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In today’s dynamic business landscape, companies worldwide are embracing digital avenues like never before. The escalating demand for fast content management solutions coupled with user-friendly accessibility has surged remarkably. In response, WordPress emerges as the quintessential choice, seamlessly bridging this demand-supply gap while offering a robust and versatile platform for businesses to thrive in the digital realm. Optimizing hosting for WordPress is pivotal in realizing its full potential, and Bluehost has been on a journey to become one of the fastest web hosting providers for WordPress.

In this article, we will cover the various reasons that set Bluehost WordPress hosting apart for speed, performance and value.

Why is WordPress so important? 

WordPress is a crucial player in the digital world, offering easy adaptability and user-friendly design. It’s a go-to platform for diverse online ventures because of its SEO compatibility and customization options. The active community ensures ongoing improvements and support. 

WordPress leads as the preferred global content management system (CMS), marked by rapid growth with a new top 10 million site emerging every 74 seconds. This robust expansion surpasses competitors like Shopify, which adds a site approximately every 22 minutes. 

A variety of plugins and themes amplify WordPress exceptional flexibility. The robust REST API , supports a broad spectrum of integrations. Together they provide developers and other creators with the vital tools needed to fully manifest their creative ideas. 
 
Currently, among the 300+ content management systems, WordPress occupies the dominant market share. 

WordPress market share
Image Source: W3tech 

Why optimize WordPress hosting for better performance? 

Similar to a finely tuned engine propelling high-performance vehicles, optimized WordPress hosting guarantees smooth functionality, quick loading, and robust security. Without this foundation, WordPress cannot maximize its capabilities, affecting user experiences and growth. Investing in specialized hosting empowers WordPress to excel in crafting, captivating, and dominating the digital space. 

Bluehost is among the top providers for optimized and fast web hosting for WordPress, and there are several reasons for this – which we will cover in this post. However, our commitment to boosting WordPress website performance is the one that makes Bluehost stand out! Our continued vision to enhance WordPress pehrformance is the reason customers often choose us. As industry leaders, we are among the first to introduce the latest software updates like PHP 8.2, ensuring websites hosted with Bluehost remain technologically advanced. 

We have a firmly established platform that is meticulously monitored and consistently maintained, and its stability allows for frequent iterations and optimizations. This technology stack allows us to provide a balance of performance, reliability and cost that we find is well suited to the vast majority of WordPress users. 

What sets Bluehost hosting apart for optimal performance and value 

Bluehost has consistently led the way in optimized WordPress hosting and stands as one of the top recommendations. What sets Bluehost hosting apart, making it optimized and valuable? 

CDN integration to elevate website performance 

Bluehost differentiates itself by seamlessly integrating a Content Delivery Network (CDN) into all its plans, significantly enhancing website performance.  

A CDN consists of strategically positioned servers worldwide, storing and delivering site content from the nearest server to the website visitor’s location. This results in quicker load times, regardless of a user’s locale, thanks to shorter data travel distances.  

Bluehost’s integration of CDN directly in our plans demonstrates our dedication to offering one of the fastest web hosting for WordPress. We primarily run independent single-node, multi-tenant LAMP servers with global CDN and SSL certificates. Unlike other hosting providers, we make sure this powerful tool is available across our entire hosting spectrum – from shared to advanced plans – enhancing website speed and accessibility for all hosted on our platform. 

Boosting performance with Object & Opcode caching 

At Bluehost, our focus is on enhancing website speed. We achieve this by directly integrating object and opcode caching into all plans. This ensures that every user benefits, no matter which hosting option they select. By incorporating object caching, which adeptly stores frequently accessed data such as posts and user information in a high-speed cache, we dramatically reduce redundant data processing. This translates to enhanced website performance, yielding faster loading times and elevated user experiences. 

Additionally, our systems also feature opcode caching, saving compiled PHP in RAM to expedite processing for quicker and more efficient responses to subsequent requests within the same application. 

Moreover, customers can easily take the lead in enhancing hosting performance too by optimizing their images and scripts. With our commitment, you gain substantial power to enhance your website’s performance without daunting tasks. 

Faster storage & quicker loading with SSD 

SSD storage, short for Solid State Drive storage, is a type of data storage technology that uses NAND-based flash memory to store data. Unlike traditional Hard Disk Drives (HDDs), which use spinning disks to read and write data, SSDs have no moving parts, so it significantly enhances speed, allowing for near-instant data retrieval and faster data transfer rates. This translates to quicker loading times for websites, applications, and files, leading to an improved user experience. 

Talking about instant data retrieval, SSD storage significantly reduces latency, making it particularly beneficial for applications that require quick data retrieval, such as databases and content management systems. This reduction in latency contributes to faster response times, enabling websites to handle higher levels of traffic without sacrificing performance. 

Furthermore, SSD storage enhances reliability by reducing the risk of mechanical failure associated with traditional HDDs. The absence of moving parts minimizes wear and tear, contributing to a longer lifespan and increased data integrity. 

In essence, SSD is particularly vital in safeguarding critical data, making it a choice that not only heightens performance but also provides a robust foundation for maintaining data integrity and access over the long term. 

Bluehost take a prominent stance in this domain by integrating SSD storage across all hosting plans, ensuring that your data is stored on high-speed drives. This enables websites to have increased reliability, faster loading times, smoother performance, and an overall enhanced hosting experience for all users. 

Whether you’re hosting a personal blog or a resource-intensive eCommerce website, your data is stored and retrieved swiftly, contributing to a seamless user experience. 

Elevating WordPress with the latest PHP advancements 

PHP, or Hypertext Preprocessor, is a scripting language used in web development. The latest PHP versions notably boost both speed and security. These versions are optimized for faster code execution, resulting in quicker website loading times. Additionally, the latest PHP versions come with improved security features and bug fixes, helping safeguard websites from potential threats and vulnerabilities. 

The latest version of PHP, PHP 8.2, released on December 8, 2022, and is currently the most up-to-date version.  PHP 8.2 focuses on streamlining developers’ experiences, introducing simplifications in coding processes and phasing out older functions. Upgrading to the latest PHP version enhances site security. It also helps you familiarize yourself with the updated syntax for smoother development. 

Bluehost stands out by offering the advanced PHP 8.2, surpassing many industry providers. While WordPress currently recommends PHP 7.4 and aims to move users to PHP 8.0, Bluehost’s current goal is to ensure a seamless move to PHP 8.2 (refer chart below). We use a well tested QA process to provide newer versions of PHP to customers as their sites are able to support those versions. 

Status of PHP versions

Stay current with auto upgrades for WordPress 

Auto upgrades are crucial because it makes software setup easy for users. It replaces complex manual steps with a single click, saving time and reducing errors. This is especially important for platforms like WordPress, ensuring quick and hassle-free use for everyone. 

Auto install enhances performance by ensuring that the software, such as WordPress, is installed correctly and optimized for the server environment. It eliminates potential user errors during manual installation that could lead to performance issues or compatibility problems. Additionally, auto install often includes essential optimizations and configurations that are set up automatically, improving the overall speed and efficiency of the software. This results in a smoother user experience, faster loading times, and better website performance. 

At Bluehost, we’re at the forefront of offering convenient solutions for WordPress users. With our one-click auto install feature, setting up WordPress websites is as simple as a single click. For example, the latest WordPress version of 6.3 is installed automatically out of the box. New versions are made available to existing customers promptly. Over half the platform upgrades within 24 hours of a new version coming out. Older versions (with WP updates disabled) are updated, when possible, without disruption. 

We take it a step further with our managed WordPress hosting services. We handle the technical complexities, ensuring that websites remain up-to-date, secure, and optimized for performance. This means you can focus on creating content and growing your online presence, while we take care of the technical details. 

Optimizing hosting performance with better compute resources 

In hosting, RAM (Random Access Memory) is swift-access memory that accelerates task processing, while CPU (Central Processing Unit) functions as the computational core executing instructions. Both RAM and CPU resources are vital for smooth performance in such hosting setups. 
 
Better compute resources are needed when websites or applications face increased demand. This includes higher traffic, complex operations, or resource-intensive tasks. Upgrading to more capable resources, like improved RAM and CPU, becomes essential to maintain optimal performance during these scenarios. 

Our higher plans come with enhanced compute resources, offering extended CPU time and the ability to manage more concurrent web server connections. Additionally, we utilize opcode caching and object caching, reducing the resources and time needed for processing requests. This efficiency enables accomplishing more with fewer resources. 

We differentiate ourselves from other providers by not imposing per-user RAM limitations, and we align with the recommended per-process RAM allocation by WordPress. 

How does this benefit you as a user? When requests surpass immediate handling capacity, they start queuing, leading to longer load times. With sustained demand, the queue grows, and delays compound. In the long term, as the website traffic grows, so does the demand. A more popular site naturally requires increased resources. And in the short term, peaks in traffic, such as viral posts or product launches, demand more resources than the average. Amplified compute resources empower websites to manage elevated traffic levels, maintaining peak performance by addressing each request promptly. Having room for such growth is crucial when actively driving traffic to your website. 

Uptime monitoring ensures your website stays accessible 

Website uptime refers to the availability of a website or web service within a given timeframe. This is represented as a ratio of the time available compared to the total time, often calculated monthly or yearly. 

Uptime monitoring tracks how often a website is accessible. It matters because consistent access ensures good user experiences. If a site frequently goes down, it can harm user engagement and reputation. Monitoring helps catch issues early for swift resolution. 

At Bluehost, we prioritize adhering to industry-standard uptime for websites. Our approach involves integrating advanced caching mechanisms, conducting thorough load testing, and providing responsive support. We also ensure uptime by implementing robust server infrastructure and redundant systems as well as closely monitoring our network to catch any potential issues early, allowing us to take swift action. Our data centers are equipped with advanced technology to minimize downtime risks, ensuring that your website remains accessible and operational for your visitors. 

We monitor our farm 24/7, ensuring a minimum of 99.9% uptime (with an aim of 99.95% soon). Moreover, we implement a ‘rebootless kernel‘ strategy to ensure critical security updates for the operating system do not lead to downtime. 

This strong focus on uptime reflects the reliability of our platform. Our infrastructure meets the highest industry benchmarks, ensuring that the website remains accessible and available to your audience as per industry best practices. 

Exceptional customer support for seamless online success 

At Bluehost, we pride ourselves on delivering a unique and comprehensive customer support experience. Our commitment to you begins with welcome calls. We ensure a personalized journey as we guide you through account basics and align our advice with your specific goals. We extend this special personalized touch to customers, simplifying the path to publishing their websites. 

Our focus is on true support vs tech support. What sets us apart is our emphasis on genuine support rather than just technical assistance. We delve deeper to understand your ideal outcome and offer guidance beyond your known questions. Our goal is to help you anticipate your needs, making the journey of expanding your online presence as seamless as possible. We firmly believe that our company’s success is intricately linked to the achievements of our valued customers. 

Listening to our customers is at the core of our approach. We value your feedback across various channels, using your voice and insights to fuel continuous improvements. With multi-channel support available via chat and phone, our dedicated team is here for you 24/7. At Bluehost, your success is our success. We do everything to offer you one of the fastest web hosting on WordPress with top performance.

Bluehost’s load test reveals strong performance under pressure 

Bluehost conducted an internal study using k6 to assess the performance of our systems under high loads. Built as a free, open-source load testing tool, k6 stands out as a performance testing framework as it seamlessly blends usability and performance.  

This load test involved simulating a surge in user traffic to evaluate how effectively our infrastructure can handle demanding situations. It replicates real user interactions on the website, including visiting the site, logging in, and browsing. This test focuses on evaluating the performance under conditions where caching is not in effect. 

Selected load zones are: 

  • Columbus 10% 
  • Tokyo 10% 
  • Sao Paolo 10% 
  • London 10% 
  • Mumbai 10% 
  • Portland 10% 
  • Sydney 10% 
  • Ashburn 10% 
  • Frankfurt 10% 
  • Singapore 10% 

Throughout the testing process, we meticulously assessed several critical performance indicators: 

Peak Requests per Second (RPS)

This metric signifies the maximum number of requests our servers adeptly manage per second during the period of peak traffic. 
Results: Our servers demonstrated remarkable capacity to handle a substantial surge in traffic, ensuring stable operations and seamless user experiences at 316.58 requests/second. 

P95 Response Time

This parameter measures the response time at the 95th percentile of interactions, showcasing the server’s efficiency in handling most user requests. This metric provides insight into the server’s responsiveness, particularly in worst-case scenarios. 
Results: Throughout the heightened traffic phase, the response time consistently maintained a low level, reflecting rapid server responses for most user requests at 627ms. 

Error Rate

This percentage delineates instances where requests led to errors or failures. 
Results: The test highlighted minimal errors, showcasing our system’s robust reliability even under significant stress. 354184 requests were made with 16 failures at an average rate of 192 requests/second. This equates to an error rate of 0.0045%. 

Uptime Results

This measure shows the percentage of time our systems remained operational without encountering downtime. 
Results: Our systems showed strong uptime with minimal disruptions during the load test. Out of 354,184 requests, only 16 errors were recorded, giving us an uptime of 99.9955%. This outcome confirms the reliability of our platform. 

The results showed excellent performance, with all tools reporting high scores and fast loading times.   

k6 performance overview showing super fast web hosting
Performance overview: (conducted using K6.io) 

An insight into our performance boost: Results from internal study  

We conducted a comprehensive study, represented in the graph below, to gain valuable insights into how the changes we made over the years have increased the performance of sites hosted with Bluehost.  

At the heart of this test is the “Speed Index” which is a pivotal metric in assessing website performance. Tests are orchestrated utilizing a browser-simulating bot, mirroring user interactions and quantified in milliseconds.  

We meticulously examined the effects of multiple changes, starting with a baseline assessment. We checked the performance after every enhancement such as PHP upgrades, integration of LSPHP, enabling opcache, etc. Each change, plotted along the x-axis, contributes to optimizing the overall speed and responsiveness of the website, ultimately offering one of the fastest web hosting & delivering a better browsing experience for users.  

Let’s peek into the changes we made and what they are: 

  • Baseline Performance (20 Days): Assessing website performance over 20 days under typical conditions, establishing a reference point for evaluating subsequent changes. 
  • PHP Upgrades: Upgrading the website’s PHP version to 8.0, 8.1 and 8.2, known for performance enhancements, security improvements, and new features. 
  • Implementing LSPHP: Introducing LiteSpeed PHP, a handler to accelerate PHP script processing, enhancing website performance by optimizing PHP execution. 
  • Enabled OPCache: Activating OPCache, a PHP extension that stores precompiled script bytecode in memory, reducing repeated compilation and resulting in faster PHP execution. (Explained in detail earlier in this article) 

The dataset comprises results from a diverse assortment of live servers, randomly selected to ensure representative sampling. The single-request nature of the tests highlights worst-case scenarios. From here, it only gets better particularly when factoring in elements such as CDNs, caching, and enhanced compute resources. 

A benchmark for satisfactory user experience is generally acknowledged as being under 1 second. Currently, our speed index stands at 450 milliseconds (0.45 seconds), showcasing an encouraging user experience.  

Through this graph, you gain a deeper understanding of the interplay between different performance metrics. By exploring the results of our analysis, you’ll be equipped to make informed decisions on how Bluehost can make a positive impact by offering you the fastest web hosting for your website. 

speed index test to show fast web hosting

Summary 

Bluehost takes proactive steps to enhance your website’s performance. Enabling the move to the latest PHP 8.2 version results in fast web hosting and overall efficiency. The implementation of caching at both user and server levels, including Content Delivery Network (CDN) and object caching, further amplifies your site’s performance.  

What sets Bluehost apart is its commitment to automatically implementing these enhancements for its customers. This unique value proposition ensures that your website’s speed and responsiveness are optimized without a lot of extra effort on your part. 

Looking ahead, Bluehost continues to explore future enhancements to ensure that your website stays at the forefront of performance and technology, delivering an exceptional user experience. Our objectives include: 

  • Elevating uptime to an impressive 99.95%. 
  • Ensuring exceptional performance even for the slowest 1% of requests to provide a consistently satisfying user experience. 
  • Expanding object caching options to maximize website efficiency.  

These initiatives showcase our commitment to delivering top-tier hosting services that empower your online presence. 

  • Sean Dundon

    Sean Dundon is Vice President of Product Management for Hosting Products & Technology at Bluehost and brings to the table 20 years of experience in web hosting, LAMP software development, systems administration and customer support. His mission is to provide high quality hosting solutions that allow anyone to bring their dreams online.

  • Ritu Priya

    Ritu is a Senior Specialist of Brand Marketing at Bluehost. She aims to weave connections in the community by engaging with WordPress enthusiasts at WordCamps and other events. With several years of experience in this field, she is your WordPress cheerleader!

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