What is Managed Hosting?
Most managed hosting solutions tweak and tailor their service to the needs of a specific platform or CMS (content management system). With over 30% of the world’s websites being built on WordPress, it’s hardly surprising that managed WordPress hosting is becoming a must have for the less code-savvy among us.
The problem with generic hosting
Traditional hosting providers offer infrastructure but don’t have the skill force to help users navigate through WordPress-related queries. For anyone who isn’t experienced in building websites, running a site on WordPress often means slow loading and downtime. If hiring a sysAdmin or spending the time it takes to learn about plugin compatibility, certificates or server optimisation is not a viable option you, fret not.
In comes managed WordPress hosting, making everything just peachy with the prospect of no downtime, automated backups, 24/7 loving support from WordPress enthusiasts and top notch security. Realistically though, the main drawback when you’re starting out is…eek!-pricing.
If chosen right though, managed hosting can be very cost effective for marketers, content creators, aspiring bloggers and small to medium sized businesses (SMB’s).
We’ve put together a list of top 6 managed WordPress hosting for under $10 a month. The aim of this article is to make you feel in choosing an affordable host by coveing the basics of managed hosting before delving into our top contenders. Thus, some key points to consider:
What makes load times so much faster with managed hosting solutions? Most managed WordPress hosts use server level caching as well as optimised CDN (content delivery network). This eliminates the need for WordPress cache plugins, greatly reducing slowness and compatibility issues. Also, managed WordPress hosts often run the most optimal versions of PHP, MySQL and Apache, enhancing performance even more.
SUPPORT SUPPORT SUPPORT!
A key differentiator lies in the fact that Managed WordPress hosting providers have a team of trained individuals ready to hold your hand through the ins and outs of your WordPress site. Before snapping up a managed hosting offer solely based on low pricing, find out about their support. The dirt cheap Managed WP hosts don’t always provide quality support, so we have intentionally excluded them from this article.
OPTIMISED USER EXPERIENCE
Think of Managed WordPress hosting in terms of software as opposed to infrastructure. Personally, the killer selling points of managed WordPress hosting are user friendly dashboards, simplified control panels, and easy to navigate GUI. The more comfortable you grow with your WordPress site the more you may want to do with it, so staging environments to try out new themes and plugins are also superstar benefits of some Managed WordPress hosting offers. If you’re coming from another hosting provider or server, migrating becomes much easier and is usually included in managed WordPress plans for free.
Check out our WordPress hosting tutorial for a more in-depth look.
Now, let’s go through our top affordable managed WordPress hosting offers.
We love the fact these guys have grown so much in the last decade. With entry level pricing at $3.95 a month, bullet-fast loading times, 99.99% uptime (tried and tested by yours truly) and heavenly support, Siteground is number one on our list of affordable managed WordPress hosting. For a start, from the moment you make your first enquiry till well after purchasing their service, Siteground’s customer support will not let you down. If you’re looking to host one site only, the StartUp 10GB plan allows up to 10k visitors a month. However $7.95 for multiple sites and 20GB a month GrowBig plan is very reasonable for anyone expecting up to 25k visits per month. Read our in-depth Siteground review here.
Veterans in the hosting business, Host Gator were quick to catch on to the Managed WordPress hosting craze. Their prices are appealing but as one of the biggest players in traditional, generic hosting, customer care is not always their forté. They offer a 99.9% uptime guarantee and migrate your site for you but forget manual migrations if that’s your thing; can’t be done with Hostgator. You get automatic off-site backups, security updates, malware detection and removal plus unlimited bandwidth.
However, their custom-built control panel is far more limited than what you would be able to do with a CPanel or Plesk. You cannot access MySQL or any third party applications which run a MySQL database. You can still access your files via FTP but managing database contents is not possible.
A good option for those who want to keep it simple.
Recommended by WordPress themselves, one of the coolest things about is their tough security. The dashboard has heaps of apps to integrate into your site. You get access to tools that prevent spam, DDoS attacks as well as hotlink protection. The downside is that their page load speed isn’t always 99.99% and some studies show that in year-long period they averaged 99.94% as well as an average 1,426ms loading time compared to the 700ms industry standard. (source).
So if speed is not your number one priority and you’re not expecting huge amounts of traffic in the first year, Bluehost is a good place to start. Pay attention to the renewal plan though as
The most versatile offering, you get to chose from three price ranges. “Launch” for 3.49$ a month gives you 2 websites and unlimited disk spaces. “Power” allows up to 6 websites for $4.49 or “Pro” at $7.49 a month. Where’s the catch? There is 24/7 US based support for all plans BUT you only get pro support which gives you free hosting if they do not abide by their 99.9% uptime claim.
Free site transfer, daily backups, automatic WordPress updates, free themes, and a very cool drag and drop editor for those who want to build their site easily.
One thing we can be sure of is DreamHost stay true to their uptime promise. They even go as far as giving users an extra day of service for every hour of downtime a site hosted with them may have. Added to this is a 97 day money back guarantee. The cheapest option is $7.95 a month. The catch with this pricing level is that it extends over a 3 year period. So yes, savings are great but you have to fork out 286.20 in advance. Otherwise, you can still get great service for 9.95 a month ($119.40 prepaid for 1 year).
Bear in mind that this is Dreamhost’s shared WordPress hosting, ideal for those who will be optimising the site themselves. For prime customer service and fully managed updates to your site the price goes up notably.
Astoundingly cheap and offering tight security from their partnership with SiteLock, malware will not be an issue. The downside is the loading time. Reports claim that their loading iPage’s page loading times 48% slower than competition’s. Loading at 1038ms instead of 700ms (source)
Be careful with renewing though, as prices spike up to a whopping 8.99 a month after the first year so make sure you don’t space out on that one right before your contract is up.
WP Starter: is $3.75 per month. You get the basics, themes plugins and cool dashboard but Essentially, you are risking slow load times but for a few more dollars a month you can get personalised support and a guarantee of speed.
WP Essential: This plan costs $6.95 per month. It comes with all the features of the Starter plan, and it uses SSD-based infrastructure to boost site speed and performance. It has unlimited disk space and malware protection, and they claim it can handle millions of visitors monthly.