Finding a good webhosting company for your WordPress website is not easy with so many contenders. It’s a perfect example of a decision dilemma. The same dilemma that you experience when choosing a fine wine. If you haven’t taste one, it is hard to know which one to pick. Unless there is someone close by who has tasted some of the wines. In the past year I’ve extensively tested three shared WordPress hosts, and I am more than eager to share my taste.

The three contenders are GoDaddy, Siteground and Fastcomet and all offer shared hosting packages. According to their own descriptions, their shared packages are also very suitable for hosting a WordPress website. I will just refer to them as ‘the lads’. Shared hosting means that your website is hosted among many other websites on a single server of  a web host. Having multiple clients on one server means the server’s resources are shared, but the costs too. But, as we will see in this test, is still means that you can get decent performance for a good price.

What  those three WordPress Hosts offer

For all three hosts I picked the top tier shared plan. For Siteground it was the GoGeek package, for Fastcomet the E-Commerce package and for GoDaddy the Developer Managed WP Hosting.

FastCometSitegroundGoDaddy
Price$6,95 (Renewal: $6,95)€11,95 (Renewal: €23,95)€14,99 (Renewal: €24,99)
Monthly Visitors‘Unlimited’100.000 (advised)800.000
Disk Space‘Unlimited’ SSD30GB SSD50GB SSD
Free DomainYesYesYes
SSL/HTTPSFree1st year, then €65,00/year1st year free, then €69,99/year
DashboardCPANELCPANELGoDaddy’s Panel
Websites‘Unlimited’‘Unlimited’5
E-MailUnlimited inboxes, maximum space of 250mb per inboxUnlimited, maximum space of 2000mb per inboxOne Free Account for Office 365 E-mail during the first year.
BackupsDaily up to 10 daysDaily up to 30 DaysDaily up to 30 Days
TransfersOne Free TransferOne Free TransferManual, via Dashboard Utility
Data CentersUSA, Europe, AsiaUSA, Europe, AsiaUSA
E-CommerceSSL Certificate, Expert E-Commerce SupportPCI Compliance, SSL CertificateNo Extra Features
ExtrasFive layer caching system, Security Features, File & Script Optimization, CDNThree layer caching system, Security Features, CDNCaching, Security Features, WordPress & SEO Setup. Only Supports WordPress
SupportTicket System, Application SupportChat and Ticket SystemTelephone, Ticket System
Technical Features
WordPress FeaturesWP-CLI, AutoupdatesOne-click Staging, WP-CLI, AutoupdatesOne-click Staging, Autoupdates
GITYesYesYes

Their WordPress Hosting Performance

One of the key metrics for testing was website loading speed. Being a minor factor in improving your website’s SEO score and a major factor for the experience of your visitors, I found this a very important metric.

I did a 7 round testing via the Pingdom Website Speedtest and GT Metrix from different locations of the world. For each host, I tested with three different themes. At first, the theme used at this site, which is optimized for loading. Secondly, the standard Twentyfifteen theme as provided by WordPress. At last, a heavy, image rich theme with Woocommerce installed and dozens of products.  All hosts had all their caching options turned on, but no additional optimalization through WordPress was conducted. In the results below, I only included the testing locations which were closest to the server of the webhost.

Graph: Average Loadtime in Seconds

performance-hosting

Results above are the results from the closest testing location towards the datacenter.

The complete dataset for this experiment is also available for download. It will also show you how the hosting lads performed from all testing locations. The performance of is relatively close to each other, but the differences begin to add up for the heavy theme.

Download Dataset

What I concluded from this Hosting Test

All three host performed very well comparing in terms of loading performance, SiteGround being the fastest on average. However, I had mixed experiences with the features and support offered.

FastComet: Best Price/Performance Ratio ›

While FastComet is not as known as SiteGround and GoDaddy, it is a very impressive contender with an excellent price/performance ratio.

Their support is very extensive, even helping you out to install applications and plugins and configuring settings. Looking to more advanced configurations,  I found their caching set-up somewhat harder to control.  For example, I submitted a ticket for setting up memcaching (and advanced technique for speeding up your website) and within 15 minutes a support member had installed it on my WordPress website through setting up W3 Total Cache. This is great response time for a support, but at SiteGround I can just turn memcaching on with the click of a button.

However, please take into account that there are limits to their shared hosting packages. If you carefully read their terms of service, you will read that their are certain restrictions on server usage and (large) mysql queries. Some user reviews also indicate that their are bandwidth restrictions (one user even mentioning a 20gb treshold, which is fairly low). Generally, if a website is advertising with unlimited visitors, it never means unlimited. It means that as long as you don’t surpass the average website’s traffic by a degree too large, you are safe.

As FastComet is utilizing CPanel, you can also host Joomla or any other application with their shared hosting packages.

I would recommend FastComet if you are having a small to medium sized website or webshop or a couple of smaller websites, as their performance is very consistent for smaller websites.

View FastComet's shared packages ›

SiteGround: Performance & Support ›

Siteground was the best contender of this test. Somehow, testing locations that were far apart from the location of the server performed also very well. And this is not the only test with these results. The Siteground Shared Package also performed very well on the extensive tests done by reviewsignal.com and wpsitecare.com.

One thing that I noticed is that during the first load of the website, SiteGround often had an inferior performance. Secondly, while their averages were low, there was a decent amount of variance between loading times during several rounds. As their shared hosting environment will receive a major technical update very soon, it will be good to retest these scores.

There is one little gem I found while using SiteGround. They offer a free CDN through Cloudflare, a CDN and security service.  Included in this CDN is railgun, a loading technique which is normally only available to Cloudflare’s business users. I also like the fact that they offer chat support, which for me is the fastest way of getting support.

Web Hosting

I would definitely recommend SiteGround from my own experiences. The only caveat is their renewal price (a smart marketing tactic to let customers buy multiple years of hosting upfront). One you have to renew, it gets much more expensive (from €11.95 to €23.95)

View SiteGround's Shared Packages ›

GoDaddy: Performance & Ease of Use ›

This blog is currently running on GoDaddy’s managed structure and I’m still very content about the performance. For the smaller websites it is the leading contender in terms of performance. The biggest surplus of GoDaddy is ease of use. You can just add a new WordPress installation with the click of a button. Managing your sites, restoring backups and viewing details such as FTP or database details is also very intuitive. You only have to point your domains at the installation and you’re done.

The disadvantage is this package only support a maximum of 5 WordPress installs, and does not hase e-mail support by default (the first year get’s a free package of Office 365 though).

In my country, I could not contact GoDaddy through a support ticket or chat. This raised some frustrations, as I had to wait almost 45 minutes during one call. Once there is some life on the other end of the phone line, the support is doing very well and they are open to answering and helping you with different kind of questions.

Similar to SiteGround, they also implement renewal prices (from €18.99 to €24.99).

View GoDaddy's Managed WP ›

What you should consider while choosing

In my experience of these three hosts, I found the following factors the noteworthy in making a good decision.

  • The location of your website visitors and the server of the webhost. This is a very determining factor in loading speed. Always try to find a webhost who has it’s server as close as possible to the location of the majority of your visitors.
  • The responsiveness of the support and the way they can be contacted.
  • The completeness of the features offered. Do you want e-mail, back-ups, a CDN, caching and so forth?
  • How much technical hassle you want to do by yourself? Good support and documentation is essential if you want to sort everything out yourself.
  • Shared hosting is useful is your website has a limited number of visitors. Be aware that ‘unlimited’ is never unlimited, and that you have to move up to more expensive programs if your website suddenly attracts a lot of visitors.

So what are your experiences with shared hosting for WordPress? Are their other hosts you admire? Or do you despice one of the hosts listed above? Feel free to leave a reaction.