Who Has the Fastest, Most Reliable Shared Hosting?
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 June 2019. We looked at:
- Response time.
Each of these was tested every minute and then averaged for the whole month.
We scaled the response time data so that our fastest web hosting time (291 ms from A2 Hosting) was 100% and a time of 500 ms corresponded to 99.9%. This made the response time data comparable to the uptime data and allowed us to average the two to determine the overall ranking.
Fastest, Most Reliable Shared Hosting
We present the top 7 shared hosts based on their combined speed and stability ratings. Our reasons 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.
|Host||Speed (ms)||Uptime (%)|
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 JustHost has started to have good response times. And Bluehost usually has much better uptimes than they did during this month.
So read on to get the details.
- Pro: Flexibility
- Pro: Developer-friendly
- Con: Complexity
A2 Hosting had our fastest web hosting time and tied 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.
A2 Hosting’s uptime and response time results are no fluke. Their uptime average over the last six months is 99.995%. That’s just 2 minutes of downtime per month. The average for response times over this period was even better: 275 ms.
- 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’ uptimes and response times over the last six months have been in line with its values for this test. The average uptime was an exceptional 99.997%. And the response time was just 310 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 consistently good.
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: 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 test month was the worst month for Bluehost uptime over the last six months. The average was 99.96% uptime — indicating about 17 minutes of downtime per month.
Bluehost’s response times over the last six months have generally been a bit better: 395 ms on average.
- 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 432 ms average. But it’s server stability where SiteGround really shines. Over the last 4 months, SiteGround was never down for our site. And over the last six month, they have a 100.00% uptime.
- Pro: Inexpensive
- Pro: Shared cluster hosting
- Con: No phone support
StableHost offers shared cluster hosting, which is like cloud hosting but instead of your website being hosted on multiple servers, it is hosted on the best server of the cluster. As a result, you get good performance on super-cheap hosting plans.
StableHost’s performance numbers have been strong over the last six month period. During that time, the uptime has been 99.99% and the average response time has been 498 ms.
If you are unsure, StableHost offers the best money-back guarantee of this group of hosts with 45 days.
- Pro: Simple to use
- Pro: Reasonably priced
- Con: No free migration
JustHost has been around for about a decade. In its early days, it got great reviews. The last few years, however, have seen their reviews tank — especially when it comes to support.
Our data indicates that they still provide solid hosting. They’ve had an uptime of 99.995% over the last six months. At the beginning of that period, their response times were pretty bad: roughly 800 ms. But this has steadily improved to the point where their two-month average is just 501 ms.
There is no information indicating that JustHost’s support has improved, so you should take this into account if you are thinking of hosting with them.
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|
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. But out of the last year, they’ve only had one month during which they didn’t reach this goal. And that month, the uptime was 99.99%.
Their response times have been better than it was this month. Over the last six months, Liquid Web had an average response time of 281 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 99.98%. Their response times have also been better with an average of 304 ms.
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 as good or better than they did during our test period. Over the last six months, the uptime has been 99.98%. And the response time has averaged an incredible 253 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. All but one of the shared hosting providers (JustHost) 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 life a lot easier. 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 teir 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!