Fastest Web Hosting of 2018 – Find Out Who Wins!
Information updated: July 2018
When it comes to web hosting, speed is one of the most (if not the most) important factors in choosing a hosting company. There are many factors that influence the speed of your website, but one of the most crucial (and one that you can’t control) is how well your host manages the servers where your site is hosted.
Good hosts typically do a lot to reduce bandwidth abuse, optimize memory usage, and make use of server-side caching. Bad hosts usually let customers run wild on the server, hog memory for others, and don’t really take too much time to optimize their servers beyond the default configurations.
When looking for a speedy web host, you want someone that’s on top of managing resources and also understands how to make the most of the hardware they have in order to deliver the most performance.
One quick note before you go on: you may see affiliate links on this page; understand though that these do NOT, in any fashion, influence the reviews or outcomes of the testing (you can read more on that here). They simply help to keep the content, reviews, and tech tips coming your way free of charge!
Why Speed Matters
There are a million reasons why speed matters, but I’m going to narrow it down to 3 of them in order to help you understand.
1) Slow websites increase user bounce rates
There have been multiple studies that show after the time to load a website or web page surpasses 3 seconds, user bounce rates increase exponentially.
Companies like Dotcom-Monitor and CrazyEgg have done extensive studies one how website speed impacts bounce rates and user satisfaction, and these studies (as well as others) have consistently shown that users not only bounce exponentially after the 3 second mark, but they often don’t return. This can be attributed to increased user expectations due to the proliferation of broadband internet, LTE smartphones, and faster computers in general. Whatever the cause, users have come to expect speed.
2) Slow websites lead to lower conversion rates
When a website loads slowly it can have a dramatic effect on conversion rates, simply because people run out of patience. Fast websites help to create implicit trust with users and also help to ensure that they don’t lose patience waiting for your site to load.
If you want people to subscribe to your email list—speed matters. If you want people to check out using your shopping cart—speed matters. Whatever your conversion metric is, speed affects everything. The faster your website is, the better it will convert.
3) Slow websites appear lower in search engines
Some of the most popular search engines use speed as a ranking factor when it comes to order the search engine results. Google has said specifically that it takes speed into account when ranking websites. Other search engines also take this into account, so it’s important to ensure that your site is as fast as possible to maximize your search engine visibility.
Fastest Web Hosts—The Ultimate Test
In order to truly find out who’s the best of the best, I put 20 popular web hosts to the test. Some of these hosts I don’t recommend to begin with (iPage, FatCow, etc.) but it was worth testing them as well because although they’re not I recommend, they are still relatively popular so I thought it was worth giving them a chance (to hopefully prove my point).
Below are the hosts that I’ve put to the test for this showdown:
|Web Hosting Companies|
|A Small Orange||GoDaddy||InMotion Hosting||SiteGround |
|Bluehost||GreenGeeks||iPage||Web Hosting Hub |
|FatCow||HostMonster||LiquidWeb||WP Engine |
Although some of these hosts are at different price points/quality levels (such as WP Engine being a higher end host) it’s important that all of them be tested together to really get an idea from an objective standpoint if the more expensive hosts are that much faster.
Finding the Fastest Web Hosting Company: Server Response Time vs Page Load Speed
In order to determine who is the fastest, it’s crucial that we first understand two different metrics: server response time and page load speed.
Server response time is exactly what it sounds like—the time it takes for a server to respond to a query from a browser or device.
Page load speed is the time it takes for all of the elements on a particular page to load completely. For example, if you typed the name of a specific website into your web browser, the website may appear but some images may take longer to load than others. In this situation, a website would not be considered to be “loaded” until all of the elements on the page have finished loading.
In order to test both server response time and page load speed, I enabled monitoring on 20 test websites for 72 hours on the hosts mentioned above using Dotcom-Monitor’s BrowserView platform. As I’ve said on other places on this site, I’m a fan of Dotcom-Monitor’s speed test and some of their other tools. BrowserView is nice because it measures both server response time and page load speed. Each of the sites monitored was a WordPress site with similar plugins, similar content, and similar page sizes. Although the sites weren’t identical (which doesn’t matter for server response time), they were very close so any difference in page load speed would be marginal. The results of the server response times (sorted by the average server response time) for each host are summarized below:
|Host||Average Server Response Time||Fastest Server Response Time||Slowest Server Response Time|
|Web Hosting Hub||0.727||0.352||5.210 |
|WP Engine||0.742||0.392||4.006 |
|A Small Orange||1.448||0.186||2.999 |
|InMotion Hosting||1.800||0.533||5.527 |
Looking at the hosts in the table, you can see that Flywheel had the lowest average server response time coming in at 0.425 seconds, followed by SiteGround in second place with an average of 0.637 seconds. These results aren’t surprising as both of them are hosts that I use and also recommend and they both do very well with WordPress.
In terms of server response time, the fastest web hosts are:
#1 – Flywheel
#2 – SiteGround
Something important to consider is the fact that while server response times do give an idea of server “snappiness” so-to-speak, they only paint one part of the picture. When measuring page load times, you can get a better idea of how a host manages their SQL database queries as well as how they balance other aspects of their servers that tend to be more memory and CPU-intensive. Below, you’ll see the table of page load times for the 20 hosts that were tested:
|Host||Average Page Load Time||Fastest Page Load Time||Slowest Page Load Time|
|WP Engine||2.6470||1.802||3.020 |
|A Small Orange||2.9814||2.120||5.140 |
|Web Hosting Hub||3.4191||2.253||6.434 |
|InMotion Hosting||3.5184||1.445||34.226 |
In terms of page load speed, you can see in the table above that Bluehost came in first place with an average time of 2.458 seconds, while WP Engine came in second place with an average time of 2.647 seconds. Again, this isn’t surprising as these are two of the best hosts out there for the money in my opinion, although I did think that WP engine might place above Bluehost as they’re a managed WordPress hosting company and a bit more expensive.
In terms of page load speed, the winners are:
#1 – Bluehost
#2 – WP Engine
So who’s the fastest web host overall? Well, determining that requires a little more analysis and math. In order to figure this out, I added both the average server response time and average page load time together (giving them equal weight) and then divided by two for a combined server response time and page load time metric for each host.
You can see the table of combined and average times below:
|Host||Combined Average||Average Page Load Time||Average Server Response Time|
|WP Engine||1.6946||2.6470||0.742 |
|Web Hosting Hub||2.07305||3.4191||0.727 |
|A Small Orange||2.2145||2.9814||1.448 |
|InMotion Hosting||2.6592||3.5184||1.800 |
With a combined time average time of 1.694 seconds, the fastest web host is:
Honestly, they deserve every bit of praise they get here as they’re one of the best WordPress hosts out there for the money, if not the best. While some people may say it’s not a fair comparison because their entry-level plan starts at $29/month ($24/month if you pay annually), they are such a popular web host for WordPress now that I thought it was important to include them in the test, and when you look at all of the results, they put up some great numbers deserving of the win.