EDIT: Traffic Planet has rebranded, and is now called WPX Hosting.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a blog post about how I improved my site speed by over 300%.
I was able to take my page load speed from 9.15s to 1.98s with only about 10 minutes of work, and I showed how you can do the same thing here.
Since writing that post, I’ve decided to try and take things further.
RankXL has always been hosted on my Bluehost shared hosting account, which isn’t known for being the fastest hosting plan, but is a popular option to start out with since it’s cheap.
A few days ago, I decided to try moving to a higher quality hosting solution.
RankXL now loads in under a second.
I’ve never really taken the time to research the different web hosts in the past.
I was recommended Bluehost when I built my first niche site, and that’s what I’ve been using all this time.
When I decided to move RankXL to something better, I spent quite a bit of time shopping around to find the perfect plan.
It took a long time before I finally decided to go with Traffic Planet (now called WPX Hosting), and I learned quite a bit about the different companies out there and the options they provide.
I’ll take a minute to go through them here.
One of the hosting companies I really wanted to go with at first was Linode.
A bunch of big blogs I follow use them and their sites always load super fast.
Unfortunately, it’s SSD Cloud Hosting.
That also means… they just give you a server. You have to do everything else yourself.
Too technical for me.
Unless you’re familiar with Linux and how to set up and manage the entire server yourself, it’s just not the right fit.
I contacted Linode and they did have a managed service plan, where they would set everything up for you and manage your server every month.
That would cost an additional $100/month.
Since their plans start at $10/month, my monthly cost would be fair at $110-$120/month.
The only problem was… the only thing I would be using it for is to host a few sites on there. For just a simple c-panel installation, I didn’t require much management every month and could handle the small things myself.
The only real help I needed was the installation and site migration.
So I requested a quote on a one-time job for site migration and c-panel installation.
Turns out that I would need to pay for my own c-panel license in this case, whereas it’s free if I went with their managed option.
The quote I ended up receiving for site migration, set-up, and installation was $500. I would need to pay for my own cpanel license, which is another $200/year.
So about $700 for set up, and then $10-$20/month for renting their server.
It wasn’t a ridiculous fee, but not exactly the perfect fit for my needs.
Rack Space and Digital Ocean
Same thing here.
They have reputations for being stupid fast, but they also run similar to Linode.
I contacted Rack Space and Digital Ocean, and they both told me that if I don’t know how to configure things myself, this type of hosting is not the right option for me.
Next up was WP Engine.
I’ve heard good reviews about WP Engine in the past.
Unfortunately, their pricing structure definitely wasn’t the right fit for what I was looking for.
My original plan was to possibly move my biggest niche sites onto the webhost I move to, if performance is noticeably better.
I would only be hosting 1-3 sites, but my bill would jump to their highest plan.
Which isn’t unreasonable by itself, but I’ve been told that the “visitors/month” actually means page views… which would get ridiculous.
I didn’t bother asking them for a quote but I’m guessing it would exceed $1000/month.
Still, I did consider looking into them further until I read this review by Matthew Woodward.
And then noticed this on Linode’s homepage.
Is WP Engine just reselling hosting using Linode’s servers?
Either way, my mind had been made to look elsewhere.
Traffic Planet (WPX Hosting)
One of the ways I shopped around for hosting providers was to use this tool to check what other sites were hosted on.
I didn’t want to just make a decision based on reviews. I wanted to use hosting that other bloggers trusted for their own sites.
One name that kept showing up is Traffic Planet.
They had a solid reputation, and great reviews about their support, and their pricing plan made a lot more sense to me.
Plus, they offered the same level of maximum security across all their plans, and free site migration for new users.
Moving to Traffic Planet (WPX Hosting)
Traffic Planet offers free site migration completed under 24 hours.
I’m very familiar with how to migrate sites, but felt it wouldn’t make sense not to use this offer.
I created a new support ticket with all the details that were needed…
and literally within 5 minutes, I got a response…
I had heard that Traffic Planet had great support, but this was better than I was expecting.
I’m usually used to creating support tickets and receiving responses the next day.
Within 12 hours, my site had been transferred.
I received a response that everything was completed.
They even configured my W3 Total Cache settings to the optimal settings for their servers.
All I had to do was change my domain’s nameservers to theirs and that was that.
Now that everything was completely transferred, it was time to test out the speed.
I used Pingdom to test speed.
If you note from my previous post (when I was using Bluehost) the fastest I’ve gotten the site is 1.98s.
That’s with using CloudFlare.
Without CloudFlare, the site was loading at 9.15s.
New tests with WPX Hosting
Before I even started running any tests, I could notice a huge improvement in load speed.
Not only on the front end, but the load time in the wp-admin panel was considerably faster as well.
A good sign…
Now on to the tests…
This is the site speed without CloudFlare.
107% faster than when I had it on Bluehost + CloudFlare.
Let’s see what happens when I move it to CloudFlare.
Less than 3/4 of a second, and 199% faster than my fastest speed on Bluehost.
I’m sure I can even get it down a little bit further with more optimization, but that’s really as fast as it gets when it comes to load speed.
Testing from the same location, that’s faster than all the blogs running on Linode that I’ve tested as well.
Of course, they’re all different page sizes and number of requests, but still…
Very happy to see that.
After the move
Aside from super fast speeds, the service I’ve received from Traffic Planet has been like nothing I’ve experienced elsewhere.
Ask them a question on their their live chat and see for yourself. Someone responds almost instantly.
I’ve been using Bluehost for a long time without many problems, so I’m not going to say they’re a terrible option and you should transfer your own sites immediately.
But once I saw how much better it can get, both in site performance and customer support, I’m definitely going to be moving all my sites over to WPX Hosting.
Bluehost was a good solution for me at a cheap price.
But I’m glad I decided to make the switch.