Best Web Hosts for Optimizing LCP and TTFB

Towards the end of May 2020, Google updated one of the metrics by which it judges page speed. This new metric called Largest Contentful Paint or LCP, refers to the time it takes for the page to render the biggest visible element. “Biggest” here means most visible – not the number of HTML nodes. According to Google, optimizing LCP is crucial to getting a good page speed score.

I managed to achieve an LCP of 2.3 seconds using a combination of good hosting and best practices as shown here:

Optimizing LCP to Under 2.5 Seconds
Optimizing LCP to Under 2.5 Seconds

While there are many things you can do to improve your LCP score, the quality of your web hosting plays a large role by improving the speed at which it responds.

How Web Hosting Affects LCP Optimization

Web hosting has an impact on the LCP through another metric called “Time to First Byte” or TTFB. This is the time it takes for the web host to send back the very first byte of the response. The smaller this is, the quicker the client’s browser can start rending the page to bring the LCP to under 2.5 seconds.

A good web host can improve the LCP and TTFB via the following:

  1. Server caching (as opposed to plugin caching)
  2. Faster database queries
  3. Generous CPU allocation
  4. Low density servers
  5. Modern web standards like QUIC, Server Push etc

Keeping all this in mind, here are my recommendations for the 3 best web hosts for LCP optimization. Mind you, these are merely my opinions!

1. NameHero Hosting

NameHero is quickly making a name for itself amongst savvy customers due to its features and prices. Compared to the other recommendations below, NameHero is a lot cheaper. Here are the features that make it ideal for optimizing LCP times:

  • LiteSpeed servers (What is LiteSpeed?)
  • Server caching
  • MariaDB instead of MySQL databases
  • NVMe SSD drives (For faster database operations)
  • SSD Raid 10 Storage

You can read my complete NameHero review to find out more. I’ve contacted the CEO of NameHero Ryan Gray, and he’s provided me with a 55% discount on their shared hosting plans with the following coupon:

So NameHero is my #1 recommendation.

2. Liquid Web

Liquid Web is best known in the industry for its first class infrastructure. The thing is, it’s expensive. Their cloud sites package starts at $51/m, and is meant for people who want to host multiple sites on a single account. Short of that, they don’t have “ordinary” web hosting as is normally understood. They exited that business in 2016, and haven’t looked back since.

Here’s a complete list of Liquid Web coupons. If you really want a host that’s top of the line, and will give you the absolute lowest TTFB for maximum LCP optimization, then Liquid Web is your best bet.

3. Kinsta (for WordPress Hosting)

Kinsta is another “premium” hosting company – though not nearly as expensive as Liquid Web. They specialize in WordPress hosting along with others like WP-Engine.

Kinsta lowers its TTFB times by giving your sites a virtual container where you don’t share resources with anyone else. Unlike regular shared hosting where every account is competing for the same CPU resources, Kinsta gives you a dedicated space that’s all your own. So you not only get very high-speeds, but it’s also consistent since your server doesn’t depend on other people for its performance. This means that you’ll continue to get optimized LCP times over a long period, which helps with verifying the speed on the Google Search Console. Here’s my complete Kinsta review along with pricing.

Here’s the best offer for Kinsta right now:

Kinsta’s Starter plan also allows only one WordPress install, and the “Pro” plan allows two. So if you don’t mind the relatively high price, and are content with hosting just one or two WordPress sites, then Kinsta is a great option for reducing your TTFB and LCP timings.

Why I Left Out SiteGround

For various reasons, I no longer recommend SiteGround on WP-Tweaks. One of them is that they abandoned cPanel and introduced their own dashboard while other, much cheaper hosts, continue to provide it. Another is that their renewal prices are so much higher than their initial discount, that it’s almost misleading. The Internet is full of SiteGround customers who have just received their first “full” bill, and are expressing shock at how high it is.

For these reasons, I have switched my recommendation from SiteGround to NameHero. Among other things, NameHero also provides offsite backups and super cheap integration with DropMySite if you’re looking for additional security. SiteGround’s backup system is amazing, but they don’t store the backups offsite, and their integration with Blogvault starts at $7/m for just one site. That’s extremely expensive!

So while I love SiteGround’s features, there are a few problems that prevent me from recommending them as wholeheartedly as I did before.

Bottom Line

Optimizing your LCP to drop below 2.5 seconds is no easy task. It’s going to require a lot of work on your main site, deferring render-blocking JS and CSS, pushing out resources faster, and a lot more. But your web host also plays a major role. The faster your server is, the quicker it can respond to requests and reduce that all important TTFB metric, which in turn has a direct impact on LCP.

Any one of the 3 hosts mentioned above are great for reducing LCP times. I hope you found this information useful!

About Bhagwad Park

I've been writing about web hosting and WordPress tutorials since 2008. I also create tutorials on Linux server administration, and have a ton of experience with web hosting products. Contact me via e-mail!

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