Say you’ve got a handful of favorite pizza joints, all of which offer roughly the same quality for the same price. How do you decide where to order from? Chances are, you’re going to side with the food that arrives at your door the fastest. Your pizza will be piping hot, and you’ll remember the prompt service next time you’re ready to place an order.
The same holds true when it comes to the fastest cloud hosting. By nature, cloud hosting offers tons of scalability and reliability — but which service can deliver your site to visitors the quickest?
Given the massive importance of website speed, where a difference of less than 250 milliseconds can be enough to send your potential customers to a competitor, we tested the world’s top cloud hosting providers by analyzing server response times compiled from Bitcatcha, Pingdom, Google PageSpeed, Dotcom-Monitor, and WebPageTest. Take a look at the top 12 cloud hosting providers, organized by shortest average server response time:
1. InterServer Cloud Hosting — 434 ms
Ekeing out the narrowest of victories, InterServer barely edged out another of our favorite cloud hosting companies in our battery of tests. The New Jersey-based company’s cloud network is backed by high-speed solid-state hard drives that produce page load speeds of up to 20 times faster than traditional hard disk drives. Site owners’ files are arranged in a RAID-10 configuration, where data striping means visitors can access data from more than one location — boosting performance without losing the safety of redundancy.
InterServer allocates tons of memory and bandwidth toward each building block, or slice, of cloud computing resources. Because the team takes a heavily nuanced approach to building and maintaining its own datacenter, InterServer opts to power its network with a mesh of 10Gbps ethernet connections and multiple Tier 1 IP backbone providers.
- Choose Linux ($6/mo) or Windows ($10/mo) cloud hosting
- Choice of 1-16 cores and up to 16TB of data transfer
- Plenty of RAM and redundant cloud storage
- FREE Webuzo control panel and several OS options
- Use coupon HOSTINGADV to pay $.01 your first month
- Get started on InterServer now.
2. Hostwinds Cloud Hosting — 435 ms
Our tests came down to a photo finish, but just one millisecond separated Hostwinds and InterServer. We have no hesitation in recommending the Hostwinds cloud, as the provider puts speed at the forefront of every hosting package. From LiteSpeed web servers and NGINX load balancers to a top-notch content delivery network and route-optimization protocols, Hostwinds promises modern, enterprise-grade services and minimal load times.
Mirroring its cloud server performance, Hostwinds also streamlines the customer onboarding experience by promising to get customers up and running in 30 seconds or less. We especially appreciate that site owners can choose from a variety of pre-configured server templates, ensuring their computing resources are tuned for specific applications.
- Choose an operating system or optimized application configuration
- Hourly or monthly billing for convenience
- Optional upgrades for cPanel, backups, and monitoring
- Managed services, SSDs, and HDDs available
- Block and object storage, plus enterprise-grade firewall
- Get started on Hostwinds now.
3. DigitalOcean Cloud Hosting — 474 ms
Expanding beyond virtualized hosting to provide a scalable and performant cloud hosting experience, DigitalOcean is a go-to option complete with add-on storage, security, monitoring, and load balancing capabilities to optimize your cloud website or application. The revered cloud hosting provider serves more than 1 million developers from 12 global datacenters, ensuring customers data is as close as possible to website visitors.
Even though DigitalOcean promises an above-average 99.99% uptime, 40Gb ethernet connections, and enterprise-grade KVM hypervisors to optimize performance and reliability, the sheer breadth of options may make the company’s platform a little daunting for first-time cloud hosting customers. Because any speed boosts gained through DigitalOcean may be offset by your inexperience, novice customers may want to look for a simpler solution.
4. DreamHost Cloud Hosting — 502 ms
Behind a friendly open-source approach to cloud hosting, DreamHost engineers its cloud platform around OpenStack and Ceph to remove any threats of vendor lock-in. DreamHost provides Amazon S3-compatible cloud computing and object storage at an attractive rate and performance-optimized service. Featuring hourly billing, DreamHost only charges customers for a maximum of 600 hours, or 25 days, for each month.
DreamHost’s all-SSD cloud servers are ready for secure shell (SSH) access in less than 30 seconds and come with unmetered bandwidth. Customers can instantly upgrade RAM and other computing resources from the company’s proprietary dashboard, and DreamHost’s stellar 100% uptime guarantee and reputation for customer support combine unrivaled power with the tools needed to succeed.
- Distinct options for cloud computing & object storage
- Launch cloud servers in 30 seconds or less
- SSD servers engineered around OpenStack and Ceph
- S3-compatible and redundant object storage
- Support for MongoDB, Redis, Python, Ruby & Node.js
- Get started on DreamHost now.
5. Vultr Cloud Hosting — 512 ms
Another developer-friendly cloud platform built on modern, high-performance infrastructure, Vultr is a relative newcomer to the industry. Founded in 2014, the company has already established points of presence in 16 cities around the world and spun up more than 21 million cloud servers. As with many of the fastest cloud hosting providers, Vultr relies on 100% SSD storage along with a redundant, low-latency network.
In addition to giving customers full root access and the option to choose any operating system, Vultr continually reinvests in its architecture. For instance, implementing the latest-generation Intel Skylake processors has made its cloud network perform at least 48% faster. Like DigitalOcean, Vultr excels in cost-effective cloud hosting — but beginners should proceed with caution when considering the more complex platform.
6. A2 Hosting Cloud VPS — 586 ms
No discussion about web hosting performance is complete without A2 Hosting. The Ann Arbor, Michigan-based provider enters our list in the middle of the pack, but A2 Hosting has built a reputation on supercharged SSD architectures. A2 Hosting’s proprietary SwiftServer platform features page loads up to 300% faster than standard configurations, and customers can put the pedal to the metal by opting for the upgraded Turbo servers that boost performance by 20 times.
Powered by CloudLinux, CloudFlare, and a three-pronged site optimization and caching system, A2 Hosting makes it extraordinarily easy to identify and deploy the specific configurations that will make your cloud environment soar. Further upgrading your hosting package will automatically double your CPU cores and add 1GB of RAM.
- High-performance SwiftServer platform with FREE SSDs
- Quick Start Cloud means servers are configured in minutes
- Root access and on-demand server controls
- Optional Cloudflare web application firewall for added speed and security
- Softaculous and cPanel upgrades available
- Get started on A2 Hosting now.
7. InMotion Hosting Cloud VPS — 593 ms
Empowering site owners to build and deploy cloud websites and applications with speed and efficiency, InMotion Hosting is another well-known provider of high-speed SSD cloud hosting. The company emphasizes high availability and security, as well as enterprise-grade Intel CPUs, a low-latency network, and a streamlined management portal.
Upgrading its architecture to modern SSDs means InMotion Hosting’s hardware can push out 95% more data than its already fast SAS 15K drives. What’s more, we appreciate that all cloud hosting plans receive ample storage allotments — often more than twice the capacities of competitors. Combined with optional managed services, InMotion Hosting offers site owners a simplified yet speedy cloud environment.
- Ranked #1 for cloud VPS hosting
- Fault-tolerant SSD storage and up to 8GB of RAM
- FREE control panel with choice of Linux OS
- Full root access or managed servers available
- FREE live-state or scheduled snapshots
- Get started on InMotion now.
8. HostGator Cloud Hosting — 654 ms
As the first hosting provider on our list to not rely on SSDs for a speed boost, HostGator touts a revamped cloud hosting platform that emphasizes low-density servers, multiple caching layers, and tons of extra CPU cores. HostGator starts cloud hosting customers with at least two cores and quickly scales upward. The company’s cloud platform is twice as fast as its regular shared hosting offering, plus four times more scalable.
Site owners can quickly add computing resources without having to deal with the hassles of data migrations, downtime, or reboots. HostGator gives customers an intuitive resource management dashboard that provides insights into usage trends, download speed, uptime, and other metrics. Beginners looking for shared hosting simplicity in the cloud will particularly appreciate HostGator’s services.
- Twice as fast and four times the computing resources
- Tons of storage with the scalability of the cloud
- Low-density servers and multiple caching layers
- Unlimited domains and MySQL databases
- Upgrades available for security, backups, productivity, and domain privacy
- Get started on HostGator now.
9. AccuWebHosting Cloud — 659 ms
Masters of flexibility, AccuWebHosting offers perhaps the most complete suite of cloud hosting products we’ve ever seen. Customers start by choosing between cloud-powered shared hosting or virtual server packages, depending on the resources required and management needed. Perhaps most eye-opening is the company’s Windows cloud hosting, which guarantees 100% uptime and supports multiple versions of ASP and ASP.NET.
AccuWebHosting’s performance optimizations largely derive from fine-tuned CloudLinux and KVM virtualization, and the company’s helpful auto-scaling feature easily handles any abrupt traffic increases. No matter the configuration, the company’s cloud servers feature Intel Dual Xeon E5 CPUs and high-speed distributed SAN storage within a RAID-10 array. AccuWebHosting provides three control panel options, each of which is extraordinarily easy to use.
- High redundancy means 100% hardware uptime guarantee
- Powered by Intel Dual Xeon E5 and E7 servers
- Auto-scaling easily handles abrupt traffic increases
- 24/7/365 support available via email and live chat
- FREE account transfer, emails, and daily backups
- Get started on AccuWebHosting now.
10. Bluehost Cloud Hosting — 682 ms
Even though Bluehost is one of the most recognizable and respected brands in the web hosting industry, the company’s virtualized hosting offerings don’t quite keep pace with those of its competitors. We appreciate the company’s introduction of SSD storage, along with dedicated, around-the-clock customer support.
Bluehost is known for reliability, and we found the ample allotments of memory and bandwidth to quickly serve up websites without any issue. By using state-of-the-art hardware that is built and maintained in-house, along with fine-tuned versions of OpenStack and KVM, Bluehost delivers instant provisioning and dynamic resources to customers taking their first steps into virtualized hosting. The company doesn’t highlight its cloud infrastructure much, but we promise Bluehost VPS plans feature the same high-powered scalability and performance.
- Premium hardware powered by OpenStack and KVM
- Instant provisioning and guaranteed resources
- Options for 2-4 CPU cores and up to 8GB of RAM
- Quickly manage and scale resources
- Dedicated IP and domain privacy available
- Get started on Bluehost now.
11. 1&1 IONOS Cloud Hosting — 749 ms
Revamped branding, updated customer support, revitalized cloud hosting platform; such is the tale of 1&1 IONOS, a globally recognized brand rapidly expanding beyond its original European footprint. The company’s professional-grade cloud hosting packages feature on-demand scalability, dedicated resources, and a wide variety of software and configuration options.
In addition to virtualized CPU cores, ample memory and SSD storage, 1&1 IONOS provides enhanced reliability through a storage area network and cutting-edge container technology with Intel Xeon E5 processors. Our favorite part of the 1&1 IONOS hosting experience, though, is the company’s transparent — and customer-friendly — approach to pricing. There are no long-term contracts or sneaky upsells. Even better, new cloud hosting customers enjoy a $100 starting credit for the first month, enabling customers to try out all sorts of top-notch add-ons.
- Managed cloud hosting plans begin with a $100 CREDIT toward your first month
- FREE personal consultant you can contact directly
- Customizable stack of web servers, databases, and scripting languages
- SSD infrastrucutre optimized for your software applications
- Transparent costs and by-the-minute billing
- Get started on 1&1 now.
12. Liquid Web Cloud Hosting — 788 ms
The standard-bearer for high-quality infrastructure and customer support, Liquid Web rounds out our list of the 12 fastest cloud hosting providers. Although we list them down here, the company is quick to point out that performance analyst firm Cloud Spectator has deemed Liquid Web servers to be faster than Amazon Web Services, Rackspace, and Digital Ocean.
The premium host spares no expense when outfitting its architecture with modern technologies and configurations that maximize performance. Liquid Web starts cloud VPS customers with an incredible two vCPUs, 3TB of bandwidth, and 30GB of SSD storage. In addition to the built-in backups, integrated firewalls, and stringent DDoS protection, Liquid Web delivers Gigabit data transfers and the CloudFlare content delivery network. Available upgrades for load balancers and block or object storage further round out the company’s product portfolio.
- 50% off the first month for HostingAdvice users
- Cloudflare CDN, DDoS protection, and built-in backups
- Performance-boosting SSDs and cloud-level flexibility
- Rock-solid reliability with 100% uptime guarantees
- 24/7 Heroic Support® via phone, chat, and email
- Get started on Liquid Web now.
Why You Should Find the Fastest Cloud Hosting and Storage Services
And there you have it. You know the fastest cloud hosting services on the market today — but do you really understand why that’s so important? In web hosting, particularly in the realm of ecommerce, website performance greatly impacts vistor perceptions and the brand’s ability to convert visitors to paying customers. To quote the great Ricky Bobby of Talladega Nights fame, “If you’re not first, you’re last.”
As technology (and especially people’s expectations) becomes faster and faster, the margin for delay is getting shorter and shorter. In 2012, retail giant Amazon calculated that a one-second slowdown could cost the company $1.6 billion in sales each year. Similarly, Google determined that slowing its search results by just four-tenths of a second would mean the search engine would see 8 million fewer queries per day.
Beyond sales conversions and customer loyalty, performance is a key indicator for where your website appears in search results. Google has said page load speed has been a ranking factor since 2010, but now the company looks at load times on mobile devices. Just 300 milliseconds separate the average page load time of a website on the first page of search results as compared to sites on the 10th page.
So, what have we learned today? Speed sells, performance is pivotal, and milliseconds matter. With redundant hardware and tons of scalable computing firepower, cloud hosting represents a promising chance to accelerate your online presence. The dozen cloud hosting providers we’ve tested and ranked above are easily up to the task of delivering your site to the masses.