How do you know you’ll get the features, performance and support you need to run your WordPress website? How do you separate the quality hosting providers from the subpar? With so many alternatives, how do you ensure you get real value for your money?
We’re here to help. In our article The Ultimate Guide to Choosing a Hosting Provider we created a series of checklists to help you make an informed decision. In this article we take things one step further. We take five of the best hosting companies out there and run each one through the checklists so you can see how they compare.
Here are the five companies and how they describe themselves:
- Bluehost: “Our mission: to empower people to fully harness the web.”
- DreamHost: “We focus on successful sites for web designers, developers, bloggers and online business.”
- SiteGround: “Web hosting is our craft. Latest speed technologies are our passion. Unique security solutions are our specialty. Amazing technical support is our pride.”
- Flywheel: “Beautiful WordPress hosting and management built for designers and agencies.”
- WP Engine: “WP Engine provides best-in-class customer service on top of innovation-driven technology.”
Not all of these companies are alike. We’re not just comparing apples with apples—because maybe you don’t need an apple. As we work through the checklists, we hope you get a clearer idea of what type of company will best meet your needs.
The first three offer shared hosting with strong WordPress options, giving you lots of configuration at a low price. The last two focus solely on low-maintenance WordPress hosting, but at a higher price. You’ll see the differences that makes as we work through the checklists below.
1. Speed & Performance
Your first priority should be to make sure your website will load quickly. The use of SSDs for storage, support for the new HTTP/2 protocol and having servers on multiple continents can shave seconds off your load times. In addition, options for content delivery networks and caching can speed your site even further.
In a thorough WordPress hosting comparison, DesignBombs tested for performance. They used both LoadImpact and Pingdom to test load times for four of our sites. Here are the results:
- WP Engine: 260 ms (LoadImpact), 350 ms (Pingdom)
- SiteGround: 400 ms (LoadImpact, after caching), 942 ms (Pingdom)
- Bluehost: 640 ms (LoadImpact), 2794 ms (Pingdom)
- Flywheel: 1000 ms (LoadImpact), 1580 (Pingdom)
SiteGround is certainly a contender for performance. They have data centers across three continents, excellent performance-related features, and detail their hardware and infrastructure upgrades on their blog.
WP Engine has even better load times, though at a higher price. Their Professional plan (and above) have excellent performance features, though not as many as SiteGround.
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