Which Is The Best WordPress Hosting? 7 Hosts – 6 Ruthless Tests

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Choosing the best WordPress hosting for your site is critical.

And the most important thing you need to consider is…

How fast it is!


Because if your website loads slowly, you will suffer from-

  • Lower search engine rankings
  • Higher bounce rates
  • Lower page view numbers
  • Lower conversion rates

And last but not least…


Your websites speed is critical to the bottom line of your business.

And all of that starts by making sure you choose the best WordPress hosting for you.

PRO TIP: With WordPress hosting- “best” does not mean “most expensive”

Keep reading and you’ll understand exactly what I mean…

Because the tests below will help you save $1,080 this year.

Which Is The Best WordPress Hosting?

Choosing the best WordPress hosting is easy.

You want to make sure that the host you choose-

  • Is super fast on the front and back end
  • Loads your website quickly globally
  • Takes security seriously (automatic backups & SSL)
  • Offers great support
  • Provides value for money

The problem is, that is much easier said than done.

So to find out who really offers the best WordPress hosting…

I setup 18 test blogs across 7 popular managed WordPress hosting providers.

And then I ran 6 tests across each of those 18 blogs-

  1. Speed of loading from different locations around the world
  2. Ability to cope with a plugin-heavy WP blog
  3. Ability to handle a heavy simultaneous traffic load
  4. How each hosts hardware benchmarks
  5. Support speed & quality
  6. Value for money (very surprising result!)

who is the best wordpress host?

Note: I chose the cheapest plan with multiple sites. Cheaper plans are available.
  1. Kinsta – Who are the current host of this blog
  • Cost: 2 websites, $60 monthly, $600 annually
  • CDN: Yes – KeyCDN included
  • WPX Hosting – The previous host of this blog before Kinsta
    • Cost: 5 websites, $24.99 monthly, $249.99 annually
    • CDN: Yes – WPX Cloud included
  • WP Engine – My host before WPX Hosting (it wasn’t great)
    • Cost: 5 websites, $115 monthly, $1150 annually
    • CDN: Yes – MaxCDN>Stackpath included
  • SiteGround – Specifically their managed WordPress hosting option
    • Cost: unlimited website, normally $19.95 monthly, $239.40 annually
    • CDN: No – Free CloudFlare recommended
  • Hostgator – The managed WordPress Hosting package
    • Cost: 3 websites, $27.95 monthly, $335.40 annually
    • CDN: No – Free CloudFlare recommended
  • Liquid Web – Again, their managed WordPress hosting offering
    • Cost: 10 websites, $99 monthly, $1,188 annually
    • CDN: No – Free CloudFlare recommended
  • Amazon EC2 – Not a managed WordPress host, but a DIY wildcard alternative
    • Cost: Unlimited websites, $14.99 monthly, $179.88 annually
    • CDN: No – Free CloudFlare recommended

    So with
    WPEngine & LiquidWeb being the most expensive

     of all of them by a long way.

    You would expect them to be the clear winners…



    Not even close.

    How I Tested WordPress Hosting Speed

    I setup a total of 18 test sites across each of the 7 hosts.

    Hosts that included a CDN as part of their package had 2 sites installed on them (WPXHosting, Kinsta & WP Engine).

    Hosts that ask you to use a free CDN like CloudFlare had 3 sites installed on them (Siteground, Hostgator, Amazon EC2 & LiquidWeb).

    All of the sites are hosted in the USA.

    Then I created 3 different types of blog on 1 host and cloned that across each host using this plugin–

    Blog Type #1
    Image Heavy

    Cronus Theme
    11 photos
    2,000 words

    Blog Type #2
    Plugin Heavy

    Cronus Theme
    30 plugins
    No text/images

    Blog Type #3

    Blog Type #1
    Plus Free CloudFlare CDN

    And to help make things a little easier for you…

    You can see the live versions of all of test blogs below-


    • Blog Type 1 (image heavy)
    • Blog Type 2 (plugin heavy)
    • Blog Type 3 (type 1 + Cloudflare)


    • Blog Type 1 (image heavy)
    • Blog Type 2 (plugin heavy)
    • Blog Type 3 (type 1 + Cloudflare)


    • Blog Type 1 (image heavy)
    • Blog Type 2 (plugin heavy)
    • Blog Type 3 (type 1 + Cloudflare)

    Amazon EC2

    • Blog Type 1 (image heavy)
    • Blog Type 2 (plugin heavy)
    • Blog Type 3 (type 1 + Cloudflare)
    WPX Hosting

    • Blog Type 1 (image heavy)
    • Blog Type 2 (plugin heavy)


    • Blog Type 1 (image heavy)
    • Blog Type 2 (plugin heavy)

    WP Engine

    • Blog Type 1 (image heavy)
    • Blog Type 2 (plugin heavy)

    Feel free to click through to any of them and run your own tests!

    But if you’re too lazy to do that…

    Here are the results of my 6 tests-

    Test #1 – Image Heavy Site Loading Speed

    In this test:

    I took the Blog Type 1 (image heavy) install for each host and ran it through GTMetrix twice.

    Often a sites content is cached on the hosting server and CDN.

    So I ran 2 passes of GTMetrix to make sure all caches were primed.

    Then I tested each site from 7 global locations and averaged out the results.

    This is what it looks like-

    Wordpress hosting speed test results

    Test #1 Conclusions

     The clear winner here is WPX Hosting. 

    But it’s fair to say that all of the hosts performed within acceptable levels in Canada and North America (except for Amazon EC2).

    It’s only when you start taking a global look at things do you see dramatic differences in the load times.

    But having globally fast loading times is critical in the modern economy.

    Test #2 – Plugin Heavy Site Loading Speed

    A plugin heavy site can cause huge problems when it comes to load times.

    And it’s easy to get carried away!

    This blog has 56 active plugins at the time of writing-

    56 active plugins on the blog

    And plugins can have such a big impact on load time…

    WP Engine maintains a list of plugins that are banned on their platform.

    So for the Blog Type 2 (plugin heavy) installs, I installed 30 popular plugins with no other content whatsoever.

    This test is different because we are testing the computing power of the host, rather than the speed of delivering static image files.

    Then I tested each plugin heavy install from 7 global locations & averaged out the results-

    wordpress hosting plugin speed test results

    Test #2 Conclusions

    Like the first test,
    WPX Hosting is the winner here.

    Although it is a marginal win over WP Engine.

    It’s worth bearing in mind that the tested page had absolutely zero content.

    And the slower hosts seem to have started choking with the higher number of requests.

    Test #3 – WordPress Performance Tester Benchmarks

    The WordPress Performance Tester plugin is specifically designed to stress test WordPress hosting servers.

    It does that by running a number of tests-

    • Math – 100,000 math function tests
    • String Manipulation – 100,000 string manipulation tests
    • Loops – 1,000,000 loop iterations
    • Conditionals – 1,000,000 conditional logic checks
    • MySql – basic mysql functions and 1,000,000 ENCODE() iterations
    • $wpdb – 250 insert, select, update and delete operations

    And then outputs 2 performance metrics-

    •  Execution Time 

        – how long it took to do all of those tests (lower is better)

    •  Queries Per Second 

        – how many queries per second processed (higher is better)

    I ran each of the Blog Type 1 (image heavy) installs for each host through the plugin.

    And these were the results…

    wordpress hosting benchmark test results

    Test #3 Conclusion

    As you can see
    2x of the more budget friendly hosts WPX Hosting & Siteground performed incredibly well here.

    But interestingly:

     The more expensive hosts like Kinsta, LiquidWeb and WP Engine failed to perform. 

    That is the exact opposite of what I would expect to happen…

    You would think those extra $$$ translate into better hosting hardware and setups!

    But the data is telling a different story.

    Test #4 – Load Impact

    Next I wanted to know:

    How would each host perform under stress from 500 simultaneous visitors?

    However I had a huge problem:

    Most hosts automatically block tests like this because it reseambles a DDOS attack.

    But it was critical

     that I conducted anonymous testing because I didn’t want the hosts to know I was testing them.

    So I created a new page on each Blog Type 1 (image heavy) install with 1,000 words-

    • WPX Hosting – https://hostingtest1.space/load-impact/
    • WP Engine – https://hostingtest3.space/load-impact/
    • Kinsta – https://hostingtest5.space/load-impact/
    • SiteGround – https://hostingtest7.space/load-impact/
    • Hostgator – https://hostingtest10.space/load-impact/
    • Amazon – https://hostingtest13.space/load-impact/
    • Liquid Web – https://hostingtest16.space/load-impact/

    Then I set Load Impact to work by sending 500 simulated visitors to load each page on each host.

    This is how it played out-

    wordpress hosting loadimpact test results

    Test #4 Conclusion

    From the tests I was able to complete-

     WPX Hosting was the hands down winner here

      – it wasn’t even close.

    And although WPEngine, Amazon and LiquidWeb were slower…

    They did not collapse under the testing and remained online.

    As for the other hosts I had problems testing with-

    • Kinsta – LoadImpact was reporting a problem with overloaded Amazon VPS’s
    • SiteGround – Either the hosting failed or they automatically blocked LoadImpact
    • HostGator – Fell down during testing , the site went offline with a 503 error

    And while I would have loved to get a result for them…

    It would have brought attention to my testing & I wanted to test anonymously.

    Perhaps in the future I will be able to run this test again for the missing hosts.

    Test #5 – Hosting Support

    Speed of your website is one thing.

     But speed (and quality) of support is another. 

    And given that the tested hosts are self proclaimed “WordPress Experts”

    I wanted to put that to the test.

    So I opened an identical support ticket with each host to see-

    1. How long it took to respond
    2. If they would fix the problem for me

    Here is the support ticket I sent to each host-

    Hi Support,

    I am not a very technical person and need help with the setup of this redirect on my site hosted with you thanks:

    hostingtest2.space – all pages except hostingtest2.space/wp-admin

    to redirect to


    Thanks in advance.


    It’s not a super easy problem to fix…

    But it’s not super difficult either.

    Any WordPress expert should be able to tackle it.

    In my opinion the easiest way to solve this problem is with a .htaccess edit like this-

    RewriteEngine On
    RewriteCond %{REQUEST_URI} !^(/wp-admin|.wp-login.php.) [NC]
    RewriteRule (.*) http:/hostingtest3.space//$1 [R=301,L]


    There is always more than one way to skin a cat!

    Test #5 Conclusion

    As expected –
     the test results varied wildly here. 

    Some hosts took full control and deployed a solution on my behalf…

    Where as others… didn’t.

    Here is how they performed-

    Wordpress hosting support test results

     Kinsta, LiquidWeb & WPXHosting solved the problem successfully. 

    And out of those 3-

    It was WPXhosting that solved the problem the quickest and with minimum fuss.


     WPEngine & SiteGround seriously fell short here 

    Their “WordPress experts” were not able to solve the problem.

    Test #6 – The Free CloudFlare CDN

    4x of the hosts I tested
     did not include any kind of CDN-

    1. SiteGround
    2. LiquidWeb
    3. HostGator
    4. Amazon EC2

    And it is common advice for hosting companies to recommend you setup the free version of the CloudFlare CDN.

    Supposedly this will help increase site speed.

    But is that really true?

    To find out I cloned the Blog Type 1 (image heavy) install to a new domain on each host and then activated the free CloudFlare CDN-


    • No CDN
    • Free CloudFlare CDN


    • No CDN
    • Free CloudFlare CDN
    Amazon EC2

    • No CDN
    • Free CloudFlare CDN


    • No CDN
    • Free CloudFlare CDN

    Then I tested each of these installs with GTMetrix from 7 different global locations.

    And the results were very interesting…

    WordPress Hosting Features Compared

    So far we have focused purely on speed, reliabiliy and support.

    But what about other hosting features…

    wordpress hosting features compared

    As you can see:

    There really isn’t that much difference between them on the face of it…

    Except for price!

    It’s only with the nitty gritty testing that you see huge differences in quality of service.

    The Worst Things About Each Host

    Regardless of which host you look at, each of them have their own cons.

    The best wordpress hosting for me, isn’t necessarily the best WordPress hosting for you.

    For example:

    WPX Hosting is clearly the fastest, but if you need phone support…

    They aren’t right for you.

    So here is what I didn’t like about each of the managed WordPress hosting options-

    WP Engine

    • They are the most expensive
    • +$10/month for UK hosting
    • No email support – additional costs with Google Apps etc
    • Long banned plugins list
    • Majority owned by GoDaddy’s owner
    • Poor ratings & very bad experience

    WPX Hosting

    • No phone support
    • No Git support
    • Servers are only available in USA and UK
    • Back end control panel could be easier to use


    • Terrible trust score
    • No CDN on base plan
    • No free SSLs, only paid
    • No staging area
    • Long list of banned plugins
    • Automatic backups are a paid upgrade
    • Terrible loading speed from non-US locations (see above tests)

    Liquid Web

    • Very expensive
    • Not exactly the quickest based on my testing
    • No CDN on base plan (but free Cloudflare CDN worked best of tested hosts here)
    • No free email, costs $10 monthly extra + $1-$3 per email address
    • No discounts for annual subscription

    • No phone support
    • Expensive for multiple websites
    • No email support – additional costs with Google Apps etc
    • List of banned plugins
    • No live chat for pre-sales questions
    • No free migration on the base plan


    • Pricing virtually triples in year 2
    • No staging area on base plan
    • After first month, no monthly payment option
    • No real CDN on base plan (free Cloudflare doesn’t count)


    • Not really a WordPress host
    • You need to configure everything
    • Very technical, requires command line
    • No CDN
    • No automatic backups
    • Support is for their hardware only
    • No cost saving reason to choose Amazon over dedicated WP hosts

    Wrapping It Up

    While it is usually true that “you get what you pay for” in life..

    That isn’t true when it comes to choosing the best wordpress hosting.

    WP Engine ($115/mo) & Liquid Web ($99/mo) are the most expensive but also failed to perform.

    HostGator were also consistently poor.

    That leaves SiteGround, Kinsta and WPX Hosting to consider.

    Kinsta and WPX Hosting performed consistently faster than Siteground.

    But Siteground did hold steady throughout all of my testing.

    I suspect if you added a quality CDN to SiteGround rather than the free CloudFlare suggestion they would perform much better.

    But that’s an extra cost and Kinsta & WPX Hosting already include good CDNs for free.

    So if I was going to rank them…

    The Best WordPress Hosting Is…

    1. WPX Hosting – Cheap but also the fastest with the best support
    2. Kinsta – Solid performance, fantastic support & the current host of this blog
    3. SiteGround – Budget friendly and fast but support was lacking

    best wordpress hosting final test results

    The great irony of these results is that…

    WPX Hosting used to host this blog (I famously ditched WPEngine for them).

    Then 2 years ago…

    I moved the blogs hosting over to Kinsta because I needed-

    • A server level backup/restore system
    • A staging area
    • Access to new technologies like HHVM (which is now deceased)


    Since I moved this blog to Kinsta…

    The WPX Hosting team have added a bunch of new features such as-

    1. Their own backup/restore system
    2. A staging area
    3. A free custom CDN called “WPX Cloud”

    In fact I still have 9 sites hosted with WPX Hosting including my SEO agency site and my black friday deals site (neither of which have WPX Cloud activated right now).

    Where as Kinsta are currently hosting this blog and my SEO course.

    But as they say:

    The proof is in the pudding.

    Save 95% With WPXHosting This Black Friday

    Get instant access to all of the best Black Friday deals this year including a whopping 95% discount from the winner of this test – WPXHosting!

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    And based on all of my testing and personal experiences…

     The best WordPress hosting is WPX Hosting 

    (assuming you don’t need phone support)

    And remember this:

    A faster website will result in-

    • Higher search engine rankings
    • Lower bounce rates
    • Higher page view numbers
    • Higher conversion rates

    And most importantly…


    So don’t waste your time and money with a slower host.

    Who do you think the best WordPress host is right now?

    I would love to know!

    Which Is The Best WordPress Hosting? 7 Hosts – 6 Ruthless Tests was originally published on Matthew Woodward

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