I got 5 times faster load time by switching WordPress host

No optimization, no extra cache - just 5 times faster

How this website got more than 5 times faster load time by switching hosting provider

So, in this post, I am going to show you how THIS website went from a load time of 2.81s to 515ms by switching to a different hosting provider. No further optimization, no extra cache – just 5 times faster

Here I was, recently started up WPHostingDirectory.com, writing about different hosting providers, shared tips about how to backup your WordPress website, and preaching about how good performance will increase your SEO, making Your websites rank better in Google at the same time as the user experience increases. It is all true, however, when I started this website, I noticed that a lot of my websites were struggling with performance issues. Even though I worked hard with optimization, cache and served static content using the Cloudflare CDN – basically followed every rule of the book.. but never did I see the decreased load time/page speed I were looking for.

This was very frustrating, and I had numerous conversations with my hosting provider, even switched up to their biggest hosting subscription, only to get the final answer that they didn’t have anything to do with it, not a problem on their side. Since I was pretty sure that the problem was due to performance problems at my hosting provider, I decided to give another player a chance – a hosting provider I never tried before, but had been reading a lot good about. Since I am based in Europe, Sweden, my goal was to find a host that in combination with Cloudflare could deliver my websites with good load time both in Europe and the rest of the world. However, since most of my websites are focusing on European audiences, the servers have to be within Europe. Inleed is the hosting provider I decided to try.

Note that I wasn’t sure about anything when I decided to try another hosting provider for my WordPress websites, and to be able to make a good decision based on actual measurements, I set up a few rules;

  1. The measurements regarding load time were tested using the Pingdom Website Speed Test.
  2. I disabled my optimization/caching plugin.
  3. I cloned the website using All-in-One WP Migration (also, see my guide for backing up/restoring your WP website using All-in-One WP Migration).
  4. I decided to still use Cloudflare.

Basically, the goal was to make a fair performance test, giving both hosting providers an equal chance to perform.

What I found was pretty interesting. By pointing the CDN setting towards the cloned website at Inleed, without optimizing anything… gave me more than 5 times faster load time. I was truly amazed!

Speed test after switching hosting provider: The speed went from 2.81s to 515ms
Result: Load time went from 2.81s to 515ms (more than5 times faster)

As you can see, the page speed went from 2.81 seconds down to 515 milliseconds JUST by switching to a better hosting provider. Note that the pricing per month is almost the same, about $2 more per month with my new hosting provider.

Note that I’m not here to write shit about my previous hosting provider, and since I have been a happy customer there for more than eight years, I’m not going to tell you who hosted it. I still respect their work and will probably keep one or two websites where the targeted audience is Sweden only 😊

How to Backup, Restore & Migrate your WordPress site

You need a backup!

Even though most hosting providers backup your website regularly, it is necessary to store own backups of your WordPress websites as well. Restoring a WordPress website when something has gone wrong is much easier than for example, to remove a virus manually on your own. Usually, a lot of files might be infected, and if you’re not certain you removed all of the WordPress malware, there is a risk for it to come back or just continuously slow down your website. In this article, I will show you how to backup your WordPress website, and how to restore it. This backup/export-method can also be used to move/migrate your WordPress installation to a new domain or to your local development environment.

It’s great that most hosting providers do take backups of your websites, however, sometimes, they don’t store them for a very long time. I’ve seen plenty of clients who have trusted their WordPress hosting providers with backups, but not found out that their WordPress site has been infected with a virus until it is too late and the backups needed, are too recent since the hosting provider only stored backups for a few weeks or months. Read through your WP host license agreement to see for how long your host is storing their backups of your website!

Creating your own backups of your WordPress website does not has to be hard, there are plenty of plugins who offers this functionality both for free and paid. A common problem I’ve seen is people who install these different backup plugins, but have never tried to restore the backup, which sometimes is above their level of skill. I’ve been there myself and over the years, I’ve tried a bunch of different free (and paid) WordPress backup plugins, and finally found my favorite.

The backup plugin I’m referring to is All-in-One WP Migration. They offer the plugin for free as long as your website backups size is less than 512MB. I’ve personally used this plugin plenty of times on different websites, and only paid for it a few (2-3) times when the website size has been too large.

According to WP Rocket, WP Core is 30.8MB and the average theme directory (/wp-content/themes) is around 25 MB. A single theme, however, is usually between 1MB and 10MB. Basically, if you’re not storing a huge amount of images/media-files, your WordPress site is probably less than 512MB – and you can use the free version.

Did you backup the website?
When was the last time you backed up your WordPress website?

Who is using All-in-One WP Migration and how many active installations are there?

The plugin has more than 2+ Million active installations and review score of 4.5/5 stars from more than 6000 reviews. Basically trusted by a good amount of WordPress websites.

So, what is the absolute best feature of All-in-One WP Migration?

According to the creators of the backup tool, ServMask themselves: “Move, transfer, copy, migrate, and backup a site with 1-click. Quick, easy, and reliable.”

For me, the best with All-in-One WP Migration is that it is incredibly easy to restore backups created with All-in-One WP Migration. You can restore old backups to your live WordPress website, or export it to a local development environment so that you can work on your website on localhost. This will definitely increase the development speed if you are not developing locally already. Also, the backup tool makes it easy to migrate to a different domain, you are basically just one or two clicks away.

It might seem weird that I choose to highlight one of the most obvious features of a backup-plugin.. however, have you actually tested to restore a backup you have created? The process is usually not as easy and as quick as one hopes it to be. So, that’s my main reason for choosing All-in-One WP Migration. It is quick and easy.

Another great use of this plugin is that it gives you an easy way to switch to a different hosting provider if needed.

How to backup your WordPress website

This guide will answer two important questions for every website owner: “How do I back up my website?” and “How do I export my entire WordPress site?”.

  1. Download/install the All-in-One WP Migration. There are generally three common ways of installing WordPress plugins:
  • Download the plugin and upload it via FTP. When the plugin is uploaded, go to the WordPress admin panel and activate the plugin.
  • Download the plugin and upload it via the WordPress admin panel. Navigate to Plugins, Add new and go to “Upload plugin”. Select the downloaded zip file and hit install now.  Drag and drop works as well.
  • Simply navigate to Plugins, Add New and search for All-in-One WP Migration. Find All-in-One WP Migration by ServMask and hit the “Install Now” button and when it is installed, activate the plugin.
Install and activate All-in-One WP Migration
Install and activate All-in-One WP Migration

2. Navigate to the plugin page. Hit the “Export to” and select “File”.

3. The plugin will now create the backup file, and when the process is done, download the backup and store it in a safe location – preferably, store a copy on more than one location.

4. Done! You have successfully created and downloaded a backup of your WordPress website.

Download your WordPress backup
Done. Download and store the backup on a safe place

How to restore your WordPress website using your backup file

Restoring your website using the backup created by All-in-One WP Migration is fairly easy. The process is the same if you are migrating to a new domain or want to import it to your local development environment.

  1. Make sure that All-in-One WP Migration is installed (see previous installation instructions).
  2. Navigate to All-in-One WP Migration, go to “Import”.
  3. Drag and drop your backup file. If you didn’t rename the backup file, here is an example of the file name: wphostingdirectory.com-20190922-193955-434.wpress.
  4. The backup installation will now be prepared and it can take a while.
“Proceed” and wait for the backup to be installed.
Restoring a backup using All-in-One WP Migration

5. Hit “Proceed” and wait for the backup to be installed.

All-in-One WP Migration - Successful WordPress backup restore
Your site has now been imported successfully!

6. Navigate to “Settings”, “Permalinks”, then click “Save Changes”.

7. Done, your WordPress backup is successfully restored.

increase upload limit – All-in-One WP Migration

A hot topic on different forums and on YouTube regarding All-in-One WP Migration is how to increase the upload limit without paying for the plugin. Let me save you some time here. The “hack” where you increase the All-in-One WP Migration plugin upload limit from 512MB to 10GB by switching the Max File Size from 512 MB does not work anymore. Instead, pay for the plugin if your website is too big. It’s a GREAT plugin worth paying for when needed. Give some credit to the developers, we want this plugin alive and well in the future too, as it saves its users a lot of time and hassle when backing up WordPress.

SiteGround Hosting Review

Like a few other WordPress Hosts, Siteground offers managed WordPress hosting, promising fast and secure Web hosting. This is nothing new, however, what made me more curious about the company was because they are one of three hosting providers that are officially recommended by WordPress.

I’ve been talking a lot about how good hosting is one of many parameters to actually make more money on your websites, so why don’t we let WordPress describe why this time:

Just like flowers need the right environment to grow, WordPress works best when it’s in a rich hosting environmentWordPress.org

Being recommended by WordPress.org really takes something extra. Doesn’t it? So what possibly makes Siteground such a good WordPress host? We’ll let you decide after reading through some of the key topics regarding SiteGround and WordPress hosting. Enjoy.

Managed WordPress Hosting

What I find interesting is how Siteground really zoomed out to take a look and cover the whole hosting experience, from start to finish.

  • To make it easy for users when switching to SiteGround from their previous host, they have launched their very own WordPress Migrator plugin.
  • To deliver “Ultra-fast Sites”, they host your website on SSD-harddrives and PHP 7 with OpCache.
  • To boost your website’s performance even further, they offer static caching and a free CDN service.
  • To deliver your website with HTTPS to your visitors, they use free SSL/HTTPS using certificates from Let’s Encrypt.
  • To not miss out on potential customers and users, they offer “Handcrafted Solutions for 99.99% Uptime“.
  • When you need help, they will assist you with phone support, live chat support or using their ticket system.
  • Finally, for your comfort, they provide you with daily backups and managed security & updates.

SiteGround Support and customer service

SiteGround is known for their outstanding customer service and support. They offer 24/7 “Insanely fast support” using both phone support, live chat support and ticket system, basically – pic what you prefer. Personally, I switched to my Swedish hosting provider, Binero due to their great customer service and support over the phone. This is actually one of my absolute highest priorities when selecting a hosting provider for my websites.

SiteGround phone number

You contact the SiteGround support using this telephone number: +1 866-605-2484.

SiteGround SSL

SiteGround offers both free and paid SSL certificates. The Free SSL certificate is provided from Let’s Encrypt. The paid SSL from SiteGround can be ordered as extras where users can choose from WildCard SLL (75 EUR/y) for your domain and all subdomains, or Extended Validation (EV) SSL (390 EUR/y) suitable for advanced validation and websites that need the highest level of encryption.

To manage Let’s Encrypt certificates, log into your cPanel → Security tab → Let’s Encrypt.
To manage Let’s Encrypt certificates, log into your cPanel → Security tab → Let’s Encrypt.

What SiteGround promotes in their advertisement:

Instagram advertisement from SiteGround
Instagram advertisement from SiteGround

SiteGround Pricing

SiteGround SSL Pricing

  • Let’s Encrypt: Free
  • WildCard SLL: 75 EUR/y
  • Extended Validation (EV) SSL: 390 EUR/y

SiteGround Pricing for Managed WordPress Hosting

SiteGround offers three pricing plans for different WordPress hosting needs, StartUp, GrowBig and GoGeek.

The StartUp plan includes hosting of one site and the essential WordPress Features:

  • Free WP Install
  • Free WP Migrator
  • Free SSL and HTTPS
  • Free Email
  • Free Cloudflare CDN
  • Free Daily Backup
  • WP Autoupdates
  • WP CLI and SSH
  • 24/7 WP Support
  • 30 Days Money Back
  • Unmetered Traffic
  • Unlimited MySQL DB

This is a great start for any WordPress website. If you only need hosting for one website, I would consider adding other WordPress plugins for some of the features included in the GrowBig plan. For example, the alternative for WordPress SuperCacher included in the GrowBig plan could be WP Fastest Cache (My personal favorite that I use for most of my websites).

The GrowBig plan includes the essential WordPress features listed above, and the Premium WordPress Features:

  • Free WP Transfer by our Experts
  • WordPress SuperCacher
  • Advanced On-demand Backup
  • 1-click WordPress Staging

In my opinion, the best with this package compared with the StartUp is the WordPress SuperCacher and the Free WP Transfer that the SiteGround support (experts) helps you with. On-demand Backup is also good, however, for most users, the Free Daily Backup included in the StartUp plan is probably good enough. Same applies to the 1-click WordPress Staging. This is truly great for a bit more advanced WordPress users, but probably not what most users actually need.

And the GoGeek includes the essential WordPress Features (listed above), the Premium WordPress Features (listed above) and “Geeky WordPress Features“:

  • Advanced Priority WP Support
  • More Server Power
  • PCI Compliant Servers
  • Pre-installed Git for WordPress
SiteGround Managed WordPress Hosting plans

SiteGround Customers

Selecting a host with a good number of users might be important. The economy of the hosting provider might actually affect you and your websites if there would be problems. SiteGround is trusted by a good number of users, and are hosting 2,000,000 domains. Actually, one of the more well-known WordPress blogs, WPBeginner.com trusts SiteGround as the host for their website.

Not only have SiteGround 2,383 reviews at Trustpilot where they get 94% score of “Excellent”, as mentioned previously, WordPress.org officially recommends SiteGround.

Green Web Hosting and SiteGround

Going green and making efforts for saving the climate is something that everyone should think about. Plenty of big hosting companies are trying to host more sustainable (hosting includes a lot of electricity etc), and in an article named “Green Web Hosting” from Web Hosting Professor, SiteGround is at 9th place with the motivation as follow:

SiteGround not only embraces modern technology to become more efficient but it also approaches sustainability from a uniquely personal angle, planting trees and cleaning the area surrounding its facilities.Web Hosting Professor

The Social Media opinion

So, what do people on social media say? By searching for “Hosting poll” in the group, Advanced WordPress, I found two polls suggesting that SiteGround was the favorite by the majority of the voters. I know that these polls are a bit outdated, please comment if you have seen any newer 🙂

WordPress Hosting Poll from 2016
WordPress Hosting Poll 2016
Advanced WordPress Host poll 2014
Advanced WordPress Host poll 2014

Other in-depth SiteGround reviews and recommended readings

Did we miss something out or do you just want to read some more about SiteGround and their hosting services? Here are a few posts that we think are of high quality:

WP Engine Review – Pay more, but why?

WP Engine, one of the best performing alternatives for WordPress hosting, but also one of the most expensive ones.Why should you invest in this hosting provider? And, will WP Engine still be relevant in 2020?

I’ve talked about this a thousand times, it really makes sense to invest in the performance of your site. Site performance is good for search engine optimization and if you’re serious about your websites, professional WordPress hosting can actually help you make even more money on your website. The modern user demands good website speed and so does Google and the other search engines. Optimizing your website speed with good cache, compressing code and other tricks is really important, however, a reliable and good performing host is can take your website to the next level, outperforming the other websites in your niche.

So, why WP Engine? WP Engine has always been focused on WordPress, and can actually provide so much more than the regular host. This hosting provider makes it incredibly easy to connect to a global CDN, automated SSL certificates and even offers functionality to run your websites professionally using development, stage, and production environments. Basically, build and test new features without jeopardizing your live environment. If anything goes wrong, this strategy makes it easier to roll back and test without interfering with the live site and its users.

The thing that makes it possible for WP Engine to fine-tune the hosted websites that are using the service is due to the fact that WP Engine is what is called a Managed WordPress hosting, where most technical aspects of running WordPress is managed by WP Engine. What it really means is that WP Engine manages security, speed, updates, backups and uptime, while you focus on what you’re supposed to focus on, high-quality service or content of the website.

WP Engine 2019-07-13

Support

Don’t underestimate the value of good support from your hosting provider. One of the things that WP Engine is known for is quick and high-quality support. Actually, high-quality support is one of the main things that makes me stay with a host for a long time. On the contrary, bad support from hosting companies is a thing that often makes me recommend some of my clients to switch to other hosting providers who provide high-quality support like WP Engine. Like in general business, we tend to search for long term business relations, and when selecting a hosting provider, its the same thing. To be able to stay for many years, good support is incredibly important. WP Engine has a good advantage when WordPress owners are searching for new hosting solutions due to the fact that their support crew are WP pros. Support matters do actually not have to be regarding hosting-specific questions, they know much more than that.

Speed

As I said before, a website with good speed will have happier visitors and is good when search optimizing. According to WP Engine, their customers “enjoy an average of 27% faster load times by switching to WP Engine”Always select a hosting provider with good metrics when it comes to speed.

Other speed- and performance related topics which WP Engine helps you with are:

  • Fully Managed Global CDN – Load content faster with our global content delivery network (CDN).
  • Proprietary EverCache® – Reduce strain on your site’s resources with our caching solution
  • Traffic Encryption with SSL
  • Security: Threat Detection & Blocking
  • Uptime Protection
  • Scalable Architecture

Optimizing speed on a regular host usually means, messing with different cache and speed plugins. WP Engine reduce this hassle and you can focus on creating great content. This is especially important for Affiliate website who focus on great SEO (search engine optimization) to attract new visitors and leads.

Final notes

So, if 24/7 support and great performance and security is not enough for you, WP Engine also gives you access to some premium WordPress themes from StudioPress.

For me, this is important because most free WordPress themes are not written with optimized code, which often leads to bad performance. A lot of free themes looks nice, but lack in performance.

Back to my main questions, will WP Engine still be relevant in 2020 and why should you invest in this hosting provider? Well, in my opinion, awesome support in combination with great performance and good features for WordPress makes this an easy question to answer. Yes.