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Performance of the Best WordPress Hosting Companies Compared

When it comes to choosing the best WordPress Hosting, I’m bound and determined to find out which company is providing the most value. There are three major components that make up a great host in my opinion, and those are 1) Performance, 2) Knowledge, Speed, and Reliability of Support, and 3) Pricing and the overall product offering.

For this initial run, I compared several shared WordPress hosting companies. I plan to continue to add to this list and update it in 2016 as well so that people have a goto resource for choosing the best WordPress hosting company. Here are the hosts I’ve tested in no particular order:

Name Account Type Cost Per Month
Inmotion Hosting Inmotion Hosting Power Plan $2.95
Siteground SiteGround Startup $3.95
A2 Hosting Logo A2 Hosting Lite $3.92
Bluehost Bluehost Standard Shared $2.95
green-geeks-logo GreenGeeks Standard $3.96
Site5 Site5 HostPro $8.95
Media Temple MediaTemple Grid Server $20.00
Dreamhost DreamHost Standard Shared $7.95
Eleven2 Eleven2 S-200 $8.00
Arvixe Hosting Arvixe Hosting Personal Class $4.00
Hostgator HostGator* Hatchling $7.16
GoDaddy GoDaddy Deluxe $8.99

Today I want to take a look at how many of the top WordPress hosting companies measure up from purely a performance standpoint.

Now I’ll be the first to admit that having the fastest servers doesn’t make a host the best WordPress hosting company, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. If you’re looking for the best WordPress host for your website, the data here’s a great place to start your research.

So Who REALLY Has the Best WordPress Hosting?

If you’re just looking for our opinion, the best WordPress hosting companies for shared hosting on the market today are:

  1. InMotion Hosting
  2. SiteGround
  3. A2 Hosting

Most of the hosts we evaluated performed pretty well, but those are the ones we consistently recommend to our customers and friends looking for affordable, fast WordPress hosting. If you’re interested in the data-driven reasoning behind our opinion, keep reading while I’ll break it down and explain how we ran our tests.

The Performance Testing Experiment

Testing speed and performance of servers in remote locations introduces some fun and interesting challenges. When I first set out to run these tests, I thought I’d run benchmarks for an hour or two and then be done and would be totally ready to crown the fastest performing WordPress host.

That wasn’t the case at all.

Eliminating as many variables as possible from the test ended up being a lot more work than I anticipated, but the end result is some seriously concrete data.

To run the tests I used a load testing service called Load Impact. Load Impact fires up an Amazon server that you choose, and begins to send traffic to the site, increasing slowly over a certain amount of time.

For this particular test I sent 50 users to a testing site, increasing from one user to 50 concurrent users, over the span of 10 minutes. 50 concurrent users is a nice baseline test for a shared host. Once you hit that benchmark on a fairly consistent basis, it’s probably time to start exploring VPS and Managed WordPress hosting options. Traffic increases steadily throughout the timeframe until 50 users are visiting the site all at the same time.

Here are some of the precautions I took to keep the tests as fair as possible, even though each of these sites are spread out all over the United States:

  • Each WordPress site is an identical install of WordPress 3.6 with the TwentyThirteen theme installed and a number of posts and pages (same number of posts and pages on every site).
  • I used the same domain name for every testing site with a different subdomain. I didn’t want the chance of any latency showing up in results because each testing site had a separate domain with a potentially separate registrar.
  • For all hosting accounts located on servers on the West Coast, I used a testing server located in Ashburn, VA. And for all hosting accounts living on servers on the East Coast, I used a testing server located in Portland, Oregon.
  • I did everything possible to make the physical distance traveled the same across all tests.
  • All caching and plugins were disabled on each site
  • Each test was run 5 times with the best result of each posted here.

Overall I ended up with a really nice set of data that gives some very good insight into which hosts make performance a priority, and which hosts have some work to do.

So Which Is the Best WordPress Hosting Company?

Without further ado, here’s what I found from each host. The green line represents the increase in traffic, and the blue line represents the response time of the site as traffic increases.

Inmotion Hosting

Inmotion Hosting’s scores really took me by surprise. With one of the fastest minimum response times, and by far the fastest max response time, InMotion stayed right around 600ms for the entire test, which is really impressive. The graph looks to have more hills and valleys than most, but that’s because it stayed so close to the median response time for the entire test. The variance from highest response time to lowest response time is roughly 388ms, which is the best in the group.

Testing Server Location: Portland, OR
InMotion Hosting Server Location: Washington DC
Max Response Time: 836.78ms
Minimum Response Time: 478.42ms

Inmotion Hosting Performance Chart

Click here to see the full Inmotion Hosting report from Load Impact

SiteGround

SiteGround was one of our top performers, and is especially impressive considering the $3.95 price point for their StartUp hosting tier. It does have a limitation of one website at that price point, but considering the average response time was ~700ms all the way to 50 concurrent users with no real hiccups, SiteGround offers a great value.

Testing Server Location: Dallas, TX
SiteGround Server Location: Chicago, IL
Max Response Time: 1.79 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 669.9 milliseconds

SiteGround Hosting Performance Score

Click here to see the full report from Load Impact

A2 Hosting

A2 Hosting makes some pretty bold claims on their website, claiming 300% faster load times with WordPress. So do the results match the claim? A2 did pretty well overall, but definitely not 300% faster than the competition. Many of the hosts listed here which don’t even make claims to be WordPress hosts performed better. Their minimum load time of 455ms is definitely impressive, and it was only slightly higher than that when the test ended. Overall they had a strong showing.

Testing Server Location: Ashburn, VA
A2 Server Location: Ann Arbor, MI
Max Response Time: 1.12 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 455.17ms

A2 Hosting Performance Chart

Click here to see the full A2 Hosting report from Load Impact

Bluehost

Bluehost’s performance was lackluster. As traffic increased so did response time, almost following the same steep climb. Even at lower user counts the response time jumped around quite a bit, ranging anywhere from 1 to 3.5 seconds with only 10 active users. As Bluehost approached the 20 user mark load times skyrocketed to over 10 seconds. They did come back down, but performance was still highly inconsistent with huge variances from one second to the next.

Testing Server Location: Ashburn, VA
Bluehost Server Location: Provo, UT
Max Response Time: 10.64 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 915.53 milliseconds

Bluehost Hosting Performance Score

Click here to see the full Bluehost report from Load Impact

Eleven2

Eleven2 is likely the smallest hosting company that we tested on this list, although I don’t have the date to confirm that. That said, performance-wise they do pretty well as a shared hosting provider. With site load times of just under a second throughout the entire test, Eleven2 isn’t a leader, but they’re definitely no slouch. The $8 per month price is only available when you pre-pay for a year.

Testing Server Location: Dallas, TX
SiteGround Server Location: Wichita, KS
Max Response Time: 2.01 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 898.61 milliseconds

Eleven2 Hosting Performance Report

Click here to see the full report from Load Impact

Site5

As noted above, because of a DNS propagation issue we actually made a mistake with one of our tests so we ran Site5 through the gamut again, and again they did very well. While their minimum response time was higher than initially reported, their max response time was lower than we initially reported. Throughout the majority of the ten minute load testing, Site5’s server response time stayed steady at 750ms to 1 second with only a handful of deviations.

Testing Server Location: Portland, OR
Site5 Server Location: Atlanta, GA
Max Response Time: 1.95 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 704.41 milliseconds

Site5 Hosting Performance Score

Click here to see the full Site5 report from Load Impact (Updated)

MediaTemple

MediaTemple Grid Server is a bit pricier at $20 per month than the other hosts featured in this post, but technically it’s still considered a shared host which is why we included it. While not boasting the fastest load times, aside from a strange hiccup at the very beginning of the test, MediaTemple was rock solid all the way to scale. Variances were 2-300 milliseconds but load times generally stayed at almost exactly 1 second, regardless of the number of users.

Testing Server Location: Ashburn, VA
Media Temple Server Location: Los Angeles, CA
Max Response Time: 4.54 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 934.07 milliseconds

MediaTemple Hosting Performance Score

Click here to see the full MediaTemple report from Load Impact 

HostGator

HostGator’s server performance looked a lot like a pattern you’d see from a healthy EKG, until it completely flatlined. The only problem is that for web performance, we don’t want to see a line with a a lot of ups and downs, flat lines are great unless they fall off the grid completely a la GoDaddy. While HostGator returned the fastest response time of any host, it’s a little misleading because the server had essentially quit at that point and then stopped responding completely. Basically it was one last hurrah before it called it a day.

*I was happy to see that my HostGator account was housed outside of the Provo, UT datacenter where Bluehost resides so we could get a more true host to host comparison.

Testing Server Location: Portland, OR
HostGator Server Location: Charlotte, NC
Max Response Time: 10.16 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 258.07 milliseconds

HostGator Performance Score

Click here to see the full HostGator report from Load Impact

Arvixe

Arvixe has been in the hosting business for quite a while servicing other open source communities like Joomla and Drupal, and have just started shifting their efforts to the WordPress space in the last year or so. Their results here are respectable. They aren’t blow your mind fast, but they do seem solid all the way up to the 50 concurrent user mark. They had one small spike, but it recovered very quickly and the server finished the test in heroic fashion.

Testing Server Location: Palo Alto, CA
Arvixe Server Location: Santa Rosa, CA
Max Response Time 2.93 seconds
Minimum Response Time 1.06 seconds

arvixe-hosting-web

Click here to see the full Arvixe report from Load Impact

DreamHost

While at a first Glance DreamHost’s results may seem inconsistent, you’ll notice that there are more bumps in the road because the extremes are much more controlled. So variances in a handful of milliseconds show up as jumps in the graph. Overall DreamHost was solid from beginning to end. It didn’t report the lowest lows, but it also kept things in check as traffic increased, without having massive jumps in response times. DreamHost had a strong showing.

Testing Server Location: Ashburn, VA
DreamHost Server Location: Los Angeles, CA
Max Response Time: 3.74 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 621.87 milliseconds

dreamhost-hosting-web

Click here to see the full DreamHost report from Load Impact

GreenGeeks Hosting

GreenGeeks didn’t do badly at all in the performance testing. After a big initial spike in response time, the server settled down and returned the sub one second response times that we like to see. There was a bit more variance throughout the test than we normally like to see, but nothing that would indicate any type of major issue. For the most part things were pretty solid.

Testing Sever Location: Chicago, IL
Green Geeks Server Location: Dallas, TX
Max Response Time: 4.7 seconds
Minimum Response Time: 571.33 ms

Green Geeks Hosting Web

Click here to see the full Green Geeks report from Load Impact

GoDaddy

GoDaddy surprised me in more ways than one. GoDaddy started at a blazing 483 ms response time, but once traffic hit 25 users, it essentially fell off the face of the earth. The report lists times of above 4 minutes, and that may be true, but it almost looks like the server became completely unresponsive or started rejecting connections. The load test reported a number of failed attempts to connect to the server. While GoDaddy shined at lower traffic levels, it fell apart completely as traffic passed the 25 user mark.

Godaddy reached out and asked that I clarify the results of their test. This is what they had to say:”We use a software security layer called Sentinel. Because of it’s conservative settings, the software detected the load test as a DoS attack since all the LoadImpact traffic was coming from one IP, and banned it for 5 minutes.”I believe they have thresholds set at a painfully low level if they consider 25 users a DDOS attack. That means one small business sharing an article internally could take down a site.

Testing Server Location: Ashburn, VA
GoDaddy Server Location: Phoenix, AZ
Max Response Time: 4.1 minutes
Minimum Response Time: 483.08 milliseconds

GoDaddy Hosting Performance Score

Click here to see the full GoDaddy report from Load Impact

So which shared WordPress hosting company performed the fastest?

Based strictly on the performance data from each webhost, there were three hosts that really stood out in the group. Each of the following hosts had an average page load time of below one second throughout the entire course of the test, all the way to 50 concurrent users. Stay tuned for the next update where we re-evaluate all of these options and add many more.

I’d love to hear your thoughts on any of the data you see here. Anything that stands out to you? Anything that surprised you?

Let’s talk it out 🙂

Disclaimer: All hosting accounts are owned and paid for by us.

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436 Comments

  1. Thomas

    Awesome comparison! I know hosts use other throttling technologies as well. Like CloudLinux for example, it has the ability to limit resources. Many datacenters use DDoS protection as well that the host may not be using directly. There are also throttling techniques used by security addons for WordPress that detect if a single user is loading resources too often. I know http://liquidio.net uses those security addons which can make it seem slow from a test standpoint, but in the end features like GoDaddy’s DDoS protection and the throttling software can make the service faster for all the other users. So essentially it only slows it down for the one user hammering the server =)

  2. Katrina

    Cannot recommend Site 5. They used to be great, but now they measure CPU usage with some internal standard that they refuse to correlate to anything in the real world. Coincidentally, they also launched new tier levels at the same time and try to bully you into upgrading. I left and switched to MDD Hosting and am much, much happier.

    1. BenSite5

      Hi Katrina,

      Actually it is entirely open source :), and uses CPU Time which is a core part of linux. Entirely open source and explained in detail on this page as well in super tech detail:
      http://kb.site5.com/policies-and-information/resource-points/cpu-time/

      We don’t bully anyone into upgrading, but we do have resource point limits on a per plan basis and if you go over your limit you would need to move to a plan that fits your needs. Shared hosting has limits and that is part of how we deliver some of the best hosting in the entire industry.

      thanks, Ben

      1. ron

        so true. No matter what you get their response that an upgrade is required. I am checking out alternative to Site5 currently. Hope to find a new home for our hosting soon. Enough with Site5 and blue host.

    2. ron

      I couldn’t agree more with you. Unfortunately I am a customer of Site5. I moved to Site5 after being with Blue Host for almost two years. I had many problems with Blue Host and their service was horrible. I decided to move to Site5 and everything was just great along the first 6 months or so. When the traffic started to increase to about 150 visitors per month I started to hear about server crashes and the upgrade request arrived rather quickly. From about $20 a month I needed to upgraded to $72 a month. The website was brought up
      to live for a few more months and then crashed again. Now they want me to upgrade the VPS plan again. They refuse to bring my website up till I upgrade the plan. They seems to be nice and usually quick in their
      response but I am paying more than $70 for a website which has about 200visitors in average.

  3. Vik

    Hi Ryan, great post, but why not add more hosting to this like kahuna, wpoven and wpwebhost.
    keep up the great work

  4. Michael Stone

    Thanks for this bench marking as I haven’t seen anything
    like this before. I’ve always been a fan of Bluehost, even with the bad
    results. Service and commutation has always been important to me and bluehost
    has never failed me. Even refunding money on old websites that have failed to
    production results

    1. Kerrie Redgate

      I’ve just had a dreadful experience with BlueHost after their signup form jumped the gun and registered me, took the cash, before I’d finalised the sale with all the “extras” they were offering for me to consider. After my first email reporting the Form issue, their prompt reply told me their was a sale in their records. End of story! So in other words, I was simply wrong! Next email I was told I was being shunted [my wording] to the Billing Dept. Nothing more for the next 3 days until I had to threaten them to get attention. And even then the call was from someone Activating my account rather than refunding me! Total mess. No faith in their customer service at all, I’m sorry. Very disappointing. Did finally get a notice of a refund.

  5. Melanie

    now someone just needs to do this test with reseller hosting providers that offer end user support. i’d pay to see that.

  6. Adam

    I have a question about the test as well…can you add hosts to it, or review some of the other hosts that people have mentioned in another post? In particular, I’d like to see how Sectorlink’s Cloud Hosting offer plays out in comparison to the others. Since you’d be dealing with both cloud web servers and cloud DB servers, in theory a cloud host should perform more effectively.

    1. WP Site Care

      Hey Adam,

      We do have more reviews coming down the pipeline but sectorlink hasn’t been on our radar yet. We’ll see if we can get to them some time in the future. Thanks for stopping by 🙂

  7. RonLum

    Ryan, thanks so much for taking the time to do this thorough analysis. It must’ve been quite boring. And also, this is probably the only post out there comparing hosting performance that doesn’t have affiliate links.

  8. eightocta

    Hi ryan, thanks for such a unbiased and true comparison, i am pretty much impressed by “ASmallOrange” they are almost showing performance and stability equivalent to a Low End VPS.

  9. Drew

    Hey Ryan,

    Thanks for the post,

    Just wondering if you’ve had any exp. with Fastdot.com?

  10. Daniele Besana

    Very interesting article!
    I think hostgator result is affected by their limitation to 30 concurrent processes per account.
    You just can’t get above that, internal for 500 is returned above that threshold 🙁

    It would also interesting to test the same from Europe.
    I use hostgator and it doesn’t seem that fast from here compared to others.

    Thanks!

  11. Kimberly "Gypsy" LoSavio

    I went from Crap-er-goDaddy to HostGator to Dreamhost and I am now at Site5. I left godaddy because they did not play nice with WordPress installs and their Customer Service was HORRIBLE. HostGator did not impress me with their customer service, however beyond that, I did not have any issues with WordPress installs. I had been with DH since 2010 – but something happened just around Thanksgiving 2012. I TRIED to stick it out, but 4 server moves later, one including a VPS move, did NOT fix the bog down, server fails and other issues my site was having. And I was NOT happy with their customer service near the end either.

    I must say that I was totally surprised with Site5. Moved my entire site, and tested it for over a week as it was in Dreamhost and guess what??? NOT one issue! no error logs, no server drops, no slow speed — actually it was almost 75% faster just moving it to Site5 as it was … every excuse used with the other hosting service (DH), Site5 totally blew out of the water. I was much relieved to know that the issues were NOT plugins, files, and modules as was told to me by DH after the VPS did not solve ANY of my issues. Site5 has a AAA rating, 2 thumbs up and 5 stars or tacos from this VERY HAPPY Customer!!!!

    1. ron

      Unfortunately I am a customer of Site5. I moved to Site5 after being with Blue Host for almost two years. I had many problems with Blue Host and their service was horrible. I decided to move to Site5 and everything was just great along the first 6 months or so. When the traffic started to increase to about 150 visitors per month I started to hear about server crashes and the upgrade request arrived rather quickly. From about $20 a month I needed to upgrade to a VPS plan of $72 a month. The website was brought up to live for a few more months and then crashed again. Now they want me to upgrade the VPS plan again. They refuse to bring my website up till I
      upgrade the plan. They seems to be nice and usually quick in their
      response but I am paying more than $70 for a website which has about 200 visitors in average.

      1. BenSite5

        The only reason we would ever tell someone they have to upgrade is if they need it :), I wish you the best of luck with your new host and if I can help in anyway please let me know!

        Thanks, Ben
        CEO, Site5.com

      2. The Savy Agency

        Not true, Ben. We’re an agency with hundreds of clients signed up on their own accounts with you. I’m pulling my hair out due to all these ‘over resource points’ calls, with the stated reason being that ‘we use wordpress’. Well, that’s why we use site5. There should be no reason why some of our small sites are being moved to VPS and their old accounts deleted stating ‘resource use’. Service is definitely bumpy not to mention the server blacklisting thing with spotty communication through it – the reason I found this post, searching other providers.

      3. BenSite5

        If you are hitting your Resource Point limits it is time to upgrade, or optimize. Simple as that. And what our team explains to customers. Shared hosting plans have a limit, and once you hit that limit you would need the next plan up, or a VPS. Every host has a limit, only some of them don’t tell you about it and just start dropping traffic.

        Small sites would never hit this limit, the only sites hitting this would be receiving thousands of page views a day. Otherwise the reason would be an incredibly intensive script or plugin configuration. Our team is always happy to recommend tools so you can dig into the cause.

        The blacklisting thing was blogged in real time on our emergency forum, and Spamhaus apologized after 48 hours when they finally returned emails and fixed the bug in their system to cause it. Our CTO posted a lot of updates in that thread as well:

        http://forums.site5.com/showthread.php?t=39946

        We take transparency very seriously and that is why we have such an open communication policy. Anytime there is more than 5 to 8 minutes of downtime we post to the emergency forum along with updates every 20 minutes or less on the emergency. Plus a post summary email with details if it is a specific service that has been down for more than an hour.

        Let me know if you have any questions,
        Thanks, Ben

      4. BenSite5

        We also have 24/7 chat and email support for any issue, especially during an emergency as they can link you to the status updates if you forgot the forum link (or its in backstage next to the real time server status dashboard).

        Phone is during US business hours but in the process of expanding to 24/7, and on any tickets you can ask for a manager or a member of management too,
        Thanks, Ben

      5. Haunt

        Just letting you know I will never be going to Site5 because of this. Your standard “politician rebuttals” here are very generic and don’t directly address any of the points.

        “Thanks Ben. We still have 8 page wordpress sites moved without help as to why they would be over resource points, except that “they’re on WordPress” and “should upgrade” or “use CloudFlare”.”

        It’s clear you need better business practices because that’s shady.

      6. The Savy Agency

        Thanks Ben. We still have 8 page wordpress sites moved without help as to why they would be over resource points, except that “they’re on WordPress” and “should upgrade” or “use CloudFlare”. Regarding your emergency response, the forum wasn’t provided until late in the game after chats and calls – all pushed to a ticket. Also you should know, the amount of chats transferred mid-chat is maddening …

        Thanks …

      7. WP Site Care

        I hope that the two of you can resolve any issues that you’ve been having, but there are probably less disruptive, and more efficient channels than our company blog comments 🙂

  12. Kevin Trye

    Interesting thread. As a wordpress web developer ‘downunder’ we’ve used dozens of hosts over the years, including many of those mentioned here. Until recent times, Hostgator has given few issues, although like many hosts now pushing for profits, am finding performance and reliability is deteriorating.

    Someone mentioned amazon EC2. We tested this option recently for multiple WP sites using a variety of configurations. Bottom line is unless you want to more than double your monthly host costs and halve your speed at the same time, it’s an offering to avoid. Some of the S3 and CDN facilities are handy, but little else. Fancy ‘scaling’ sounds great in theory, but in practice gives erratic performance and is poor value for money. A dedicated or VPS server of similar cost from any of the providers listed here would be better in every respect.

    1. Howard

      While it does cost more than the cheap pain in the ass hosts. EC2 does not have the issues you state, sounds like bad configuration on your end. If you are not use to working with servers at a true Admin level, you will have issues and you will increase your costs while you are learning.

      The main difference with ec2 is you need an Admin or to be one yourself to have success with it, proper configuration and use of their many tools is also something you have to make sure you nail or costs fly out the roof. Pre paying for a year cuts your costs by as much 80%.

      One thing many people do not get is you want to peg out your instance to its max or you are wasting money, you’re paying for idle processes which increases your costs drastically. That is were the whole auto scaling/load balancing parts really can save you money, because you never pay for anything idling. You also have more abilities and features than anything you will find any cheap hosting plan, heck even the vast majority of middle of the road ones can not compare to what you can build.

      I would be interested to know what zones you tested and what actual setups you were running to see such bad performance. EC2 is not like hosting on cheap o hosts and it also requires you to be more than “computer savy” the learning curve is massive. What do you see S3 and their CDNs lacking in? Since you are not impressed with those either?

      I cant say it is your ideal solution, but from your description sounds like it was on your end than Amazons. I host over 20 blogs plus many other sites and internal services on ec2. But I can say I have drastically cut my overall costs, I get to control everything and no longer have to deal with shitty tech support, or whacked out configuration options.

      You possibly might want to look into fully managed hosting, all you have to worry about then with a WP install is just putting in your new content, the rest is like having a systems admin and DBA on staff 24/7. Just shoot a ticket in with changes you need 30 min or less its done. I know many businesses that rely on such services and could not be more happy.

      Just the ramblings of a very happy Amazon user

      1. Kevin Trye

        The CDN/S3 side of amazon is just fine and I use it for most sites. My AWS has around 30 WordPress sites running in the education market, There’s erratic I/O and response times vary a lot. Database performance is terrible, although some of the databases are now quite large (50MB not unusual). It’s only the extensive page, browser and CDN caching that keeps the sites live. I suspect it could be ‘fixed’, but calculated the added monthly costs prohibitive compared with other host options.
        My experience mirrors what James Golick found in a famous presentation given last year. http://youtu.be/Nswo-4ZIXkI

        i guess too I’m inherently against contracts being the only way to get decent AWS pricing. Rackspace play the same game.

  13. Jon

    Love your data and testing, thanks! It seems to bear out with my general subjective experience with each of those shared hosts (I’ve used them all at some point, usually for clients).

    I too hope and encourage you to do identical testing of all of the WP specific/managed hosts (WP Engine, ZippyKid, Page.ly, synthesis and the new one Freewheel?).

    1. WP Site Care

      Hey Jon, we’ve already started preliminary tests! There are just a lot more variables to nail down. One of the biggest considerations is how to send 500-1000 users at a time without making it appear like a DoS attack. We’ll get it figured out! 🙂

      1. Thomas Zickell

        You must alert the host as if you were going to be on television that is the method I use. Though they all have much better ideas of what is a lot of people considering what Go Daddy did at 25 is sad. Have you checked out netcraft? I like to test from more than one location. Amazon is great but there are more sophisticated ways of telling exactly what will occur in different cities which is something important to me.

  14. Julie @ Table for Two

    Love this test, Ryan! I’d be interested to see higher level ones (I guess that’s what they’re called..the ones you pay more for)..like Servint, Liquid Web, Web Synthesis, WPEngine, etc. – Great post 🙂 this is all so interesting to me!

  15. haymanpl

    I’ve tried all of them except site5 and Orange and none impressed me for speed.

    WPEngine makes my home page load in 0.5 to 1 second.

    Shared hosting would never go below 3 seconds for me but i guess you can’t expect much for around $80 a year,

    Never got any level of VPS below 3 seconds either so its managed hosting by a country mile in my opinion.

  16. Troy Peterson

    I’m surprised you didn’t include 1and1.com… I’ve had better luck with them than Godaddy or others.

    Also,
    Has anyone had issues with MediaTemple and slow response times from their database servers? I have had big issues with them

  17. SmartOnlinePros

    Thanks for your impartial assessment. We have been using HostGator, BlueHost and DreamHost for our different websites. I’m just surprised that HostGator didn’t perform well as I’ve expected. Among these three hosting companies, HostGator has been the most consistent. Site5 looks like a promising option.

  18. James Idayi

    insightful, I wish I could get a recommendation. I have 10 wordpress sites and lately have been having issues with my current host (name withheld) happens to be among your list. I just need a good pointer to a new host ideal for wordpress blog

    1. WP Site Care

      Hey James, we’d definitely be willing to talk to you about specifics. Want to shoot us an email? hello at wpsitecare.com

  19. Ryan M.

    Are you sure the site5 test was correctly executed? Looking at the results, it appears content type seen by loadimpact was only TEXT/HTML as-if the page being served by site5 was a placeholder page or an error page. Likewise, this is also reiterated by the the bandwidth used on the site5 test being 10 times lower than that of other hosts with fully completed tests (e.g asmallorange, mediatemple etc..).

    1. WP Site Care

      Great catch, Ryan. You’re exactly right. It looks like there was an issue with DNS propagation and the server we commissioned was hitting some kind of landing page. I’m running the new benchmark now and will post the new (correct) results this evening. Thanks for pointing that out!

  20. Andy Merrett

    No doubt these tools are not for the faint-hearted, and yes they do require some tweaking to get the best results. Some of the biggest gains will often come from simpler tasks like caching data, optimising images and making JS/CSS more efficient.

    Mobile access to me seems a lot more hit-and-miss right now, as network access varies considerably from area to area. Yet about 25% of my traffic now appears to be mobile-based (not all of this is via cellular network, as many people use phones and tablets over Wi-Fi) so I can’t afford to ignore it. 🙂

    And while it’s somewhat anecdotal and will vary because of many other factors, I applied Google’s tools to one of my web sites (which was already pretty well optimised for WP and in general) and got the initial response time down from ~1.2s to <0.2s. I'm certainly not unhappy with that 🙂

    1. BenSite5

      Nice!! Have you tested their setup against something like CloudFlare and their “cdn” type setup?

  21. TD

    Thanks for taking the time to do this test. By chance, we’re you also using the hosting company’s DNS or did you bring your own? Also, according to NetCraft, GoDaddy switched 26 million sites from Apache to IIS. This made me wonder if it was possible to indicate what their server is running such as nginx, Apache, etc.

  22. William Mougayar

    To be honest, you don’t get much from these entry level plans. It’s a good comparison AT THE ENTRY Level. But, another useful comparison would be for higher up plans, as it’s quite revealing, perhaps bump it up to the $30-50 / month.

    I learned it the hard way. Any successful blog that starts to get up to a decent level of traffic will not be satisfied with a $20/month plan.

    1. WP Site Care

      Agreed, William! We’re not advocating one type of hosting over another, just reporting what we found with these shared hosts. We likely wouldn’t recommend any of these plans for someone planning on running a business.

      1. William Mougayar

        yup. thanks for clarifying. if you’re up to it, i would love to see another analysis targeting the $30-$100 levels where it gets a little more interesting, and you’ve got to look at things like backups, CDN’s, memory issues, etc.

      2. Laura Pazzaglia

        Add “me too” to this list – I’m on a shared host and bursting at the seams (400,000 visits/month) so lots of down times, database errors, etc.

        I’ve been looking at the VPS plans of the top three recommended hosts. Sitegrounds most basic VPS starts at €51/month, which is a little high for someone moving out of basic. But dream host has them starting at €15/month – except it’s based on RAM usage and I have no idea how to calculate that (being a lowly self run-managed single-site WordPress operation).

        Thanks,

        L

      1. WP Site Care

        At ~ 25,000 visitors per month you should probably start looking at non-shared hosting alternatives.

      2. Cristobal Infante

        thanks for your reply, so what would be the step up? I wouldn’t know how to manage a whole server myself so it has to be user friendly 😉

      3. WP Site Care

        There are SO MANY different options and it depends on a number of different variables, but if you don’t have much experience managing your own server, then a managed host might be a good place to look. WPEngine, WebSynthesis, Page.ly, ZippyKid, and FlyWheel to name a few…

  23. lautaro dragan

    Excellent post!
    But what about Laughing Squid? It’s a recommended host by WordPress, and works like a charm for me. Would be nice to see how it really performs against the other hosts 🙂

    1. WP Site Care

      Great idea. We have another post just like this one for another set of hosts and we’ll definitely need to include Laughing Squid as they are a recommended WP host. Thanks Lautaro!

  24. Nancy

    Godday is just a piece of crap for both domain registration and webhosting ! Bluehost rocks from my own experice.

  25. Matt Sharper

    none of these are wordpress specific hosts they are just generic hosting companies…

  26. Greg Garrison

    I’m working on a site now and have ended up trying out an Amazon EC2/RDS/S3 configuration and I’d LOVE to see that compared in the mix. 🙂

    I love the approach here. Thanks for keeping it data-centric.

    1. WP Site Care

      Hey Greg, thanks for stopping by! I can tell you right now that if EC2 has proper load balancing in place, it’s going to blow this performance stats out of the water 🙂 It’s a tricky comparison to make because EC2 will just send more resources as they’re needed. I’ll have to think of a way to provide some good metrics on EC2 and how it performs with WordPress.

      1. Greg Garrison

        Interesting… it seems like the only way to include it then is to somehow overlay a cost metric since the additional EC2 resources will cost something that flat-rate plans don’t?

        Which, of course, becomes a perfectly valid and interesting question, even if it’s slightly different. This initial post is a great opening to a conversation about performance, but everyone knows you can buy just about any level of performance you want if you’re willing to pay for it. Introducing the Amazon mix puts that in clear relief; cost has got to be in the analysis to get to a more practical comparison.

        Thanks for the thoughtful and informed response!

  27. Patrick Coombe

    Interesting, thanks so much for your findings. IMO the only way to really run benchmarks with hosting companies on a shared environment is to run them for 7 days a week at a time. In my experience I’ve seen great speeds at 3AM Est Time but then come rush hour times will be double if not triple what it was.

    Thanks again Ryan!

    1. WP Site Care

      You’re right! I definitely don’t consider this the end-all be-all in server performance. This is very much an initial test and we plan to repeat it over and over again for even more providers.

  28. MikeSchinkel

    Nice and useful post.

    Did you consider maybe benchmarking the WordPress-specific hosts, WPEngine, Page.ly, Zippy Kid, Web Synthesis and I think a few others?

    1. WP Site Care

      Those are coming 🙂 They’re a bit trickier because a much bigger surge in traffic has to be sent, but we’re definitely going to do it.

      1. James D Kirk

        Definitely interested in your findings on the “reputable” managed WP hosting companies (j/k, I’m still on the floor after reading that comment!) My partner and I are looking to add hosting services to our SEO offerings, and currently extend WPEngine and Page.ly to our clients. Any idea when you might have those tests ready for our consumption, Mike? Thanks so much for going through the hard work of pulling these sorts of tests together for the rest of us. Much appreciated and very grateful!

      2. WP Site Care

        Hey James, we’re hoping to get these published within the next 2 weeks. We’ve already started preliminary testing but fine-tuning things is going to take a while. The financial investment alone is pretty big, but the biggest thing is making sure we get the results right. As soon as it’s live I’ll send you an email.

      3. Shane P

        Hi there, I’m also interested in what you find from those two. I have a few clients that I want to move to WP specific hosts but in two cases (one with lots of images / over 15g worth, and the other with over 38k views a day) both of those hosts became really expensive. I was really liking all of the added bonuses they both have so it’s too bad.

        Thanks for the great reviews!

      4. Thomas Zickell

        I hear you there Ryan please let me know if you would like to collaborate on something like this as I have spent a great deal of money already on doing something very similar to what you’re doing maybe we can offer people a fair honest representation of these companies free up affiliate links and help each other do it I have over a year of information on all but one of the hosts I’ve mentioned in my first post. I would be more than happy to lend you my data once it’s published or we can work something else out. Tell me your thoughts if you’re at all interested if not I completely understand.

      5. Thomas Zickell

        If you would like to see my data please feel free to send me an e-mail as I have quite a bit but I cannot publish it until it is already. So you know I’m using Neustar as a load testing method and would be happy to share my results. Because almost all managed WordPress of the hosting companies use Nginx their no longer in need of extremely of RAM to complete 10,000 connections at one time. This makes a huge difference in price for them at least What the post is able to handle I came ashore you from my data. You can go much higher than what is seen here on the hosts you mentioned and all the ones I’ve mentioned in my previous post. if you would like a recommendation from somebody who is not looking to make money off of affiliate links or anything like that I can give you what I have experienced. To tell you the truth the two companies you mentioned are vastly different from each other in my opinion.

    2. Gregory Smith

      Exactly what I was intending on commenting about. The kid doesn’t even mention ANY reputable WordPress hosting Companies. LOL I use Web Synthesis and Love them!

      1. BenSite5

        Reputable :)? We host around 200,000 WordPress websites and has a lot of very happy customers, we aren’t some ill reputed hobbo in the WP community I hope 🙂

      2. gothamtommy

        The irony that I came to this page looking for a replacement from Site5 and find you here.

        I’ve had numerous instances where a WP site I built was successful (yay!) but Site5 suspended the account without warning… because of the traffic.

        If you’re hosting small sites with little traffic, Site5 is fine but if you ever expect a rush of traffic and sudden popularity, avoid them like the plague.

    3. chromeorange

      Wonder how he is going to turn off the caching on the hosts in that list

      1. WP Site Care

        Caching won’t be disabled. For many of the hosts it actually a mandatory piece of their software stack so disabling it actually is impossible (from an end user perspective). At the same time, it makes a lot of sense to compare the hosts as they are “out of the box” so to speak. CDNs won’t be enabled for any of the hosts, but the default configurations is what will be used int he comparison test.

      2. chromeorange

        That’s kind of why I asked the question. Makes you wonder if they really are that much better that the shared hosts. Not a fan of “you must having all the caching on and you can’t install things we don’t like” hosting plans. Much rather do it properly on my own VPS.

      3. WP Site Care

        Sure. It definitely depends on the architecture of each host. Some are little more than an optimized VPS, and others have a much more robust architecture. Where they provide value is for those people who don’t know anything about administering their own servers, which is a lot of people 🙂

  29. John Carlstrom

    Ryan,

    Well done! It’s nice to see actual data and facts when comparing web hosts. There are so many spammy “Top 10 Web Hosting” sites out there, where their “#1 rated web host” also just happens to be paying them the highest commissions. So your post is definitely a breath of fresh air.

    I’ve used five of the web hosts that you tested: Bluehost, A Small Orange, Hostgator, Dreamhost, and Site5. I’m a little surprised that Hostgator didn’t do better. I’m not surprised with Godaddy’s results.

    PS: I actually did a video review of iPage: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KwcZFAOgdTg. If you have the time to watch it, I’d really appreciate your honest opinion (I’m new at making videos). My goal was to just give people the facts and show them my tests. I plan to make some more videos reviewing a couple of the hosts in your list, and if it’s okay with you I may use some of your data (and give you credit of course).

    Oh, and it’s nice to see you here Ben! Site5 is awesome.

    1. Leo

      I recently moved a site from a 1and1 reseller to iPage. I was not happy with the general site speed from 1and1 but it was adequate. When moving to iPage my client is totally disgusted. Frankly it’s horrible. The support and control panel are fine but the speed! well, horrible

      1. Jason Crawford

        I actually had problems with iPage’s support as well. I tried migrating a site from a local host to iPage and backupbuddy wouldn’t work. Turned out there were all sorts of limitations and controls that I couldn’t access and support wasn’t interested in changing anything for me. This was a clients site and I was luckily able to get them to switch servers.

      2. Hypatia Pickens

        My biggest gripe about iPage is the turn-around time. If I discover a minor error in a page I’ve just uploaded and want to correct it I found out, quite by surprise, that it takes them overnight to register the correction.Is that NORMAL???? I kept thinking they were keeping a ghost file. I kept scouring my own files to see what I had done wrong. I and my clients need to see the correction asap. GoDaddy had its problems, but turn around was instantaneous. But I couldn’t navigate its constantly shifting pages–at the time I was using it you had to get past all the ads for buying new domains. So I went to iPage about a year ago, but it is sloooow. Is it my FTP? FileZilla. Simple as pie. What would you recommend for faster, easier hosting?

      3. Jason Crawford

        I’m pretty much stuck in my ways when it comes to shared hosting. I’ve tried a handful, but between performance, support, and cutting out as much nonsense as possible, I’ve found HostGator to be my go to for shared hosting.

      4. Jason Crawford

        Hey Hypatia,

        Sorry I didn’t see this earlier. I use HostGator primarily. I just think their support is outstanding and I have had little to no downtime. You may want to consider giving GoDaddy another try if you were generally happy with them. I recently spoke to one of their long time employees who assured me that they are making huge improvements and they even have a team dedicated to making WordPress better on their servers now. I recently used them and had no problems, but I don’t see a need for me to switch off of HostGator for now either.

      5. Forrest Smyth

        I made the mistake of using iPage a couple of years ago, and you’re right, they suck. The number of concurrent visitors their basic plans can handle is pathetic. Fine for a personal website or small mom & pop business with very few visitors they might be ok, but that’s about it.

      6. Leo

        What has been your experience with lighteningbase? They are not in this report but I have a client using them and the performance is pretty impressive. Might want to move some clients to them.

      7. WP Site Care

        Hi Leo, since these are all shared hosting plans we didn’t include lightningbase here, but we’ve had a few clients use them and be happy with the results!

      8. Anthony Kirlew

        I don’t recommend either of those (1&1or iPage). Give InMotion a try; you won’t be disappointed. (And no, I do not work for InMotion; I’ve just been hosting sites for over a decade and I keep up with who is doing good work.)

  30. Andy Merrett

    It’s interesting but these are all unspectacular when you factor in the need to do some serious server tweaking if you want to get below Google’s current recommendation of <200ms response time.

    So anyone serious about response time needs to look at whether their shared account gives them enough access to server tools to (for example) install the Google PageSpeed module.

    I suppose you can argue that any additional optimization you do from this base setup will simply improve upon these results, but you may end up doing better on a slightly slower server with decent access, than a faster one that offers no such access.

    1. WP Site Care

      I totally agree. Even PHP configurations can make a big difference in these results and I didn’t mention which was the default version or config on any of the hosts. That said, I didn’t do any server tweaking at all but I did that very much on purpose, because most of the people using these shared hosting accounts aren’t going to have the skills or know how to get the most out of their resources. I just wanted to show people what they get “out of the box” so to speak. Thanks for chiming in!

  31. BenSite5

    Nice post! Any chance you could post a graphic with the same y axis with each host a different color so its easier to compare the graph?

  32. David Abramson

    Wow thank you for running this experiment. Always good to see real data 🙂

  33. Meri

    This is great.Thanks for doing all this work! Was this done before the big Bluehost/HostGator meltdown a week ago? Have they made any changes since then?

    1. WP Site Care

      Hi Meri, these tests started about a week ago but the majority of these final tests were run in the last 24-48 hours, so yes, the data is very fresh.

      I haven’t seen any official announcements from Bluehost or Hostgator addressing improvements to their Provo, UT datacenter going forward but that doesn’t mean they haven’t done anything to improve.

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