According to Google, “more than half of visits are abandoned if a mobile page takes over 3 seconds to load”. This is why the tech giant applied page speed as a ranking factor in mobile searches as early as July 2018. You may be wondering: why does this matter for my business? Well, according to Google:
Advertising and speed go hand in hand, with faster landing pages delivering better ROI.
Google equates low speed scores to a “huge missed opportunity”, since when users encounter slow websites “they’re much less likely to find what they are looking for or purchase from you in the future.”
This is one of the major reasons to go with a provider that can guarantee you the fastest WordPress hosting possible. For agencies—and businesses in general, the “missed opportunity” Google warns about can be the difference between winning or losing over your competitors, or even staying afloat.
Fully Automated WordPress Hosting
Test 10Web for free, and enjoy all the benefits of a secure Google Cloud Partner hosting.
Fully Automated WordPress Hosting
Test 10Web for free, and enjoy all the benefits of a secure Google Cloud Partner hosting.
With so many hosting providers out there promising you the world—and then some, it can be difficult sifting through them all to choose the best option for your business. So, we decided to do the work for you. We put on our detective hat, did lots of digging, and looked into the top 5 hosting providers on the market. We bought subscriptions to every single one of them in order to compare them on 9 different factors important to speed, and have outlined all the facts for you in this comprehensive guide.
We kept this guide as neutral as possible to avoid any bias. We bought subscriptions to every single hosting provider, used the exact same layout for the testing website and the same plugins/additions, and if something was not clear, we reached out to the relevant hosting provider’s customer service.
Before we get started, let’s familiarize the players, plans, and pricing* we’ll be looking at in this comparison:
- 10Web: A disruptive newcomer to the world of WordPress managed hosting, offering an AI WordPress Platform. We tested the Personal Plan for $10/month.
- WP Engine: The veteran of managed WordPress hostings: it has been around for quite a long time and is one of the most popular managed hostings. We tested the Startup Plan for $20/month.
- GoDaddy: An attractive option for beginners and website managers with a modest budget, with the biggest market share for hosting. We tested the Basic Managed WordPress Hosting plan for $6.99/month.
- Bluehost: A very affordable shared WordPress hosting plan, with some nice features included. We tested the Basic Web Hosting plan for $8.99/month.
- DreamHost: A popular option offering a variety of hosting plans, some shared, some dedicated, and DreamPress, the premium WordPress-specific managed one. We tested the Shared Starter hosting plan for $2.95/month.
*pricing may include promotions or discounts available at the time of purchase
With the introductions made, take a look under our magnifying glass so you can be equipped with the knowledge necessary in choosing the perfect fit for your business!
Which hosting provider has the best isolated architecture?
The type of hosting your host provides will make a huge difference for your website. Let’s briefly go over the notable features of the 4 main types of hosting, and for more information you can check out this comparison.
- Shared WordPress hosting: The server that hosts your website is shared between multiple websites. It means the resources are shared with “neighbors”. Can result in poor security, bad neighborhood drawbacks, low speed, lack of customer support.
- Managed WordPress hosting: Managed hosting is the hosting model where the provider offers all hosting management services for the customer. Typically this type of hosting has architecture built on cloud where each site is isolated in some kind of containerized environment. A great upgrade from shared WordPress hosting.
- VPS WordPress hosting: VPS divides one physical server into many virtual servers. As you are virtually isolated from other users, there is more of a security guarantee, but of course at a much higher price. Typically, this is unmanaged hosting.
- Dedicated WordPress hosting: Dedicated hosting is the type of hosting where you get your own physically separate servers to use. This type of solution usually works best for eCommerce stores and larger businesses. Great for security, but tends to be very expensive and you are responsible for everything, as typically this is again unmanaged hosting.
While these are the most common hosting options, there is a newer one that’s important to mention, especially as one of our hosts offers it. Considered to be the superior managed hosting alternative, automated WordPress hosting has all the benefits of its predecessor (including price), but includes the automation of key processes.
10Web is an AI WordPress Platform, and through the automation of key web development processes such as migration, backup, speed and SEO optimization, website building, etc., makes website building and hosting simpler and faster than ever before. 10Web has its entire infrastructure on Google Cloud Platform and uses Linux containers for infrastructure to provide complete isolated and scalable environments for each hosted website. The platform’s built-in Speed Optimization service ensures a super-fast website load and high PageSpeed score automatically.
With WP Engine, we tested the basic plan that offered managed WordPress hosting and learned that WP Engine has their entire infrastructure on Google Cloud Platform and uses Docker for containerization.
The situation was a little confusing with GoDaddy. They offer both managed and shared plans, with the plan we opted for offering managed WordPress hosting. However, when we asked their support team, we were told that the managed WordPress hosting plan comes under the shared hosting environment, despite our account stating we had managed WordPress hosting. We found this to be very unclear and misleading.
Bluehost offers shared hosting, WordPress hosting, VPS hosting, dedicated hosting, and WooCommerce hosting. The plan we went with offered shared hosting.
Dreamhost has plans with managed, shared and VPS hosting. The plan we tested offered shared hosting.
Which hosting provider has the best caching solution?
Caching is a technique that allows you to store the result of a long-running task in a fast access memory, and then reuse that result without actually doing the task. This results in that cached content being displayed much faster when compared to content that’s loaded directly from the server. Caching can be performed in different stages of a running web application, so every stage is called a cache layer. It’s a technique that can highly improve your website’s performance, so it’s definitely an important factor to consider. In this department, you should pay close attention to speed, customization options, and whether or not caching is part of the overall hosting plan. Let’s see how our different hosts compare.
10Web has 4-layer caching, and utilizes Nginx FastCGI, one of the fastest caching layers in the market. 10Web Cache is very easy to use, and is available in both the WordPress admin dashboard, and in the 10Web dashboard. You can customize caching, control which pages get cached, enable or disable caching of your website, and also clear all cache when needed. 10Web Cache also automatically detects dynamic pages (like those using WooCommerce) and does not cache them.
WP Engine servers do employ extensive caching by default, with different levels. These levels include: Page Cache, Network Caches, CDN Cache, Advanced Network Cache, GES Cache, Object Cache, and Browser Cache. Unfortunately, with WP Engine, caching cannot be fully disabled on any website (including a website’s homepage) as this will negatively impact the overall site’s performance.
With GoDaddy, there is something called a Flush cache, which clears existing website cache, but there are no built-in cache options for the existing hosting plans as they are. Instead you would need to buy both a hosting plan and a separate website security plan to have the following four cache options.
- Enabled: Static websites, no dynamic content, and infrequent updates.
- Minimal caching: News portal, blogs, or sites with content updated daily and no user sessions.
- Site caching: eCommerce, forums, membership sites, and custom applications.
- Disabled: Non-public facing websites or websites using external CDNs.
Whichever level you end up choosing, static files will be cached for 3 days.
Bluehost offers 3 different caching options to choose from for your hosting plan:
- Assets Only: Cache static assets like images and the appearance of your site for 1 hour. Recommended for eCommerce and sites that update frequently or display info in real-time.
- Assets & Web Pages: Cache static assets for 24 hours and web pages for 2 hours. Recommended for blogs, educational sites, and sites that update at least weekly.
- Assets & Web Pages – Extended: Cache static assets for 1 week and web pages for 8 hours. Recommended for portfolios, brochure sites, and sites that update monthly or less often.
DreamHost’s hosting plan does include built-in server caching. For it to work, however, the user would need to install the Proxy Cache Purge plugin. To check if a specific page is cached, the user would need to check each individual page from the WordPress dashboard one by one. If a page is not caching, DreamHost has a ‘Check Caching’ option that can shed light on what can be checked in order to potentially resolve the issue.
Which hosting provider has a better backup solution?
Did you know that 60% of backups are incomplete, and 50% of backup restores fail all together? To put these stats even more into perspective, consider the fact that 20% of all small businesses get hacked at least once a year, and every 5 years 20% of small to medium sized businesses suffer major disasters that result in the loss of critical data. Not very comforting, we know. But the truth is, no matter how much time you’ve spent on creating a stunning and user-friendly website for your business, it won’t matter if you don’t have a great backup solution.
What we’re specifically looking for in this category is a combination of:
- Functionality: A backup solution has to copy your website data and store it safely on cloud. Sounds simple enough, but considering the above stats it’s definitely something to pay attention to.
- Reliability: Your website must be easily restored, and your backup solution should never miss a scheduled backup.
- Storage: You need enough storage space so you can have as many copies as you need. Additionally, a great backup solution should use a method that minimizes use of storage space and provides plenty of options when it comes to backup format.
- Automation: The option to automate the scheduling of backups on a daily, weekly, monthly, or real-time basis.
All of these components get the job done effectively so you can continue bringing in clients and customers, with no catastrophes lurking in the background.
10Web’s Backup Service is part of their hosting plan, and enables you to schedule automatic backups starting from Monthly backups to Real-Time backups. 10Web also uses differential backup, backing up only the changes made after the last backup to save time and space. Both the backup and restoration process are swift, so you can immediately get back to what matters.
10Web provides free cloud storage in Amazon S3…and the 10GB SSD included in your plan is just for the site itself—you get an additional 20GB for backups. From all the hosts in this list, 10Web is the only one that provides separate backup storage. 10Web also gives you the freedom to choose whether you want to perform a full backup, or backup the database and files separately.
10Web’s Backup Service is an integrated solution, meaning it is already optimized to perform in conjunction with the platform itself. This means there will be no effect on the speed of your website.
WP Engine offers both automated and manual backup options. It also allows users to restore a backup to another environment. What this means is that you can restore the backup of the live environment in staging, which is a pretty unique feature. WP Engine’s plan has a combined 10GB of storage for backup and site use, with no separate quota alloted.
GoDaddy offers manual backups for their shared hosting plans, and automatic backups for their managed WordPress hosting plans. A user can choose to backup a file, folder, or an entire database, with the backups being retained for 30 days. This allows for the restoration of a site to the state of any day with a successful backup during the last 30 days. GoDaddy offers 30GB SSD storage combined for both backup and site use, with no separate quota allotted.
Bluehost was an interesting experience. The hosting provider encourages users to run periodic backups through the provided cPanel, storing the backups off-site on a user’s own local system. They place the onus on the user to download a backup before it is overwritten, which is a maximum of 30 days. More importantly, the hosting plan we used (Basic Web Hosting) did not even include a backup solution. In order to backup, the website owner needs to buy Bluehost’s suggested plugin or use another 3rd party service.
DreamHost does not offer a built-in backup solution as part of its plans. Instead, it provides 3 restore points:
- Get the most recent backup: usually 1 hour to 1 day old.
- Get a mid-range backup: usually 1 day to 2 weeks old.
- Get the oldest backup: usually 2 weeks old or more.
They have the option to backup the entire DreamHost account, including all FTP users and databases.
Which hosting provider is the most scalable?
For every business owner, scalability must remain a priority when choosing a hosting provider. When your business grows, your website needs to be able to accommodate that newfound growth and traffic. So when you commit to a hosting plan, that means also committing to their specific bandwidth and storage limitations. And if your website experiences a sudden surge, that same hosting provider will either give your website wings to rise above through scalability (usually at an additional cost), or hold it back, resulting in downtime or loss of speed. Let’s take a look at how our 5 hosts perform in this area.
With 10Web, you don’t need to worry about downtime or loss of speed, as the platform uses elastic scaling. This means there are no hard limitations set. The additional costs related to scalability are miniscule—especially when looking at how much more storage and how many more visitors they provide:
- Visitor overage: For every 10,000 additional visitors you’ll only be charged an extra $2 at the end of the billing month.
- Storage overage: Your SSD storage is limited depending on your plan – from 5GB to 50GBs website storage.
- 5GB extra SSD storage: This will cost an additional $2 a month.
- 20GB extra backup storage: This will cost an additional $2 a month.
An important distinction to note: out of all the tested providers, only 10Web provides additional website and backup storage.
WP Engine’s Managed WordPress Plan includes 25,000 visits/month, 10GB storage, and 50GB bandwidth/month. For every additional 1000 visitors, the host charges a small overage of $1. However, when speaking with the customer support representative, they did warn that this additional traffic could affect the website’s performance. There is no option here for extra storage, and instead you would be required to upgrade to a higher plan to have the option.
With GoDaddy’s VPS (Virtual Private Server) plans the traffic limit is dependent on the RAM, as well as other factors. The first option can handle up to 1000 visits/day, while the last one can support 20,000—or even up to 35,000/day. With the Basic Managed WordPress plan, the allowance is 25K monthly visitors. If there is an increase to this number, we were informed by their support agent that the website will become extremely slow, and that the best option would be to upgrade to a higher plan. There is also no option to buy additional storage without upgrading your plan.
We tested out Bluehost’s functionalities through their Basic Shared Hosting plan. Bluehost does not have a traffic limit on any of their hosting plans, whether they be shared, VPS or dedicated. The VPS and Dedicated Hosting plans are specifically designed to handle high volumes of traffic, but websites on the Shared Hosting plans may suffer significantly when traffic rises, as Bluehost is not known for its scalability features. Considering this, Bluehost could be an option to consider if a user knows exactly what resources their website will require monthly.
DreamHost’s different plans offer different types of options for scalability. Their VPS plans, for example, are much more scalable as they offer unmetered bandwidth and unlimited traffic for all plans. However, websites with many monthly visitors on their shared hosting plans are much slower, according to reports and reviews. We did test out the service through the Shared Starter plan, and did find the website loaded much slower when there were many monthly visitors.
Which hosting provider has the latest PHP configs?
PHP is the open source web server programming language in which WordPress is written. It’s an important factor to keep in mind, especially as there are so many different versions available. Your hosting provider should be offering you the latest version, which is very fast and secure.
10Web offers the both the latest versions of PHP (currently 8.0) and older versions with the following configurations:
- The default post_max_size is 128MB.
- The default size limit for uploading files is 128MB.
- The default memory limit is 256M.
- The default execution time is 300 seconds.
With 10Web, you can pick your PHP version from the 10Web dashboard with a single click. If you want to increase the configs, 10Web does so based on your needs.
WP Engine also provides users with the latest versions of PHP. In their case:
- The default maximum upload file size for sites is 50MB (or 1MB for multisite networks).
- The default WordPress Memory Limit is 40MB for a single site, or 64MB for a Multisite network.
- Default max_execution_time for scripts is set to 60 seconds. This setting can only be decreased, and cannot be increased.
GoDaddy offers version support for PHP 7.3, 7.2, 7.1, 7.0, 5.6, 5.5, and:
- By default GoDaddy web hosting limits the file size that can be uploaded to 20mb.
- By default GoDaddy’s hosting plan PHP memory limit is 64MB.
- The default execution time is 120 seconds.
Bluehost’s supported PHP versions are 7.0, 7.1, 7.2, or 7.3, and:
- The default size limit for uploading files is 50MB.
- The default PHP Memory Limit on the server is 256M.
- The default execution time is 30 seconds.
- The post_max_size is 516M.
DreamHost offers PHP 7 and 8 running as a CGI or FastCGI application, and:
- The default size limit for uploading files is 64MB.
- The default memory limit is 256M.
- The default execution time is 30 seconds.
Which hosting provider has the best hardware resources (RAM, SSD)?
Unless your website doesn’t utilize a content management system and only delivers static HTML pages, it is important to take note of your hosting provider’s hardware resources. SSD storage allows your website to load noticeably faster as data transfer can occur almost instantaneously. RAM temporarily stores data and execution instructions so that they can be transferred to the CPU more rapidly, making the quantity of RAM important.
With 10Web’s Personal Plan, you get 10GB SSD storage. With the Premium Plan, the amount is 15GB SSD storage, and with the Agency Plan it is increased to 50GB SSD storage. It’s important to note that the SSD amounts mentioned are just for website storage, and don’t include backups (you get an additional 20GB for backups). Hardware resources (RAM/CPU) are allocated to each site container automatically by our virtual machines on an as-needed basis. 10Web’s RAM is 1GB and also a separate swap file storage is available.
WP Engine 10GB SSD storage. We could not find information about the RAM or CPU.
GoDaddy’s RAM is 512MB for the entire shared server and the SSD storage is 10GB.
Bluehost offers 50GB SSD storage, and when we asked a support agent about RAM, they told us “in shared hosting there is no concept of a dedicated RAM for a given website, CPU and SSD is 50GB for a Basic Plan.” However, they did not provide the values of RAM of a shared server or how many websites there are on a single server.
With DreamHost, as we tested the Shared Starter plan, we had to speak with a support specialist, who let us know RAM and CPU are only visible in VPS hosting plans. They offer unlimited disk storage and bandwidth on shared hosting, but on managed hosting plans they offer 30GB SSD storage.
Which hosting provider has the most data center locations?
Your website’s data has to travel from a data center in order to appear in a visitor’s browser. If your hosting provider only has a couple of data centers that are not close to your target audience, it will add to your website’s load time—and can really frustrate your clients. Remember what Google says about users abandoning websites after 3 seconds? Hosting providers should instead have many strategically located data centers around the world, so the data won’t have to travel far, thus improving website speed and the overall user experience. Let’s see what our 5 contenders offer in this regard.
10Web has 12 data centers spread out across the globe:
- Moncks Corner, South Carolina
- St. Ghislain, Belgium
- The Dalles, Oregon
- Changhua County, U.S.A.
- Ashburn, Northern Virginia
- Council Bluffs, Iowa
- Frankfurt, Germany
- Los Angeles, California
- London, England
- Mumbai, India
- Eemshaven, Netherlands
- Sydney, Australia
WP Engine Has both Google Cloud (11) and Amazon Web Servers (9).
- South Carolina
GoDaddy has 9 data centers:
- Phoenix, Arizona (USA) – GoDaddy owned data center
- Scottsdale (USA)
- Mesa (USA)
- Los Angeles(USA)
- Chicago (USA)
- Ashburn (USA)
- Virginia (USA)
- Amsterdam (Europe)
- Singapore (Asia)
Bluehost has 6 data centers:
- Provo, Utah
- Orem, Utah
- Mumbai, India
- London, UK
- Hong Kong, China
- Shanghai, Mainland China
Dreamhost has 2 data centers, located on each coast in the USA.
Which hosting provider provides the highest desktop score?
This category speaks for itself, as we know how important speed is to Google. And before you ask “but what about mobile?”…that’s right up next.
Let’s take a look at how Google categorizes PageSpeed scores:
- 1-49 (over 4 seconds): slow
- 50-89 (2.5 to 4 seconds): average, needs improvement
- 90-100 (under 2.5 seconds): fast
To be as precise here as possible, the number you’ll see is the score after installing the exact same plugins on all of the websites and making the same modifications. We added NextGen Gallery plugin for images, Ewww Image Optimizer for image optimization, Form Maker plugin for the contact form, and a security plugin. The website uses the Astra theme and has five pages.
With all this in mind, let’s see how each one of our hosts did.
- 10Web PageSpeed Score: 100
- WP Engine PageSpeed Score: 85
- GoDaddy PageSpeed Score: 72
- Bluehost PageSpeed Score: 79
- DreamHost PageSpeed Score: 73
Which hosting provider provides the highest mobile score?
All right, it’s the one you’ve all been waiting for. With so many people using mobile to peruse websites nowadays, it is imperative to provide a smooth—and of course, fast—experience for your potential customers. We tested the scores here the same way we did with desktop, to be as thorough as possible. How did our hosts do in this final category? Let’s find out.
- 10Web PageSpeed Score: 100
- WP Engine PageSpeed Score: 56
- GoDaddy PageSpeed Score: 53
- Bluehost PageSpeed Score: 49
- DreamHost PageSpeed Score: 55
And the winner is…
Now that we’ve analyzed 10Web, WP Engine, GoDaddy, Bluehost, and DreamHost as thoroughly as possible, we can confidently use the data and results learned to determine the winner. Here are the 9 different categories we compared all our hosts on, just as a refresher:
- Which hosting provider has the best isolated architecture?
- Which hosting provider has the best caching solution?
- Which hosting provider has a better backup solution?
- Which hosting provider is the most scalable?
- Which hosting provider has the latest PHP configs?
- Which hosting provider has the best hardware resources (RAM, CPU, SSD)?
- Which hosting provider has the most data center locations?
- Which hosting provider provides the highest desktop score?
- Which hosting provider provides the highest mobile score?
So, which host came out on top to win the title of the fastest WordPress hosting? We think it’s a pretty obvious choice at this point, but a little suspense never hurt anyone.
Drum roll please…
And the winner is…10Web! 10Web’s Automated WordPress Platform beats the 4 other contenders out of the park on the different categories. With its automated 90+ PageSpeed score for both mobile and desktop, it really should have come as no surprise. The platform is built with agencies and businesses in mind, who require guaranteed speed for both themselves and their clients. 10Web is truly a much-needed upgrade from managed WordPress hosting, but—and this is the real shocker, at the same price point!
We want you to try out the platform for yourself to really experience the 10Web standard. You can test out all of the different categories we mentioned in this guide, as well as all the other perks we offer when you sign up for our FREE trial—no credit required. See what 10Web’s automation and need for speed can do for your business!
Thanks for reading and as always, let us know your thoughts below!
How do I test my website speed?
When it comes to website speed testing, you have multiple options. One very commonly used one is Google’s PageSpeed Insights (PSI). It gives you a comprehensive analysis of your website’s performance both on mobile and desktop, as well as recommendations as to how you can improve your PageSpeed score.
Given that Google is the most used search engine worldwide, we highly recommend relying on their PSI report. This is why we at 10Web have created a WordPress Speed Optimization page powered by Google PageSpeed Insights.
With just one single click you’ll get an analysis of your Google PageSpeed score, as well as an optimized copy of your website. Feel free to take a look and let us know if you’re happy with your results.
Does my WordPress hosting data center location matter?
Yes, and crucially so! The location of your server’s data center can significantly impact your website’s speed. The logic behind this is pretty simple: The further away your server is from the majority of its users, the longer it will take for data to be transferred.
For a user to be able to access your website, their computer will have to correspond to your server in order for the data to be transferred from your server to their computer. Now if this user is far away from your server, this could have serious consequences for your website’s latency.
This being said, of course, it’s hard to accurately anticipate from which corner of the world your visitors will be coming. Nevertheless, you should have a rough idea of who your target audience is. This goes especially for websites that are targeting local or regional markets.
Which is the fastest web hosting provider?
Based on our test results, it’s safe to say that you’ll get the fastest web hosting for WordPress with 10Web. Not only do we have all the mentioned features that a hosting provider should have to be able to ensure fast performance, we also held up on our promise to provide a PageSpeed score of 90+ automatically. When it comes to speed, 10Web has managed to clearly stand out from the crowd as the fastest hosting provider for a WordPress site.