I didn’t even want to write this because “the best hosting” sounds so spammy and is usually ranked by affiliate commissions.
I guess the difference is:
- I’ve used (almost) all these hosts.
- I spend way too much time in Facebook Groups reading feedback.
- I have no problem listing cons: fake reviews, terrible ethics, it’s all here.
- Yep, you caught me! I’m an affiliate, but I didn’t rank these by commissions (I have a soul).
To make it simple, I followed a similar format as WP Johnny (categorizing them as good or bad). Obviously the “best” is subjective, but I mainly listed them based on performance (hardware, cores/RAM, server/storage type like LiteSpeed + NVMe, etc). As well as support, features, price, and reliability. I also took into consideration feedback I’ve seen in several less biased Facebook Groups as well as Kevin Ohashi’s WordPress Hosting Benchmarks. And my own experience too.
Take it or leave it and let me know your own experience.
- Rocket.net – fastest host I’ve used since both their specs/Cloudflare Enterprise are arguably better than anyone else’s: 32 cores + 128GB RAM, NVMe SSDs, Redis, and full integration of Cloudflare Enterprise with full page caching, Argo Smart Routing, image optimization, and other Enterprise features (which Kinsta lacks). They don’t limit PHP workers because only about 90% of traffic hits the origin server. However, they can be a price jump since you only get 50GB of bandwidth and 10GB storage on the lowest plan (yes, they can be expensive). Still cheaper than similar hosts like Kinsta and WP Engine. Best support I’ve ever had, perfect TrustPilot rating, but still relatively small. Will probably cost less than Kinsta/WP Engine but will cost more if moving from shared hosting or even some cloud hosts. However, if you want the fastest host, Rocket.net is definitely up there. Their customers average a <100ms global TTFB which you can test in SpeedVitals/KeyCDN.
- GridPane – maybe you’ve never heard of them because there’s no affiliate program, but Patrick Gallagher is well respected and they’re known for excelling in speed, security, and support. Great alternative to Kinsta/WP Engine and up there with Rocket.net. Options for Vultr, DigitalOcean, UpCloud, Linode, and AWS Lightsail on Nginx & OpenLiteSpeed. And while they don’t have a TrustPilot profile, they do have a 5/5 rating on Facebook reviews.
- Cloudways – I used DigitalOcean and Vultr HF for 3 years and still think they’re a solid option. You get more bandwidth/storage than Rocket with a similar setup (cloud hosting with NVMe SSDs and Redis Object Cache Pro). However, you get a lot less cores/RAM, they use GZIP (instead of Brotli on Rocket), support can be hit or miss, and the dashboard has a lot more settings which can be confusing. Their Cloudflare Enterprise is “almost” as good as Rocket’s once they get full page caching down and get rid of annoying challenge pages. Their Breeze plugin doesn’t do a great job with core web vitals, so use FlyingPress instead. If you don’t like how they charge about 2x the price of DO and Vultr, try RunCloud instead.
- RunCloud – popular control panel with OpenLiteSpeed and options for DO, AWS, Linode, Vultr, UpCloud, and Google Cloud. Has server-side caching and Redis/memcached. One of the cleanest control panels (but still has tons of settings) starting at $6.67/mo for 1 server.
- NameHero – great option for shared hosting. They use LiteSpeed servers on all plans which means you should ideally be using LiteSpeed Cache with QUIC.cloud CDN (the paid plan which uses all 70+ PoPs). They give you more cores/RAM compared to Hostinger and usually A2. Even though they only have 3 data centers, it shouldn’t matter much if you use QUIC.cloud’s standard plan since it has HTML caching which will improve TTFB worldwide. I generally recommend the Turbo Cloud plan which has 3 cores, 3GB RAM, and NVMe SSDs. They also have arguably better support and uptimes compared to similar LIteSpeed hosts.
- ChemiCloud – similar to NameHero (shared LiteSpeed hosting with the same amount of cores + RAM). Main trade off is they don’t offer NVMe SSDs but have more server locations. And wow, a perfect 5/5 star TrustPilot rating is unheard of. Congrats to ChemiCloud’s team.
- FastComet – this is one host I’ve never used but have seen mostly positive feedback in FB Groups with a 4.9/5 star TrustPilot rating and 2K+ reviews. Let’s see… they use AMD EPYC servers, LiteSpeed, NVMe SSDs, more CPU/RAM than anyone I’ve seen for those prices (6 cores + 6GB RAM for $6 is awesome), option to freely increase CPU/RAM as you scale, WAF, cheap intro prices… yep, I can see how at least on the surface, FastComet looks promising.
- MechanicWeb – ugly site but consistently a top performer in Kevin Ohashi’s WordPress Hosting Benchmarks in several price ranges. They offer shared, semi-dedicated, and VPS options with NVMe storage, High Frequency compute, LiteSpeed, cPanel, and Cloudflare.
- Scala Hosting – one of the highest rated hosts on TrustPilot with shared/VPS options on LiteSpeed. They use sPanel which is similar to cPanel and support seems solid. I like how you can add cores/RAM/storage as you please (unlike Cloudways which scales everything).
- JohnnyVPS – WP Johnny’s hosting company which has excellent Facebook reviews. And of course, it’s fast! They use LiteSpeed with email hosting and no CPU limits (unlike other hosts). The pricing is fair and “honest” is the main word people use to describe them. The main downside is Johnny openly says they offer little to no tech support, so it’s more DIY. I do wish there were more specs listed, but then again, Johnny claims that’s a secret sauce.
- A2 Hosting – they’ve had issues with downtimes and a 2 week ransomware attack back in 2019, otherwise they’re a decent budget option. You definitely want the Turbo Boost plan (or higher) since it uses LiteSpeed, NVMe, and has more cores/RAM with AMD EPYC servers.
- Krystal Hosting – UK-based LiteSpeed hosting on cPanel (or their own custom built Onyx). However, you have to use the $50/year plan to get NVMe SSDs, yet it still only has 3 cores and 3GB RAM. I’ve seen some complaints their speeds aren’t amazing, but they do have a perfect 5/5 star TrustPilot rating. I’ve also seen many people say they prefer GURU instead.
|Rocket.net||Apache + Nginx||High||NVMe||Cloudflare Enterprise||$$$||4.9/5|
|GridPane||Nginx & OpenLiteSpeed||Scalable||NVMe||x||$$||N/A|
|Cloudways Vultr HF||Apache||Low||NVMe||Cloudflare Enterprise||$$||4.6/5|
|RunCloud||Nginx & OpenLiteSpeed||Scalable||Depends on cloud host||x||$||3.3/5|
|NameHero||LiteSpeed||Mid||NVMe on higher plans||QUIC||$||4.6/5|
|Scala Hosting||LiteSpeed||Scalable||NVMe on higher plans||QUIC||$$||4.9/5|
|A2 Hosting||LiteSpeed||Mid||NVMe on higher plans||QUIC||$||4.5/5|
|Krystal Hosting||LiteSpeed||Low||NVMe on higher plans||Krystal CDN||$$||5.0/5|
- SiteGround – went completely downhill since 2019 after having issues with TTFB, CPU limits, declined support, and their DNS got blocked by Google for 4 days. Worst part is, they don’t accept responsibility for their mistakes (which there are lots of) and resort to hiring Facebook Group admins to censor posts and promote their hosting. They also say their SiteGround Optimizer plugin is the best cache plugin to use on SiteGround, but it does a horrible job with core web vitals. They also threaten to sue people who write bad reviews which is why you don’t see more of them. Several other complaints like banning services in certain countries and trying to limit the # of sites on each plan in an attempt to milk even more money from customers. Just the other week I got a Facebook invitation to Hristo’s AMA in the WordPress Hosting group where they tagged @everyone. WordPress Hosting Group is more like SiteGround Users Group. Slimey as hell and not recommended. It’s still shared hosting with SATA SSDs and SiteGround’s CDN only has 14 PoPs. Everyone I know tries them for 1 year then leaves because of ridiculously high renewals. Not worth it.
- Hostinger – another slimey host, but these guys are even worse (they got banned from Facebook Groups and the CEO admitted to encouraging fake reviews). Employees would also pretend to be customers and trick people into using their hosting. Want to know why they’re so cheap? Because you get less cores/RAM and emails only include 1GB of storage. Not to mention you have to sign up for 4 years to get their lowest advertised price. There’s also been multiple reports their network status page isn’t accurate since you’ll find many people complaining about downtimes. Support is likely the worst on the list and they had a data breach affecting 14M customers. Don’t get tricked just because they use LiteSpeed.
- Kinsta – total ripoff when you take into account their low limits on PHP workers, monthly visits, $100/mo for Redis, and they still use slow network SSDs. No wonder their TrustPilot rating tanked. The premium DNS is Amazon Route 53 which is slower than Cloudflare, and their Cloudflare Enterprise doesn’t have basic Enterprise features like image optimization or Argo Smart Routing. Just because they use Google Cloud C2 doesn’t mean they’re good. Look at Kinsta vs Rocket.net’s specs and tell me why in the world you would still use them. They give you less cores/RAM and support is “ok.” What do you expect when a marketing company tries to rebrand themselves into a hosting company? Save your time and money.
- GoDaddy – I saw the nickname “SlowGoDaddy” multiple times which is fitting. Even their DNS is one of the slowest on dnsperf.com (so if you registered your domain with them, be sure to change your DNS to something like Cloudflare). It’s completely overpriced for the technology you get (cores, RAM, inodes, outdated PHP versions). Seems like they have a security breach every year, but have several paid services to ‘fix’ things. Constant upsells, extremely limited dashboard, blacklisted plugins… not sure why anyone would use them.
- Bluehost / HostGator – owned by Newfold Digital (formerly EIG) who has a reputation of buying out good hosting companies then running them into the ground. They’re pretty much all the same – cheap shared hosting on overcrowded servers with SATA SSDs, awful support, and inefficient technology which results in a slow website from CPU throttling. Also reports of Sitelock scams. Most Newfold Digital brands used to have awful TrustPilot reviews, but it seems like they’ve made an effort to improve them by soliciting customers.
- WPX – did you get tricked by Matthew Woodward? Now he lists Kinsta/SiteGround as the “fastest WordPress hosts.” Ha! This was all a marketing gimmick that was literally stuffed with affiliate links. At the end of the day, WPX is shared hosting with SATA SSDs, no object cache, and the TOS doesn’t tell you how many resources you get (it’s at their discretion if you’re using too many). What’s worse is their recently bad uptimes and worldwide outage which the CEO blamed on a partner (Steadfast), blaming a CEO who died months earlier (when it was WPX who didn’t have a redundancy system). Irresponsible or out of touch? It’s better than most shared hosting but overpriced and can’t even handle WooCommerce.
- WP Engine – does anyone even use them anymore? Everyone I know moved to something like Rocket.net, Kinsta, GridPane, or RunCloud. They tout themselves as the “unequivocal performance leader in WordPress” just because they started using Google Cloud C2 (which Kinsta already uses). One of the biggest problems is their low bandwidth limits which are similar to Rocket.net’s, only it’s about 10x less monthly visits. WP Engine will also charge an arm and leg for extra traffic while Rocket.net has soft limits and doesn’t pull that crap.
- GreenGeeks – mixed reviews and hate how canceling auto-renew isn’t enough to cancel your plan… you have to send them a chain of emails. Their cheap LiteSpeed hosting may be “fine” for small static sites, but I personally wouldn’t even use them for that. Seems like another host who got big because of their affiliate program but falls short in several areas.
- Elementor Cloud – just like Kinsta, it’s a hosting service that originated from something completely different (always a red flag). It looked promising with Google Cloud C2 but the performance is very bad. They also have low storage, bandwidth, and monthly visit limits. A one-size fits all hosting plan for $99/yr (with little specs listed) isn’t something you want.
|WP Engine||Apache + Nginx||Unknown||SATA||Cloudflare||$$$||4.5/5|
How To Find (Kind Of) Unbiased Hosting Reviews
- Kevin Ohashi – WP Hosting Benchmarks and Review Signal are some of the most unbiased reviews and performance tests I’ve seen. Instead of making money through affiliate commissions, Kevin charges hosts a flat fee to be included in his extensive tests.
- WP Speed Matters Facebook Group – probably the least biased group when it comes to hosting recommendations since WordPress Hosting + WordPress Speed Up are controlled by SiteGround. However, Gijo banned Rocket.net CEO Ben Gabler for allegedly spreading misinformation about FlyingProxy. Don’t agree with it, but it’s still the least biased group.
- TrustPilot – I like reading 1 star reviews to see what people complain about. But not very trustworthy considering most positive reviews are solicited, but can still provide insight. For example, Kinsta’s rating went down after they started screwing more customers over.
- Stay away from most paid blogs, Facebook Groups run by affiliates or hosting companies themselves, recommendations from Matthew Woodward, Darrel Wilson, WP Beginner, and most hosting review sites (except for Review Signal). Many people don’t even disclose they work for a hosting company, so always do a background check and do your own research.
Measuring Hosting Performance & TTFB
- SpeedVitals TTFB Test – measure TTFB in 35 global locations (shown as “average worldwide TTFB”) but the developers say to run a couple tests to ensure resources are cached and your CDN serves files from the closest data center. Basically, run 3 tests and check the average worldwide TTFB of the 3rd test. Hosting/CDNs are the 2 biggest factors.
- WordPress Hosting Benchmark – runs CPU, memory, database, object cache, and network tests to give you an overall score out of 10. Here’s a screenshot of the test I ran.
- WP Server Health Stats – doesn’t measure performance but shows stats about your server (software, CPU cores + CPU usage, RAM + RAM usage, database and PHP info, etc).
Hosting Is The #1 Speed Factor
WordPress has always listed this as the #1 factor (although their hosting recommendations are paid garbage) and TTFB is also 40% of LCP in core web vitals. I see a lot of people complaining about web vitals not thinking hosting is the problem, then they switch and see instant results. CDNs are arguably just as important for reducing TTFB and is why you should use a performant CDN like Cloudflare Enterprise, QUIC.cloud, or BunnyCDN (not RocketCDN or SiteGround CDN).
How Important Is Choosing A Close Data Center?
The difference is minimal as long as you’re using a CDN with full page caching as well as other CDN features to improve content delivery. But if you don’t plan to use these, it’s still important.
Final Thoughts – small static sites can get away with shared hosting (just try to use LiteSpeed) while WooCommerce/dynamic sites should go straight to cloud. I would even argue sites using Elementor/Divi should use cloud hosting since you’re already slowing down your site with extra CSS/JS. Each host’s technology (“stack”) plays a large role, so make sure you learn these since many hosts don’t even list them in comparison charts. Instead, they’re often found on an inner page or blog post. And if you can’t find them anywhere… chances are they’re likely not the best.