Who Has the Fastest, Most Reliable Shared Hosting?
Disclosure: Your support helps keep the site running! We earn a referral fee for some of the services we recommend on this page. Learn more
There are many things to look for in a web host. Great support comes to mind. But the one thing that a host has to have is fast, stable servers.
We’ve been studying the web hosting industry for more than a decade. And we’ve collected a lot of data in that time. In this article, we’re going to look at the data on web page response time and uptime to determine the fastest and most stable hosts for your website.
Why Speed and Stability Matter
There are good reasons why you need fast, stable web hosting. Google has found that people click away from mobile sites if they don’t load quickly.
You probably know this from your own experience. In addition to all of us simply being impatient, slow page load speeds imply that the site isn’t professional.
Google (and presumably other hosts) provide a search ranking boost to websites that are fast.
And just as a slow server will hurt your site, so will one that is frequently down. It doesn’t take long for users to stop even trying.
How We Tested the Hosts
We used our collection of shared hosting accounts. In many cases, we have years worth of data. But in order to include newer web hosting companies and to have the most up-to-date data, we used only our data from May 2019. We looked at:
- Response time.
Each of these was tested every minute and then averaged for the whole month. Then we averaged the data for 6 months.
We sorted the results in descending order of response time, but don’t forget to pay attention to the uptime either. Aside from Hostinger and Interserver, all hosts had average uptimes above 99.9% over the past 6 months, which is pretty good going.
Fastest, Most Reliable Shared Hosting
We present the top 9 shared hosts based on their combined speed and stability ratings. Our reason for choosing this number is that there was a distinct difference between this group and the hosts below them.
Note that these are just the shared hosts. We got some great results with cloud, VPS, and even website builder hosting. We’ll go over the best ones below.
The following measurements show the average speed and uptime over the course of 6 months.
|Host||Speed (ms)||Uptime (%)|
|Web Hosting Pad||316||99.995|
|* FatCow’s uptime data is based on 5 months’ data – the 6th month’s data was unavailable.|
|** A2 Hosting had a major week-long problem in July but otherwise performed well above average.|
Some hosts were let down by below-average response times, but have been exceptionally reliable over the past year. We compiled all of our available uptime data from the past 12 months to give you an overview of our top providers’ reliability:
- SiteGround – 99.997%
- JustHost – 99.995%
- A2 Hosting – 99.993%
- StableHost – 99.988%
- WP Engine – 99.988%
- Wix – 99.983%
- Bluehost – 99.968%
- GreenGeeks – 99.959%
- MDD Hosting – 99.958%
- Yahoo Web Hosting – 99.937%
- Namecheap – 99.924%
- Interserver – 99.856%
Details About the Fastest, Most Stable Shared Hosts
As much as possible, we made sure that none of the hosts were on this list just because they had a particularly good month. But this doesn’t mean you should simply go by this table. It distorts the facts a little bit.
The table makes some hosts look worse and others better than they are. For example, it is only over the last few months that FatCow.com has started to have good response times and uptime. And A2 Hosting usually has much better uptimes than they did during the past 6 months, but outages take the averages down.
So read on to get the details.
- Pro: Simple backend
- Pro: Developer-friendly
- Con: Pricier renewals
FatCow had both the fastest response time and best uptime averages.
FatCow also offers reasonable starting prices. Whilst the renewals have a significant premium, it isn’t an overly expensive host, and the range of plans caters for all sizes with shared, VPS, and Dedicated hosting.
Their average uptime over the past 5 months was 100% (data for the 6th month was unavailable), and their average response time was an impressive 274 ms.
- Pro: Cheap shared hosting
- Pro: Huge range of domain TLDs
- Con: No dedicated servers
With the second-fastest response time, Domain.com pulls through as the runner-up.
Domain.com scaled up from being a simple domain registrar to a fully-fledged hosting provider. They have a variety of hosting, including three separate shared hosting packages.
Domain.com’s 6-month average response time was 310 ms, with an average uptime of 99.937%, well within their uptime guarantee.
Web Hosting Pad
- Pro: One-click installs
- Pro: Automatic malware scans
- Con: Not enterprise plans
The last speedy host on the podium is Web Hosting Pad.
Web Hosting Pad offers cheap hosting plans with plenty of freebies to get started (SSL certificates, domain, one-click-installs), though they do have dedicated servers and cloud hosting plans.
Overall, this provider had one of the most impressive aggregate statistics over the past 6 months with an exceptional uptime of 99.995% and a 316 ms response time.
- Pro: Environmentally friendly
- Pro: Scalable
- Con: Slightly pricy renewal rates
GreenGeeks is known for being an environmentally friendly hosting provider — buying three-times their energy use in carbon offsets. But they’re also one of the best hosts regardless of their social conscience.
They offer great introductory prices — including a barebones plan for just $2.95 per month. The downside of this is that the renewal price (after three years at the introductory price) is relatively high: $9.95 per month. That isn’t that high, however, and the other plans don’t jump as much. But this could be a deal-breaker for some.
GreenGeeks’ average uptime was low for them — 99.928% — due to a rocking October during which they had almost 100 very brief (< 2 minute) outages. Their response time, however, were still excellent at just 319 ms.
- Pro: Price-lock guarantee
- Pro: Excellent support
- Con: Can be hard to use
InterServer can be a hard host to get started with. But there are many things that newbies will find appealing. One is that they have a base shared hosting plan: feature-rich for just $5 per month (less if you pay for a year or more at a time). Plus there are no surprises; renewal is the same price.
Additionally, InterServer offers excellent support so you won’t be left struggling by yourself.
The biggest problem with InterServer has been its stability. Our tests over the last six months indicate that they often fall below their 99.9% uptime guarantee. Despite this, their response times have been consistent and fast at an average of 370 ms.
You may see better uptimes from InterServer than we have. And their downtime only amounts to a couple of minutes per day. But it often comes in less frequent but longer periods. This is something you should consider before signing up.
- Pro: Inexpensive cloud plans
- Pro: Cheap domains
- Con: No phone support
Hostinger is a people’s favorite with consistent 4+ star user reviews. They offer a range of affordable shared, VPS, and cloud hosting plans with the cheapest plan starting at just $0.80/month!
However, Hostinger’s stability was inevitably their greatest let-down over the past 6 months. They had 4 major outages in May (two of them over 3 hours long), and we can see that in the averages. June was much better, but still had problems. Since then, Hostinger has been exceptional with a 99.98% uptime over the last 4 months.
The average response time of Hostinger came in at an excellent 387 ms.
- Pro: Great for WordPress hosting
- Pro: Low prices
- Con: Substantially higher renewal rates
Bluehost was the first hosting company to be officially recommended as a host for WordPress. It remains an obvious choice for anyone looking for WordPress hosting.
Though Bluehost performed well in this test, it’s an even better host than the numbers would indicate. The average uptime over the past 6 months came to 99.963% — indicating about 17 minutes of downtime per month.
Bluehost’s response times over the last six months have generally been a bit slower than usual at a still very good 431 ms. The average was slightly lowered by a slower October at 554ms.
- Pro: Great support
- Pro: Official WordPress host
- Con: Expensive especially for renewals
SiteGround is our top-rated host. When it comes to shared hosting, they have everything: features, performance, and unmatched support.
The downside is that they are a tad more expensive than competing shared hosts. The bigger concern is their renewal pricing, which may scare away some customers.
Over the last six months, SiteGround has been faster than this test would indicate with a 457 ms average. But it’s server stability where SiteGround really shines.
Over the last 6 months, SiteGround had just one 3-minute outage. They hold an average uptime of 99.998%, the highest of all hosts on the list. Then again, this is no surprise from SiteGround… usually, it’s 100%.
- Pro: Flexibility
- Pro: Developer-friendly
- Con: Complexity
A2 Hosting is a previous winner for the fastest web hosting time and current runner-up for our best uptime.
It is particularly good for experienced developers and webmasters. But even for newbies, A2 Hosting is good to consider. In addition to being a top host, they provide some of the best support in the industry.
A2 Hosting also offers good prices. And they not only offer great introductory rates but their renewal rates are reasonable — in the middle of the industry’s range. So you won’t be forced to change hosts after your contract is up.
The average for response times over the past six months came in at 822 ms due to a rough patch in July. Otherwise, their response times were consistently between 240 – 310 ms, which is a better representation of performance.
A2 Hosting’s uptime is no accident, however. Their uptime average over the last six months was 99.995%.
Other Fast Web Hosting
We only looked at traditional shared hosting plans above. When it comes to other kinds of hosting, there are some great choices for fast web hosting.
|Host||Speed (ms)||Uptime (%)||Type|
Website Builder Hosting: Wix
- Pro: Great-looking website builder
- Pro: All PCI compliant
- Con: Limited customization
Wix offers a very easy way to get a website up and running. And with some of the best templates in the industry, the site will look good. Just the same, Wix doesn’t allow you to customize your site as much as you might like to. But they offer a free plan so there’s nothing to lose if you want to try it out.
Wix performance numbers look much better than they did during our previous test periods.
Over the last six months, the average uptime was a good 99.973%. And the response time has been even more impressive at 279 ms.
WordPress Hosting: WP Engine
- Pro: Great support
- Pro: WordPress optimized
- Con: No email
WP Engine invented the managed WordPress hosting industry. And they are still the top host in that field. Their entire infrastructure is tuned to host WordPress at its fastest and most stable.
The uptime during this test period is an outlier. WP Engine’s uptime over the last six months has been 99.978%. Their response times have also been better with an average of 324 ms.
Cloud Hosting: Liquid Web
- Pro: High-performance, powerful plans
- Pro: 100% uptime guarantee
- Con: Expensive
Liquid Web has been in the hosting business since the 1990s. They focus on high-end hosting: cloud (VPS), dedicated, and managed WordPress hosting with advanced features. If you need high-performance hosting, Liquid Web is a good choice.
Liquid Web offers a 100% uptime guarantee, which is technically impossible. Unfortunately, the measurements of Liquid Web’s uptime were inaccurate over the past 3 months, and so we can’t give you a reliable average. But in general, the uptime hovers around 100.00%.
Their response times have been slower than in previous months. Over the last six months, Liquid Web had an average response time of 361 ms.
Beyond Speed and Stability
It is certainly best to have super fast hosting that never goes down. But there’s more to hosting than this.
- Support: we already talked about this, but it’s critical to select a host that can support you when something goes wrong. That doesn’t mean you have to have phone support. But it has to meet your needs.
- SSD: solid-state drives (SSDs) have become important in web hosting because they are faster and more reliable than mechanical drives. Most of the shared hosting providers use SSDs.
- CDN: a content delivery network will speed up your site no matter where your visitors come from. It’s usually at least a good idea to have a CDN for your website and if it is included with hosting, so much the better.
- Control Panel: shared hosting doesn’t usually come with shell access so you will administer it through a control panel. Popular ones like cPanel and Plesk make moving hosts easier.
- Backups: automatic backups make your website safer. When something goes wrong, you don’t need to worry if you have your most recent data.
- Domain Names: most web hosting services also offer domain names. Some even include free domain names for the first year (and in rare cases more). Be sure to check the renewal price, however; they can be high.
- Money-Back Guarantee: regardless of the host, there are times when they just aren’t right for a particular customer. Most hosts offer a money-back guarantee on shared hosting, but you should make sure.
Starting your search with the fastest web hosting services isn’t a bad approach. But it isn’t the only one either. There are many hosts that didn’t make it into our top tier that are still good choices:
Or check out the thousands of expert and user reviews of hundreds of the top web hosting providers. What are you waiting for? Get started now!