Last Updated: August 15, 2022 - By: Brendan Tully, Principal Consultant
If you're on this page you already know fast, high quality hosting is important. You're probably like most people, when a website is slow to load you quickly lose patience and click away. Your own site is no different.
Through our agency we've have worked on 4000+ sites helping them with speed optimization, passing core web vitals and technical SEO.
In this post we'll share the fastest web hosting we've found and actually used. No filler, no fluff and no crappy hosts on the list purely because they've paid to be there like most other posts on this topic.
The FASTEST web hosting we've found, worldwide, after trying 100s of different hosts all across the web.
Here's the answer in a single sentence: Cloudways is hands-down the fastest web host on the internet right now.
They have a speed optimized server stack, Redis object caching out of the box, choice of cloud provider and 60+ locations, NVMe hard disk options (faster than standard SSD), high frequency CPUs (faster CPU cores) and (mostly) full control over the server and it's resources.
NOTE, it's not all upside here and there are some compromises such as OK-ish support & no resource partitioning on a single server. More details at the bottom of the post in the details section.
These are the hosts we typically recommend to clients, more details on each are further down in the post.
Most people choose a hosting provider based on price but when you care about performance, SEO rankings and having a site that makes money or generates leads that's a bad idea.
Not all hosts are the same and some sites will perform better on some hosts versus other - e.g. a host that might be great for an affiliate website might be horrible for a Woocommerce website
If you’ve done any searching around the web around website speed or fast Wordpress hosting you’ll see a bunch of scary stats thrown around. You’ll see things like “every 1 second of speed equates to 1% less conversion rate” and similar.
I don’t know how correct these numbers are, or the testing methodology being used but I’m guessing we can both agree faster websites=better, right?
There’s really no argument about whether speed is important, it’s even part of Google’s search algorithm, faster loading sites rank higher!
We've broken down the specifications and details on each host we recommend below.
If you scroll down further on this page we've explained the key features to look at when evaluating which host is right for you - take some time to dig into that list as often simple things like server location are completely neglected when it comes to choosing a fast host.
Siteground is a popular host and of this list is probably the best all rounder. In the past they were more of a cheap cpanel host but in 2020 moved to Google Cloud and now have a custom management panel.
It's a solid option if you're on a relatively tight budget and out of the box it's quite fast due to their "SuperCacher" feature.
Siteground is also a fantastic option if you have a lot of small sites or want a reseller option for running client sites. Once you start getting serious traffic numbers you probably want to start looking at using Cloudflare APO ($5/mo per site)
Click play on the audio below for a detailed SiteGround Review
More details at www.siteground.com
Cloudways is a bit different to most other providers in the market. In a nutshell you get dedicated server hosting without the complexity associated with running your own VPS or dedicated server.
They offer over 60 different locations with 5 different providers - Linode, Vultr, Digitalocean, Amazon and Google. (most providers only use one provider, eg Wpengine & Kinsta both use Google as their core provider).
Because it's highly configurable, scalable AND you get dedicated server resources, Cloudways is the fastest WP hosting provider on the web right now.
Click play on the audio below to hear a more detailed review on CloudWays/wp-content/uploads/Cloudways-review.mp3
Why they might be the best Wordpress hosting choice for you:
More details at www.cloudways.com
Fast WordPress host with edge caching from Cloudflare built right in!
More details at Rocket.net
Kinsta is very similar to WP Engine and also built on top of the Google Cloud platform. They're a managed Wordpress host, highly scalable and good for mid to large size sites.
Performance is similar to WPEngine and it's really the feature set that separates them.
More details at www.kinsta.com
WP Engine is one of the biggest managed WordPress hosts and was one of the first. This is a good option if you have a complex site and need staging and development environments, GIT integration and a more robust backend.
It's a lot more feature rich than some of the other hosts and the price tag reflects that. If you're budget sensitive then Cloudways may be a better option for you.
More details at www.wpengine.com
WPX Hosting provide managed WordPress hosting at a great price. Their WPX Cloud CDN service does something called Edge Caching so on some performance tests they'll score extremely high!
Their CDN essentially caches entire copies of webpages on the CDN nodes which can be a huge speed boost if you're targeting a global audience.
WPX is a fantastic option for blogs and content sites like affiliate sites that don't need huge amounts of processing power and are targeting a global audience. If you're running a site that does a lot of processing or a Woocommerce site with large amounts of traffic they're probably not the best option for you on this list.
Best Value Managed WP Host, Good For Small to Mid Size Sites
More details at www.wpxhosting.com
Unfortunately most people choose a hosting provider based on price which is not really the best way to do it.
Ultimately with hosting you get what you pay for. Cost is obviously one of the considerations to look at when choosing a provider but that's really only one element of many. On this page I’ve summarized the key features or things we look for when choosing a hosting provider.
Click play below to hear an audio walk-through and more in depth explanation of what you consider when choosing a provider. Alternatively click here for an MP3 audio or scroll down for a Youtube powered embed./wp-content/uploads/Fastest-Wordpress-Hosting-How-To-Choose-The-Right-Provider.mp3
Server location is key and poor location choice is a common problem we see. It's really important that you host in the geographic location that is closest to the majority of your visitors.
That means if you're an Australian company serving mostly Australian customers you need to host at a location in Australia. If you're a US company, then host in the US and a Europe based business then host in Europe.
Generally the site will run 0.5-1 second SLOWER when the visitor traffic has to cross an ocean so this is really important!
Not all providers offer hosting in all locations so before committing to a provider make sure the servers are located in the right location for your business.
**NOTE if you're serving an international audience then it's really important you use a content delivery network (CDN). A CDN is a distributed network of servers around the world that host your content that will reduce the impact geographic location has on speed. Most top tier hosts have CDN services built in.
Obviously if you're on this page you know that site speed is really important but most people overlook uptime and reliability which are arguably even more important, after all, if your site is down is effectively has zero speed!
Your hosting needs to be well matched to the number of visitors you’re expecting and the order volume you’re catering for. If your store revenue is in the millions then you’ll need a much larger server to suit.
Don't expect to run a high traffic site or a database heavy site on cheap hosting or a low end plan. Make sure the plan is matches to the traffic level you're expect.
Sidenote: we use tools.pingdom.com to test website speed. In a perfect world your site should be loading in under 1 second (where the load begins to feel instant). We also use uptimerobot.com to monitor site uptime.
What is your support expectation?
At some point you’re going to need support. Do you expect to be able to call your provider when the site is down? Do you expect them to be able to help with general technical problems that aren't strictly related to hosting? Being clear with what your expectation is up front is really important.
You're not going to get a high level of support paying a few bucks a month - it's just not commercially feasible. Make sure you factor in the level of support you want when choosing a plan.
If you’re a larger store doing millions in revenue you’ll ideally need your own dedicated Wordpress dev resources on top of what the hosting provider offers.
Your website CMS is no different to your smartphone or laptop. It needs regular patches and updates to ensure bugs are taken care of and security holes are patched.
Some hosting providers offer patching as part of their service, others expect you to take care of it. Bottom line, patching needs to be done by someone!
Most hosting plans will offer roughly the same specs and features but often there are some subtle differences. Some important elements often missed are backup systems, support and storage space. We've provided more on this page below.
Features that are worth considering are:
Free SSL Certificates - all good hosts offer free SSL certificates and SSL/HTTPS is standard across the web now. Any host you’re looking at should support free SSL certs.
HTTP2 protocol support - this is an important speed consideration. A host that doesn’t support HTTP2 is not running updated servers and should be avoided.
PHP 7.X support - your host at a minimum should support PHP v7.0 and ideally the newer v7.1 and 7.2. The PHP version your hosting instances are running can have a dramatic impact on site speed. Newer versions run faster.
Number of Wordpress instances or domains supported - how many sites do you want to run on the plan? Some providers give you one instance, some a handful and some unlimited.
Storage and Disk Space - how much disk space are you going to need? Most sites aren’t actually that big, 10-20gb is usually plenty for even larger sites.
Traffic Quota - how much traffic or quota do you need for your site? Some hosts charge on raw gigabytes or terabytes transferred, some on actual visitors.
Backups - this is probably one of the most important features so we’ve expanded further in the point below.
CPanel - Cpanel is a hosting management console. Some hosts use/provide Cpanel and some use different management interfaces. This really shouldn’t be much of a consideration because all admin panels allow you to do roughly the same thing but for some people this is important.
MySQL server version support - v5.7 is the latest version of SQL server, the database server Wordpress uses. v5.7 can be significantly faster than v5.6 for *some* types of sites so if you’re interested in absolute maximum performance this is important.
What is your backup strategy? There’s so much digital capital tied up in your website that it’s critical that you at least have some backup system in place taking daily backups.
On bigger sites ideally you’ll need to look at realtime or near realtime backup solutions where the site is backed up upon every change or on an hourly basis.
With backups there's a saying, 2 is 1 and 1 is none. What's the is implying is that it's not wise to rely solely on one backup system.
With ALL our SEO agency clients we run two backup systems - usually the hosting the site is on has a backup and then we generally use Blogvault on top of the hosting backup.
Blogvault is by far our favourite backup solution as it has a realtime option where changes are backed up on the site as they happen (perfect for Woocommerce) AND they specifically tell you which files and database tables are not being backed up.
We've used pretty much every major backup plugin on the markup - Backup Buddy, Vaultpress, Updraft, BackWPUp and a bunch of others - Blogvault is really the only one we trust.
It's not good enough to solely rely on the hosting provider's backup as problems and data loss DO happen. Even a moderately successful website will have 100s if not 1000s of hours invested in it along with SEO rankings and optimizations - most businesses today simply cannot afford data loss so at less than 10 bucks a month for the base plan there's really no excuse.
There's lots of different ways to test site speed and lots of tools on the market - try https://SiteSpeedBot.com - it'll give you detailed recommendations on where your site speed is right now and how to improve it.
Like I said at the top, you get what you pay for when it comes to hosting. You simply cannot expect a quality hosting service when you’re paying a few bucks a month.
These hosts are known to be slow hosts and should be avoided if speed is your top priority:
Bluehost, Godaddy, Hostgator, any hosting company owned by EIG, Dreamhost, A2 Hosting, Site5, iPage, 1&1 Hosting.
These guys all run a business model that is based on price being the key feature. In order to give you that $3/month hosting plan they run their servers to the absolute limit, don't keep infrastructure up to date and provide poor quality support. Avoid them if speed is important. If price is an important concern, Siteground and Cloudways are both fast and dirt cheap.
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