Jump to my video speed test of Hostgator, A2 Hosting & Cloudways with my website.
Site speed matters. Whether it's for SEO or conversions, having a fast site is ultimately rewarded. This is expected to be an even bigger factor in organic rankings as Google rolls out their core web vitals update in 2021.
It recently hit me that my WordPress websites were too fucking slow, when I was analyzing search results for a particular high volume query. My website continually ranks on page 2... despite having superior content and backlinks. The only advantage all the 'page one rankers' have is a much faster site.
So I set out to find the faster WordPress hosting!
Hostgator Slow TTFB (my old host)
This is with my small business website on a Hostgator Shared server.
My initial indicator that Hostgator was slow was the Time To First Byte (TTFB).
As you can see my TTFB is 1565 ms. This is nearly 8x Google's recommended TTFB.
When testing your site, you should run the test at least 10x, to establish an average TTFB which should be 200 ms or lower.
Clearly Hostgator was not cutting it here.
Why A2 Hosting or Cloudways
There's no shortage of hosting options out here, so why did I choose A2 Hosting & Cloudways for the comparison?
A2 Hosting: has a reputations for being an incredibly fast shared server. Their pricing structure and server environment is most comparable to Hostgator.
Cloudways: has a reputation for providing easy access to the fastest servers available such as Amazon and Vultr HF at a reasonable price. They operate true VPS servers based on your usage.
Basically I wanted to see how the shared servers of Hostgator & A2 stack up against each other. And then how the fastest of shared servers stacks up again Cloudways.
And now you can see...
The Video Results Of The Hosting Test.
This is what you came for!
I set up my local business website, on the A2 Startup Plan ($2.99/m), A2 Turbo Plan ($9.99/m) and Cloudways Vultr HF ($13/m).
Below you will see video of my heavy & bloated WordPress site loading, side-by-side, on each of our tested hosting services.
They all smoke Hostgator!
If you want fast hosting I recommend Cloudways (preferred) and A2. Now here's the CTA, if you are considering signing up to one of them, hook it up for me and click my affiliate link below.
Both offer a free trial so you can sign up and see what works best for you. Cloudways is slightly faster and I prefer their user interface over channel.
Further Details of The Hostgator vs A2 vs Cloudways Test
Let me give you some insight into how I tested them to ensure we were testing pure server speed.
No caching plugins or content delivery network (CDN) was used.
A2 does in sense 'funnel' you into their A2 WordPress Optimized which really just installs W3 Total Cache plugin. I disabled that for this test.
With Cloudways Vultr HF there is a server setting for 'redis'; an in-memory data structure store, used as a database, cache and message broker.
I left that enabled as that is a function of the server NOT the wordpress core install.
What you need to take away.
Website speed is critical factor for user experience, and subsequently search engine optimization.
As you can see from the mobile loading comparison video above, having fast hosting for your WordPress site makes a huge difference!
Start your speed improvement by migrating to a fast host.
Even the fastest WordPress hosting, doesn't cost that much. For any site that produces a profit and you are actively growing might as well be on it Cloudways Vultr HF.
Personally I keep my active and growing traffic sites on Cloudways.
Then I keep my smaller local business websites and other development site on an A2 shared.
You can always sign up for both of them, take them for a test drive, and cancel whichever one you don't like
If you found the research, testing, and insight helpful, click my affiliate links above!
### 2022 Update.
I am still using both of these 2 hosting companies and in addition to that I am using WP Rocket plugin and Imagify on 10+ sites to pass Core Web Vitals. I am seeing a very strong correlation between passing Core Web Vitals and traffic growth / sustianability.
A quick word about the WordPress Management options.
For those business owners that are looking for a 'hands off' option to keep their website updated and make small changes and most importantly, troubleshoot any issue that come up, WordPress management services are a choice that is typically MUCH lower cost than keeping a web design agency on retainer.
WP Engine is a hosting provider that offers such services with their hosting, at a premium pricing to the hosting options covered here.
Alternatively you can use any of these WordPress Management services with the Cloudways or A2 hosting I recommend above.