Let’s take a look at alternative options to traditional shared and managed WordPress hosting.
If you are wanting to move on from poky-resourced shared hosting but don’t want to be paying extortionate prices for managed WordPress hosting there are mid-ground alternatives that solve this problem.
WordPress Cloud Hosting Control Panels
SaaS cloud hosting control panels are on the rise, and thanks to the creators of these handy tools you can now host your WordPress website on any high-speed cloud hosting provider such as DigitalOcean, Amazon Lightail, Linode, Vultr and UpCloud without the high cost that managed services such as Kinsta and WPEngine bring.
These control panels are designed to fully manage your virtual cloud server(s) which removes the cost of having to continuously pay someone to configure and maintain your server(s) for you. In addition, they make deploying WordPress websites a breeze and come pre-configured with lightweight server stacks packed with all the tools your WordPress website will ever need.
Features you can expect from SaaS cloud hosting control panels include backup options, free SSL, WordPress optimisation, cache, object cache, staging areas, security, and a whole other bunch of features and developer tools that will make the management of your WordPress website a very easy task.
Let’s take a look at the available options.
Runcloud.io is a SaaS that helps set up, configure, manage, and monitor your Virtual Private Servers from a beautifully designed control panel. With Runcloud you have the option of two different server stacks, OpenLiteSpeed and Nginx.
Runcloud has some fantastic features for WordPress users which include staging websites, application cloning, free SSL, internal backups, built-in cache, object cache, and a lot of other advanced features and tools for developers.
Runcloud is not exclusive to WordPress and you can install any PHP-based application or Node.JS apps such as Ghost CMS.
Runcloud pricing starts at $8 a month.
Ploi, just like Runcloud, helps manage any type of PHP application and offers a neat and easy-to-use one-click WordPress installer.
Unlike Runcloud, which has made the effort of introducing some very cool WordPress management and performance tools, Ploi has very few options for WordPress. WordPress users get the option of free SSL certificates, staging websites and file backups.
Ploi is aimed at Lavarel developers rather than your average WordPress user.
Ploi pricing starts at €8 per month.
SpinupWP is a WordPress only hosting control panel that developers describe as ‘a remote control for your server, designed for WordPress’.
SpinupWP was built and managed by the Delicious Brain gang, so you can expect professional guidance from WordPress experts.
SpinupWP offers a fine-tuned Nginx stack that includes full-page cache, object cache, free SSL certificates powered by Let’s Encrypt, an external backups facilitator, WP-Cli preloaded and security.
SpinupWP pricing starts at $12 per month.
Just like SpinupWP, Gridpane is also a WordPress-only hosting control panel but with a higher price tag.
Gridpane is aimed at agencies and offers advanced features such as 7G, or ModSecurity 3+ WAF, server hardening, hourly backups, malware scanners, bespoke engineering, and advanced staging features.
GridPane has the option of two stacks, OLS and NGINX.
Pricing starts from $50 per month and they also have a limited free account which allows up to 25 sites.
Update - GridPane has updated pricing and is now $500 per month. Ouch.
Gridpane has a very active Facebook community and the team has proven to communicate very well with their customers.
ServerPilot is one of the oldest SaaS hosting control panels around and just like RunCloud, ServerPilot is not strictly aimed at WordPress but does have a one-click WordPress installer.
ServerPilot is a basic, no-thrills type of control panel that caters to all types of PHP applications. It offers very little feature-wise compared to the rest on this list but is very secure.
ServerPilot pricing starts at $5 per month.
WPCloudDeploy is a native WordPress plugin alternative for services such as SpinupWP and Gridpane.
WPCloudDeploy works differently in that it turns WordPress itself into a cloud hosting control panel, allowing you to create and manage multiple WordPress servers under the familiar UI that WordPress ships.
WPCloudDeploy is the self-hosted version of the plugin and they also have a hosted version over at Fireupwp.com. The hosted version is better suited if you are not interested in getting your hands dirty with complex setups.
WPCloudDeploy pricing starts at $200 per year while FireupWP pricing starts at $19.99 per month.
Forge (by Lavarel) allows you to provision and deploy unlimited PHP applications on any cloud hosting provider. Like ServerPilot it too offers a simple no-thrills user interface to manage your servers.
Forge like Ploi is also aimed at developers and includes a one-click WordPress installer, free SSL certificates, and database backups if you are a business user.
Forge prices start at $12 per month.
Server Avatar offers three stacks, LAMP, LEMP and OLS.
The panel caters for all types of PHP apps and does not just focus on WordPress.
Having said that, the panel does have handy tools which WordPress users will appreciate, such as application cloning, staging websites and SSL management.
Server Avatar charges per server (Newbie $2.36/pm or Pro $4.72/pm). Their Pro plan includes advanced tools such as disk cleaner, server alerts, custom firewall rules and a MySQL Query Monitor.
I don't know much about Cloud Pages but what I di know is that they have a WordPress manager and use an OLS stack.
There appear to be a number of features offered by the panel that are very similar to those offered by RunCloud.
Among the features that RunCloud does not offer, there are only three: MySQL Optimizer, Bubblewrap, and LiteSpeed Stats.
On the Cloud Pages about page, I noticed that the CTO is Usman Nasir. Usman is also the man behind CyberPanel which gives me the confidence to say that Cloud Pages is a service that can be taken seriously.
Cloud Pages pricing, however, is a little more expensive compared to RunCloud, their Enterprise Plan, which unlocks all features is currently $40 per month.
The best choice for WordPress
If you want the very best out of WordPress then Runcloud, GridPane or SpinupWP would be the best choices. All three companies have invested heavily in fine-tuning their server stacks for WordPress and they are reasonably priced. I do lean towards Gridpane a notch due to them having features that SpinupWP and RunCloud do not (currently) and you get more for your money with GridPane.
What do you currently use to manage your WordPress hosting? I would love to hear your thoughts.