You know it yourself, when a website is slow to load you quickly lose patience and click away. Your own site is no different, right?
We've tried 100s over different hosting providers over the years. In this post I’ll share the best and fastest Wordpress hosts we've found for Australia and why we use them.
Since we started in 2008, we have worked with over 2000 businesses and used a huge number of different hosting companies over the years. These are the few we use ourselves, trust and recommend to clients on a daily basis.
The BEST & FASTEST Australian-based WordPress hosting providers we've found after trying 100s of different hosts all across the web.
These are the hosts we typically recommend to clients, more details on each one further down the page.
Most people choose a hosting provider based on price but when you care about performance, SEO, Facebook and Google Ads, that’s a bad idea. If you’re on this page I’m guessing you’re not looking for the cheapest you’re looking for the best right?
A VERY common mistake Australian business owners make is choosing hosting based out of the US or internationally when their target audience is Australia. If website speed is important to you (which it should be!) you ideally want a hosting provider located in the same country as your visitors or target market.
Other hosts commonly recommended but no-so-fast:
Our Recommendation Criteria:
These are the hosts we'd recommend if we were sitting down in person with you or on a call. In our SEO agency we've optimized thousands of sites and have a deep understanding of hosting speed, reliability and what's good and bad.
If you're interested in optimizing your site further, try our FREE site speed test tool SiteSpeedBot.com. In about 90 seconds it'll give you detailed site speed & SEO recommendations most other tools won't!
The criteria that is most important to us when recommending a host are:
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.
Excellent general purpose host, supports more than just WordPress. Not recommended for larger sites.
Click play on the audio below to hear a more in depth review of SiteGround
More details at www.siteground.com
The Best Small Business & Wocommerce WordPress host in Australia, fast with maintenance & seo tools built in, free migration and basic manual speed optimisation included.
More details at www.wpalpha.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 in depth review/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
Highly Scalable, Managed WP Host, Great For Mid Size Sites
More details at www.kinsta.com
Best & World's Leading Fully Managed WP Host ,Fantastic For Complex Sites & Woocommerce Although A Little More Expensive
More details at www.wpengine.com
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. Below 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.
Choosing a hosting location in Australia is a bit different to most countries because of how spread out we are.
The map below is taken from https://www.submarinecablemap.com/ and details the major subsea internet links in Australia.
Based on this map, if you're looking to serve a mostly Australian audience generally you'll get the best result hosting from Sydney where the bulk of the population is located AND where most of the international links start from.
If you're looking to serve a Perth only audience or a mix of international AND Australian visitors you'd probably be best off hosting in Singapore where there's excellent global connectivity along with excellent connectivity to Australia.
**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. We explain this in more detail on the page below. Bottom line, don't use price as your primary way to decide on which hosting provider is best for you.
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 are lots of different speed test tools on the market. We recommend you use the free tool at SiteSpeedBot.com. It takes less than 60 seconds to test your site and it will give you detailed, plain english recommendations on how to speed up your site.
One powerful feature that most other tools are lacking is the test history. The tool retains a history of the tests you've run on a domain so you can see the impact that improvements you make have on your site speed.
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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