tl;dr – JointsWP.com runs 2-4x faster after moving to WP Engine.
Update: Although this article may make it seem like I hate HostGator, that couldn’t be any further from the truth – I still host many sites on HostGator shared services, including some of my own personal sites. With packages starting under $4 a month, their shared servers are great for hosting small or personal websites. I ran many websites, including some large websites, on cheap HostGator packages for many years without any hiccups at all.
A few months ago, while enjoying a nice weekend at home binging on Walking Dead reruns I started getting emails from clients along the lines of “why my website no work!?”.
It turns out our host was doing maintenance to their database server when they ran into some issues. To make matters worse, they were also having trouble restoring the backups they had – leaving all of our websites with a lovely “Database not found message.”
To cut this story short, our client sites were down for nearly 3 full days with nothing we could do about it. We could not even restore our backups as the database servers were still having issues. That was the end of our days with HostGator’s shared hosting – we signed up for WP Engine and never looked back.
One of my favorite “features” of WP Engine is the speed – even our smaller websites were noticeably faster after making the switch. So before moving JointsWP.com over, I decided to run some speed tests to get a better idea of exactly how much faster WP Engine was compared to our previous “shared” hosting environment.
The Proof is in the Tests
Both websites were nearly identical at the time the speed tests with the only difference being in the caching system. WP Engine does not allow most caching plugins as they have their own caching system that offers the same functionality. For this test, the HostGator version of the website was using Super Cache.
This is probably my favorite test as it runs your website twice, allowing you to see how well your caching system works. Not only does it give you load times, it also gives you grades on items such as your caching system and first byte load time.
- First View Load Time: 2.117 seconds
- Repeat View Load Time: 1.363 seconds
- First Byte Time: F
- Cache Static Content: F
- First View Load Time: 1.058 seconds (2x faster than HostGator)
- Repeat View Load Time: .524 seconds (2.6x faster than HostGator)
- First Byte Time: A
- Cache Static Content: A
Pingdom gives load times as well as a “Performance Grade”. The “Performance Grade” must not rely on speed, as the load times for WP Engine were much faster, however, the “Performance Grades” were nearly the same.
- Load Time: 1.79 seconds
- Performance Grade: 85/100
- Load Time: .427 seconds (4.1x faster than HostGator)
- Performance Grade: 84/100
Google Speed Test
While the two scores ended up being nearly the same, the HostGator website continued to get warnings about “Reducing Server Response Time” – the WP Engine site passed this part of the Google test.
Its clear to see WP Engine is much, much faster than HostGator’s shared hosting – anywhere from 2 to 4 times faster. This was expected as WP Engine costs considerably more than HostGator’s shared hosting.
However, while the speed improvements alone are most likely worth the extra cost (faster sites = better SEO), WP Engine offers much more than just speed. They also offers a no-hack guarantee, automatic daily updates and they even update your WordPress website for you.