WPEngine vs. Traffic Planet Hosting – Speed

1. Why Am I Migrating from WPEngine to Traffic Planet Hosting?

This week I decided to move all of my sites from WPEngine to a new hosting platform – Traffic Planet Hosting. I first heard of Traffic Planet Hosting from reading “Why Your Webhost Cannot Be Trusted – How WP Engine Hijacked My Business” by Matthew Woodward.

I have been with WPEngine for a about 3 years now – always on their middle 99$ plan – mainly because I had more traffic than their bottom plan allows, and there was no incremental billing back when I signed up.

Let me start of by saying that I’m not leaving WPEngine because of speed issues – the speed of my site has been OK:

2014 Site Speed - Baeldung

That’s not to say my experience with WPEngine has been good all around – I had the occasional ticket left unanswered for 3 straight days and the like – but overall I had a positive experience with them. And – it has to be said – I will miss having a staging area for my sites.

No – the reason I’m migrating is that the recent Panda 4.0 update has basically doubled my traffic – and I was already reaching the upper limit of my 99$ plan. With this new traffic – I would be paying about 200$ / month – and considering the fact that baeldung is a personal blog – that’s a bit much.

2. The Migration and the Speed Test

To start off, I have moved one of my secondary sites over – www.craftycristian.com – to test the waters at Traffic Planet Hosting.

Now – the first thing I was curious about when considering the move was speed – since speed was one of the main selling points of WPEngine.

Keep in mind that WPEngine has a proprietary Caching/CDN solution – so using something standard such as the W3 Total Cache plugin was not an option. After the migration, I of course activated that plugin on my new installation. Also keep in mind that this is not load testing, just early numbers – I’ll follow up with additional data after my first full week of traffic.

Let’s jump right into the numbers – I measured the speed of 2 pages on my site – the homepage and an article page:

3. Speed On WPEngine

3.1. Homepage Speed on WPEngine

We’ll first look at the speed results of the homepage – starting with a traffic from Amsterdam:

On WpEngine - from Amsterdam

Next – Dallas:

On WpEngine - from Dallas

And finally – New York:

On WpEngine - from New York

Obviously the WPEngine servers are in the United States, closer to New York than Dallas – overall, very respectable results.

3.2. Post Speed on WPEngine

Now that we covered the homepage, I picked the most visited post on the site to get some speed readings:

We’ll begin with Amsterdam:

On WpEngine - Article - from New York

Next – let’s look at the results from Dallas:

On WpEngine - Article - from Dallas

And finally – New York:

On WpEngine - Article - from New York

The WPEngine results are pretty consistent for the article page as well.

Now – let’s how the numbers change after the migration to Traffic Planet Hosting.

4. Speed On Traffic Planet Hosting without Caching

After the migration, I ran the exact same speed tests via Pindom – on the homepage and on the sample article (nothing else has been modified).

4.1. Homepage Speed on Traffic Planet

From Amsterdam:

On Traffic Planet Hosting - from Amsterdam

Now – traffic from Dallas:

On Traffic Planet Hosting - from Dallas

And from New York:

On Traffic Planet Hosting - from New York

4.2. Post Speed on Traffic Planet

From Amsterdam:

On Traffic Planet Hosting - Article - from Amsterdam

From Dallas:

On Traffic Planet Hosting - Article - from Dallas

And from New York:

On Traffic Planet Hosting - Article - from New York

Overall, the results without caching are similar to the results I saw on WPEngine.

5. Speed On Traffic Planet Hosting with Cache Enabled

5.1. Homepage Speed on Traffic Planet with Caching

From Amsterdam:

On Traffic Planet Hosting with Caching- Article - from Amsterdam

From Dallas:

On Traffic Planet Hosting - Article - from Dallas

And from New York:

On Traffic Planet Hosting with Caching- Article - from New York

5.2. Article Speed on Traffic Planet with Caching

From Amsterdam:

On Traffic Planet Hosting with Caching- Article - from Amsterdam

From Dallas:

On Traffic Planet Hosting with Caching- Article - from Dallas

From New York:

On Traffic Planet Hosting with Caching- Article - from New York

6. Speed Summary

OK, let’s look at the data – starting with the Load Time of the page on WPEngine and then Traffic Planet with and without caching on:

Page - LocationOn WPEngineOn Traffic Planet no CacheOn Traffic Planet with Cache
Homepage - Amsterdam1.77 s2.43 s1.91 s
Homepage - Dallas1.57 s1.42 s1.13 s
Homepage - New York1.24 s1.34 s1.07 s
Article - Amsterdam2.14 s2.63 s1.91 s
Article - Dallas1.59 s1.55 s1.30 s
Article - New York1.60 s1.52 s1.26 s

Here we go – an overall ~15% speed increase from moving my sites – which is very nice to see.

7. Billing and Conclusion

A 15% speed increase is very good news – especially considering that this is on top of good numbers I was getting with WPEngine, but the main goal of the move wasn’t speed – but reducing my bill (which is getting uncomfortably large:

WPEngine Bill

As you can see – I’m close to my 100.000 visits / month limit, and anything that goes over that is going to be charged extra. With my current traffic spike, baeldung alone is going to get just shy of 200.000 visits next month – which will result in a 200$ bill.

Here’s the interesting part – my bandwidth usage is not that high – it’s below 1GB / day:

WPEngine Bandwidth

And since the Traffic Planet Hosting plans are not based on Visits but on Bandwidth – I’m falling below even their 24$ / month plan – which at the time I’m writing this, is capped at 50 GB / month. That’s 8 times cheaper than what my next month will cost with WPEngine!

Now – I’m probably going to move to their 49$ plan – just to not worry about the traffic and bandwidth – which is still a good 4 times cheaper.

I mentioned at the very beginning of this article that I’m testing the waters with Traffic Planet Hosting. The water’s great!

  • Are you still with Traffic Planet Hosting?

    • Yeah, I’m not using TPH any longer. I had a problem with their support – basically, the site went down and I couldn’t get a hold of them for quite a while. I just needed to restart, but yeah – on these kinds of issues, you do need support to be quick and respond – which they didn’t (at least in my case). Why are you moving off Websynthesis?

  • Arthur Zetes

    I recently switched from wpengine to traffic planet (now wpxhosting) because I wanted to have a faster website at a cheaper price.

    And that’s exactly what I get.
    But there are some major drawbacks.

    The support, while quick to respond, has been a disappointment. I migrated three sites to wpxhosting and had to change the SSL certificates on them.

    That opened a can of worms the website not displaying properly, images not showing, broken links, email DNS not working properly. going back and forth fixing one thing while breaking another.

    There doesn’t seem to be any sort of quality check people go through once they make a change. They focus on quick fixes that break other things in the process.

    I’ve been trying to get this SSL situation fixed for two weeks now, and it finally got fixed.
    Then there was an issue with an uploaded image not displaying, they made a change, now my images are not displaying and lost their metadata.

    Though WPEngine is slower and their support slower, I do feel everything worked together really well. SSL was a breeze to setup in cloudflare and had almost no problems.

    That being said, I’m still sticking with wpxhosting (Traffic Planet) and seeing how things go. I like that my site is around 1second faster than on wpengine and that the support is fast.

    • Hey Arthur,
      Yeah, both of these platforms have pros and cons, definitely. WPEngine is still a solid platform, but I did run into problems with their support. It looks like they hired a few very junior people and just threw them in the deep end.
      That being said, it might have been a few isolated incidents, who knows.
      I’m running my site on Kinsta right now – they’re pretty solid as well.
      Cheers,
      Eugen.