Statistics last updated November, 2018
The Fastest Web Hosts Revealed
The results for the fastest web host are in! I analyzed 30 of the most popular shared web hosts in the world, testing over a 2-week period at 15-minute check intervals, producing over 40,000 speed tests run. These are real web performance tests, where the testing system downloaded the full web page from within a real Chrome browser. This means the response times are very accurate to how real users will experience your website on the particular web host.
The fastest 3 web hosts are:
- Bluehost @ 758 ms average load time.
- HostGator @ 1.09 s average load time.
- GoDaddy @ 1.28 s average load time.
Each of these 3 web hosts offer fantastic performance for the price, making them an affordable solution to hosting a fast website. The average load times of all 30 web hosts was 2.72 seconds, Bluehost being the fastest at 758 ms, while the slowest web hosts tested came in at the 5-6 second range – ouch! Read on to learn why website speed matters, understand the testing methodology used, and see the full results of the 30 web hosts tested.
The Winners – Top 3 Fastest Web Hosts
All 3 of these fastest web hosts is a great option. They’re all under $3/month for the introductory plans and terms, offering great performance for the price. You really can’t go wrong with any of them.
Bluehost has been crowned the fastest web host for 2018, and rightfully so! They rank among the 20 largest web hosts in the world, steadily growing their client base year-over-year on their famed shared web hosting platform. Bluehost offers what I consider to be the best shared hosting plan on the market, with a great interface, simple setup to get online in no time, and consistently fast performance to back it all up. I’ve personally hosted dozens upon dozens of websites on Bluehost, and honestly would recommend them to anyone – my friend, family, and of course, all of you! They are a phenomenal web hosting platform.
Bluehost Basic Plan: Starting at $2.95/month (renewing at $7.99/month), Bluehost offers 50 GB in SSD storage, unmetered bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, 1 domain, 5 parked domains, up to 25 sub domains, and 5 email accounts. Sign up today and see why Bluehost is the best web host out there!
HostGator is a major rival to the other hosts presented, and their performance and shared host offering goes head-to-head with GoDaddy and Bluehost. The main reason I would select HostGator is if I planned to expand to VPS hosting, as HostGator has superior VPS performance to GoDaddy and Bluehost, as revealed below in the fastest VPS test. Their hosting plans are similar to Bluehost, but Bluehost edges them out in speed, ease-of-use, and support, as seen in Bluehost vs HostGator head-to-head.
HostGator Hatchling Plan: Starting at $2.75/month (renewing at $6.95/month) you get unmetered bandwidth, a free SSL certificate, an outstandingly reliable 99.9% uptime guarantee, and SSL certification, and unlimited email addresses. Thinking you’ll need to scale to a VPS solution? Consider HostGator as an alternative to Bluehost.
GoDaddy is one of the most well-known web hosts and domain registrars worldwide. They have made a name for themselves in the small business hosting world, with packages and plans that cater to startups and established businesses alike. To-date, GoDaddy has 18-million customers worldwide, and counting, with over 77-million domain names under management. In 2005 GoDaddy became the world’s largest domain name registrar, and just recently in 2018, GoDaddy became the world’s largest web host. To get that many customers, you need a great product that people love. GoDaddy has accomplished this, with consistently fast hosting, outstanding support, and a very user-friendly bundled product line.
GoDaddy Economy Plan: Starting at $2.49/month (renewing at $7.99/month), GoDaddy offers award-winning support, 100 GB in storage, unmetered bandwidth, and free business email for your first year and a free domain if you sign up with an annual plan. If you’re looking for an all-in-one solution to make things a bit simpler, signup for GoDaddy.
Website Speed is Everything
First impressions are everything, and in today’s speed driven world, your website page load times matter. How long do you wait for a website to load before you get frustrated? At what point do you leave a website due to speed and performance issues, and visit a competitor with better response times? Consider these sobering statistics:
- A 1 second delay in website speed decreases customer satisfaction by 16%.
- A 1 second delay can result in a 7% reduction in conversions.
- 47% of consumers expect a website to load in 2 seconds or less.
So how fast does your website load? Is your web host slowing you down? Could switching to a faster hosting company increase customer satisfaction, getting you more conversions and putting more money in your pocket?
Web Hosting Speed is the New Standard
Just a few years ago uptime and reliability of a hosting company was the key metric to make your purchasing decision on. Today, almost every web host has some kind of SLA uptime guarantee; typically boasting a 99% uptime statistic. How fast your website loads is not only important for customer satisfaction and to protect your conversions and website revenue, but it’s essential for rankings in Google as well. Since 2010 Google has made it very clear that website speed is a key factor in web search rankings. There is no denying that website speed matters.
Who is the fastest web host?
One of the most common questions I receive is which is the fastest web host? If you review the marketing materials from any particular web host, they’ll boast about their network speeds, SSD drive performance, and server CPU processing power. But, as we all know, you shouldn’t take their word for it! So I rolled up my sleeves and gave it a good ole independent third-party analysis to determine once and for all, who is the fastest web hosting provider of 2018?
To kick off this performance review I compiled a list of the most popular shared web hosting companies and narrowed them down to the top 30 web hosting providers on the market today. I then determined a testing methodology to determine who is the fastest web host.
The Testing Methodology
I used Dotcom-Monitor, a popular website monitoring platform, and analyzed all 30 web hosts using a full-page download in the latest version of the Chrome browser. This synthetic method of testing collected end user analytics of page speed and performance, from multiple locations around the world. Diagnostic alerts were set up so I could analyze both the network and the webpage code to determine the culprit of any outages or slowdowns that might occur during the 2-weeks of testing.
In addition to simple page load speed, I tracked slow and missing elements, and any performance bottlenecks, then analyzed the data via waterfall charts and element level drilldown reports generated by Dotcom-Monitor.
Dotcom-Monitor also has a number of DNS configuration options for monitoring. I chose TTL Cached DNS resolution mode†, as it best emulates a real user’s experience.
I determined that a 2-week testing period would be sufficient, and setup monitoring at a 15-minute monitoring interval for this time period. This generated over 1,300 checks per website on each web host – totaling over 40,000 speed tests run. This data was then averaged out to give the load times of each web host.
Top 30 Fastest Web Hosting Companies
The average load time of each web host across the geographically distributed testing locations is summarized below:
|Web Host||Avg Response Time (seconds)‡|
|Web Hosting Geeks||3.33|
|A Small Orange||3.36|
|Web Hosting Hub||5.73|
Finding the Fastest Shared Hosting Provider
There are many types of web hosts out there, including shared, VPS, cloud, and dedicated hosts. For this test, I took the top shared hosting providers, as the majority of the hosting market is made up of shared web hosts. A shared web hosting service runs multiple websites from the same web server. This is often the most affordable way to host a website. However, cheaper shared hosting options often run into performance issues, resulting in a slow website. To address the issue, I began testing to find the fastest web host in the shared market. To learn more about shared hosting, visit our shared hosting page. If you’re looking to level up from shared hosting, the next best thing is a VPS. See who wins out as the fastest VPS in the test results below.
Fastest VPS Hosting
A Virtual Private Server (VPS) is a virtual server sold by a web hosting company that can host a website, web application, or essentially any software than can run on the operating system (OS) used by that virtual machine. VPS hosting is similar to dedicated hosting, but is defined by software, rather than a being defined by a physical server. Generally speaking, virtual servers are significantly easier to create and manage vs dedicated hosting servers. VPS hosting is typically much faster than shared hosting, offering more resource allocation and less performance constraints imposed by other subscribers on the same hosting server.
I applied the same analysis to 10 of the top VPS hosting providers, and found the following results:
The average of the 10 VPS hosting companies was 1.59 seconds, almost 42% faster than the shared hosting results. The webpages tested on both shared and VPS hosts was very lightweight, so the discrepancy between the shared and VPS hosting options is most likely even more, given a heavier website receiving regular traffic or application under heavier load such as a shopping cart during a holiday season promotion. It was interesting to note that the discount VPS hosting providers had limited bandwidth and resulted in slower load times than many of the shared hosts tested. You do get what you pay for here.
Fastest VPS – Liquid Web
Given the collected VPS performance data, Liquid Web was the clear winner as fastest VPS web host, and is my #1 recommended VPS solution, for more than just their speed.
USA Support: Liquid Web is based in Lansing Michigan, which is where they run most of their support from. This means real, USA support reps who work for Liquid Web corporate, not some offshore contractors with limited access to the server infrastructure.
Superior Datacenters: Liquid Web’s datacenters are located in Lansing, MI (US-Central), Phoenix, AZ (US-West), and Amsterdam, NL (EU-Central). They have over 25,000 servers in their data centers, powering over 30,000 customers. These core data centers are privately owned and operated, with 24/7/365 Level 3 technicians on-site to fix any problems fast. This is a huge value ad over other shared hosts and discount VPS providers that lease server space from a public data center. No sharing bandwidth with other companies – Liquid Web controls 100% of the throughput from their Tier-1 lines into their private datacenters.
Enterprise Grade Security: Beyond the motion detecting security cameras and reinforced concrete monitored by contracted security personnel, Liquid Web is HITECH Certified, offering HIPAA compliance. Their network configurations and technical security is far superior to other VPS providers I’ve used, offering peace of mind for hosting any sensitive data.
However, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, Liquid Web is the most expensive VPS host listed in this test. While it is for good reason – they’re simply the best and fastest VPS out there – they may stretch your budget a little too far, especially if you’re just getting started with VPS hosting. If this is the case, I encourage you to learn more about VPS hosting here.
Cloud hosting, also known as cloud computing, is a shared hosting environment in which server resources can be provisioned on-demand. This enables users to scale server resources as traffic to their website increases, or as strain on their web application increases server load. Cloud hosting is typically used by enterprises to build scalable web applications with minimal IT infrastructure and expense at the startup. Cloud hosts are extremely fast, as they utilize massive resources distributed on a large scale. Learn more about cloud hosting providers.
Dedicated hosting allows for a website owner to rent an entire server, without the need to share resources with anyone else. This enables full control over the operating system, hardware, and utilization of resources, resulting in a high level of customization and optimization for your website. This can result in blazing speeds, if the server is properly provisioned to your needs. Dedicated hosting, however, is often very expensive, and thus is typically reserved for large organizations with high traffic to their website. Learn more about dedicated hosting solutions.
WordPress is by far the most popular website framework, with over 60 million websites running the platform today. While nearly every shared hosting provider can easily be configured to host a WordPress website, the performance of your website on the shared system may vary. There are several great hosting companies that specialize in WordPress hosting, with their servers configured to provide the fastest web hosting for WordPress websites. The main benefit of these hosting servies is out-of-the-box performance with premium support, so you can easily get your WordPress website online, serving fast, optimized pages to your visitors. Learn more about managed WordPress hosting.
Fastest WordPress Host – WP Engine
By far, the fastest website hosting for WordPress I have ever come across with WP Engine. They offer enterprise-grade hosting, fully managed and optimized for the WordPress framework. They hold partnerships with Amazon Web Services (AWS) and Google Cloud Platform (GCP) which provide ridiculously fast and highly scalable hosting platform. WP Engine has top-of-the-line security, which alerts in real-time of any threats. Their proprietary caching system, EverCache, operates in tandem with a worldwide Content Delivery Network (CDN) to maintain their performance, 24/7 from anywhere your site is access in the world. Their Texas, USA based support is top of the line as well.
WP Engine Startup Plan: Starting at $35/month, you’ll get ridiculously fast WordPress hosting suitable for around 25,000 website visits per month, 50 GB of bandwidth, CDN & SSL support, free migrations from another web host, and proprietary page performance tests and optimization suggestions.
If you have the budget for WP Engine I would 100% recommend them to host your WordPress website, but if $35/month is stretching your funds, then I’d recommend beginning with a cheaper shared hosting option: GoDaddy, Bluehost, or HostGator, as outlined above in the fastest host results.
† ^ TTL Cached means NS cache formed during monitoring of preceding tasks (device cache) will initially be used for monitoring. If the device cache does not have the needed address, then an automatic inquiry for the address with be conducted from the local DNS server.
‡ ^You may notice that several other web hosting review sites out there show significantly lower response times of the same web hosts, vs my results. This is because they are testing server response time, which is essentially just a ping of the web server. This ping test measures the time it takes for the message to be sent from the original host to the destination server, and back again. Google defines the optimal ping response time to be 200 ms or below, but this is just one small part of a web server’s performance. This metric may be important for Googlebot, but it doesn’t capture any real sense of true user experience. For example, you could have a web host located close to the testing host, which returns an extremely fast ping time. However, the server could be running older hardware with outdated software, resulting in very slow website page load times to the end user. The server could initialize the connection very quickly but load a website very slowly for the end user. For the purposes of this testing an analysis, I utilized full page download from within a real web browser (Chrome), so the results are calculated on “real world” response times – just as your website visitors would experience your website on the given host. In my opinion this response time in a real browser matters significantly more than a server to server ping test (and I’m sure your website visitors would agree!).
* ^Keep in mind some of these VPS hosting prices are promotional introductory rates. Be sure to check the fine print of the cheaper options to properly understand the promotion terms, and your effective renewal rate after the discount period has passed.
** ^InMotion hosting has a very unique method of allocating virtual CPUs. They dynamically distribute load across unlocked CPU cores, resulting in faster simultaneous processing vs a 1 or 2 core CPU setup.
*** ^Both OVH and 1&1 offer very low bandwidth throughput, as compared to other top VPS hosts. If you are looking to get started with a cheap VPS, they are the recommended option, however performance may in fact be worse than most of the shared hosting options outlined above in this article.
1. ^ gomez.com, akamai.com, neilpatel.com
2. ^ https://webmasters.googleblog.com/2010/04/using-site-speed-in-web-search-ranking.html
3. ^ https://developers.google.com/speed/docs/insights/Server