I’ve been using Bluehost as my web host for more than 2 years now.
The monthly fee is quite cheap and it’s relatively reliable.
For small sites like I once was, a Bluehost shared hosting plan is perfectly reasonable.
However there comes a time when your site’s traffic justifies the cost of investing in something better. A web host that will give your visitors the best possible user experience.
WPX Hosting Review
Published on: Sept 4, 2015
Last updated: Sept 16, 2016
For SmartBusinessTrends, that time was yesterday.
I’ve heard a lot of great things about WPX Hosting (formerly Traffic Planet Hosting) the past several months and I read some compelling reviews by Shane from Thrive Themes and Gael from Authority Hacker.
Traffic has been rising steadily to the site so I decided now was a good time to upgrade.
So I took the plunge and made the switch. Would I see the same speed boost that everyone else was getting?
Why WPX Hosting?
Unlike most other web hosting companies, WPX Hosting only offers dedicated WordPress hosting.
This means their servers are specifically optimized to squeeze as much speed out of WordPress as possible.
Compare that with my shared hosting plan on Bluehost which has to support every type of CMS out there which means they can’t tune their server configurations as aggressively as WPX Hosting can.
Even Hostgator and Bluehost have begun offering their own WordPress hosting plans.
Migrating to WPX Hosting
Probably the main reason people are reluctant to switch web hosting companies is the hassle of moving their site.
Especially if you are a non-techy, then the process can be daunting. Sure, there are products like Backup Buddy which can make website migration easier. But of course it costs money.
It’s also possible to make mistakes during the process which can lead to downtime of your site.
So while researching WPX Hosting, the first thing that caught my eye was their free site migration within 24 hours offer.
When I saw this, I decided right then that I would try them out.
Signing up was straightforward. I picked the Business plan and entered in all my relevant details.
Once that was submitted, my server was provisioned pretty much right away which was nice. I then tested my FTP details to make sure I could login.
Next I submitted a ticket to do the migration. For this, I just need to include my ftp server and WP admin site login details.
5 minutes later, I got a reply to my ticket stating that they had started working on my migration.
2 hours after that, I got a message saying my site was ready to go.
All I needed to do was go to my Namecheap account and switch my nameservers over.
Honestly, the process was super painless and I couldn’t be happier.
Once I verified everything was loading correctly, I had to do one more thing which was to re-configure my W3 Total Cache plugin.
SmartBusinessTrends has always been using this plugin for caching, and I recommend everyone to use no matter what web host you are using.
WPX Hosting though has its own specifically tuned settings for W3 Total Cache which you can download from your control panel.
Then import it into your W3 Total Cache admin panel and you will be good to go.
Does WPX Hosting make your site faster?
The reason why I switched over was to see my site load faster. It’s something I’ve always been kind of obsessed with.
On Bluehost (GTMetrix)
On WPX Hosting (GTMetrix)
As you can see my page load times went from 2.6 seconds to 1.2 seconds. That’s an increase in page speed of 116%!
Lets take a look at Pingdom.
On Bluehost (Pingdom)
On WPX Hosting (Pingdom)
Here the page load time went from 2.43 seconds to 744 ms. That’s an improvement of 227%!
How Does WPX Hosting handle load?
I’ve been using WPX Hosting for awhile now and one thing I’ve been super impressed with is how well it handles high traffic loads.
To do a test, I used my favorite load testing service Load Impact.
Using this service allows me to simulate the load of 25 virtual users visiting my site at the same time and seeing how this affects my page load times.
On Bluehost (LoadImpact)
On WPX Hosting (LoadImpact)
Here you can see that on BlueHost, the load speed was around 5-6 secs with a spike up to 14 secs for a short period of time.
On WPX Hosting the page load speed was consistently at or below 3.5 secs throughout the test.
With Bluehost and almost every other web hosting plan I’ve ever used, I’ve always used cPanel to manage things like adding new domains, creating email addresses, and managing my databases.
It’s just what I’m used to.
WPX Hosting offers a much more simplified control panel for managing your account and allows you to:
- See your Bandwidth/Diskspace Usage Details
- Install WordPress on your domains
- Create new databases and manage them via phpMyAdmin
- Create Email and FTP accounts
While the feature set is pretty minimal, it’s actually all I really end up doing with cPanel anyway. And it’s a lot less cluttered than cPanel which I found nice.
The only thing that was non-obvious to me was how to add email address forwarding. But after jumping onto a quick Live Chat session, I found out this can easily be done from the webmail interface itself.
What I’ve really been impressed with so far is the support. Of course I haven’t been with them for very long at all, but what I’ve seen so far has been excellent.
I’ve submitted two tickets already, one to do the migration and one to ask to be approved for the affiliate program. Both tickets were responded to in less than 5 minutes which is very good.
I’ve also initiated several Live Chat requests. Since dedicated WordPress hosting works differently from the typical shared and VPS hosting I’ve been used to, I’ve had a lot of questions that I wanted to have answered.
Connecting to someone on Live Chat is pretty much instant. Which is awesome because it really takes away the friction from asking questions.
Contrast that with a popular web host like Hostgator where Live Chat times can take as long as 10-15 minutes during peak hours to finally talk to someone.
Pricing and Plans
One of the things that has always turned me off about trying WordPress hosting is that the most basic plans only allow you to host one domain.
If I’m going to be paying two or three times the cost of my shared hosting plan, I’d like to be able to use the plan for a few domains to make it worth my while.
For example, probably the most well known WordPress host right now is WPEngine.
Their basic plan is $29 a month for 1 WordPress install. Want more installs? The next level up is $99 a month for 10 installs.
Synthesis is another well known WordPress hosting provider. Their basic plan is $47 a month for 1 install. The next step up is $97 a month for 2 installs.
Now take a look at WPX Hosting’s plans.
Even their lowest cost plan gives you 5 installs for just $24.99. Their professional plan is even better value where you can host up to 15 websites for $49.99 a month.
WPX Hosting vs WPEngine and Synthesis
It’s not just price and number of installs where WPX Hosting really differentiates itself though.
I’ve already talked above about their excellent free 24 hr site migration service. With WP Engine and Synthesis you have to do it yourself or pay a company like Fantastik $99 to get your site migrated in 2-3 days.
WPX Hosting is the only one of the three that offers built in email. Both WP Engine and Synthesis require you to rely on solutions like Google Apps for mail.
And lastly, they aren’t restrictive in what sort of WordPress plugins you can install on your site. WP Engine for example has a whole page of WordPress plugins that are disallowed from the platform.
WPX Hosting Pros
- Fast Server with Dedicated RAM and SSD
- Responsive and fast support
- Keeps 2 full weeks of daily backups. No charge to restore
- Free site migration within 24 hours
- DoS Brute Force Attack Repulsion
- Support multiple installs per plan
- Create email for any domain
- No restrictions on WP plugins you can install
Speed matters. It affects the user experience that your visitors will see when they come to your site. It also affects the way that Google looks at and ranks your site.
Web hosting is one of the main factors in how fast your site so it’s very important that you do not choose a slow, underperforming web host.
That’s what makes WPX Hosting so impressive. From my testing, I’m seeing a 116% to 227% speed-up to my site. Plus you get some of the best customer support I’ve seen from a web hosting company so far.
If you really want to make your website fly, I can’t recommend them more than enough.