Hey! It’s 2019! It’s time to check out who’s leading in the world of speedy web hosting and to see how you’re doing with taking advantage of all that power. If you’re still hosting your website GoDaddy or someplace like that, then you’re probably not only overpaying, you’re also not getting the best website performance you could be. Not that GoDaddy isn’t great for some things, like buying domains, for example. But when it comes to hosting and speed value and performance, there are simply better choices.
In this post we will discuss the best choices for webhosting in the cloud. Best choices for speed, for cost and for serving up your sites to the masses. Though we don’t endorse and services specifically, we do have our opinions about who delivers the best in each of those categories and who does not. We hope you find this information valuable, and of course, contact Empro if you need help moving your site to the cloud.
What Makes A Webserver Fast?
There are many factors that come into play for making a webserver fast. These include the servers’ processing power and the speed ot its connection out to the Internet. It also matters whether a server is dedicated or shared with other websites. A shared server can be powerful, but burdened by other websites, and therefore can be slow from time to time if those sites are busy.
Another important factor for webserver speed is latency. Latency is basically the time it takes for information to travel between you and your website. This is an important factor because, for many sites, there is quite a bit of chatter between the browser and the website just to make a page appear. The faster that chatter can be done with, the quicker the page will load. Keeping latency to a minimum will help the chatter happen quicker.
How We Tested
To see who is offering the best cloud services, we measured the speed of each using Pingdom from the San Francisco Bay Area. Each of the services we tested was provisioned in either San Francisco or Los Angeles. Again, to keep latency to a minimum, and to give the best possible reflection of what these services are actually capable of without traffic elsewhere affecting the numbers.
We used Runcloud.io to configure all servers. We tested the same application under the same configurations and running on the same operating systems on all sites. Each server was optimized for performance using Google’s Best Practices webserver recommendations.
Amazon Web Services
Working with AWS has gotten easier over the years. Now, with the addition of Amazon’s Lightsail service, provisioning servers is easy. Simply choose your size and location and click to deploy. Clearly they are catering to a wider crowd now too, with VPS as low as $3.50/mo. They even give you the first month free on that plan. The Pingdom Performance grade for the Amazon setup was 89/100
Load time – 276 / 303 / 282 / 305 = 274ms average
CPU Mark – 17670
Dedicated server in Portland
Direct delivery (No CloudFlare)
Amazon Web Services Lightsail
Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU E5-2676 v3 @ 2.40GHz – 512mb RAM
Datacenters in Oregon, Chicago, Atlanta
Cloudways Is Easiest For Newbies
Cloudways offers a solution that makes establishing a cloud server very easy. You can choose to bill by time and use or by a fixed monthly rate. Cloudways offers access to the most popular cloud vendors, including Google Cloud Front and Amazon Web Services, as well as less expensive services such as Digital Ocean, Vultr and Linode. If you just want good web hosting, then the less expensive solutions are going to work excellently for you. If, however, you want to create a web based service that hosts thousands of users simultaneously, then you’re probably not reading this post. But if you are, then Google and Amazon are both excellent choices for doing that. Most website owners wont need that much power and can therefore avoid the cost.
ServerPilot.io Is The Least Expensive Choice
If you want to get in the cloud as inexpensively as possible, then procuring your own servers and using ServerPilot to set them up is the best choice. The process may seem a little more daunting than the Cloudways solution at first. However, given the clear and concise instructions provided by ServerPilot, the tasks can easily be accomplished by almost anyone. Essentially, you buy your VPS from whatever vendor you like, and then connect it to your ServerPilot account. ServerPilot will automatically turn your server into a webhost. All the software you need will be automatically installed and configured, including Apache, several PHP versions and MySQL. Once this process has completed, you setup your first app (website), upload your files via SFTP. and you’re in business. All that’s left is to point your domain to your server’s IP address and your website is visible to the world and faster than ever before.
How To Choose Your Cloud
First of all, since most cloud VPS services bill by the hour, it is easy to create and destroy servers without much risk. You can easily try different vendors and see who you like best. For most people, it’s a matter of finding a good host as close as possible to where you are. For example, Empro is located in Las Vegas, Nevada. Our best choice is a host with facilities in Los Angeles or The San Francisco Bay Area. Then you will want to choose a size and capacity that suits your needs. If you have an average website, even the smallest packages will probably meet your needs. $5 a month will typically buy you one CPU with a megabyte of RAM, 20 gigabytes of storage and a terabyte of bandwidth. This is ample capacity to run several websites simultaneously and serve them all up well. We are even aware of a solution offered by one vendor at $2.50 a month that should suffice well for anyone with a website that gets used on a moderate basis.
Great For WordPress And Joomla Sites
The server configurations created by these methods are perfect for hosting CMS based websites like those based on WordPress or Joomla. In fact, both Cloudways and ServerPilot will install WordPress for you. Cloudways will install WordPress or Joomla and a myriad of other common PHP based content managers and ecommerce shops. If you are starting from scratch, this is a great way to go. You’ll have a working website in minutes. If you are migrating from another host, then you’ll simply upload your backup to your new host, and install via typical methods like Akeeba Kickstart or something similar.
One Last Note On Speed
The main advantages of migrating to a cloud host are speed and reliability. Even though you find a host that is close to you to make your site as fast as possible for you, it’s important to remember that you are mainly serving other people in other locales. You might even be targeting the entire country or the world. This is where a content delivery network can help. A CDN essentially serves up a local copy of website in key locations around the country and the world. By using a CDN, your website can offer greater performance to more people in more locations than if it had to do all the work. The best low budget solution for website owners is to setup an account at CloudFlare.com and establish a free account for their websites. There are of course paid levels of service that offer more protection and performance, but for many, the free choice will be more than ample to serve them well.
What we have laid out here is a fast performing web hosting solution that costs less than almost any standard web hosting plan offered by anyone. Using the services we have recommended here, it is possible to host an amazingly fast website in the cloud for as little as $30 annually! We recommend this path wholeheartedly. We have tried all the solutions mentioned in this post and can recommend them all. It is worth noting that we had some difficulty connecting ServerPilot to our Linode servers. However, we assume this was a temporary issue and had no difficulty actually using their servers once configured.
Of course, if after reading this post you still feel a little intimidated by the processes we’re talking about, then we would love to offer our expertise in helping you accomplish your cloud hosting goals. We will use our expertise and experience to get your site performing better than ever on a cloud server that’s perfect for your needs! We’ll do all the complicated stuff so you can do your business.