When you’re choosing hosting for your website there are literally hundreds to choose from, so how do you know which is the best web host?
It’s important to choose a fast web host because the speed of your site can make a big difference to your success. Faster websites rank better and make more money.
SiteGround and WPX Hosting (our review) are two of the most popular hosts for WordPress sites. Users of these services recommend them not only for their speed, but also for their customer service and value for money.
SiteGround is one of the hosts officially recommended by WordPress.org, and WPX hosting is used by many major WordPress sites.
Both companies offer very similar-looking hosting packages at first glance, so which should you choose?
To answer this question, I conducted extensive tests for sites hosted on both platforms to see which is the best host in terms of:
- Customer support
If you want to find out for once and for all whether SiteGround or WPX Hosting is the best host for your website, read on to find out the results!
How We Tested the Hosts
To make sure this comparison was completely fair and unbiased, I set up a WordPress site on one host and cloned it to the other using the All-in-one WP migration plugin to ensure the two sites were exactly the same.
This site was installed with the Divi theme because this is the most popular WordPress theme, accounting for 6% of all WordPress sites. This was set up with the “Travel Blog” layout on several pages – this is a pretty image-heavy design that I knew would take longer to load than more minimal themes.
I then used the plugin FakerPress to populate the site with 50 pages of dummy content with between 10 and 15 paragraphs of content, HTML, and images.
I also installed Akismet and Yoast SEO as they are some of the most popular WordPress plugins. I purposefully did not install any caching or compression plugins initially, as I wanted to get a true idea of site speed without any external optimization.
However, SiteGround actually has their own caching plugin, which comes pre-installed when you set up a new WordPress site via the control panel. This plugin is configured only to work with Siteground hosting.
WPX Hosting recommends the W3 Total Cache Plugin and provides recommended settings to their users.
The hosting package was the basic offering from each host, which offers support for one site.
You can see the two sites I used for testing here:
The Hosting Package Features Compared
Before we take a look at the actual performance tests of each site, let’s recap exactly what you’re getting with each hosting package
SiteGround Startup Hosting
$3.95 per month when paid yearly at time of review
Note: Siteground are currently running a promo during the COVID-19 pandemic and offering their basic hosting package for just $0.99 for the first three months
- Supports 1 website
- 10GB storage
- 10,000 monthly visits
- Unmetered traffic
- Free WP installation
- Free SSL
- Daily backup
- Free CDN
- Free email
- Unlimited databases
- Servers in USA, Europe, and Asia-Pacific
- Customized server setup
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 24/7 support
WPX Business Hosting
$20.83 per month when paid yearly at time of review
- Supports 5 websites
- 10GB storage
- 100GB bandwidth
- WPX Cloud CDN
- Unlimited Site migrations
- Unlimited SSLs
- 24/7 support
- Staging area
- Manual Backups
- DDoS Protection
- Malware scanning and removal
- 30-day money-back guarantee
- 28-day automatic backups
- 99.95% uptime guarantee
- UK and US hosting locations
Both hosts offer very similar packages including 10GB of storage, generous bandwidth, a CDN, 24/7 support, a choice of server location, and a 30-day money-back guarantee. However WPX does offer some additional features like a staging area and the use of their own cloud CDN rather than the free Cloudflare CDN.
The cheapest WPX hosting package is significantly more expensive than SiteGround, but they do support up to five sites so this is worth bearing in mind if you need hosting for multiple sites (Siteground’s next level of package supporting multiple sites is a similar price point).
So let’s start by comparing the levels of support you get from each host.
Support is definitely something you don’t want to be lacking – If your website gets hacked or goes down, you don’t want to be stuck with no help. But support is also somewhere that budget hosts make cost savings. Generally, the more you pay for hosting, the higher the level of support you can expect
So how do SiteGround and WPX Hosting stack up?
One of the first places you’ll probably need support is in transferring your website from another site. There are WordPress plugins available to make this task a little easier but it’s still a bit of a pain. So if a host is offering to do this for you, it can save you a lot of time and hassle.
WPX Hosting offers unlimited website transfers with an average wait time of 24 hours. There is an additional fee of $98 per website if you also want to change your domain name at the time of site migration.
SiteGround do not currently include site transfer in their most basic plan, but if you’re willing to pay a bit more it is a service included with their GrowBig and GoGeek plans starting from $19.95 a month
Backup and Recovery
There’s a slight difference in the way backups are managed between the two different hosts.
Siteground offers daily automated backups but on-demand backups are only available with the more expensive hosting packages.
WPX runs an automated backup every 28 days and allows manual backups at any time you wish.
Malware Scanning and Removal
WPX scans their servers for malware daily and addresses all vulnerabilities at the server lesson so you won’t need to pay for third-party malware scanners. They will also remove malware for you for free if your site has been hacked.
Siteground partners with Sucuri to scan for malware, however, this is an extra service currently priced at $1.65 a month. You’ll also have to remove any malware yourself.
WPX Hosting offers a “fixed for you guarantee” meaning if you run into a technical problem that’s affecting your site, they’ll actually fix it for you rather than directing you towards an article.
This service is intended primarily to get offline websites live again but they will fix the majority of most issues for you apart from fixing bad themes or plugins or web design issues.
Considering everything, WPX definitely offers a more “premium” support service so you can have confidence that if anything goes wrong with your site, they can help you get back online as soon as possible.
Siteground do offer 24/7 support but it’s a much more hands-off approach and you’re likely to be directed to support articles rather than them actually fixing your site for you.
Website Speed and Performance Tests
Now let’s get into some actual data. I ran a series of speed and performance tests on each website to measure its true performance.
I ran both sites through the speed test tool on Pingdom at a couple of different times of day to get a more accurate result.
The Siteground site loaded in 2.5 seconds on the first test, with a performance grade of 80.
The WPX site came out with a slightly slower load time of 3.18 seconds and a performance grade of 78.
However, when I repeated this test at a different time of day, WPX came out slightly better with a performance grade of 83 and a load time of 2.98 seconds.
The SiteGround site achieved a performance grade of 82 and a load time of 2.44 seconds on the second test.
GTMetrix initially gave the SiteGround site a PageSpeed score of 82% and a YSlow score of 73%. The WPX site got exactly the same PageSpeed grade but a slightly better YSlow grade of 81%, despite taking 0.8s longer to load.
When I repeated the test at a different time of day, the WPX site performed slightly better in both the PageSpeed and YSlow grades and loaded significantly faster in just 2.4 seconds rather than 3.7.
Dareboost gave the SiteGround site an “OK” rating of 65% on the first test and the WPX hosting site got a slightly higher rating of 68% with a loading time that was quicker by a few microseconds.
When I ran the test again, the WPX site actually scored one percentage point lower and took much longer to load at over 6 seconds, compared to less than 4 seconds for the SiteGround test.
So, the sites were pretty similar in performance across all the speed tests and neither site performed significantly better. However, I wanted to see how the sites would perform with their respective optimization and caching plugins activated with the recommended settings.
For the Pingdom tests, the site hosted on WPX performed quite a bit better, with a load time of under 1 second, compared to 2.46 seconds for the site hosted on SiteGround.
This pattern continued with the GTMetrix test, with the WPX-hosted site achieving a PageSpeed Grade of 90% and a YSlow grade of 81%, compared to 82% and 74% respectively for the site on Siteground.
For the repeated Dareboost test, the sites came out pretty equal, so there’s a bit of a mixed bag when it comes to results here. But overall it does seem that using the caching settings recommended by WPX Hosting does result in a faster site.
However, these tests only show how well the site performs for a single user. I also wanted to get an idea of how the speed and performance of the site would be impacted by high traffic levels.
I used k6, which is a load testing tool, to check the performance of each site when multiple people were browsing the site. I ran a 2-minute test for each site with 50 virtual users.
The results of this test were quite interesting. As you can see, the WPX site was much more stable and had a significantly shorter response time (that’s the blue line) than the Siteground test.
This indicates that while the other speed tests were very close, WPX Hosting seems to perform significantly better for websites under a high load.
This is well worth keeping in mind if you have a site with high traffic – it doesn’t matter so much how fast your site loads when one person is using it. How it performs when many people are accessing at the same time is more important.
So which is the better web host and which one should you choose to host your site?
In terms of features, support, and performance, WPX Hosting is the clear winner. The WPX site remained stable with a high traffic load, the site loaded faster when using the recommended caching plugin, and they have some useful additional features such as a staging area and integrated malware scanning.
The customer support offered by WPX is also excellent. When your website breaks, you really don’t want to spend hours tinkering with it, so the security of knowing that they’ll sort out any issues for you is well worth the extra expense if you can afford it.
On the other hand, if you’re looking for budget hosting, SiteGround’s basic package offers good value for money.
However, I do think it’s important to point out that while the SiteGround hosting may seem cheap, there’s no guarantee that you’ll be able to renew at the same price. In most cases, prices will revert to the “standard” price when your package renews. You can opt to buy hosting for up to three years to delay this price hike, but it means a higher initial investment.
WPX promises no price increase on renewal and I checked with their support to confirm that this means the price is locked in for the life of your hosting plan.
In the basic speed tests, SiteGround and WPX were pretty neck-and-neck, but WPX hosting did have a slight edge when using their recommended caching settings.
Both sites have very high ratings on review sites such as Trustpilot.
To help you make your decision, I compiled this table of hosting features so you can compare the two hosts at a glance.
|SiteGround||WPX Hosting Business Plan|
|Monthly price (when paid yearly)||$3.95 for the first year. May increase on renewal.||$20.83. Price locked in for the life of the hosting plan.|
|Number of websites||1||5|
|Bandwidth||10,000 monthly visits||100GB|
|CDN||Free Cloudflare||WPX Cloud|
|Free site migrations||No||Yes|
|Free malware removal||No||Yes|
|Backups||Automatic daily backups, no manual backup facility on basic plan.||Unlimited manual backups. Automatic backups every 28 days|
|1-click WordPress installation||Yes||Yes|
|Hosting locations||USA, Europe, Asia-Pacific||USA & UK|
If you have used either of these hosts and have any further insights, I’d be interested to know your experience, so please leave a note in the comments.