I’m usually skeptical about moving hosts considering how much BS I’ve seen. However, they were a top performer in Kevin Ohashi’s WordPress hosting benchmarks and you can search Rocket.net’s TrustPilot reviews for “TTFB” to see other people who are getting similar results.
What about specs?
Cloudflare Enterprise with full page caching (unlike Cloudways/Kinsta), 32 CPU cores + 128GB RAM, NVMe SSDs, Redis, Brotli, and PHP 8.1. Compared to someone like Kinsta, Rocket.net has 16x more RAM, 10x higher monthly visit limits (even up to 25x depending on the plan), NVMe instead of network SSDs, and 32x more cores on staging sites. No PHP worker limits because only about 10% of traffic actually hits the origin server (which means I can pay just $25/mo to host this blog). Cloudflare Enterprise and Redis are also free without having to pay for add-ons.
Heard of Ben Gabler?
He’s Rocket.net’s CEO and is probably the smartest person I’ve talked to when it comes to performance. Ben was Chief Product Officer at StackPath, COO of HostGator (back when they were good), Senior Product Manager at GoDaddy, and he’s been “living on the edge” for years.
Reach out to Ben, try Rocket.net for $1, and enjoy the faster TTFB/LCP.
- <100ms average global TTFB
- Why Rocket.net’s Cloudflare Enterprise is better
- No PHP worker limits
- Up to 25x monthly visits
- 32 cores + 128GB RAM + NVMe SSDs
- Redis free on all plans
- Top tier host in Kevin Ohashi’s tests
- Ben Gabler
- Phenomenal support
- Migrations are free/fast
- Innovation pays off
- Inside the dashboard
- Staging sites aren’t limited on cores/RAM
- No email hosting
- Rocket.net vs. Kinsta
- Try Rocket.net for $1
1. <100ms Average Global TTFB
Test your site in KeyCDN’s performance test or SpeedVitals.
Hosting/CDNs are likely the 2 biggest TTFB factors (which is also 40% of LCP). Fast servers and Cloudflare Enterprise + full page caching is a TTFB’s best friend and Rocket.net hits all of these.
2. Why Rocket.net’s Cloudflare Enterprise Is Better
Here’s why Rocket.net’s Cloudflare Enterprise is better than Cloudways/Kinsta:
- They use full page caching.
- They use all 270+ Cloudflare PoPs.
- It’s free on all plans with no configuration required.
- They already have WAF rules that work behind the scenes.
- Rocket.net servers are located in the same data centers as Cloudflare’s.
- It only serves a challenge page for wp-login (then it’s gone for a year), not the frontend.
Full Page Caching – Cloudways/Kinsta don’t have Cloudflare’s full page caching which caches HTML. This is one of the main ways you can improve global TTFB and even your core web vitals.
But can’t you just use APO? No, it’s not the same because it doesn’t have prioritized routing, Argo, WAF, and Mirage/Polish. Ben also has a nice explanation of how it’s different than APO:
Be sure to benchmark TTFB, latency, LCP, and other metrics since hosting affects these too.
WAF (And Beyond) – no need for bloated security plugins. Rocket.net also has built-in WAF rules and Imunify360 to protect protocals (i.e. FTP, SFTP) as well as real-time malware scanning.
Mirage/Polish – eliminates the need for image optimization plugins (and do a better job IMO). This also includes automatic image resizing for fixing “properly size images” in core web vitals.
Argo + Tiered Cache – routes traffic through fastest network paths (great for dynamic sites).
Smart Caching – smart caching identifies when/what needs to be purged then only purges necessary assets (i.e HTML) instead of the entire Cloudflare cache. This reduces workload while improving cache hit ratio (you’ll need to fill out a request form to get this). The CDN Cache MU Plugin also comes pre-installed on each WordPress install. TLDR: better purging, less resources.
Brotli – compresses pages and we all know it’s faster than GZIP (Cloudways doesn’t have this).
3. No PHP Worker Limits
Kinsta recommends WooCommerce sites start on a $115/mo plan and SiteGround server’s are overly sensitive where they sometimes can’t handle a simple Wordfence scan. You keep having to upgrade because they limit resources (especially on low plans). Until you find yourself paying sometimes triple what you were paying before. In case it’s not obvious, you’re getting ripped off.
Rocket.net doesn’t limit PHP workers mainly because roughly 10% of traffic actually hits the origin. You can also check out a case study for a website with 1M visitors per 60 minutes where the need to scale PHP workers was virtually eliminated.
Scaling on Kinsta? Pay your arm and a leg. Scaling on SiteGround? Good luck with that. Once you hit their CPU limits, they’ll send you a few email warnings before taking down your website until the limits reset. Autoscaling on SG’s cloud hosting is a financial disaster waiting to happen.
Pull up Rocket.net’s comparison chart:
Now compare it to Kinsta’s:
4. Up To 25x Monthly Visits
Let’s say you have 250,000 visits/month. Do you want to pay $225/mo at Kinsta or $30/mo at Rocket.net? Ah, now you’re starting to see the light.
5. 32 Cores + 128GB RAM + NVMe SSDs
This is what you get on Rocket.net’s standard plans (listed on their blog).
- 2 x Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2667 v2 @ 3.30GHz (32 Cores)
- 128GB RAM
- RAIDED NVMe SSDs (they recently switched from SSDs)
On Kinsta, live site containers have access to only 12 CPUs + 8GB of RAM. That’s 16x more RAM on Rocket.net. Kinsta uses network SSDs with slower read/write speeds and limited resources. For $26/month on Cloudways Vultr High Frequency, you would only get 1 CPU core + 2GB RAM.
Rocket.net was in the top tier when Kevin Ohashi ran $25-$50 WP Hosting Performance Benchmarks. However, Ben still wasn’t satisfied and switched from SSDs to NVMe which immediately led to better disk performance. It will be interesting to see the 2022 results.
6. Redis Free On All Plans
$100/mo for Redis on Kinsta?
Nope, Redis is free on all Rocket.net plans, and Enterprise plans use Redis Object Cache Pro.
You’ll need to install the Redis Object Cache plugin to use it. It depends on the site, but this (and upgrading PHP version) are often the only tweaks you need to speed up your site on Rocket.net.
7. Top Tier Host In Kevin Ohashi’s Tests
Rocket.net was a top performer in Kevin Ohashi’s WP Hosting Benchmarks.
Anyone who’s been around the block knows Kevin’s tests are some of the most reliable out there. These YouTubers and “fastest WordPress hosting speed tests” are garbage and ranked based on commissions, while Kevin’s methodology and non-affiliated results are more accurate.
Remember, these were taken before Rocket.net added NVMe SSDs.
8. Ben Gabler
TLDR: Ben’s credentials are ridiculously good: COO at HostGator, chief product officer at StackPath, senior product manager at GoDaddy, and now CEO of Rocket.net. More than his credentials, he’s a people-first person and whenever you get the chance to talk with him, keep your notepad handy. You can follow his Twitter account, but nothing beats a real conversation.
9. Phenomenal Support
Who picked up the phone the two times I called?
Ben. It goes against every rule in the book when the CEO answers the phone, yet it shows you he cares. I prepared a list of questions and had my notes ready, then we were done in 5 minutes.
The next time I called, I finally realized it was Ben and we talked for a good 45 minutes.
I thought I knew my stuff decently well but Rocket.net’s support makes me look like an idiot (take it as a compliment to them). If you think Kinsta’s support is good, Rocket.net is like a consultation every time you call. No constantly referring you to DIY articles, pushing upgrades, or excuses. Being on the phone with tech support honestly sounds awful… not with Rocket.net.
10. Migrations Are Free/Fast
A lot of hosting companies offer free migrations but screw up or take forever.
11. Innovation Pays Off
I feel like the AMD vs. Intel story is also happening in the hosting industry.
Too many hosts are sitting on an outdated stack and overcharging customers. They’re putting more effort into marketing and building their affiliate program than their hosting. Then comes Rocket.net who not only surpasses them in performance, but is quick to react on customer feedback and invests heavily in technology/support. I think in the next 1-2 years or so, other hosting companies will lose market share to Rocket.net, then it’ll be their turn to play catch up.
Realistically speaking, I do think more affiliates will sign up for Rocket.net’s affiliate program once they discover their performance, plus it’s $150/sale commission without climbing tiers.
12. Inside The Dashboard
One thing I dread about moving hosts is learning a new custom dashboard.
This took 10 minutes to get familiar with. Add your website in the “Sites” tab, select your data center, and install WordPress (turn “WP Recommended plugins” off). Everything else is listed on top. Automatic daily backups, file manager, visitor analytics. Be sure to use latest PHP versions!
13. Staging Sites Aren’t Limited On Cores/RAM
Rocket.net doesn’t limit CPU cores/RAM on staging sites, which means they’ll have access to all 32 cores + 128GB RAM. Most other companies do limit CPU/RAM on staging sites, for example, Kinsta only allows 1 CPU core + 8GB RAM. Not that you need all 128, but it’s a lot better than 1.
14. No Email Hosting
To be fair, most “premium” hosts don’t offer this either: Kinsta, Cloudways, RunCloud, etc.
Nothing new here since keeping web/email hosting separate is a good idea anyway. I always recommend Google Workspace.
15. Rocket.net vs. Kinsta
If Kinsta is premium WordPress hosting, Rocket.net is the crème de la crème.
|CPU Cores||12 Cores||32 Cores|
|Staging CPU Cores||1 Core||32 Cores|
|PHP Worker Limits||Yes||No|
|Monthly Visits ($30-$35/mo plan)||25,000||250,000|
Here are spec pages for a few other hosts (although you may need to dig through their blog since some hosts tend to hide their technology if they know it’s slow, which is usually a red flag).
16. Try Rocket.net For $1
Try Rocket.net for $1 when you create an account.
Assuming you’re happy, you can buy 1 year upfront to get 2 months free.
You can always search the WP Speed Matters Facebook Group to get feedback:
Drop me a comment and let me know your experience.