wordpress
Recommended For: WordPress Developers, Consultants, and Enterprise Sites

WP Engine has continued to offer innovative improvements and additions to their Managed WordPress Hosting services since our initial study. They have revamped their hosting lineup to fit their new WordPress Digital Experience Platform. In addition to new features being included with their hosting plans, they have also added their WP Engine Solution Center, which provides access to resources such as plugins and outside services that can improve the experience for your website visitors.

The big news in 2018 for WP Engine is that they acquired StudioPress and will now be including their WordPress themes, built on the Genesis Framework, free of charge with their web hosting plans.

PlanPriceWebsitesStorage
StartUp$35 mo.110GB
Growth$115 mo.520GB
Scale$290 mo.1530GB

Features:

  • Automated Migration Plugin
  • Unlimited Data Transfer
  • Proprietary EverCache Technology for better speed
  • Proprietary Intrusion Detection and Prevention System
  • Staging Environment
  • Daily Automated Backups plus Snapshot Backup Capability
  • One Click Restores
  • Transferable Installs and Billing Transfer for Developers and Consultants
  • Enterprise Solutions also Available
  • Content Delivery Network
  • Free Let’s Encrypt SSL
  • WP Engine Solution Center
Pros:

  • WordPress Only
  • Intuitive user dashboard
  • Automated daily backups as well as snapshot backup capability
  • Live Chat Support available 24/7
  • Two-Step Authentication System for added Protection
  • Added Features for WordPress Developers and Consultants
  • 60 Day Money Back Guarantee
Cons:

  • More restrictive with plugins

The Bottom Line:

WP Engine remains the standard for premium managed WordPress hosting. For more details, visit WPEngine.com.

2. SiteGround

siteground-managed-wordpress
Recommended For: Beginners or Small Business Sites

For many years now, SiteGround has been an excellent lower cost managed WordPress hosting alternative. And because of their continued innovation and improvements, SiteGround continues to be a top web hosting choice. Their WordPress hosting plans include managed hosting features that cost much more elsewhere.

PlanPriceWebsitesStorage
StartUp$3.95 mo.110GB
GrowBig$5.95 mo.Unlimited20GB
GoGeek$11.95 mo.Unlimited30GB

Features:

  • Automatic Daily Backups
  • Scheduling Control over WordPress Automatic Updates
  • Automatic Plugin Updates
  • Full Website Staging
  • SuperCacher Technology for Faster Websites
  • Content Delivery Network Included
  • Free Let’s Encrypt SSL
  • Platform Built on Linux Containers
Pros:

  • Affordable Managed Hosting Features Included
  • Compete Web Hosting Package
  • Host Multiple Websites with GrowBig and GoGeek Plans
  • Fast Responsive Customer Support
  • Data Centers on Three Continents
  • Unlimited Email
  • Easy to Use Interface
Cons:

  • Some Features Available Only with GrowBig or GoGeek Plans

The Bottom Line:

SiteGround is outstanding in every way as they include premium features at very affordable prices for a managed WordPress hosting plan. For more details, visit SiteGround.com.

3. InMotion Hosting

inmotion-hosting-managed-wordpress
Recommended For: Beginners or Small Business Sites

InMotion Hosting has always been one of our top recommendations when it comes to non-managed WordPress hosting. However, last year they finally released a managed hosting plan lineup that includes packages ranging from a single WordPress site to 20 websites. Pricing includes both affordable and more expensive plans. InMotion’s managed WordPress platform is specifically tuned to providing superior results for WordPress websites.

PlanPriceWebsitesStorage
WP-1000S$6.99 mo.140GB
WP-2000S$10.99 mo.280GB
WP-3000S$14.99 mo.3120GB
WP-4000S$29.99 mo.6160GB
WP-5000S$59.99 mo.10200GB
WP-6000S$114.99 mo.20240GB

Features:

  • Advanced Server Caching
  • Automatic WordPress Updates
  • Automatic Theme and Plugin Updates
  • BoldGrid Premium Themes and Plugin Subscription
  • Staging Environment
Pros:

  • Includes More Affordable options for Managed WordPress Hosting
  • Provides Excellent Website Speed
  • Includes BoldGrid Website Builder for Easier Site Creation
  • Includes Free Private SSL
  • Very Responsive Customer Support
  • 90 Day Money Back Guarantee
Cons:

  • Website Staging is only available for BoldGrid sites.
  • Automatic Theme and Plugin updates are only available for BoldGrid sites.

The Bottom Line:

InMotion has built on their excellent Business Web Hosting foundation and produced an even better product with their affordable managed WordPress hosting. For more details, visit InMotionHosting.com.

4. Liquid Web

liquid-web-managed-wordpress
Recommended For: Mission Critical WordPress Sites

Since joining Liquid Web, Chris Lema has put together a team of top WordPress professionals that have focused on providing the best possible web hosting experience for WordPress site owners with mission-critical websites. Liquid Web includes a number of premium features not found in other WordPress hosting plans. And, they have recently expanded their services to include full managed hosting of WooCommerce websites as well.

PlanPriceWebsitesStorage
Personal$69 mo.130GB
Professional$99 mo.1050GB
Business$149 mo.25100GB
Agency$289 mo.50200GB

Features:

  • Automatic Daily Backups
  • Full Server Access
  • Website Staging
  • Automatic SSL
  • iThemes Sync Included (Multi Site Plans)
Pros:

  • Liquid Web WordPress Expert Team
  • Automated Plugin Updates
  • Automatic Image Compression
  • No Pageview or Traffic Limits
  • Great for Developers and Agencies
Cons:

  • Extra Fee for Premium Security Features

The Bottom Line:

For mission-critical websites, Liquid Web’s combination of features and value is the best. For more details, visit LiquidWeb.com.

5. A2 Hosting

a2-hosting-managed-wordpress
Recommended For: Business and Established Sites

A2 Hosting is one of our top rated web hosting companies when it comes to Shared and VPS hosting. They have now released their Managed WordPress Hosting plans. The hosting packages are slightly more expensive and are aimed at website owners looking for premium managed hosting.

PlanPriceWebsitesStorage
1 Site$12.97 mo.110GB
3 Sites$19.48 mo.325GB
Unlimited$37.97 mo.Unlimited40GB

Features:

  • 10GB to 40GB Storage
  • Turbo Server on All Managed Plans
  • Plesk User Interface
  • Plesk WordPress Staging
  • Dropbox WordPress Backups
  • Server Location – Michigan USA
Pros:

  • Includes Unlimited Email
  • Turbo Servers Available on all Plans
  • No Restrictions on Plugins
  • Includes WordPress Toolkit for Multiple Websites
  • Anytime Money Back Guarantee
Cons:

  • Support Staff not yet completely familiar with the product.
  • Requires more effort on your part than other managed hosting plans.

The Bottom Line:

While A2 Hosting’s managed WordPress plans are nice, their cPanel Shared Hosting plans are actually more impressive for WordPress hosting. For more details, visit a2Hosting.com.

6. Pressable

pressable-managed-wordpress
Recommended For: Personal and Business Sites, WordPress Agencies

Pressable is a relatively new and growing provider of managed WordPress hosting. They offer hosting plans for bloggers and small websites all the way up to businesses and agencies needing more sites and resources. With the increase in prices at other premium WordPress hosts, Pressable provides a value packed alternative with their multiple website hosting packages.

PlanPriceWebsitesStorage
Personal$25 mo.5100GB
Starter$45 mo.10Unlimited
Pro$90 mo.20Unlimited
Agency$225 mo.50Unlimited

Features:

  • Development/Production Mode Feature
  • Website Cloning for Faster Site Creation
  • Content Delivery Network
  • Free Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificates
  • Collaborator Access Ability
  • Website Caching
  • Server Side Optimization
  • Malware Scanning and Removal
  • Jetpack Premium
  • Dedicated WordPress Support
Pros:

  • Create Multiple Websites with All Plans
  • Fast Provisioning Time
  • Responsive Customer Support
  • Free Jetpack Premium
  • Development and Production Modes
  • Website Cloning Function
Cons:

  • No Full Website Staging
  • Backups from Control Panel Require Amazon or Rackspace
  • Live Chat Support Not Currently 24×7

The Bottom Line:

Pressable is a solid choice when it comes to managed WordPress hosting for all types of websites. For more details, visit pressable.com.

7. DreamPress

dreamhost-managed-wordpress
Recommended For: Business or Personal Sites

Since we last took a look at DreamPress, it has been improved. First, DreamHost has greatly improved their customer support response times—at least when I’ve contacted them. Also, they have somewhat streamlined the DreamPress control panel. It’s still not my favorite interface, but it is a bit better.

PlanPriceWebsitesStorage
Basic$16.95 mo.110GB
Plus$24.95 mo.130GB
Advanced$35.95 mo.230GB

Features:

  • Multiple Layers of Caching
  • Isolated Server Resources
  • WordPress Specific Firewall for Better Security
  • Dedicated IP Address
  • Dual VPS Servers (Front End and MySQL)
  • Let’s Encrypt SSL
  • Dynamically Auto-Scaling RAM
  • CloudFlare Services
Pros:

  • Includes Email
  • Pre-installed and preconfigured WordPress
  • Use any WordPress Theme or Plugin
Cons:

  • Staging Not Included.
  • No snapshot backup capability.

The Bottom Line:

Happily, DreamHost has made some nice improvements to their DreamPress hosting. For single-site managed WordPress hosting, they deserve consideration. For more details, visit DreamHost.com.

8. Media Temple

media-temple-managed-wordpress
Recommended For: Personal or Business Sites

Since I last tested out Media Temple, there is definitely good news and bad news. On the plus side, I’m pleased to report that customer service is definitely improved—both in regards to response times and issue resolution. Media Temple now also includes a WordPress startup wizard that includes templates and a drag and drop editor for easier site creation.

Unfortunately, the process of connecting to an outside domain still isn’t as smooth as we’d like—although it is slightly improved. The big negative as far as I’m concerned is the lack of SSL certificates being included with your managed WordPress hosting plan. The Personal Plan doesn’t include any free SSL. You have to purchase it separately. And while the Pro Plan does include 2 free SSL certificates, that’s only for the first year—then you need to make another purchase.

PlanPriceWebsitesStorage
Personal$20 mo.250GB
Pro$60 mo.10200GB

Features:

  • Hardware, Software, and Network Design optimized for WordPress
  • SSD Servers with Multiple Caching Layers
  • One-Click Staging Environment
  • Support Technicians complete WordPress Certification Program
  • Exclusive Media Temple WordPress Themes available
  • DDoS and Intrusion Protection
  • WordPress StartUp Wizard
Pros:

  • Personal Plan Includes 2 WordPress Installs
  • WordPress Certified Support
  • WordPress.org Recommended
Cons:

  • SSL Not Included in Personal Plans and only 2 are included in Pro Plan (only for first year)
  • Live Chat Support not available 24/7
  • Process of using an existing domain from outside could be simplified.

The Bottom Line:

Media Temple has made some noticeable improvements in their managed WordPress hosting. Now, they need to add free SSL. For more details, visit MediaTemple.net.

Account Manager Control Panels

Top Performers:

Liquid Web
WP Engine
SiteGround
InMotion Hosting

Liquid Web:
Liquid Web has done a great job with their control panel interface. In fact, it’s probably my favorite among managed WordPress hosts. The layout is very intuitive, and you can quickly and easily find and access all the important functions for your WordPress sites.

WP Engine:
WP Engine has done a great job in providing a text based interface that is easy to use and allows you to quickly locate your hosting account and WordPress website functions. The WP Engine control panel is very intuitive allowing you to view stats, manage your domains, create data backups, access your WordPress admin and databases, and contact customer support.

SiteGround:
SiteGround provides cPanel hosting, so you get all the features and functionality of the cPanel interface. They also provide their excellent account management interface that gives you access to your billing and account information, as well as access to support and your cPanel. The two control panels are integrated very well and both are very easy to use.

InMotion Hosting:
InMotion’s Account Management Panel (AMP) gives you quick and easy access to all of your account functionality along with access to cPanel. InMotion Hosting’s implementation of cPanel allows you to easily access your website functionality even if you haven’t used it before. And, if you are familiar with cPanel, the transition to a managed hosting plan is easier.

Pressable:
Pressable has perhaps the fastest account setup and provisioning time that we’ve experienced from a managed WordPress host. And, their control panel interface is simple and very easy to use.

A2 Hosting:
A2 Hosting provides Plesk as your control panel. Plesk is very intuitive and easy to use. Anyone that likes and is familiar with cPanel, will find Plesk to be equally effective as a web hosting interface.

Media Temple:
We also found Media Temple’s control panel to be very easy to use. When you log in, you can access your account information, and when you go to the admin section, it was easy to location the website functions that I needed to access. We like how Media Temple groups together your site’s information and functions into subsection boxes.

DreamPress:
I’ve never been a big fan of DreamHost’s control panels. However, I have to give them credit as they have somewhat simplified and streamlined the interface for DreamPress. Previously, there was just too much going on with wordy text links everywhere and a lot of upsells mixed in with your real functions. While it’s still not ideal, I do like the new less cluttered look.

WordPress Installation and Website Setup

Top Performers:

WP Engine
Pressable
SiteGround
InMotion Hosting

WP Engine:
WP Engine’s signup process is very easy and straight-forward. The account setup process is very fast and your website is created very quickly. And, if you’re migrating an existing WordPress site from somewhere else, you can utilize WP Engine’s Migration Checklist that guides you through the process. If you need additional assistance, you can always contact support. However, I found the migration process to be very well presented and easy to follow.

Pressable:
Pressable’s website provisioning time is excellent. Almost immediately after you sign up, you’ll find WordPress installed, you’ll receive your login credentials, and you can start building your site in development mode.

SiteGround:
Signing up for a WordPress hosting account at SiteGround is very easy and straight-forward. And, provisioning time is also excellent. Shortly after you place an order you’ll receive your welcome email with all of the pertinent information to get you started.

InMotion Hosting:
Account setup and provisioning time is very good with InMotion. And, you can get WordPress pre-installed (along with BoldGrid if you wish) so you can get going with your website right away.

DreamPress:
Here’s another area where DreamHost has made some improvements. Previously, provisioning time wasn’t that great. In fact, you had to wait around 30 to 45 minutes for your account to be setup. Now, the process took about 10 minutes or less. Also, they have improved the WordPress installation process so that you are now able to set your own admin password. Previously, I experienced issues when trying to set things up.

Media Temple:
Overall, I did like the WordPress setup process as it was very easy to follow and configure your WordPress site—with one notable exception. If you want to use an existing domain that you have somewhere else (for example at GoDaddy), there seemingly isn’t an option available, and your site is created with a default MediaTemple domain name.

Liquid Web:
While Liquid Web does indeed have some outstanding features, unfortunately provisioning time isn’t one of them. Just be aware that if you sign up for an account after business hours, you’ll probably have to wait until the next day to get started, as the department that handles the activations is only available from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

A2 Hosting:
Unfortunately, there were a couple of issues getting my website provisioned and set up. First, the Let’s Encrypt SSL would not take and I had to contact support to get the SSL applied to my domain. Then, although WordPress was preinstalled for me, when I tried to login to the WordPress admin side, the username and password given to me did not work. Again, I had to contact support to resolve the issue.

Website Speed and Performance Testing

Top Performers:

SiteGround: 1.254s
InMotion Hosting: 1.526s
WP Engine: 1.563s
Liquid Web: 1.609s

I’m pleased to report that all of the managed WordPress hosts we tested delivered good website speed and performance. We conducted separate tests during different parts of the day, and also from different locations across the United States. Based on our results, it definitely appears that datacenter location plays a part in website speeds. Below are the results broken down by location.

Location: West U.S.

Managed WordPress Speed Results West

Location: Central U.S.

Managed WordPress Speed Results Central

Location: East U.S.

Managed WordPress Speed Results East

Overall, looking at the combined average speed in all regions, the top four performers in terms of website speed are SiteGround, InMotion Hosting, WP Engine, and Liquid Web, in that order.

Website Backup and Restore

Top Performers:

Liquid Web
WP Engine
SiteGround
InMotion Hosting

Liquid Web:
Liquid Web’s data backup and restore features are excellent, and among the best available from a managed WordPress host. Automatic backups are run daily with your data being stored offsite. You can also manually initiate a backup at any time with one click of a button. And, you can easily access your backup copies from Liquid Web’s Managed WordPress dashboard—where you can either perform a restore or download a backup copy.

WP Engine:
WP Engine’s automated daily backups and snapshot backup capability is one of their best features, and it’s also our favorite backup and restore service among these managed WordPress hosts. In addition to the daily backups of your website, you can quickly and easily create a backup at any time—which is particularly helpful when you need to update plugins and themes.

SiteGround:
SiteGround has always offered one of the best data backup and restore features. With their GrowBig and GoGeek hosting plans, you get automatic daily backups and the ability to restore from the last 30 days. However, they have recently upgraded their backup and restore so now even their StartUp plan includes the automated 30 day backup. Plus, with their GoGeek plan you can now create on-demand backups.

InMotion Hosting:
With InMotion, you get the same data backup and restore that is included with their business hosting (i.e. free automatic daily backups and one free restore per four month period). Additionally, if you use the BoldGrid site builder, you can schedule your own automated website backups.

Media Temple:
We also like Media Temple’s automatic daily backups. You can easily choose a restore point from the Developer Tools section of your control panel. However, we would like to see them add snapshot backup capability to allow customers to initiate their own backup before making any changes to their live sites.

A2 Hosting:
A2 Hosting provides Dropbox data backup and restore. However, you actually have to create a Dropbox account yourself before you can use the system—which is somewhat confusing for a managed hosting plan where you would expect the backup and restore system to be ready to go out of the box. It’s somewhat surprising since, with their Shared Hosting, A2 provides their excellent Server Rewind Backups.

Pressable:
Pressable provides two methods of backing up your websites. You can set up automatic backups through your control panel, but you’ll need to create an Amazon or Rackspace account to utilize the feature. Alternatively, you can use Jetpack Premium that is included with your account, to perform backups. Ideally, with a managed hosting plan data backup is ready to go out of the box without having to perform any additional steps.

DreamPress:
Data backup still isn’t ideal with DreamPress. They do offer backups through JetPack, but I’d prefer automated backups available through your account panel—as others in this study provide. You do have the option to use DreamObjects Backup, but this requires an additional fee.

Website Staging

Top Performers:

WP Engine
SiteGround
Media Temple

WP Engine:
The site staging process at WP Engine is excellent and is my favorite among these managed WordPress hosting companies. With WP Engine staging, you can create a staging site that is an exact copy of your live site at any time. After testing out your changes, you can then just as easily copy your staging site to your live WordPress site.

You access WP Engine’s site staging from within your WordPress admin dashboard. From here you can easily create a copy of your live site, access and modify your staging site, and deploy your staging site to your live website.
The deployment process is very quick, and you are notified by email when it is completed.

SiteGround:
One of SiteGround’s biggest advantages to WordPress site owners is the inclusion of full website staging—usually only available from the more expensive web hosts. SiteGround provides an easy way to copy your live site to a staging copy, then move your changes from your staging site back to your live website. The SiteGround staging process definitely rivals that of the more expensive managed hosting plans.

Media Temple:
The staging process is unique in that you can create a staging copy of your website from either the Media Temple account area or your WordPress admin dashboard. However, you have to access the staging site from the Media Temple account panel, which was kind of confusing. Also, there was an issue with previewing your posts from the WordPress dashboard; however the support agent was able to resolve that problem.
The process of syncing the staging site with the production site was very easy and straight-forward.

Liquid Web:
When it comes to website staging, Liquid Web is great with creating staging sites, but not so great at moving your changes back to your live site. You get a button that you can click to generate a staging site, and the staging environment you get to work in is very similar to your live dashboard—which simplifies things. However, when you want to move changes to your production website, there unfortunately is no button click option. You actually had to download Liquid Web’s migration plugin from the WordPress repository and run that to push out your changes.

InMotion Hosting:
Like their data backup and automated update features, staging in InMotion’s managed WordPress is directly tied to BoldGrid. So, if you don’t use the BoldGrid site builder, you don’t have access to those features.

A2 Hosting:
A2 Hosting utilizes Plesk for website staging. It’s actually a very tedious process that you manually have to go through (e.g. create a subdomain, copy over the files, copy the database, adjust the config settings, etc.). Staging is by far the weakest part of A2 Hosting’s managed WordPress—and we would hope they will eventually include a more automated staging process such as that offered by WP Engine and others. Again, it’s surprising as A2 Hosting includes much better website staging with their cPanel Shared Hosting plans.

Pressable:
Unfortunately, Pressable doesn’t currently offer a true staging environment. Hopefully, they will include one in the near future. What they do provide is a nice feature where you can toggle between development and production mode. When you’re working on your site in development mode, caching and your CDN are disabled for more efficiency. I would really like to see this feature combined with a true staging platform.

DreamPress:
The biggest disappointment with DreamPress is still the lack of website staging—except with their Advanced Plan. While not all website owners need staging, it’s a valuable feature for important websites. And again, with a managed WordPress hosting plan, I would certainly expect staging to be included at every level of DreamPress.

Site Security

Top Performers:

SiteGround
A2 Hosting
WP Engine
InMotion Hosting

SiteGround:
SiteGround includes free Let’s Encrypt SSL Certificates. They write their own firewall security rules. SiteGround has their own in-house server monitoring that detects and fixes problems, plus it can take actions to prevent upcoming issues. And, SiteGround has developed an artificial intelligence Anti-Bot that stops brute force attacks on your website.

A2 Hosting:
Security is a big priority at A2 Hosting with all of their hosting plans, and that includes their Managed WordPress Hosting. A2’s environment is optimized for security and includes their perpetual proactive security against malicious attacks and includes Brute Force Defense, Dual Web Hosting Firewalls, Virus Scanning, Server Hardening, and 24/7 Security Monitoring. A2 Hosting also includes Free Let’s Encrypt SSL.

WP Engine:
In addition to proactive malware detection and multiple firewalls, WP Engine has now also implemented a two-step authentication process to further secure your WP Engine account and your websites. And, WP Engine includes free Let’s Encrypt SSL.

InMotion Hosting:
InMotion Hosting includes free private SSL which can be used for eCommerce sites as well. They also provide hack and malware protection where your files are scanned and patched for vulnerabilities. And, they include their custom web application firewall.

Pressable:
The security setup at Pressable is excellent. Along with free Let’s Encrypt SSL certificates, they provide malware scanning, integrity checking, intrusion detection systems, and their application firewall.

DreamPress:
DreamHost includes a WordPress specific firewall with DreamPress that protects your site from brute force attacks. DreamPress also includes free Let’s Encrypt SSL.

Liquid Web:
With Liquid Web’s Visual Comparison feature, they can make sure your plugins are kept up to date and that there are no potential issues with upgrading. And, Liquid Web includes free SSL for all of your websites.

Media Temple:
Media Temple includes DDoS and intrusion protection. However, malware detection and removal is only included with their Studio and Agency plans. However, SSL certificates cost extra money at Media Temple.

Customer Support

Top Performers:

WP Engine
SiteGround
InMotion Hosting
Media Temple

Customer support is a huge part of any web hosting company. However, it’s even more prominent when it comes to managed web hosting. Since one of the biggest selling points to a managed WordPress hosting plan is expert support, we wanted to test out both the speed (responsiveness) and the knowledge (helpfulness) of each support staff. Our tests were conducted through the live chat options of each managed WordPress hosting company.

WP Engine:
With WP Engine, live chat support is available 24/7. And most of the times, live chat support response was immediate. During peak hours there was a bit of a delay, but we did find that the stated wait times were pretty accurate—often times the response was quicker than the stated wait time. The support agents are always very friendly, helpful, and knowledgeable.

SiteGround:
Here’s one area where we can attest to from personal experience, as well as our testing results, that SiteGround performs as well as anyone—including premium managed hosting plans. SiteGround’s extensive training of their customer support staff pays big dividends to their customers in consistent, courteous, and highly responsive, assistance. The support we’ve received from SiteGround over the years is as good as any of the other web hosts in this study, and in fact actually surpasses some.

InMotion Hosting:
InMotion Hosting has one of the best customer support teams when it comes to response times and issue resolution. Through the years, they have consistently been one of our top ranking web hosts when it comes to support. And, with their managed WordPress platform, we’ve experienced the same excellent results.

Media Temple:
I’m pleased to report that the customer support at Media Temple has greatly improved. Response time via live chat is very good and the support agents were able to assist me out in a timely and helpful manner. They definitely should the most improvement of any Managed WordPress hosting support team. Great job Media Temple!

Pressable:
One of Pressable’s strengths is that they make a priority of doing what’s right for each of their customers. When you sign up, you’ll receive a phone call from the Pressable team making sure everything is going smoothly and offering their assistance. We found the customer support team to be very responsive—answering all questions in a helpful, friendly manner. The only negative at this point is that live chat support isn’t currently available all of the time. However, I’ve been informed that 24×7 chat support is on the way.

DreamPress:
I’m pleased to report that support response times at DreamHost have vastly improved—at least for me. And, once I was connected to a support person, they were very helpful, knowledgeable, and courteous. I was impressed with the results.

Liquid Web:
For the most part, customer support at Liquid Web is very good. There have been some occasions where I would have expected a bit more assistance from a managed hosting provider. For example, the support agent would simply provide a link to a knowledge base article. With a managed WordPress host, I would expect the agent to resolve the issue themselves or at least help to walk me through a solution as opposed to only providing a link. Other times, the support agents have definitely done their best to resolve an issue or provide information. So, apparently it really varies depending on the support person you get.

A2 Hosting:
We’ve experienced outstanding support from A2 Hosting when it comes to Shared and VPS hosting. The Guru Crew, and they are known, have provided very responsive, courteous, and effective support whenever we’ve needed it. However, with their managed WordPress hosting plans being new, we found in some cases the support agents weren’t as familiar with the product as we’d expect.

Money Back Refund Guarantees

InMotion Hosting – 90 Days
WP Engine – 60 Days
A2 Hosting – Anytime (Pro-Rated)
Liquid Web – Pro-Rated
DreamPress – 30 Days
Flywheel – 30 Days
Media Temple – 30 Days
SiteGround – 30 Days
Pressable – 15 Days

All of these managed WordPress hosting companies provide adequate time for you to evaluate their hosting plans and still be able to cancel and get a full refund. InMotion and WP Engine are especially impressive at 90 and 60 days, respectively. A2 Hosting and Liquid Web both offer pro-rated refunds. The other web hosts provide a 30 day refund period save for Pressable, which offers a free 15 day trial period.
Keep in mind the above refund guarantees are for annual hosting plans.

Recommendations and Conclusions

For this study comparison of managed WordPress hosting, we decided to include those web hosts offering web hosting suited for a majority of WordPress site owners. While there are certainly other quality managed hosting providers such as Kinsta and Pantheon, we feel these hosts are geared more towards a specialty audience with a larger budget. The 8 Managed WordPress Hosting providers we’ve included in this year’s comparison study are applicable to all WordPress website owners and include hosting plans for all budget levels.

Based on our results above, these are our top recommendations for Best Managed WordPress Hosting:

WP Engine
$35 mo. – $290 mo.
Avg. Load Time: 1.563s
Avg. Speed Index: 1273
Guarantee: 60 Days
wpengine.com
SiteGround
$3.95 mo. – $11.95 mo.
Avg. Load Time: 1.254s
Avg. Speed Index: 1267
Guarantee: 30 Days
siteground.com
InMotion Hosting
$6.99 mo. – $114.99 mo.
Avg. Load Time: 1.526s
Avg. Speed Index: 1292
Guarantee: 90 Days
inmotionhosting.com
Liquid Web
$69 mo. – $289 mo.
Avg. Load Time: 1.609s
Avg. Speed Index: 1436
Guarantee: Pro-Rated
liquidweb.com