Let us speak about WordPress performance. We are all interested in WordPress performance because of the SEO impact it can have on any website, the bounce rate and well, client or customer satisfaction. So here I will lay out for you which are the most important factors to look for with any WordPress hosting provider.
Overselling is a common practice by any given wordpress hosting provider. This is when they commit for more resources than what they actually have.
While this increases their bottom line, this severely affects your site speed. If you are hosted on shared hosting, it is almost certain you will be sharing resources with 100’s of websites. This is the most tricky part of choosing a provider, because on plain sight you can not see it. You need to actually try their services and test it. The price is also a tell, the cheaper and more absurd the pricing is, the more likely it is to be oversold.
1.1 Signs of overselling
- There are several signs of overselling. Before buying make sure to look at “unlimited” on the offers and read the small print on the terms of service. Unlimited is almost always not unlimited. I mean, it is also physically impossible. My suggestion, do not buy from fake advertised “unlimited” products. It is a lot better if you know what you are getting.
- Speeds. You will notice that servers run slow and it is hard or a bit hard to perform any action on the control panel.
- Now, after you have purchased a product, go to server information on cPanel. I will show you a very useful trick.
Here you will se something interesting. First, they are almost out of space. So if you bought a high GB plan, you might not fully get what you paid for. You can equally calculate the percentage and total space available on that server. Simply upload a big file of 10-20GB and see if there is any change. You will be able to calculate the total space available with some math.
Now, two more interesting things here or “signs” of a stable server. As you can see the CPU Count is 32, that means that the acceptable server load in this case is 32. (The server Load is just above the CPU count)
But what in hell is the server load useful for? Well, here is a definition that might help you understand this concept.
A load of “1” means that a single processor is working at maximum capacity. If your system has two CPUs, then a load of “1” would indicate that your system is using half of the processing power available to it.https://www.keycdn.com/support/reduce-server-load
And we can see also the “Memory Used” which is the RAM that is currently being used. It looks healthy.
Overall, this is not an oversold server. It does not load slow, the server load is fine, ram usage is ok and the storage is quite a red flag. But don’t get worried yet, a provider can at any moment increase the space for the disk they have available. So don’t loose faith on them. They are just trying to reduce costs. So this is a legit WordPress hosting provider that will offer a very decent performance (if not excellent).
When you see a company does not do overselling on one of their servers, that does not always mean they do not generally do overselling. Do not rely only on one test, you should constantly check for red flags and check your WordPress hosting performance!
2. Cache Policies
Websites tend to have cache policies and software for it. It might run on Nginx, Apache or LiteSpeed. LiteSpeed is my personal favorite for it’s WordPress performance. If any given web hosting offers LiteSpeed, know they are serious. They are investing around 100’s of dollars just on licensing. The LiteSpeed incense by itself costs around $50 USD a month. But it is not in vain.
2.1 LiteSpeed Cache
LiteSpeed cache is my personal favorite for the amazing performance it has. I have seen how it reduces TFFB (Time for first bit) responses for servers. In my case, one of my servers had a TFFB of around 1 second. That is definitely bad! 1 second just for the server to retrieve data and display it. Then add another couple of seconds to load the entire webpage. Now this hurts you and your SEO. Also note that LiteSpeed offers WordPress specific cache plugins. They have a wide variety of functions and page optimization features you should definitely check out. Even if your server does not have LiteSpeed, it is a free plugin with most functionality available for free.
What does LiteSpeed do? Why is it so fantastic?
- Reduces server resource utilization. You get more visits with less resources.
- Increases speed and caching for any given visitors. Your website will just load faster. Fly even.
- Caching software. It will reduce PHP requests for your database as some results will be cached.
This works perfectly for WordPress sites. It drastically increases their performance as it reduces PHP queries. This would work less “fine” if you are creating a purely HTML website. Then this would just be not recommended as the high costs for licensing do not justify the little speed improvements.
Anyways, here you can see an image of the comparison of performance. Nginx vs LiteSpeed vs Apache. In this case, you have the WordPress Performance by server vs Magneto 2 Performance by server.
2.2 Other caching solutions.
While Nginx and Apache are good, they can only perform very good on special servers made to run WordPress. It is just not possible to host a Nginx server with the same performance compared to a WordPress specific server.
A good WordPress hosting will offer at least Nginx or LiteSpeed. Else, it is not good.
3. Location/ Traceroute
This is something very very important. The location of a server matters a lot. The distance can be huge and therefore have a high ping. The ping is basically like shipping an individual packet or a set of packets from a computer to another. This normally gives you a result in ms (milliseconds). This is the time it took for the data to get from your location to the server. The higher the ping, the slower the connection will be.
This does not only depends on distance but also on the route it takes to get from point A to point B. This is why we use a traceroute request to see where it goes through. Packets in the internet just don’t fly from point A to point B. They have to take routes around the internet. Sometimes they are not necessarily the quickest routes neither are they the shortest.
Sydney to Moscow traceroute: It would go (aproximatleuy) through Sydney -> Philippines -> India -> North of Africa -> Europe -> Moscow
Sydney to Brazil: Sydney -> Hawaii -> California -> Mexico -> Colombia -> Brazil
While both are equally as far apart from each other (14.000 km aprox) The route Sydney -> Moscow looks like this:
It is around 23,000 Kilometers. We see it is definitely not a straight line!
Now look at this one, from Sydney to Brasil!
While both routes have a similar distance between each other, there is no cable between Sydney and South America. Therefore it has to go all the way around. In total:
Sydney -> Moscow
- Air Distance: 14,000KM
- Real distance: 22,000KM
Sydney -> Brasil
- Air Distance: 14,000 Km
- Real Distance: 31,000 Km
That was a kind of good explanation of how the trace-route affects the ping. There are other factors that we will not discuss.
In conclusion, make sure your WordPress hosting provider is near you or your client base. Remember, distance is not everything but you can also make a trace-route to check this further! And if you have clients from all over the world, you can use a CDN to cache some requests to local servers further, increasing your WordPress performance!
4. Customer Support
When looking for a wordpress host do not only look for great servers. Also check their customer support as well. Having a slow website can be a sign of a miss-configuration that only specialized support agents will be able to notice. Sometimes creating effective cache policies for the best wordpress performance is hard. You have to rely on your service provider. Not only the cache might be hard, but issues with plugins or anything. A managed WordPress hosting service is sometimes the best.
If your website is running slow, they will definitely be able to help you out with any issue. You need to know your provider has your back and you must be able to trust them with your data and your user’s data. Many people rely on websites to make a living. When it goes offline or any data is lost, hundreds – thousands or millions of dollars are lost per day.
You better trust your provider.
Make sure your hosting provider is reliable. No one wants time offline or “downtime”. It affects your SEO, loses you users and obviously costs you time and money to repair. As I said earlier, it is important to check the track record of your hosting provider. And definitely do not go for the cheapest if you want reliability. Although cheap does not always mean BAD. There are very cheap and good service providers out there. Just make sure they are not overselling!
Do not just pick any hosting if you really care. Always make a deep background check of them and their track record. Don’t forget to read the small letters on their terms of service and check reviews for it. Check for overselling, a good cache policy and their overall wordpress performance. Sometimes you can not know this until you try them out.
You can’t find a good wordpress host? Well they are sometimes hard to find, so why don’t check us out? We are definitely not a cheap alternative but it is not expensive either. We offer dedicated virtual environments to each client with managed wordpress servers. We will be fully hands on. Check out more about our wordpress hosting here.
The best WordPress performance!