We are going through a switch away from HostGator for our standard hosting plan due them slipping on their support for WordPress (see Yoast’s article for more details) and because their customer service wait times have increased significantly in my experience (previously only a few minutes to an average of around 30 minutes each time).
However, WPEngine.com has been a great partner to work with. They offer WordPress tailored hosting which improves on the standard hosting by providing faster, more secure hosting. I have been very happy with the speed of the sites I have on there, but until recently I haven’t had a good example of a direct comparison.
One of my clients has been experiencing significant issues to their own HostGator Shared account and asked me to migrate their sites to my WPEngine service. This provided me a unique opportunity to take sites that have been in the wild on a regular hosting to WPEngine without making any changes to the website fundamentals. Below are the before and after stats for the website load speed as reported by GTMetrix.com. As you can see, generally while the page size doesn’t change before and after the load time gets significantly better across the board. The YSlow and PageSpeed grades also improved for most of the sites. There is a TimThumb security issue with Site 4 which probably accounts for the decreased page size and increased scores. I will update once that gets fixed. I would say that for the limited amount of effort it took migrate the sites to WPEngine an average decrease of almost 3 seconds in the page load speed is well worth it.
Page Load Time (s) Before / After
Total Page Size (KB) Before / After
Page Speed Grades Before / After
YSlow Grades Before / After
As a site specific example, here is the latency report from my Monitive.com account for one of the sites: After the switch the latency drops to approximately 500ms down from a high of over 4000ms.