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In this article, I'm gonna dig into my research on the best web hosting companies for search engine optimization.
No matter if you love your hosting company or you hate their guts, this is the kind of topic that people really like to lose their over.
Best Web Hosting Companies for SEO
- A2 Hosting
- Liquid Web
When researching hosting solutions, be prepared to sift through all the emotion, let alone the equal portions of glowing reviews offset by the hosting horror stories that leave you stuck in a cycle of indecision and uncertainty as to which host is truly worth signing up with.
I'm Muhiuddin, and I make a full-time living by building websites in competitive niches through my company. I've been in this game since 2020, and I've definitely experienced all the highs and lows of this whole make-money online experience.
And I can tell you when it comes to hosting, that's one of the things you just can't afford to get wrong.
So buckle up and prepare yourself for the journey we're about to go on as we dive deep into the data I put over 30 hosting companies to the test and to compare these companies, I went beyond the marketing spiels on each of these companies' websites.
I started looking into the technical setup of the actual hosting company's own website, so I could perform my own test on their performance.Basically, I went out to answer the question,
- Who's hosting the host?
- Which hosts are worth your time and money this year.
- Which is the best web hosting company in the world?
- Which is the best hosting site for starting a new blog?
- Which is the best web hosting service provider? Why?
- Which are the best web hosting providers?
- What is the best web host to use?
- What is the best web hosting provider for personal websites?
- What is the best WordPress hosting site?
- What is the best web hosting for small businesses?
- What is the best web hosting for large businesses?
It'd be pretty sketchy if they weren't using their own products, right? Then I dug deep and researched the technology behind each hosting solution.
For performance, I ran multiple GTmetrix and Pingdom speed tests on each of the hosting companies. I also gathered load impact data to see how each hosted website performs under stress with many concurrent users.
By doing so, I was able to compare these sites on their ability to put their money where their mouth is. What's the point in spending money with a company that can talk the talk but not walks the walk?
Every hosting company bombards us with some version of "We're the best hosting company with 99% uptime and super fast servers guaranteed." Am I right?
Lastly, I took a look at how different hosting companies are received in the SEO community by running Facebook polls.
So in summary, that's how I got to the bottom of the recommendations I have for you in this video. It's also why I trust my go-to hosting company through and through, and I'll reveal who that is at the end, so make sure to stick around till then.
To kick things off, I'll be sharing the best hosting companies based on performance for specific use cases.
So on the topics of speed, uptime, customer support, and affordability, I got a winner for you in each category. I'm also gonna look into the best host for SEO on WordPress, for e-commerce sites, and for huge authority sites.
Given today's focus on cloud technology, I've also looked at the top VPS and cloud hosting solutions. These are different from your classic hosting companies, as they can often be more scalable and let you customize the balls out of your server configurations.
To top it all off, in the end, I'll share with you the hosting company that I think stands head and shoulders above the rest. But before all that, I'd like to ask if you would share some love with that button.
You have a need for the super fast loading speed a good hosting company can deliver. And just like you, the YouTube-like button also has a need for speed when it comes to how quickly you can tap it.
Studies out of Stanford show that even a 100-millisecond delay leads to a 20% decrease in self-worth amongst like buttons all over the internet.
So please contribute to making the internet and my YouTube channel a happier place, one like button at a time. Now back to the issue of hosting.
Best Hosting Company for Speed
First up, let's dive right into the best hosting company for speed.
The winner will depend on how you wanna look at it. Flywheel comes on top with regard to the number of kilobytes loaded per second, at a whopping 9,250. In saying this, Flywheel also has the heaviest page. It tested at 22 megabytes. BigScoots had the second biggest at 3.5 megabytes.
Flywheel's time to fully load was around five seconds in GTmetrics and only 2.4 seconds in Pingdom. If they lighten up their page load, they could easily knock a few seconds off that time, for sure.
Now, if we're going by time to the first byte, Pantheon is the clear winner coming in at 28 milliseconds. Whereas the flywheel's time to the first byte is almost double at 53 milliseconds.
And WPX comes in at around 110 milliseconds. If we're going by time to fully load, WPX comes in as the clear winner at only 357 milliseconds. One of the advantages of WPX is its built-in CDN service which is perfectly optimized for WordPress sites. You can only really beat it with some super heavy self-configuration.
So when it comes to the speed category, I'm handing it to WPX for this round. WPX is also who Matthew Woodward found to be the fastest host in his round of testing.
So for any website wanting the best speed performance, WPX is my go-to recommendation.
Best Hosting Company for Uptime
Next up, is the best host for uptime.
Honestly, it can be a little bit difficult to know which one's the best because they all guarantee 99% uptime. No host can guarantee 100% uptime, but they sure like to say so. In terms of the best guarantee, HostGator is on top with 99.99%.
However, Bluehost and SiteGround aren't to be sneezed at with their 99.98% guarantees. The question isn't about whose guarantee is the best though, is it? It's about who actually lives up to it. (audio crackling) In uptime tests since 2018, year after year, SiteGround comes out consistently on top.
However, newer contenders Kinsta and Cloudways have both come in with 100% uptime since 2020, knocking all other shared hosting options right out of the water.
Interestingly, HostGator's guarantee falls through in multiple tests in 2019 and 2020, with the lowest uptime I've seen being 99.91%. 0.08% might not sound like much, but it's the difference between a downtime of 52 minutes a year versus seven hours per year.
Besides 99.91 is clearly beneath the stated guarantee level. With more people stuck at home browsing the internet these days, it's now more critical than ever to ensure your website is up as much as possible.
So for this category, I'm handing the trophy to Kinsta. While it's a tiebreaker on the account of uptime being at 100% for both Kinsta and Cloudways when it comes to supporting,
Cloudways still has a long way to go. Also, Cloudways doesn't have its own servers, whereas Kinsta uses Google's C2 Cloud infrastructure and is able to deliver awesome features on all packages, even the smaller ones. Use the link above to sign up with Kinsta.
By the way, I'd like to give a quick thank you to SE Ranking for sponsoring this video. Se Ranking is a top-rated SEO software suite that makes your life easier with its 30-plus tools. My personal favorite is their website audit.
The two-minute scan will let you know what SEO issues you need to fix on your site, and more importantly, how to fix them. It audits your content, backlinks, mobile friendliness, security, and technical SEO must-dos. Wanna make sure your website is squeaky clean?
Best Host for Customer Support
Since we're on the topic of customer support, let's look at it next. It's seriously the number one factor I look for when shopping for a hosting company.
Seriously. WPX is well known for its 30-second response times, which I have thoroughly tested on multiple occasions and it continues to impress me time and time again. The amount of issues they've fixed on my site, even if it wasn't their fault, is through the roof.
They helped me so much, I actually feel guilty. From email problems to hacking due to outdated plugins, and speed issues, all for free, mind you. The only other contender that came close in my book was SiteGround as an entry-level solution because it also packs a punch with a serious focus on customer support.
The team makes sure their shifts are overstaffed by support agents, so no customer is left hanging. But they still haven't managed to beat the 30-second response time WPX offers.
So ranking the best host for customer support was a no-brainer. Hats off to WPX for coming out on top for both speed and customer support, while Kinsta brings home the bacon for uptime.
Remember, you can claim 90% off your first month on WPX using the code Diggity90. Now, let's jump into the categories based on different use cases and different types of websites.
And do stay to the end where I share with you my favorite hosting company that you definitely want in your life, no matter what kind of project you're working on. To kick off this section, let's look at the price.
Best Budget Hosting Company
If budget is a concern for you, listen up for the best hosting company for affordability. GreenGeeks, A2, and Bluehost all come in at less than $3 a month on their cheapest plans.
Yes, there is a stack of others that are cheaper but they do leave a lot to be desired when it comes to performance and reliability. (coughs) They suck. GreenGeeks has a focus on making sure they're giving back to the environment to offshoot any environmental impacts of their servers.
Bluehost is a super popular entry-level option, but in my tests, I gotta say, I came out a little bit disappointed. It only scored 42% in GTmetrics, compared with A2 at 100%, and GreenGeeks at 97%.
Bluehost does, however, come out on top for uptime at 99.99%. In any case, if you go down the road of starting with a super cheap host, know that there will always be some trade-off between performance, customer support, or their platform capabilities.
They may also hit you with a stack of upsells, hidden fees, or a ridiculously high bill when it's time to renew your service. Honestly, if you're in it for the long run, you're better off starting with the better host and snapping up an awesome deal for the first few years, than sticking out with a host that forces you to compromise on performance.
But hey, not everyone's at that level and it's totally fine. So if you're hanging out for the best cheap hosting company, I'm awarding that title to GreenGeeks because they came out on top with the speed tests I ran, and because they give back to the planet.
Use the link in the above description to snap up an even better deal with GreenGeeks if affordability is what you're after.
Now, if you're using WordPress in your tech stack, you're better off using a hosting company that specializes in WordPress. Thank you, Captain Obvious.
Best Host for WordPress
So let's look at the best hosting company for WordPress websites. For this category, WPX and SiteGround come out on top. WPX is rated number one on Trustpilot and has hundreds of glowing reviews.
But if you're after a lower-cost alternative, SiteGround is great with their managed WP hosting. Either way, both of these companies are great for reasons beyond focusing on WordPress.
They focus on factors like security, uptime, speed, and customer support too, all the must-haves in a decent host. In a head-to-head battle with SiteGround and WPX though, I'm always gonna choose WPX since their level of support is setting new standards that no one else is keeping up with right now.
Best Hosting for E-commerce
Now, if you're in the e-commerce space, you're gonna need to shop for a hosting solution a little bit differently. It's one thing to run a blog on WordPress. It's a whole other to run a shop that needs a scalable solution.
So when it comes to the best hosting for eCommerce and online stores, storage becomes a critical factor. Online stores require a lot more storage space, due to the number of product shots and videos you'll need on the site. Downtime also directly relates to lost profits and lost rankings, which you just can't afford.
Given your site is also probably gonna be prone to large traffic spikes during sales periods, or specific events like Black Friday or Christmas, you need to consider the load impact of having hundreds of people on your site at once.
For these reasons, the best host for online shops is Liquid Web for a more scalable solution. Liquid Web, which is run by the same team as Nexcess, offers a scalable and managed solution for eCommerce sites built in WooCommerce or Magento. Be sure to click the link above and check them out.
For anyone who's running an authority site, pulling a lot of traffic, and making a lot of money, you're probably looking for our top-tier solution.
Best Host for Authority Sites
So let's look at the best host for authority sites next, as it can be a bit of a controversial category.
Cloudways came on top in the Facebook poll I created, but it also came out as the most controversial option. On the one hand, it's absolutely amazing when things are going well.
Affordable, high performing, and scalable to boot. But when things go wrong, reports say that their support is absolutely shocking. - Hello, IT. Have you tried turning it off and on again? (audience laughing) - Add that to the fact that you need some development chops in order to create the best solution for your site, and their knowledge base can leave a lot to be desired for beginners.
There's also the fact that Cloudways doesn't own any servers. It's a managed cloud hosting option that lets you enjoy the best of more technical platforms like DigitalOcean, Linode, AWS, or Google Cloud.
If you want the best of cloud hosting and have some development chops, going directly through DigitalOcean or Linode is likely gonna be a better route for you. But for the best hosting for authority sites, I'm inclined to declare WPX once again the official winner instead of Cloudways.
Not only did it come in second in the poll but it's also a suitable solution for beginners, and you'll never be left hanging since you have all the support you need within 30 seconds. Since we got on the topic of cloud hosting, I'm gonna share the best options in a moment.
But first of all, it's important to note that cloud hosting works very differently than your typical shared hosting environment. The biggest difference between shared, VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting is in how they're organized.
Shared hosting is one server that has multiple websites on it, all competing for resources. It leaves your site open to vulnerability, such as malware if that server gets infected.
VPS hosting stands for a virtual private server, which sets up a private virtual space on a server that only you have access to. Dedicated hosting gives you your own server to work off of. And cloud hosting, on the other hand, is a service that exists across multiple servers.
Instead of being on one server, your site will be hosted in the cloud, and that means that if one particular server is experiencing issues, your site doesn't have to go down with it.
In a way, cloud hosting is like a virtual private server but not all VPS options are cloud hosted. It doesn't go both ways. So with this in mind, let's look at the best possible hosting for VPS or dedicated hosting.
I'd suggest checking out Scala. They have fully managed VPS hosting plans, starting at similar pricing to the commonly shared hosting plans you see with traditional hosts. They have won multiple industry awards for their VPS hosting, and also allow you to build your own VPS.
They're a great option for people who want the freedom to customize their solution, and also for people who just want it all managed for them. Get Scala by using the link in the above description.
If you wanna be in total control of your hosting environment and optimize the bejesus out of it, you're better off looking into the best cloud hosting option. Many of the servers that regular hosts use are on the cloud already, and you might find you'll get better performance by setting up your own custom solution.
But obviously, this is not for everyone. For cloud server infrastructure solutions, DigitalOcean comes out on top as a clear winner in all my speed and uptime tests.
Some top SEO professionals love pairing it with Vultr, and many others use DigitalOcean's servers through platforms offering managed cloud hosting options, like Cloudways and Scala.
In any of these options, there's a pretty big learning curve on how to set up the server infrastructure.
It's definitely not a pathway for beginners. Personally, I prefer a managed solution that lets me focus my time and energy on tasks that are most important to me.
I also really value superior customer service. For this reason, my top choice for best-in-class hosting is WPX. I think you saw that coming.
It's an excellent all-rounder, suitable for all types of websites, and comes out on top for speed and customer service too. After a terrible experience with WP Engine, I moved all my websites over to WPX and have never looked back.
As I mentioned earlier, the WPX team is always happy to help me with any issue, even if it's not their fault. They've also helped me get the absolute best performance for my sites, so make sure to check them out by using the link above.
Conclusion of the Best Web Hosting Companies for SEO
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