On the hunt for the fastest WordPress hosting provider to serve up your WordPress site?
You’ve probably heard about the importance of making your website load fast. It makes your visitors happier; it helps with SEO…it’s just generally really important.
And while yeah, there are all kinds of WordPress performance tips you can implement to make your site load faster, your site’s hosting is always going to play one of the biggest roles in how quickly your site loads (especially if you’ve already optimized the other stuff).
To help you find the fastest WordPress host provider that also matches your budget, we went hands-on with eight popular WordPress hosts and ran real speed tests. The end goal of this post is to help you find a host that can offer you the performance you want, at the price you want.
You’re probably here for the hard data, so we’ll start by sharing all the data in an easy-to-compare table format.
Then, we’ll dig into each host in more detail and also share some tips for finding the fastest WordPress hosting for your specific needs.
The Fastest WordPress Hosting providers: What the Data Says
If you just want the absolute fastest WordPress hosts based on our testing, here are our three recommendations based on their speed, price, and features (full data and more info below):
|Host||Starting Price||Load Time|
|Kinsta||$30 per month||1.43 s|
|WPX Hosting||$25 per month||1.46 s|
|Cloudways||$10 per month|
Now let’s dig in!
To find the fastest WordPress hosting, we set up a real test site at every single one of the hosts on this list. Then, we ran our test sites through a duo of speed testing tools:
Below the table, we’ll explain what each metric actually means, as well as how we set up our test site:
|Host||Starting Price (per month)||Load Time (WPT)||TTFB (WPT)|
|Kinsta||$30.00||1.43 s||0.099 s|
|WPX Hosting||$24.90||1.46 s||0.108 s|
|Cloudways||$10.00||1.52 s||0.115 s|
|Flywheel||$15.00||1.52 s||0.057 s|
|WP Engine||$30.00||1.54 s||0.115 s|
|InMotion Hosting||$5.99||1.57 s||0.116 s|
|DreamHost||$16.95||1.61 s||0.250 s|
|SiteGround||$6.99||1.80 s||0.511 s|
- Performed in the top two in that category
- The two cheapest options
Performance Metrics Explained
To collect the WebPageTest data, we used a simple desktop test from Chicago, Illinois with a native traffic connection. We collected two metrics:
- Load Time (Document Complete) – this is what most people think of as a website being “fully loaded”. According to the WebPageTest documentation, it’s “the time from when the user started navigating to the page until the Document Complete event (usually when all of the page content has loaded)”.
- Time to First Byte – this how long it takes for the first bit from your server to arrive. It shows how responsive a host’s server is.
We configured WebPageTest to run nine separate tests and take the median value, which should eliminate single-test variance. That is, all of the data in the table above is the median result from nine different tests.
WebPageTest data is valuable, but it only gives the load times for a single “visitor”. However, in the real world, your site will have more than one visitor at the same time.
Because of that, it’s important that your host can load your site just as fast for the 50th visitor as it does for the first one.
That’s where the BlazeMeter data comes in. BlazeMeter simulates 50 “people” visiting your site at the same time. That way, you can see how each host performs under scale.
Here are the details for our BlazeMeter tests:
- Test location: Virginia, USA
- Visitors: 50
- Duration: 5 minutes
- Ramp up steps: Visitors increase every minute, starting from zero and building up to 50 active visitors for the last minute.
We’ll share the BlazeMeter chart for each host below. One thing to keep in mind, however, is that most managed WordPress hosts implement some type of firewall/DDoS protection, so some hosts blocked some of the requests in our test.
If you see a high error rate in the BlazeMeter charts, this is the result of an overactive firewall, not necessarily poor performance.
How Our Test Site Was Set Up
To simulate a real site and create a consistent test case, we used the lightweight Airi theme and one of its importable Elementor demo sites.
So, our “full” test site includes:
- The Airi theme as the base
- A homepage design built with the Elementor page builder
Here’s the exact Airi demo site that we’re using.
Fastest WordPress Hosting: Compared in More Detail
Now that you have a good idea of how each host performs in objective speed tests, let’s take a deeper look at their features as well as Load Impact data to see how they stood up under scale.
- Plan Tested: Starter
- Load Time: 1.432 s
- Time to First Byte: 0.099 s
- Starting price/mo: $30
Kinsta is a popular cloud-managed WordPress host that uses the Google Cloud Platform to help you host your WordPress site. Kinsta also layers on its own optimized tech stack with Nginx, server-level caching via Fast_CGI, and other enhancements.
In addition to offering stellar performance, Kinsta has one of the best looking hosting dashboards out there, as well as lots of convenient features like:
- Automatic daily backups
- Easy staging sites
- Free SSL certificate and one-click install
- Firewalls/malware scans
- A free hack-fix guarantee if something gets through
You also get some nice value-adds, such as the addition of a CDN and premium DNS services at no extra cost.
Kinsta’s plans start at $30 per month for a single website.
2. WPX Hosting
- Plan Tested: Business
- Load Time: 1.463 s
- Time to First Byte: 0.108 s
- Starting price/mo: ~$25
WPX Hosting is a very interesting option if you need to host multiple WordPress sites. It’s managed WordPress hosting but, unlike most managed WordPress hosts, even the entry-level plan lets you host multiple websites (up to five). It does this for a slightly lower price than competing hosts such as Kinsta and WP Engine.
As the data shows, though, it doesn’t skimp on performance — WPX Hosting ranked second in our tests and wasn’t far behind Kinsta.
All of WPX Hosting’s plans come with:
- Free/one-click SSL certificates
- A built-in CDN at no extra cost
- Automatic daily backups
- Malware scans and free malware removal if anything shows up
- Staging sites
- Your choice of three data centers — USA, UK, or Australia
In terms of prices, WPX Hosting starts at $25 per month for up to five websites. Two things to note about WPX Hosting’s pricing:
- They don’t bill you by visitors like many other managed WordPress hosts — you’ll only pay based on your bandwidth and storage.
- Staging sites count as full websites for billing purposes. So one production site + one staging site = two websites in terms of your plan limits.
- Plan Tested: $10 DigitalOcean plan – 1 GB RAM, 1 processor core
- Load Time: 1.522 s
- Time to First Byte: 0.115 s
- Starting price/mo: $10 (depends on cloud provider)
Cloudways is not a host itself. Instead, it’s a managed hosting service that lets you choose your own cloud VPS provider from a list of options, including:
- Amazon Web Services (AWS)
- Google Cloud
No matter which cloud provider you choose, you’ll get an optimized performance stack, a built-in CDN, and useful features such as:
- One-click staging sites
- Easy/free SSL certificates
- One-click WordPress installs
- Automatic backups
The one downside is that Cloudways is a little bit more complicated than your average WordPress host. However, it’s certainly still something that a non-developer can handle — I just wouldn’t recommend it if this is your first time launching a WordPress site.
The big upside is that Cloudways is able to offer exceptional performance for a lower price than all the other top-performing hosts on this list.
For reference, our test site is using the cheapest DigitalOcean droplet, which costs just $10 per month. Your exact speeds may vary depending on the cloud provider that you choose. However, all the cloud providers offer excellent performance. If you’re really obsessed with speed, you can play around with the newly released Vultr High-Frequency servers.
One neat thing is that Cloudways offers a 3-day free trial. So if you’re interested, spin up a test site and see how it works for you.
- Plan Tested: Tiny
- Load Time: 1.516 s
- Time to First Byte: 0.057 s
- Starting price/mo: $15
Note – Flywheel was acquired by WP Engine in 2019. While this has led to some standardization (e.g. in pricing), the two are still run separately and have a separate infrastructure.
Flywheel is a popular managed WordPress host that used to target itself mainly creatives, freelancers, and agencies. However, in recent times, they’ve moved towards a more mainstream audience, and anyone can benefit from Flywheel’s hosting services (though if you do build websites for clients, Flywheel still has tons of convenient features for that).
Like Kinsta, Flywheel uses Google Cloud Platform’s infrastructure to power its plans. Beyond that, they have tons of helpful features like:
- Staging sites
- Automatic backups
- Free SSL certificate
- Built-in CDN (extra charge on lower-tier plans)
- 24/7 support
Flywheel’s plans start at just $15 per month with the Tiny plan, which is the plan we tested. This plan has all the features, but a low traffic limit (just 5,000 visitors). Higher tier plans start at $30 per month. Excluding the Tiny plan, Flywheel’s prices are identical to WP Engine.
As an upshot of the WP Engine acquisition, all Flywheel customers now also get access to the Genesis Framework and StudioPress child themes at no extra cost.
5. WP Engine
- Plan Tested: Startup
- Load Time: 1.536 s
- Time to First Byte: 0.115 s
- Starting price/mo: $30
WP Engine is one of the most popular managed WordPress hosts out there. All of the WP Engine plans come with staging sites, automatic updates and backups, integrated CDN, and plenty of other helpful tools.
One neat thing is that WP Engine recently acquired the Genesis Framework and all of StudioPress’ Genesis child themes. These themes are now included at no extra cost as part of every WP Engine plan.
WP Engine’s plans start at $30 per month and go up from there.
- Plan Tested: WP-1000S
- Load Time: 1.572 s
- Time to First Byte: 0.116 s
- Starting price/mo: $5.99
InMotion Hosting is a well-known budget host that’s recently made the jump into managed WordPress hosting with a set of affordable plans.
Their plans come with automatic WordPress updates, free SSL certificates, and free backups (automatic on all tiers except the cheapest). And on the higher tier plans, you can also get access to the premium tiers of Jetpack at no extra cost, just like DreamPress offers.
InMotion Hosting didn’t have the best performance in our tests, but its cheapest tier — the WP-1000S plan that we tested — starts at just $5.99 per month with promotional pricing, which still offers good value when you consider the price.
- Plan Tested: DreamPress
- Load Time: 1.613 s
- Time to First Byte: 0.250 s
- Starting price/mo: ~$17
DreamHost is one of the oldest web hosts out there, founded all the way back in 1996. DreamPress, the hosting plan we tested, is DreamHost’s managed WordPress offering.
It comes with daily automatic backups, unmetered bandwidth, and 24/7 support. And on higher-tier plans, you’ll also get a built-in CDN, as well as access to the (normally paid) Jetpack Professional plan at no extra cost.
With plans starting at just $16.95, DreamPress is a good value option. However, you’ll need at least the $24.95 DreamPress Plus plan if you want Jetpack Professional and the included CDN.
- Plan Tested: GrowBig
- Load Time: 1.799 s
- Time to First Byte: 0.511 s
- Starting price/mo: $6.99
SiteGround is a popular WordPress host that manages to combine pretty fast page load times, some managed WordPress features, and great support into one surprisingly low-priced package.
If you’re on a budget and want the best bang for your buck, SiteGround is one of your better options (though I’d still rank it behind Cloudways).
While the prices are comparatively low, you still get access to:
- The latest technologies, including PHP 7.4+
- Automatic WordPress updates
- Staging sites (excluding the entry-level plan)
- A custom hosting dashboard
- Great support
SiteGround’s plans start for as little as $6.99 per month, though we tested the $9.99 per month GrowBig plan. However, make sure to pay attention to the differences between promotional prices and regular prices, as the difference can be large. If you want to use SiteGround, we recommend trying to lock in three years of promotional prices. While it will cost you more upfront, it will save you a lot of money in the long run.
Tips to Choose the Fastest WordPress Hosting For Your Site
When you’re trying to choose the best hosting for your specific needs, here are some things to consider:
- Data center locations – while a CDN can mitigate this issue, you still want to find a host that offers data centers near your target readers.
- Think about your traffic – if your site is relatively low traffic, you might be fine with one of the budget options. However, for high-traffic sites, you want to make sure your chosen host did great in the Load Impact test. You’ll see that the higher-priced hosts usually differentiate themselves when performing under scale.
- Price – finding the fastest WordPress hosting company isn’t just about the overall winner. It’s about finding the best option that fits your budget. Paying an extra $30 per month just to save a couple fractions of a second might not be worth it for you, especially if your site doesn’t get a lot of traffic.
Which Host Should You Choose?
Again, there’s no single winner here — it really depends on your needs.
However, as we indicated at the beginning, Kinsta and WPX Hosting had the best overall performance. Of the two, Kinsta stood out, but WPX Hosting will be much cheaper if you need to host multiple websites.
If you’re looking for something more on the budget end and you aren’t a super technical user, SiteGround is a great entry-level option that will still get you pretty good performance without breaking the bank, especially if you need to host multiple sites. If you just need to host a single website, InMotion Hosting is also a solid option.
Finally, if you’re a little more technical, Cloudways can be a great choice because you’ll get surprisingly good performance for as little as $10 per month. I recommend the entry-level DigitalOcean box if you want the cheapest option. Or, if you’re willing to pay a few dollars more, check out the new Vultr HF servers (high frequency).