SiteGround, WP Engine, Kinsta, Flywheel, or Pressidium for WordPress

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I’d like to present to you (what I consider to be) the ultimate managed WordPress hosting comparison. After I wasn’t able to find a comprehensive comparison between different managed WordPress hosting providers, I decided to take matters into my own hands and conduct my own set of speed tests.

We’re going to be comparing the big names in managed WordPress hosting:  SiteGround, Flywheel, Kinsta, WP Engine, and Pressidium.

Ultimately, my goal was to find out which managed WordPress hosting provider is the fastest. Why? Because site speed is not only important to your visitors, but it’s also an aspect in Google ranking factors.

Speed Test Setup

First and foremost, I determined that London was a common data center location between all of these hosting providers. After purchasing a subscription to Kinsta, SiteGround, Pressidium, Flywheel, and WP Engine, I installed an identical WordPress website at each host. The WordPress websites had a single 1,500 word blog post, three images, and were running the Twenty Twenty theme.

In order to ensure a fair playing field, I made sure that each website and hosting environment was identical as follows.

  • WordPress version 5.4
  • PHP version 7.3
  • Domain name from Namecheap
  • No SSL certificate
  • No CDN

There were no other plugins or optimizations except for the server-level caching that was by default available for each one of these hosting providers. This ensured that this set of tests were “out of the box” tests.

Domestic Speed Test Results

With the test servers in place, I next set up a test client in Paris running Sitespeed.io version 12.3.1 and Google Chrome version 80.0.3987.132.

I then ran a series of 100 back-to-back page speed tests from Paris to each one of the respective data centers back in London. This amounts to 500 individual page speed tests… 100 to each one of the hosting providers.

Each individual test run collected a series of page speed metrics which we’ll look at next.

Server Response TimeTime to First PaintPage Load Time
SiteGround12 ms359 ms528 ms
Flywheel57 ms472 ms631 ms
WP Engine17 ms425 ms515 ms
Kinsta19 ms421 ms509 ms
Pressidium12 ms402 ms505 ms

Server Response Time

The first metric is server response time which is the time it take for the server to send the response. This is precisely the difference in time between the start of the request and the end of the response.

As you can see below, Pressidium and SiteGround were the clear winners with a server response time of just 12 ms. Not too far behind were WP Engine and Kinsta with average timings of 17 ms and 19 ms respectively.

Managed WordPress server response time test results showing Pressidium and SiteGround tied for the fastest

Time to First Paint

The next test is the time to first paint test. This is a measurement of the time when the first paint happens on the screen.

Again, SiteGround and Pressidium beat out all of the other managed WordPress hosting providers with 359 ms and 402 ms average timings respectively.

Managed WordPress domestic time to first pain test results showing Pressidium as the fastest

Page Load Time

The final test, which I consider to be the most important, is the page load time test. By definition, this is the time it takes for page to load from initiation of the page view to load completion in the browser.

Surprisingly Pressidium and Kinsta edged out the competition with timings of 505 ms and 509 ms respectively, only separated by 4 ms.

Managed WordPress domestic page load time test results showing Kinsta and Pressidium as the fastest

International Speed Test Results

When considering the domestic speed tests results alone, it seems like Kinsta and Pressidium are your best bet when considering fastest page load times.

However, in order to make these tests as comprehensive as possible, I moved the test client from Paris to New York and ran the set of 100 page speed tests again to each one of the respective data centers back in London.

Let’s look at the second round test results.

Server Response TimeTime to First PaintPage Load Time
SiteGround75 ms635 ms1045 ms
Flywheel159 ms711 ms920 ms
WP Engine77 ms712 ms955 ms
Kinsta78 ms670 ms947 ms
Pressidium75 ms670 ms856 ms

Server Response Time

While Pressidium and SiteGround beat out the competition again in the server response time test, WP Engine and Kinsta were not too far behind.

Managed WordPress server response time international test results showing SiteGround and Pressidium as the fastest

Time to First Paint

SiteGround beat out all the other managed WordPress hosts in the international time to first paint test with an average time of 635 ms. Kinsta and Pressidium tied for second place with an average time of 670 ms.

Managed WordPress time to first paint international test results showing SiteGround with the fastest average timings

Page Load Time

Pressidium yet again had the fastest page load time with an average timing of 856 ms from New York to London. Kinsta and Flywheel were not too far behind with average timings fo 947 ms and 920 ms respectively.

Managed WordPress page load time international test results showing Pressidium with the fastest average timings

Which Managed WordPress Host is the Fastest?

Right off the bat, Pressidium was able to consistently deliver web pages the fastest both domestically within Europe and internationally from the United States back to Europe. If you want a managed WordPress host that is able to deliver pages the fastest, Pressidium is probably the way to go.

Although Pressidium has been around since 2014, I have only recently tried hosting websites with them. On the other hand, I have experience hosting websites with Kinsta, and they were not too far behind Pressidium… only 4 ms behind Pressidium in the page load time test from Paris to London.

Based on my experience with Kinsta (when considering things such as customer support and sleekness of the dashboard), I can personally recommend Kinsta. While the cheapest plan for a single website at Kinsta and Pressidium are both $25/month, it’s worth pointing out that Kinsta allows twice as many monthly visits as Pressidium (20,000 vs 10,000) and also includes a CDN whereas Pressidium does not.

Cheapest PlanVisitsSSDCDNSSL
SiteGround$11.9510,00010 GBYesYes
Flywheel$13.005,0005 GBYesYes
WP Engine$25.0025,00010 GBYesYes
Kinsta$25.0020,00010 GBYesYes
Pressidium$24.9010,0005 GBNoYes

The best budget managed WordPress host is SiteGround. SiteGround has a great balance between low cost and speed. The cheapest regular-priced plan at SiteGround is only $11.95/month which includes CDN and an SSL certificate. SiteGround also has their GrowBig plan which allows you to host unlimited WordPress websites for just $19.95/month.

To summarize, here’s the ranking of managed WordPress hosts from fastest to slowest.

  1. Pressidium (Fastest Page Load Time)
  2. Kinsta (My Personal Recommendation)
  3. SiteGround (Best Budget Option)
  4. WP Engine
  5. Flywheel

As someone with experience hosting websites at all of these companies, don’t hesitate to let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.


About The Author

With a strong software engineering background, Tony is determined to help as many people as possible start their online busines. Discover why Tony quit his hedge fund job to pursue this mission. You can send Tony a message here.

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