Testing The 12 Fastest WordPress Hosting Providers

Subscribe to my YouTube Channel Now –>
I took the 12 fastest WordPress hosting providers on the planet and put them through 5 vigorous tests to see who really is the fastest.

Pay attention:

Because the results of what I’m about to share…

 Could save you thousands of dollars in wasted WordPress hosting cost’s this year.

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-

  • Lower search engine rankings
  • Higher bounce rates
  • Lower page view numbers
  • Lower conversion rates
  • Lower profits

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?

Well you can use this calculator from Google to find out. For me, it meant that I would increase my bottom line by $28,464 if I increased website speed by 1 second-

estimated revenue loss

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”

WP Engine claiming they offer the fastest wordpress hosting by 40%

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.

wp engine social backlack

On top of that:

WP Engine’s article also says…

wp engine c2 plan rollout

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-

wpengine c2 pricing

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-

wpengine google c2 pricing

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-

kinsta wordpress hosting performance boosts

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.

Kinsta c2 pricing

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.

Fastest WordPress Hosting Compared

I decided to test the 12 fastest WordPress hosting providers by comparing how they performed in terms of load speed, support and price.

  1. A2Hosting
  2. BlueHost
  3. Cloudways
  4. Dreamways
  5. GoDaddy
  6. GreenGeeks
  7. Kinsta
  8. LiquidWeb
  9. Pantheon
  10. SiteGround
  11. WP Engine
  12. WP Engine C2
  13. WPX Hosting

This included sites hosted on WP Engines and Kinsta new C2 Google Cloud Platform.

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.

Best WordPress Hosting Logos

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 TEST SITE PLAN MONTHLY RENEWAL PRICE WEBSITE SLOTS CDN INCLUDED?
A2 Hosting here 1-Site Turbo $32.59 1 No
Bluehost here WP Pro Build $27.95 Unlimited*** No
Cloudways*** here Digital Ocean $22 Unlimited*** No
Dreamhost here DreamPress Plus $29.95 1 No
GoDaddy here Managed WordPress Basic $14.99 1 Sucuri
GreenGeeks here Ecosite Premium $24.95 Unlimited*** No
Kinsta here Starter (C2) $30 1 KeyCDN
Liquid Web here Personal $29 1 No
Pantheon here Basic $50 5 Fastly
SiteGround** here StartUp $11.95 1 Cloudflare Free
WP Engine* here Startup $35 1 Stackpath
WP Engine C2* here New C2 Platform $600 1 Stackpath
WPX Hosting here Business $24.99 5 WPX Cloud

A few things you should know before we get started:

*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.

How The WordPress Hosts Were Tested

I built a test blog to the following specifications-

  • 11 high resolution photos
  • 1,000 words of dummy content
  • Astra theme
  • Elementor plugin

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-

  • Test #1 – GTMetrix website speed (from 7 global server locations)
  • Test #2 – Pingdom Tools website speed (from 7 global server locations)
  • Test #3 – Load Impact stress test (500 simultaneous visitors)
  • Test #4 – WP Performance Tester (a plugin that tests raw server management configuration performance)
  • Test #5 – Support quality (I installed a false flag virus on each site)

So without further ado…

 Let’s find out who offers the fastest WordPress hosting solutions once and for all.

Test 1 – GTMetrix Loading Speed

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-

wordpress hosting speed test gtmetrix

Test #1 Conclusion

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:

It’s hard to declare either WordPress hosting company a winner here but I think WPX Hosting wins purely because they cost $24.99 per month whereas Pantheon costs $50 per month.

Test 2 – Pingdom Loading Speed

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-

Best WordPress Hosting Pingdom

Test #2 Conclusion

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:

So just like in test #1 we can easily declare that both WPX Hosting and Pantheon are more than twice as fast as the rest of the managed WordPress hosting providers.

Test 3 – Load Impact

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-

Best WordPress Hosting Load Impact

Test #3 Conclusion

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:

Hats off to the Pantheon team for achieving the kind of stability under load, that is a serious achievement. However WP Engine, Kinsta and WPX Hosting all held their own.

Test 4 – WordPress Performance Tester

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.

To do that I am going to use the WordPress Performance Tester plugin from Kevin Ohashi who invites WordPress hosting companies to pay to take part in his annual testing.

This stress tests server resources by doing a number of things-

  • Math – 100,000 math function tests
  • String Manipulation – 100,000 string manipulation tests
  • Loops – 1,000,000 loop iterations
  • Conditionals – 1,000,000 conditional logic checks
  • MySql – basic mysql functions and 1,000,000 ENCODE() iterations
  • $wpdb – 250 insert, select, software updates and delete operations

Once it has finished crunching all of the data, it outputs 2 distinct metrics to measure performance-

  • Execution Time – how long it took to do all of those tests (lower is better)
  • Queries Per Second – how many queries per second processed (higher is better)

I let the server monitoring plugin loose on each of the test blogs, this is how it went down-

Best WordPress Hosting Performance Tester

Test #4 Conclusion

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.

Test 5 – Support Quality

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-

  • Problem #1 – Would they take care of website transfers?
  • Problem #2 – Would they remove malware on my test site? (I infected each site with a false flag triggering virus)
  • Problem #3 – Would they stop other sites hotlinking my images?

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-

Best WordPress Hosting Support Comparison

Test #5 Conclusion

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.

WordPress Hosting Key Features Compared

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:

  • Price per month
  • Sites allowed
  • Speed
  • Customer support
  • Migrations

  • Daily backups
  • SSL certificates
  • Staging Environment
  • Email hosting
  • Trust Pilot rating

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
Speed Slow Fast Fast Slow Slow Normal Slow Fast Normal Fast Normal Slow
Support Poor Excellent Excellent Average Average Poor Average Poor Average Poor Poor Average
**Migrations Plugin Free Free Free/Paid Paid Free/Paid Paid Unclear Paid Paid Free Free/Paid
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
Staging Area Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes Yes No Yes Yes No Yes No
Email Hosting No Yes No Yes Yes No Yes No No Paid No 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.

The Worst Things About Each Host

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-

WP ENGINE

WPX HOSTING

  • No phone support
  • No VPS hosting options
  • No Git support
  • Back end control panel could be easier to use

A2 HOSTING

  • Expensive per site with this hosting plan
  • Unimpressive speed
  • $25 per site migrated if not coming from cpanel
  • Malware removal $125 per site cleanup
  • Free CDN not included

DREAMHOST

  • Among slowest hosts in this test
  • CDN not included
  • Migrations will cost $99 per each site
  • Malware removal $199 per site cleanup

CLOUDWAYS

  • No email support
  • Control panel not user friendly
  • No free malware removal
  • Site migrations $25 per site after 1st free transfer
  • Limited support performance in above tests
  • CDN not included

SITEGROUND

  • Unimpressive speed in these tests
  • No free malware removal
  • $30 per site migration
  • Pricing virtually triples in year 2
  • No staging hosting environment on base plan
  • After first month, no monthly payment option
  • No real CDN on base plan (free Cloudflare doesn’t count)


KINSTA

  • Expensive per site
  • No phone support
  • No email accounts – additional costs with Google Apps or your chosen provider
  • List of banned plugins
  • Expensive for multiple sites
  • No live chat for pre-sales questions

PANTHEON

  • Expensive per site
  • No free site migrations offered
  • No free malware removal
  • Limited support help in above tests

BLUEHOST

  • To migrate a site $149.99 for up to 5 sites
  • Slow speed in this comparison
  • CDN not included
  • Malware removal for $500+ per year
  • Poor customer ratings

GODADDY

  • Migrations $99.99 per site
  • Malware removal $359.99 per year
  • Poor customer ratings
  • Limited support performance in above tests

LIQUID WEB

  • Expensive per site
  • Average speed in this comparison
  • No free malware removal
  • CDN not included
  • Limited support performance in above tests
  • No email accounts – additional costs with another provider etc

GREENGEEKS

  • Slow speed in this comparison
  • Site migrations $15 per site after 1st free transfer
  • CDN not included

There is no such thing as perfect right?

The Fastest WordPress Hosting Is…

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. Take a look at my detailed Kinsta review to learn about my favourite feature.

Kinsta (Cost: $30 per month) also put in a solid performance top to bottom including speed, performance, load and customer support.

So if I had to rank them-

  1. WPX Hosting
  2. Kinsta
  3. Pantheon

Why?

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.

Best WordPress Hosting

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.

 So there you have it, if you want to choose the best WordPress hosting… the winner is WPX Hosting.

And don’t forget, a faster WordPress website will result in-

  • Happier visitors
  • Lower bounce rates
  • Higher page view numbers
  • Higher search engine rankings
  • High traffic sites conversion rate

And last, but most importantly-

 Higher profits.

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.

Frequently Asked Questions

Which is the best WordPress hosting?

I run tests across a range of the fastest WordPress hosts every year. In my latest round of testing I declared WPX Hosting as the best host, followed by Kinsta in second (who host this blog) and Pantheon in third.

Which is the fastest web hosting provider?

The fastest WordPress hosting service for a WordPress site is WPX Hosting (at the moment). I ran speed tests across 12 different hosts and WPX Hosting came out on top with both Kinsta and Pantheon closely behind them. Read the full post for the full case study results.

How much does it cost to host a WordPress website for a year?

If you want to host your site with a premium provider that is fast, includes an excellent set of features and truly expert support – you can expect to pay $249 a year with WPX Hosting and $300 a year with Kinsta.

What are the most important web hosts features?

The most important features to look for are daily backups, on demand data backups, a free CDN & free SSL certificate, email hosting, free malware scanning, free malware clean ups and excellent support.

1K Shares
Share1K
Tweet
Share