Pretty much everyone today understands that a blog is necessary for just about any business but even more so for online business. It’s hard to imagine a marketing strategy that does not include a blog. Several blog platforms have risen to be powerful and easy to use, but none as easy and powerful as WordPress. WordPress has become the most popular blog platform and more recently more capable. e-commerce is now the next great thing to have swept the WordPress community. In fact, Google has made content marketing the most powerful ranking factor and WordPress in large part is responsible.
The Truth About Managing WordPress
No platform is perfect and WordPress being open source certainly does come with own quirks too. Download the wrong plugin from a low skilled developer and your database can explode. Host your WordPress blog on a shared environment and session cookies can be use to hack your blog. Get featured on KillerStartups.com and when the traffic hits your WordPress site can’t scale and subsequently goes down. If your anything like me, your a “plugin shopaholic” and every new plugin gets download, tried and deleted. Well, plugins sometime leaves little gremlins behind and it results in major bugs and sometimes a full site break.
Focus On your Business, Not WordPress
I recently decided that it is time for me to focus on my core business and to stop playing with my WordPress blog all day. It’s easy to do because WordPress is actually fun to play with. However, for the sake of my business and my relationship with my girlfriend, it was time I got Managed WordPress Hosting. This way if my site got hacked, if I broke it or if I need instant scalability I did not need to spend the weekend hacking away at a repair.
I dove head first into the world of Managed WordPress hosting and signed up for every credible WordPress host available. Than I uploaded my blog with its notoriously slow loading theme and started testing. As if this was not enough, I broke my site with a nasty plugin just to see how the various support teams handled issues. Unfortunately I had decided to this comprehensive review of the Managed WordPress scene over the weekend so my poor girlfriend would need to wait 1 more week for that quality time!
Which Managed Solution Is Right For You?
Here is what I found. There are really 5 services that suit the small business and offer quality Managed Services. I reviewed WPEngine.com, poweredpress.net, page.ly, Synthesis, and zippykid. I looked at performance, security, support, tools and price. We value these various factors differently but I was looking for the traditional sense of value. Price vs benefits.
Overall I found that performance was about the same. .5 milliseconds in speed was not going to matter much to my users. Support for me was a much more important factor. Security was important since I did get hacked once as well. You will need to decide for your self which factor is important to you. I should probably also say that your site might perform a little differently as each WordPress site is somewhat unique. This is also simply my opinion and does not reflect the views of KillerStartups.com.
1. PoweredPress $15.95 – Best Value
PoweredPress is clearly the best value. The only Managed WordPress host offering a true cloud architecture. As a cloud you can control your own resources which means you don’t pay for resources you don’t need. Plus all the security and scalability of the cloud is a welcome touch. Support was about as good as WPEngine but they also had live chat. I liked the live chat feature as I am impatient by nature. Tickets were resolved in about 1-3 hours.
Their backend was a bit more complex but fairly intuitive. Whats cool is the cloud architecture allows you to spin up virtual machines to test plugins or generally use it as a staging server. They offered assistance in migrations as well and migrated my site in 10 minutes. Overall I found them to be the best value for money. I settled on these folks for my own personal hosting service. Not as fast as WPEngine but support and resource control was darn good. My site loaded in .8 seconds.
2. WPEngine $29.99 – Best Performance
WPEngine has clearly put time into serving WordPress fast. They have become popular with premier enterprise clients who like the technical documented approach. If your going for the basic package your site will be on a shared server. They do promise that they have plugged up the security with shared WordPress hosting but it’s difficult to know for sure unless you set out to hack it.
They offer ticketed support and during business hours I found that they resolve tickets 3-4 hours. IF your a big customer you can use a phone number. Make a ticket during non business hours and it could take up to 12 hours. They do help with migrations as well although I did not ask them to do this for my test. Backend tools are a bit lite but they have a nice staging tool and simple back end provisioning system. Overall, I found them to be the best performer, average on support and a bit pricey. My site loaded in .7 seconds.
3. Page.ly $24.00 – Best For Web Shops
The guys at Pagely have a cool API which allow Enterprise customers to instantly spin up new sites. I could see a web shop using this pump out WordPress iterations. I am always amazed by how many banners I see from these guys. They advertise allot. They also have a pretty good managed service. The control panel they have is super sexy and easy to use. Performance is about the same as PoweredPress. I found their support to be pretty good too. They offer a great price and for the services they offer well worth it. My site loaded in 1.4 seconds.
4. Synthesis $27.00 – Best Monitoring
The folks at Synthesis offer some cool monitoring tools. Most all managed WordPress hosting has some sort of monitoring tool. These guys have taken it one step further with a self healing tool. It’s clear that they are the safety minded of all the Manage WordPress Hosting solutions. Their support is pretty good. No standout s in the support arena. My Tickets where answered in 3-4 hours time. I would say if you are overly concerned with security, these guys would be the best choice. My site loaded in 1.2 seconds.
5. Zippykid $25.00 – Best price point to add multiple sites 1 by 1
Last but not least. Zippykid is cool company. I had a hard time finding something they did better than the others but that’s not to say they didn’t do everything well. They are solid platform and offer a good well-rounded service. They actually fill a very important need. Many people who own multiple WordPress sites will need to add sites 1 by 1 to their portfolio. ZK allows users to add a new site for just $10 a month. One thing I liked is that they offered free hosting for 30 days. So if you’re not sure about Managed WordPress hosting, you can try it out for free here. My site loaded in 1.1 seconds.
After all my testing I rated each service subjectively on a 5 point rating. Here is how I would rate the available Managed WordPress Hosting Services:
More than 20 years in technology Jeff has worked in several sectors of technology. From the ERP space to incubating small internet start up business. In the late 90’s Jeff worked for companies like Oracle and Thompson Reuters. More recently Jeff has been running young startup business in a privately funded incubator located in Asia. His latest venture includes Weblance.com.
Although Jeff splits his time between the US and Asia, he still finds time to be with his family, pet coding projects and of course do a little aerobatic flying. Jeff has deep passion for disadvantaged children of southeast Asia. He personal sponsors an orphanage of 46 children and always dedicates his charity work to his late brother who was a school teacher. Jeff says the 2 things that keep him sane, helping out kids who got it bad and airplanes.