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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 go-to 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
Siteground SiteGround Startup $3.95
Inmotion Hosting Inmotion Hosting WPS-500S $2.95
A2 Hosting Logo A2 Hosting Lite $3.92
green-geeks-logo GreenGeeks Standard $3.95
Bluehost Bluehost Standard Shared $2.95
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. SiteGround
  2. InMotion Hosting
  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.

485 Comments

  1. BobWP

    Hey Ryan, this was a great post and comparison. And I appreciate it that you didn’t mix and match shared with managed hosting, as that’s the old apples and oranges comparison.

    Have use InMotion for my shared hosting options for clients primarily for a few years. Glad to see them in the finals. Cheers!

  2. joe greenidge

    Hi Ryan

    Great article. Why don’t you do one on Managed wordpress hostings like wp engine, pagely, wpoven, flywheel etc.

    Thanks and looking forward to reading more great articles from you
    Joe

  3. John S

    Hey Ryan,

    Great article, thanks! Have you ever done a comparison using GoDaddy’s dedicated WordPress hosting, instead of their Deluxe Shared hosting environment?

    I’d be curious to know if it performs better (or not!).

    Thanks!

  4. Tim Keeley

    I have been using Siteground for over 2 years and I couldn’t be happier. The service, speed and options are outstanding. I would recommend them all day long!

  5. Julien

    Thanks for this great post ! I’ll be nice to calculate the global performance when you have 1000 users by days on your site during 30 days…

  6. Paul Kersbergen

    GoDaddy: Don’t get me started. Server response time of over 2 seconds (Often 3-4sec). Seriously, this really hurts my rankings. If i knew this in advance i would have chosen for another host. I need to move my site now unless i want to give my users a horrible user experience.

    Siteground; my mailservers have a downtime of over 10%….. My site is down about 2-3% of the time. I mean, it’s 2014, what’s wrong with these guys???

    I’m looking for a good, reliable host with ultrafast server response time and virtually no downtime. Anyone any advice?

  7. Jorge Diaz

    Hi, this is a very interesting post, I am looking for a hostign that has High WPperformance/accetable support and I found the Managed WordPress plans from GoDaddy and the difference in perfomance between GoDaddy and my previous hosting provider is really huge. So my point is that it would be really awesome if you try their managed WordPress hosting to see some changes.

  8. Sharanyan Sharma

    Eleven2 servers seems somehow ok! But their technicak knowledge and response speed is really worst. If you place any urgent support ticket then , that’s it! I never received any single response within less than 2 hours from then and resolution time not less than 1 day.

    I’m gonna try siteground and will post my review here soon . Btw, Appreciate your detailed review about best WP hosting providers.

  9. László Tavaszi

    Thanks for the great test! I’m so interested in Managed WP / Cloud WP / Managed VPS tests too for a larger site. Can you test hosts in Europe too please?

    1. WP Site Care

      Hey Mark, we have. But they don’t really fit in with this category of web hosts since they’re at a higher pricepoint, and are a different product really.

  10. Reginald Chan Xin Yon

    This is a good review to be honest. I have SiteGround and a premium WP hosting as well.

    Only one problem with SiteGround is that it doesn’t work well with MaxCDN. That’s rather annoying to be honest 🙂

    Other than that, everything seems to be pretty good and the support team are good too.

    1. Sam (@TipsOfTheScale)

      Been researching SiteGround, but I currently use MaxCDN, so this caught my attention. What were the issues, and have they been ironed out since your comment? Thanks in advance.

      1. WP Site Care

        I’d be interested to know as well. We’ve used MaxCDN with LOTS of providers, including SIteGround, with no issues at all.

  11. Dave

    Hostgator, Blue Host and Site ground are exactly the same company (EIG). I never been with site5 but I have been with EZPZ, Hostgator, blue host and after being tired of changing companies for downtime and slow websites. I researched and found mininimbus.com highly recommended. Very personal support!

    1. S.B. Pickering

      Not sure Siteground is an EIG company, but BlueHost and HostGator certainly are, along with perhaps 60 other lesser known hosts.

  12. Bryan Smith

    I’ve been with Godaddy for many years now and host multiple sites on a shared account. I have had more than 50 concurrent connections without any problems. I just had a problem once during peak times but that was caused due to load on all my sites. Called up support and they moved my account to a different server which resolved the problem. Good post but I disagree with Godaddy’s performance.

  13. Frederique Bros

    thank you so much for this useful article. I use Dreamhost for 2 business sites (and using WordPress) and I am quite disappointed with their speed performance (plus I paid extra money to have a vps server) no mention the hours I spend with their support. I am seriously thinking of changing the hosting of my sites. I will bookmark your page, many thanks. Which one would you recommend for a top performance?

  14. Vid-How

    Also will you be doing any test on 1&1 web hosting plans? They offer WordPress, they have some good price points, and the customer service has been excellent when I used them in the past…

  15. Vid-How

    You talked about speed and performance but didn’t mention anything about customer service. I’m currently using 247Zilla and even though they have everything I need in a shared hosting company, their customer services and technical support leaves more to be desired.

    There’s nothing more frustrating than not being able to get the job done because of hosting issues. Have you tested these sites from a customer service aspect?

  16. pcescato

    Well, you’re right, Siteground is very fast and very… even if they have a very good support for casual issues you can have hosting a wordpress website, I don’t recommend them if you need very advanced support: I just have a technical issue, and after asking them for a couple of day, the answer is the same: ‘This is not a common issue and it beyond the scope of our services’. even if they recognize that ‘it is clear that the issue is related to the functionality of the server.’

    So for advanced support, I can’t recommend Siteground.

  17. Fernando Scheps

    Thanks for these great tests. I love it and its very useful as I am changing hosting provider.

    For many years Ive used two providers: Dreamhost for linux (WordPress) hosting and AlpsHost reseller plan for Windows ASP hosting and a nice Webmail interface.

    Now its time to change, Dreamhost is pushing me to spend more and more money, already had to switch to a VPS and although I more than duplicated the assigned RAM they still ask me for more. I am moving out, downtimes have been crazy after they decided to migrate all my sites to another server and all they had to say about this was “Oh, maybe it was just a coincidence with the server change”. No coincidences here, 5 years working fine and now this? No way. Besides their support stinks bad, even if you ask for support with their highest possible priority they replied 3 days later.

    Now I am reading a lot of good reviews about Site5, I am about to open an account and test them.
    I still need an ASP host and I think I will test Arvixe.com services, anybody had any experiences with them?

    Thanks again for this great post!

    Fernando
    ITCentralPoint.com

  18. HeatherY

    Anxiously awaiting the managed host comparison. Is there an ETA?

    1. WP Site Care

      Hi Heather, we’re hoping very soon. The main reason we haven’t publish anything yet, is because there are so many variables that come into play, so giving a fair comparison across the board is extremely tough. There have also been some pretty significant changes in what hosts are offering lately too, so it’s the kind of thing where you have to benchmark, and then publish very soon thereafter for the content to be relevant. We’re anxious to publish it too!! 😀

  19. Chris Feix

    I think it’s shady at best to have a non-biased review only to link to the host sites via affiliate links. So you’re getting paid to send me to the hosts you reviewed? I’m guessing SiteGround pays the most for referrals.

    1. WP Site Care

      They actually don’t. You’re welcome to run the benchmarks yourself. You’ll find the results are completely unbiased. We had this post running for over 3 months with zero affiliate links, and a friend convinced me that it was a useful resource and that a few dollars in referrals was fair compensation for the amount of time and research I put into it. If I was trying to be shady, I’d just delete your comment and call it a day. Not my style…

      1. Chris Feix

        #1. While I appreciate the timeline of events, it seems your friend doesn’t seem to care about the ethics involved in reviewing services. In addition it also seems you are unaware of how this makes you look.

        #2. If I wanted to be shady I’d write a review of your review with screenshots of your affiliate links and a comparison chart of your “results” vs. who pays what for referrals.

        Thanks for the quick and appropriate response.

        PS: I don’t think you’re shady, just not totally transparent in your review.

      2. WP Site Care

        That’s fair. Still not sure why “results” is in quotation marks though. Do you think I’ve altered the outcomes somehow? The tests are linked to live results on loadimpact. I’m not really sure how I could skew the results… Like I mentioned, you’re welcome to purchase all of the hosting accounts and run the tests yourself. I think you’ll find the results are pretty consistent.

      3. Chris Feix

        I’m just saying the criterion for running a non-bias review is that you’re NOT IN ANY WAY partnered with, hired by, affiliated to, or getting paid by the subjects you are reviewing. It’s a business / journalist / science ethics thing.

        It’s like a politician saying, “Hey I know the gun lobbyists gave me money; but I really do believe in the right to bear arms and I have empirical data to prove it’s a good thing.”

        There are certainly hundreds of ways to skew results: Caching, CDN, minimalized CSS and JS, etc. You can install 100 plugins (even deactivated or unused, they can cause WP sites to grind to a halt.) I’m not accusing anyone of this; but these things are possible and there is motive if one wanted to get more referrals to say… SiteGround.

        That’s the very specific reason why legitimate reviewers (like let’s say Mashable) DO NOT get referral links back to the companies they review.

        I’m just saying that I would have NO DOUBT to the legitimacy of your claims if you would remove the affiliate links. Someone did a lot of hard work to get these results. Why negate them with horseplay?

        If you’re hard up for operational cash, put up a PayPal Donate button. I’ll be the first to send you $10. If I could trust your data it would save me a shit-ton of time and money.

        PS: Actually, we have run (and are running) similar tests on most of these hosts.

        Site5
        BlueHost
        GoDaddy
        MediaTemple
        Dreamhost
        HostGator
        1and1

        MediaTemple was the worst by far and only “coincidentally” ran fast when we called for support. We would see 2 days of timeouts, then place a support call and viola, within 5 minute we were at 2 sec.

        The second worst was 1and1. They would just lie to us like we were some grandma transferring from a Wix account.

        Anyway, this is good stuff. I just want to see it without the subterfuge.

        We are testing SiteGround now to see how they fair.

      4. WP Site Care

        Well. I’m definitely going to add a disclaimer. So you accomplished that.

        The data is real data though. I stand by it firmly. Look closely at the reports. The files are all exactly the same sizes and the exact same numbers of files on every single install. The tests were run exactly as described and I’d be happy to send you any type of proof you want (beyond the obvious raw data there).

        I also know we invested a lot more than a few hundred bucks into these benchmarks, so while I get your point about a donation button, if a “shit ton of time and money” is worth 10 bucks to you, and you’re probably one of the few that would give anything, that kind of proves the necessity for generating at least some revenue from these articles. I’ll update the site with an affiliate disclaimer.

      5. MikeSchinkel

        Hi Ryan,

        FWIW, reading your initial post a while back when I did, and all your follow up replies since then, it’s very clear to me that the data you are publishing is the most valid data you are aware of so if it helps to get someone else’s perspective, I have absolutely no issue with you putting affiliate links; I think you’ve earned them.

        -Mike

      6. WP Site Care

        Really appreciate that Mike. Chris did have a good point about the transparency though, so I’m going to make that adjustment.

      7. MikeSchinkel

        I was going to mention the transparency, but decided against it because I didn’t want to caveat the part when I said that I thought you had earned it. 🙂

      8. Chris Feix

        Thanks. Sorry to be a trouble-maker, especially since YOU went through all the trouble. I can tell you that we would’ve paid someone at least $2k to do this testing had we not already invested approx. $860 + $2k in man hours doing the same work.

        So I do understand and appreciate the need to earn from it. Hopefully it came from your marketing and R&D budgets respectively (as it should have). This testing will make you better consultants and give you better insights when serving your customers. Plus earn you some earned SEO thus increasing hits by qualified leads.

        I really wouldn’t have bothered saying anything but the affiliate link was from the best result. And I my “I don’t have to test SiteGround now!” buzz was crushed when I spotted it.

        Thanks again for not deleting my post. Kudos.

      9. MikeSchinkel

        Hi Chris,

        FWIW, SiteGound has recently started very actively promoting hosting directly to WordPress users by sponsoring WordPress conference like Pressnomics and I think numerous WordCamps. That doesn’t mean they are any good, but it does mean that are actively aware of WordPress as a market and so I think the chance they are doing a good job is reasonably high.

        OTOH, I’d really like to see Ryan review Pressable, Page.ly and WebSynthesis. I’d really like to know how they stack up.

      10. Chris Feix

        We’re firing up tonight. I’ll let you know how they do. I used to have my personal blog there in 2007. Had to move because they were over their head with custom WP site with custom posts and fields. Also CDN failed miserably.

        I’m excited to see how they so.

      11. Brian Warner

        The one thing I don’t like about this comparison is that it doesn’t use a consistent scale across companies, which gives the visual impression of higher times for extremely similar data. A2, InMotion, and Site5 could very easily be on the same scale of 3.00s max that the first few are on, which would make for a more consistent, fairer presentation of data.

        Plus, for all the issues people have had with GoDaddy, I don’t get your criticism of their DOS protection… Apparently it was a ton of traffic -from one IP-. It’s not about 25 separate users, it’s about one user that’s sending tons of resource-intensive requests trying to emulate 25 users. That sorta thing looks a LOT like a single-source low-level DOS attack. This is the first I’ve heard of LoadImpact so dunno how exactly they’re running their service, but that seems a completely rational explanation…

  20. Mary-Ellen McAllister

    Awesome article Ryan, I have several of the plans on hostgator for various purposes and have seen a drastic decline in service. I guess I will be moving over to one of your recommended hosts. Thanks so much.

  21. John Rogers

    This was a nice and thorough look at WordPress hosting. It would be nice to see a couple of other WordPress hosts like Nexcess and A2 Hosting on this list to see how they would have compared.

  22. Brettrospective

    This post is incredibly interesting and helpful! I found it interesting that with almost all of the hosts the first page load took longer than subsequent page loads. Is that an expected behavior for WordPress? And, if so, are there ways to diminish that initial page load time?

    1. WP Site Care

      Hey there, it’s not specifically a WordPress issue, but generally is caused by a couple of different factors. Domain latency, slow disk drives, limited CPU, and plugin bloat. You’ll see that with hosts that use SSD drives, that isn’t as noticeable. The best way to combat it is by 1) making sure you’re using fast DNS hosting. 2) Use a web host with SSD drives and decent CPU resources, and 3) caching.

      All that said, that latency is hardly noticeable for people surfing the web, but us performance junkies hate to see it 🙂

  23. Tricia Francis

    Timely article! So much is changing in the hosting world, and it’s become hard to know who to recommend to clients. I was with HostGator for eons, but since they were bought by EIG, they’ve gone downhill. I’ve worked with clients on many different servers and can definitely say stay away from EIG holdings, as listed here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Endurance_International_Group In fact, I’ve ranted about HostMonster. Buzz in the WordPress community seems to confirm my thinking… Recently GoDaddy has come out with a new WP offering, and I’d really like to hear from anyone that’s tried it. Buzz is their customer service has improved, but speed reports aren’t encouraging. WPEngine is most awesome, but expensive – especially for some of my mom-pop clients. So what’s the best option? Looking forward to your posts on customer service and other stuff.

    1. sivakumar

      I don’t know if the reply is too late. I currently host my wp blog on Godaddy. The website is fast and uptime is good too but their support sucks.

      They should train their support people first.

  24. John Peterson

    Also, I see alot of discussion around traffic and how the host wasn’t serving them well with the minuscule amount of traffic they were receiving. With shared hosting you really need to watch your resources too. Some WordPress installs are loaded up with every plugin under the moon. In this case, your RAM and CPU utilization can go through the roof. I recommend the P3 Plugin Performance Profiler and Debug Bar plugin to see how your site is doing. Recommend disabling it when not using. I’ll admit we’re a little plugin heavy with some of our sites. However, our clients typically use Managed WordPress Hosting (like wpEngine) or run on our Amazon servers. In this case, the servers can easily handle the extra functionality.

  25. John Peterson

    Fantastic article. I really like how you tried to eliminate all of the variables and you told us what you did to achieve this. Too many blog articles aren’t very scientific and only add to the confusion. I knew shared hosting was pretty bad in general, but I didn’t realize just how wide the difference in performance could be.

    1. WP Site Care

      Awesome! Glad it was useful for you John. These type of in depth, well researched articles are the type we like to read, so we like to publish them too 🙂

    1. WP Site Care

      Hi David,

      We have reviewed WP Engine’s performance, and it’s better than any of the hosts listed here. That said, it didn’t really fit in with this post since these are all shared hosting providers at lower price points.

  26. avgjoegeek

    Thanks for the post. I wouldn’t recommend any hosting company owned by EIG. Host Gator has tanked after they migrated their server to Provo,UT. I would love to move to a VPS or WP Engine but the prices to run are pretty extreme if your still not getting a steady income from your site to justify the costs.

    Price of doing business I guess.

    1. Mary Struck

      I agree. I switched from Siteground to Hostagator and now I wish I hadn’t. It’s gotten so slow it’s extremely annoying. Hostgator support tells me it’s my website, but I have a much more demanding WordPress site (with an older theme) still remaining on Siteground and it’s screaming fast.

      1. David Waters

        Mate… my sites have gotten slow and we are talking small themes, 15 pages. HG is bs in my books. Its really annoying and slow.

    2. David Waters

      I am here and currently use hostgator. Im finally coming to the conclusion its not the internet but hostgator that lags and runs slow.

  27. Sam Dreadthug

    I have hosted my site with bluehost. seems like i have made a close to good decision.

    1. texrat

      I’m not happy with bluehost for a key site, tarrantmakers.org. Having too much trouble trying to configure it for BuddyPress. I get over ten plugins and completely lose the ability to configure what I have or install more (404 issues emerge). No such problems at other sites where I run on 1and1. I’m going to try SiteGround for this one.

      1. texrat

        Thanks. Bluehost is drastically throttling PHP performance, and limiting our ability to work around it. NOT happy.

      2. Bartlett

        I am leaving BlueHost — downtime too frequent

      3. texrat

        Same here. I think we’ll be moving next month. Still trying to determine where. May not be Siteground.

  28. Danny Cruz

    Hi! Amazing post! I’m fed up with all the affiliate junk hosting recommendations! Just subscribed to the site and I’m waiting eagerly for the test on the specific hosts.

  29. Kerrie Redgate

    Very insightful, Ryan! Thank you for all your hard work on this. Must have been time-consuming to set this up. Really appreciate it.

  30. Leave Comments

    You need to redo this test. Bluehost, Hostgator, Small Orange, are all owned by EIG and almost all now moved to the crappy overcrowded Ace Data Center in Provo. HG wants all their accounts over there by Jan 2014. So those should all test out similar. And it will not be pretty. I just moved 100 reselller clients to Site5. But that has not gone so great either. I am having issues with load times and getting emails from clients about why their site is loading so slow. I am feeling pretty uptight about it. But it has only been 2-3 weeks and some of them had their DNS changed in the last 2-6 days so they may be having their own ip/dns issues. I will reserve judgement until more time has passed. Though the server I am on keeps showing a yellow check for load issues.
    I hope I do not have to move somewhere else. It has been hell to do.

  31. Sabih Ahmed

    Surprised that you didn’t count WPEngine in the performance test. It is among the best host available. Also, no sign of Zippykid and Payely? Another addition which you can add here is Cloudways.

  32. Brian Park

    Not hearing much discussion about MediaTemple? Are they not the first choice when considering WP hosting? Anything I should be aware for MediaTemple?

    Thank you
    Brian

    1. olivernielsen

      Media Temple (gs) is a good choice for WordPress hosting, but not the fastest around. Though not bad. Read a review on my site!

      =)
      Oliver

  33. 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 =)

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