Because the results of what I’m about to share…
Choosing fast hosting solution is absolutely critical to the success of your business site, because if your WordPress website loads slowly you will suffer from-
Not only is site speed a critical factor for your visitors, but it’s also a confirmed Google ranking factor and it’s not often Google confirms an SEO rankings factors definitively.
But what does all of that mean in the real world?
So you need to make sure you are actually choosing the fastest Wordpress hosting provider which is absolutely critical because if you get it wrong, the consequences for your WordPress site could be far-reaching.
We’ve also seen some pretty bold claims from WP Engine recently stating their new Google C2 Infrastructure is “40 percent faster than anyone else in Wordpress”–
As you can imagine…
That led to some pretty heavy backlash which was doubled down by the founder blocking a number of industry leaders that asked them to provide data to back up their claim.
On top of that:
WP Engine’s article also says…
But that is also very misleading!
Because they don’t consider the $290 per month Scale plan hosting package a “premium” plan and they are VERY shy about sharing pricing for their “40% faster than everyone else” C2 setup-
But, I’ve got some great news for you.
After jumping through many many many hoops, I was able to get a site set up on the new WPEngine C2 platform for $600 per month-
So I am very much looking forward to putting the “40% faster than every Wordpress host” claim to the test because they are 1,100% more expensive than the next cheapest web host in this test.
This is also likely to be the only independent testing you’ll see of WPEngine’s new C2 hosting service because of the high pricing and the many barriers they have in place to get setup.
And just to add to the controversy:
Kinsta recently migrated all their customers to the same C2 Google Cloud Platform that WP Engine are claiming victory over-
But the key difference between the web hosting companies Kinsta & WP Engine…
Is that with Kinsta, the new C2 platform is default on all of their web hosting account plans which start from $30 per month versus the $600 per month cost and special setup requirements of WPEngine.
So with all this controversy over who actually are the fastest WordPress hosts…
…I decided to put 12 fast WordPress hosting providers to the test.
What Will I Learn?
I decided to test the 12 fastest WordPress hosting providers by comparing how they performed in terms of load speed, support and price.
The last time I tried to find the best managed Wordpress host, I only compared 7 hosts.
So this time I have increased this to 12 of the fastest WP host to find great hosting solutions.
Here’s a quick introduction to each host-
Kinsta is a premium WordPress hosting provider who is obsessed with fast speeds and top security. It uses a Google Cloud platform across its 24 data centres meaning a speedy and secure transfer of data.
Some of Kinsta’s best features are:
And they have a super user-friendly dashboard with access to 24-hour support from real WordPress experts at just the click of a button.
Kinsta has plenty of options when it comes to choosing a plan and they all come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The Starter Plan is priced at $30 per month and provides-
Other plans include Pro which is $60 per month, Business which has 4 tiers you can choose from starting at $100 per month and Enterprise which has 4 tiers you can choose from starting at $600 per month.
Siteground offers multiple types of hosting and their Managed WordPress Hosting services are welcomed by those on a smaller budget and they are recommended by some big names such as WordPress itself and Yoast.
And they also commit to a 100% renewable energy match with their data centre (Google Cloud).
They often have promotions running so you may see even lower prices available and all plans come with a 30-day money-back guarantee.
The current Siteground Managed WordPress plans are-
Keep an eye on the pricing and try and lock the prices in for a longer period of time if you can afford the upfront payment.
WP Engine is a well-known host that caters specifically to WordPress sites. They boast of being the best platform for hosting a WordPress website and do offer a pretty good sales pitch.
With WP Engine plans you get-
We will see if the hype is real…
WP Engine has 3 set plans you can choose from which can be paid monthly or yearly. You can usually get a better deal if you go with the yearly option.
Custom plans are for those sites that are expected to receive more than 400,000 monthly visits and you need to discuss with a sales specialist to get a quote.
WPX Hosting offers a fantastic managed WordPress hosting service that has been proven to provide speedy load times backed up by an excellent level of support.
Their plans include:
And WPX Hosting CoFounder Terry Kyle is committed to using the success of this hosting provider to care for and improve the lives of hundreds of cats and dogs every day.
So as well as investing in a great service you are also contributing to the running of Every Dog Matters.
WPX Hosting plans are pretty competitively priced and all offer a 30-day money-back guarantee if you aren’t happy.
The monthly price gets reduced if you purchase the yearly subscription.
A2 Hosting offers a ton of different budget-friendly hosting services. Their managed WordPress hosting packages include some pretty cool features that keep up with the other premium hosting services on the market.
And they are available 24/7 to assist with any questions or problems you may have.
A2 Hosting provide a lot of hosting services but as we are focusing on WordPress hosting then I will run through their managed WordPress hosting plans-
And all plans use A2 Hostings Turbo servers, which boast of being up to 20x faster.
They also have a pretty impressive ANYTIME money-back guarantee.
Bluehost is a well-known hosting provider that was founded by Matt Heaton in 2003. They offer professional managed WordPress hosting services that are designed to help build and grow their client’s websites.
All Bluehost WP Pro plans include-
And all this is backed up by 24/7 customer support meaning you can pick up the phone or send a quick message anytime day or night and have no worries about needing help fast from a different time zone.
Bluehost offers 3 WP Pro managed WordPress hosting plans-
Each plan offers a different level of some pretty impressive features, there are no traffic limits on these plans and they also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
Want to see how Bluehost stand up against its competitor SiteGround? Check out my post SiteGround vs Bluehost.
Cloudways is a cloud-based hosting platform that teams up with a selected provider to offer a good balance between functionality and affordability.
Cloudways plans offer-
…as well as a bunch of other helpful features.
They have been featured on some pretty notable websites like Forbes and PC Magazine.
Cloudways offers hosting with different infrastructure providers, for this article we have tested using Digital Ocean so I will run through those available pricing options-
And they have a ‘No Lock In’ policy meaning you don’t get tied up in contracts.
Dreamhost is an award-winning hosting platform that was originally founded in 1996.
They have been widely known as leaders in the web hosting industry so it will be interesting to test them against some of the newer kids on the block.
Dreamhost managed WordPress hosting plans include-
And the two higher-tier plans include Jetpack Professional too.
Dreamhost has a good range of pricing on its plans meaning they can appeal to all budgets.
And all the plans have unmetered bandwidth and like most of the other hosts, they also offer a 30-day money-back guarantee.
GoDaddy is a well-known domain registrar but they are also a pretty popular web host too and has customers all across the globe.
Their WordPress hosting plans include-
The higher-tier plans also offer regular malware scans and removal as well as a free SSL certificate.
Here are the current pricing plans but ensure to double-check the renewal prices before you purchase-
Not a bad set of plans to choose from.
GreenGeeks is a hosting platform who pride themselves on providing an eco-friendly but fast and secure hosting service.
Their plans boast-
And if the name wasn’t a giveaway… GreenGeeks focuses on giving back to the environment by having a 300% green energy commitment on all plans.
GreenGeeks currently have a special price on plans so be sure to check on their website for any pricing updates-
And they offer the standard 30-day money-back guarantee so you can try them out with peace of mind.
LiquidWeb is another old-timer in the web hosting industry, they were first founded in 1997 and they pride themselves on their 99.999% uptime.
Nexcess has joined LiquidWeb and now take care of their managed WordPress hosting plans through their high-performance cloud which includes features like-
And they back all this up with 24 hour support.
LiquidWeb offers a wide range of plans, here’s a quick look-
They are so confident in their services that they offer 14 days free hosting without even asking for a credit card!
Pantheon is a web hosting company that advertises lightning-fast speeds through a combination of hosting and its WebOps platform.
Their plans include some great features like-
Can they live up to their claims in the tests I am going to put them through! We will see shortly.
Pantheon offers two fixed price plans-
And a third plan called ‘Elite’ which you can chat through with a web expert before getting a quote.
Each WP host was tested “out of the box” with the recommended setup to recreate the customer hosting experience and hosting needs as closely as possible.
|HOST||PLAN||MONTHLY RENEWAL PRICE||WEBSITE SLOTS||CDN INCLUDED?|
|A2 Hosting||1-Site Turbo||$32.59||1||No|
|Bluehost||WP Pro Build||$27.95||Unlimited***||No|
|GoDaddy||Managed WordPress Basic||$14.99||1||Sucuri|
|WP Engine C2*||New C2 Platform||$600||1||Stackpath|
|WPX Hosting||Business||$24.99||5||WPX Cloud|
*The WP Engine benchmarks were first taken on their startup hosting plans. Then we upgraded the hosting packages and they migrated the domain to the new C2 architecture (with a different IP) where we took a second set of benchmarks.
** SiteGround is only being tested here with the recommended free Cloudflare CDN (content delivery network) enabled.
*** Cloudways is more self-managed with System Admin Panel knowledge required.
**** Unlimited managed WordPress hosting is rarely unlimited and managed WordPress hosting companies TOS make sure it very clear that any account exceeding normal usage will be billed, restricted or disabled.
I built a test blog to the following specifications-
And then cloned that across each of the 12 Wordpress hosts so that every web host had an identical install of Wordpress.
Then I ran 5 distinct tests across these sites-
So without further ado…
I ran each of the test blogs through GTMetrix from each of the 7 global locations.
To make sure all caches were primed, I ran 3 passes of GTMetrix for each test site, for each server location (there’s data center locations for all your target audience) and averaged out the results-
Unlike last year, the results of this were incredibly close this time around.
Both WPX Hosting (0.8 seconds) and Pantheon (0.81 seconds) are literally neck and neck in 1st and 2nd place.
Interestingly Kinsta in 3rd place need double the time (1.60 seconds) than 1st and 2nd place did to load the site.
But shockingly the new WP Engine C2 environment delivered similar results to the basic hosting plan despite costing hundreds of dollars more per month.
The GTMetrix Test Winner:
Next, I wanted to run a similar site speed experment but this time using Pingdom tools.
I followed the same order process by running 3 passes for each test site, for each server location (there’s a ton of data centers) and then took an average of the results that look like this-
Interestingly the top 4 hosts are unchanged in this test and came out in exactly the same order as test #1 above.
Both WPXHosting (357ms) and Pantheon (359ms) were neck and neck yet again with 3rd place Kinsta (835ms) trailing behind.
The Pingdom Test Winner:
Isolated site speed testing is one thing, but it doesn’t tell you how hosts perform under stress.
So I wanted to know how each web host would handle 500 simultaneous visitors using Load Impact.
The problem with this test is WordPress web hosting providers often block it because they think it’s a DDOS attack and because all of my testing was done anonymously across each hosting account, I didn’t want to submit a live chat support ticket to the system administrator and disable the protection.
So I created a new page on each of the sites with 1,000 words per piece-
Then I setup Load Impact to test each page with 500 simultaneous visitors.
These are the results for those hosts that didn’t automatically block the test-
Pantheon (4ms), WP Engine (17ms), WP Engine C2 (23ms), Kinsta (24ms) and WPX hosting (26ms) were the managed hosting providers that performed exceptionally well.
With that said, each of the hosts performed well under load and each of them demonstrated that they can comfortably handle larger simultaneous high traffic sites.
But Pantheon really stole the show here!
And while I would have loved to be able to get the data on the hosts where the tests failed, I couldn’t have done that without tipping off the support team members that they were being tested.
The Load Impact Test Winner:
All of the tests so far have been served up from cached results but this test is designed to test the website performance of the actual server itself for each WordPress site.
This stress tests server resources by doing a number of things-
Once it has finished crunching all of the data, it outputs 2 distinct metrics to measure performance-
I let the server monitoring plugin loose on each of the test blogs, this is how it went down-
What I love about this test is that a lot of hosts hide behind heavy web design caching because there’s a big difference between a server rendering a cached page and actually having to think about things.
As you can see Pantheon (3.82 seconds) really fell behind the pack here despite being top competitors in all of the previous tests.
And for the first time, we can see a clear difference in performance between WP Engines offerings with the new C2 platform showing a significant increase in performance.
WPX Hosting (0.696 seconds), Green Geeks (0.81 seconds) and Siteground (0.965) all put in sub 1-second high performance respectfully.
The WordPress Performance Tester Winner:
It looks like Kinsta (0.538 seconds) have made significant improvements this year with their new C2 platform offering a high performance of 23% faster execution time and a 31% more queries per second over last years testing.
Finding the fast Wordpress hosting provider is one thing, but unless that is backed by an incredible customer support team you’re going to face problems.
Each of the tested hosts are managed Wordpress hosts and self-proclaimed Wordpress site experts (except CloudWays & Pantheon).
So I wanted to put the speed and quality of support of each WP hosting account to the test by asking them to solve 3 common problems that most people have faced-
I sent the same questions on a support ticket to the customer support of each host to see how they would react and this is what happened-
Although WP Engine wouldn’t offer free site migration, they do offer a free plugin that should help with the process.
But in general, as you can see from the results, the quality of live chat customer service that each managed hosting provider offers really separates the cream from the crop.
The Support Team Winner:
The only host that offer free migrations, free malware cleanup AND took control of the hotlinking problems was WPX Hosting. However they don’t offer phone support and everything is done via 24 7 live chat email & email accounts.
So after the 5 tests, I can compare the most important features you should be looking for when choosing a WordPress host.
We’ll take a look at these key features:
Take a look at this comparison table and scroll across to see all the hosts.
|WP Engine / C2||WPX Hosting||Kinsta||A2 Hosting||Dreamhost||Cloudways||Siteground||Pantheon||Bluehost||Go Daddy||Liquid Web||Green Geeks|
|Monthly Price||$35 / $600||$24.99||$30||$32.59||$29.95||$22||$11.95||$50||$27.95||$14.99||$29||$24.95|
|Sites Allowed||1 / 1||5||1||1||1||unlimited||1||5||unlimited||1||1||unlimited|
|Backups||Free Daily||Free Daily||Free Daily||Free Daily||Free Daily||Free Daily||Free Daily||Free Daily||Free Daily||Free Daily||Free Daily||Free Daily|
|SSL Certificate||Free SSL||Free SSL||Free SSL||Free SSL||Free SSL||Free SSL||Free SSL||Free SSL||Free SSL||Yes||Free SSL||Yes|
|Trust Pilot Rating||3 Stars||5 Stars||5 Stars||4 Stars||4.5 Stars||4.5 Stars||5 Stars||No reviews||1.5 Stars||4.5 Stars||4 Stars||4.5 Stars|
**Migrations: Free/Paid = First site free and any after paid.
Despite the results of the managed WordPress hosting tests, no host is perfect and each of them has their own advantages and disadvantages.
And what is the right choice of web hosting services for me, might not be the right choice of WordPress hosting services for you.
So here is what I don’t like about each of the featured WordPress hosting providers-
There is no such thing as perfect right?
WPX Hosting (Cost: $24.99 per month) offers the fastest Wordpress hosting based on my testing. They came out on top with a high performance for both of my loading speed tests as well as a solid performance in the Wordpress performance benchmarker testing. Read my full WPX Hosting review to learn more about them.
Pantheon (Cost: $50 per month) was hot on their heels during both of the WordPress speed tests, dominated the load impact testing but seriously fell short in the Wordpress site performance benchmark and support tests.
Kinsta (Cost: $30 per month) also put in a solid performance top to bottom including speed, performance, load and customer support. Take a look at my detailed Kinsta review to learn about my favourite feature.
(If you’re looking to switch hosting to improve not only your speed but also your core web vitals, I highly recommend this one).
So if I had to rank them-
Because despite Pantheon delivering lighting fast load times, they really fell short in the support area and that is really what separates the cream from the crop and their hosting plans price per month is one of the highest.
Both WPX Hosting and Kinsta over-deliver in this area and have a great reputation for taking control of problems (whilst maintaining a 99.9% uptime guarantee) and solving them…
…while both being best value with lots of disk space and nearly 50% cheaper in price than Pantheon with a 30 day money back guarantee.
And as for WP Engine’s claim that they are 40% faster than everyone else in Wordpress, well they are barely 20% faster than themselves and both their $30 monthly hosting plan and new C2 $600 monthly hosting plan failed to perform against cheaper hosts.
And don’t forget, a faster WordPress website will result in-
And last, but most importantly-
I came across an interesting thread the other day in a Facebook group-
So that double confirms it!
WPXHosting is the best Wordpress hosting!
Which leads me to an important question…
…have you had any good or bad experiences with any of the featured hosts?
Answers in the comments please along with your name and email address! In the meantime, take a look at the website hosting resource site FAQs below.