What is Managed Hosting? (6 Best Host Options)

What Is Managed Hosting

What is managed hosting, you may ask? Bear with us as we explain through real estate.

If shared hosting is living in an apartment building (with multiple tenants sharing the same building), VPS hosting would equate to owning a condo — while you may share some resources with neighbors, you are ultimately responsible for maintaining your property.

Cloud hosting is staying at a hotel, renting an Airbnb, or maybe even couch surfing — you don’t have a permanent home but always have a place to stay. Dedicated hosting would be like owning a house; no one else but you has access to its resources.

In this analogy, managed hosting is like a property manager or a handyman. They take care of some of the work so you can relax or focus on making a living; managed hosting companies take care of the technical stuff while you decide what content to create.

What is “Managed VPS” Hosting?

VPS hosting gives you more control to customize your server options — but not total control. In this case, managed hosting is like a condo owners’ association. Yes, you can technically throw a huge party, but eventually, your neighbors are going to complain. Managed VPS hosting makes sure all the neighbors are getting along nicely and the community is monitored.

With the close monitoring, however, managed cloud and VPS hosting providers can quickly alert you and provide recommendations on the best way to scale — in many cases taking care of the upgrades for you. Alternatively, the host will be able to inform you if your property is ready to jump up to a dedicated server. Here are our top choices for managed VPS hosting:

1. Hostwinds.com

Hostwinds review

Monthly Starting Price $4.99

  • Managed or unmanaged, in Windows or Linux
  • Cloud hosting with hourly or monthly billing
  • Instant upgrades without downtime
  • FREE around-the-clock monitoring
  • Automatic nightly backups available
  • Get started on Hostwinds now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

Hostwinds: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 6 minutes

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): Does any hosting provider have more virtual private server packages than Hostwinds. The company offers 10 configurations — and that's just for managed Linux server partitions. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name VPS Hosting Plans
N/A 30 GB - 750 GB SSD New or Transfer www.hostwinds.com/vps

2. InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $17.99

  • HostingAdvice visitors get 73% off their first term
  • FREE website migrations and 2 hours of launch assist
  • Handle 10x more traffic with virtually no downtime
  • FREE cPanel/WHM licenses included
  • Highly available servers with real-time redundancy
  • Get started on InMotion now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

InMotion: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 6 minutes

PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): Boasting market-leading VPS hardware, slick management software, and free SSD drives and backups, InMotion Hosting competes to win when it comes to managed VPS hosting packages. The host initiates its VPS customer relationship with free website migrations and up to two hours of launch assistance from an experienced SysAdmin. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name VPS Hosting Plans
90 days 45 GB SSD - 300 GB SSD FREE (1 year) www.inmotionhosting.com/vps

3. InterServer.net

InterServer review

Monthly Starting Price $6.00

  • $0.01 for the first month using code HOSTINGADV
  • Then $6 monthly with no contracts, no changes
  • Latest of PHP, MySQL, Perl, Python, and Ruby
  • 7 operating system options for Linux or Windows
  • Full root access and choice of datacenter
  • Get started on InterServer now.

4.8 ★★★★★ Our Review

InterServer: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 6 minutes

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): InterServer's on-site datacenter and hands-on involvement with configuring and provisioning virtual private servers give customers a level of flexibility not seen with many other hosting providers. InterServer rations VPS and cloud resources through slices. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name VPS Hosting Plans
N/A 30 GB SSD - 480 GB SSD New or Transfer www.interserver.net/vps

See other top VPS hosts »

What is “Managed WordPress” Hosting?

Because managed hosting services typically refer to hosting administrators taking care of a server and other infrastructure for you, WordPress hosting can be a little confusing. Essentially, your managed hosting provider will still take care of all the tech stuff for you — but this time it will all be in the name of helping your WordPress site run faster and more securely.

Managed WordPress hosts give you a hassle-free experience with the world’s most popular content management system. Hosts, like the ones listed below, will often install web application firewalls, staging areas, and WP-specific caching solutions finely tuned for performance. And don’t forget automatic updates of the WordPress Core installation and your plugins!

4. InMotionHosting.com

InMotion review

Monthly Starting Price $2.99

  • WordPress pre-installed for you at checkout
  • Zero-downtime site transfers
  • WordPress updates done automatically
  • Plugins, SSDs, and caching for top speed
  • Help from WordPress fanatics available 24/7
  • Get started on InMotion now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

InMotion: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 5 minutes

PJ Fancher (HostingAdvice.com): Between OptimumCache, SSD storage, and always-there support, InMotion Hosting is a no-brainer provider for managed WordPress hosting. You’ll have a team of seasoned WordPress aficionados on hand to assist with anything from initial site transfer to troubleshooting and bug fixes during updates…. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
90 days 50 GB SSD - 200 GB SSD FREE (1 year) www.inmotionhosting.com/managed-wp

5. Bluehost.com

Bluehost review

Monthly Starting Price $19.95

  • 1-click WordPress installs via enhanced cPanel
  • VPS with NGINX architecture for extreme speed
  • Advanced CDN and WAF protection
  • Custom cPanel simplifies WP site management
  • Instant provisioning and regular backups
  • Get started on Bluehost now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

Bluehost: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 5 minutes

Ryan Frankel (HostingAdvice.com): From a custom WordPress control console to core software updates, Bluehost is a go-to for managed WordPress hosting services. The company’s plans are ideal for the first-time site owner, but Bluehost’s in-house hardware and performance-boosting technologies are fit for the seasoned website professional, too…. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
30 days 50 GB SSD - Unlimited FREE (1 year) www.bluehost.com/managed-wp

6. SiteGround.com

SiteGround review

Monthly Starting Price $6.99

  • Managed services for all WordPress plans
  • In-house-built technologies for speed and support
  • WordPress kept up to date with automatic backups
  • Easily test and deploy changes via staging area
  • 3 levels of caching for optimal performance
  • Get started on SiteGround now.

4.8 ★★★★★ Our Review

SiteGround: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 6 minutes

Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): The SiteGround team touts fully managed services across all hosting plans, including WordPress. The company caters its managed WordPress plans to customers in search of speed, performance, scalability, and support. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Managed WordPress Hosting Plans
30 days 10 GB SSD - 30 GB SSD New or Transfer www.siteground.com/managed-wp

See other top managed WordPress hosts »

What is “Managed Server” Hosting?

Managed dedicated hosting packages will typically offer the most services, while managed cloud and VPS services are more likely to focus on the infrastructure setup and maintenance. If you’re paying top dollar for exclusive use of an entire server, managed services likely won’t break the bank. Consider signing up with one of the hosts listed below for true white-glove service.

In your house of dedicated hosting, managed services are like hiring a landscaping company or handyman. You’re still most likely responsible for hanging pictures on the wall, but you can hire as many people as you want to paint, clean, and cook. Here are our top three picks for managed dedicated hosting:

4. LiquidWeb.com

Liquid Web review

Monthly Starting Price $149.00

  • 100% network and power uptime guarantees
  • Custom configurations and instant provisioning
  • Auto-migrations, backups, and real-time monitoring
  • Block/object storage and load balancer add-ons
  • Windows or Linux with 100% uptime guarantee
  • Get started on Liquid Web now.

4.9 ★★★★★ Our Review

Liquid Web: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 8 minutes

Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): Liquid Web's strong suit is managed dedicated server hosting. The company owns and operates five state-of-the-art datacenters in the US and Europe works tirelessly to build and maintain custom solutions for added performance and security. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Dedicated Hosting Plans
N/A 480 GB - 2 TB SSD New or Transfer www.liquidweb.com/dedicated

5. InterServer.net

InterServer review

Monthly Starting Price $70.00

  • 24/7 uptime monitoring and private datacenter
  • Up to 24 cores and 100TB bandwidth
  • 12 operating systems and 3 control panels
  • Custom configs built and maintained in-house
  • Price-lock guarantee without contracts
  • Get started on InterServer now.

4.8 ★★★★★ Our Review

InterServer: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 8 minutes

Laura Bernheim (HostingAdvice.com): You know a hosting company means business when it owns and operates its own datacenters. Because InterServer employees build and manage servers in the same building as company headquarters, dedicated hosting customers get the utmost in flexibility, support, and around-the-clock monitoring. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Dedicated Hosting Plans
N/A 250 GB - 12 TB SSD $7.99 New or Transfer www.interserver.com/dedicated

6. A2Hosting.com

A2 Hosting review

Monthly Starting Price $99.59

  • Root access and 3 levels of server management
  • Expertly managed servers deployed instantly
  • Choose from 4 datacenters across 3 continents
  • FREE redundant SSD storage in RAID-1 arrays
  • Choice of 13 Linux operating systems
  • Get started on A2 Hosting now.

4.8 ★★★★★ Our Review

A2 Hosting: Our Expert's Review
Setup time: 7 minutes

Alexandra Leslie (HostingAdvice.com): Whether you're looking for managed or self-managed hosting, A2 Hosting offers three extremely reliable dedicated server plans to meet your needs, depending on your levels of comfort and experience. With A2 Hosting's Unmanaged Flex Dedicated Server plan, users get administrator-level control with root access and their choice of Linux operating system. Go to full review »

Money Back Guarantee Disk Space Domain Name Dedicated Hosting Plans
30 days 256 GB SSD - 14 TB HDD New or Transfer www.a2hosting.com/dedicated

See other top dedicated server hosts »

A Basic Definition

Graphic of components of managed servicesSimply put, managed hosting services minimize the amount of hands-on IT work that needs to be performed to keep a server running at peak performance. With this type of plan, the hosting company will handle the hardware while you focus on your software.

Don’t have the knowledge, staff, or time to manage a web server? Sign up for managed web hosting.

Managed hosting used to be somewhat synonymous with dedicated hosting. Larger companies that can afford dedicated hosting decide if they want their IT teams to handle the web servers, or focus on in-house hardware and leave the servers to the hosting company.

Intro to Managed Hosting

The specific services included with managed hosting can vary wildly among hosting companies. Some companies offer managed hosting as an add-on to their existing cloud, VPS, or dedicated packages, while others include managed services in each rate or even make their system administration teams available at hourly rates.

The differences in managed service packages boil down to what you want the hosting provider to administer: infrastructure or operations.

  • Semi-managed hosting is great for people or businesses who want to use a hosting company’s support and infrastructure but feel comfortable managing their own servers.
  • Fully-managed hosting is best for those with limited technical knowledge. Fully-managed hosting allows people or companies to focus on growing their business.

When your website family is growing too large for your cramped apartment, it’s time to move out of the shared hosting complex and into VPS, cloud, or dedicated hosting. This is where managed hosting shines.

Some hosts offer managed shared hosting, but beware: technically, shared hosting is inherently managed. Don’t let a company charge extra for the same cPanel access, 24/7 support, or one-click WordPress installations that you can find included in most other shared hosting packages.

Kick Back, Relax, and Let Your Hosting Provider Take Care of the Rest

To keep the analogy flowing, think of managed hosting as a vacation. This is your opportunity to sit back, do what you enjoy, and let others take care of the nitty-gritty technical details. With managed hosting, you can focus on your business or design while your host installs updates and optimizes performance.

Managed hosting is the perfect solution for those with a growing website or online business, and not much technical know-how as far as optimizing performance and security. Don’t fret about trusting your site to the experts — they’ll take perfect care of you.

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