Hosting Performance Contest – December 2016 Roundup (15 Hosts, The Affordable Win)

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hosting performance contest December 2016

Here’s the 11th Monthly Hosting Performance Contest Roundup for December 2016!
I’ve been testing 15 hosts in a non-stop manner the whole month and I’ll show you you the results right now. In general, this contest’s result can be described as “Affordable hosts outperformed more expensive ones”.

By the way, you can find the latest roundups here and the performance tables and charts here.

All monitored hosts are presented in the pricing categories according to the most affordable plan they have. Also, I bought the most affordable plans available at each hosting company to test hosting performance.

Let’s see how the hosts hosts performed in December 2016!


Common Information


As you may already know, I’ve been monitoring the performance of some of the best hosting providers I know as well as some other well-known hosts.

In short, since 2013 I’ve been picking out great hosts judging by real users reviews, professional hosting community opinion, long honorable business experience and other factors which make a great hosting.

And I buy anonymously hosting accounts with different hosts in order to closely monitor their performance (basically, uptime checked every minute and full page load time checked every 15 minutes) using a professional monitoring service monitis.com. I buy the most basic and the cheapest plan of each hosting. You can read about my monitoring methodology here.

And I’m happy to share these statistics with you so that you could see how these hosts perform and who is the best from the best!

You can find some real-time performance charts on my recommended hosts page for the hosting which I’ve been recommending and monitoring.

Also, you can see real-time monitoring charts for all hosts that I am monitoring on this page. In addition, the page contains monthly historical data on hosting performance (speed, uptime, satisfactory apdex) – very interesting and useful.

Besides, you may read more information about this Hosting Performance Contest on this page. I will be adding monthly and yearly Contest results on the page too.

And other monthly Hosting Performance Contest roundups are available from here.

By the way, here’s a disclosure: There are some affiliate links on this page. In other words, I get paid if you click on the links and make a purchase. All such links open in new window/tab; no software/program will be installed to your computer. (This is a standard notice required by hosting companies.)
Please note that although all hosts mentioned in this post are well-established and considered to be very good, I highly recommend not all of them. My recommended hosts are here.

 

December 2016 Hosting Performance Contest – Results

Here are the fifteen hosts that you can compare this month. I’ve broken down them in three groups: very affordable (below $4/mo), middle class (upto $8/mo) and more expensive ($8+/mo).

You’ll see a breakdown of hosting performance by prices in the sections below.

Let’s start from an overview of the hosting performance in the order of how the hosts performed in general regardless of how affordable or expensive the hosts are.

winner cup - hosting performance contest Roundup December 2016The winner of this month’s contest is GeekStorage!. The Third month in a row!
In the Top-3 go also SiteGround and MDDHosting.

What’s special about the leaders is that all the winners are from the middle and low price category. More affordable hosts outperformed more expensive ones!

Average full page load time of GeekStorage (the winner) was 1.12 seconds (it’s very fast). Its Uptime was 99.99% (almost perfect) And its Satisfactory Apdex was 100% (i.e. 100% of time the full page load time was less than 2.5 seconds). Fantastic! All these parameters are much above the benchmarks specified for the greatest performance. And since this hosting was the fastest host among the hosts which exceeded all the benchmarks determined for the greatest hosts GeekStorage wins the gold medal.

It’s worth mentioning that GeekStorage is absolutely not expensive, especially compared to some other hosts tested. And it wins all of the other hosts the third month in a row. Congratulations!

The silver medal goes to SiteGround. It was a bit slower than the leader.

In December 2016 SiteGround was on average as fast as 1.3 seconds that is 0.18 seconds slower than the leader. SiteGround‘s uptime was very good too – 99.98%. And its Satisfactory Apdex was high – 99.52% (i.e. 99.52% of all time full page load time of my website hosted with this host was less than 2.5 seconds). Very good results indeed!

The bronze medalist is MDDHosting.

MDDHosting performed in December 2016 as fast as 1.32 seconds which is pretty good. Its uptime was very high 99.98%. And the Satisfactory Apdex was geat – 99.8% (99.8% of all time the speed was faster than 2.5 seconds, and of course it’s above the highest standards set for great hosting).

HostWinds took the 4th place with 1.34 seconds speed, very good uptime (99.98%) and perfect Satisfactory Apdex (100%). The values are much above the highest standards set for the best hosts.

StableHost has taken the 5th place. It was quite fast (1.41 seconds full page load time). And its uptime (99.94%) was very good. Its Satisfactory Apdex (99.76%) was also awesome.

LunarPages took the 6th place. Its 1.48 seconds full page load time was great. Its uptime (99.92%) was very strong. And its Satisfactory Apdex (99.88%) was much above the benchmark. Not bad performance!

VeeroTech has taken the 7th place. Its speed was very good (1.61 seconds full page load time). And its uptime (99.9%) was exactly at the benchmark level set for the greatest hosts. And its Satisfactory Apdex (99.56%) was well above the benchmark (99%). Very solid performance and all benchmarks test have been passed!

InMotionHosting goes to the 8th place. Its performance values were also above the benchmarks which is very good. Its speed (1.68 seconds) was pretty good. As well as its uptime (99.98%). And its Satisfactory Apdex (99.72%) was very high. Not the fastest host, but very good performance.

Other hosts could not meet at least one of the benchmarks set for the best hosting, though the results of some hosts were very close to the benchmarks and pretty good.

A2Hosting took the 9th place. Although its average speed was quite good (1.58 seconds full page load time) and its uptime was high (99.94%), it failed Satisfactory Apdex benchmark. It was 98.49% which is a bit below the highest standards (99%) set for great hosting. That’s why this host did not get higher in the standings.

MochaHost goes the 10th place.. Its speed was good (1.64 seconds). And its uptime (99.95%) was above the benchmarks. But its Satisfactory Apdex (98.72%) did not pass the benchmark test (99%). For this reason this host does not stand higher in the ranking this month.

GreenGeeks goes to the 11th place. Its average speed (1.71 secs) was not bad. But its other metrics failed the benchmarks. Its uptime (99.7%) was below the benchmark (99.9%). And Satisfactory Apdex (98.92%) was a little bit below the highest standards (99%).

Squidix goes to the 12th place with its speed 1.85 seconds which is not bad. What did not work very well for this host is its Satisfactory Apdex which was 93.4% (93.4% of time its Full page load time was below 2.5 seconds). But its uptime (99.96%) was pretty good and much above the benchmark level (99.9%).

Eleven2 got the 13th place. Its average speed (1.86 secs) was slower than the above hosts. And it failed both benchmarks. Its uptime was 99.03%, which is below the benchmark (99.9%). And its Satisfactory Apdex (97.57%) could not get to the highest standards (99%) as well.

HawkHost took just the 14th place. Its average speed (1.98 seconds) was slower than the above hosts. And its Satisfactory Apdex (90.72%) did not meet the highest standards (99%). Unfortunately, I could not get its uptime metrics this month due to the issues with uptime monitor during a pair of days (DNS propagation and resolution issues after hosting IP change). Anyway, this host could not get higher in the rankings this month due to low Satisfactory Apdex.

And finally, GlowHost is again on the last, 15th place. This host could not get higher because of its low speed. This month it showed better but still not satisfactory uptime (99.89%). Also, its speed was not really good (2.87 seconds). And as expected, its Satisfactory Apdex (4.12%) is far from reaching the benchmark level (99%).

Generally, the competition this month revealed further speed improvement of some monitored hosts. Also, it’s interesting that more expensive hosts got lower in the standings because more affordable hosts performed better this month.

By the way, keep in mind, that for this Contest I pick out the hosts which are considered to be good, great and superb. These hosts are established businesses for many years and some of them are widely recommended in the Internet. So, the idea of this Contest is to determine the best performing hosts from a technical point of view, giving you objective information for making your own decision regarding hosts.

Let’s see now the results in tables and charts for more convenience, more information and more insight.

Here’s a table view to compare the Hosting Performance Contest results in December 2016:


Table column notes:
Place: The place a hosting has won in this Contest (the less the better).
Load Time: Average Full Page Load Time (the less the better). Checked every 15 minutes.
Uptime: Uptime (the more the better). Checked every minute.
Uptime OK: If Uptime Benchmark (99.9%) passed (YES is very good, NO is not very good).
Apdex-S: Satisfactory Apdex, i.e. how often a test website on a tested hosting was loading faster than 2.5 sec (the more the Apdex-S the better). Checked every 15 minutes.
Apdex-S OK: If Satisfactory Apdex benchmark (99%) passed (YES is very good, NO is not very good).

Here’s a table with hosting prices:

 
1 year: Regular prices (after the first invoice) for 1-year plan.
2 years: Regular prices (after the first invoice) for 2-year plan.
3 years: Regular prices (after the first invoice) for 3-year plan.
Min Price: The minimum price officially available for the first invoice (can be for 1-year, 2-year or 3-year plan).
*StableHost discount code is given in my review.
Limited-time offers with more discounts are not included in these prices. Check out if there are special offers currently available by visiting the hosting websites.
Worthy: This column contains my recommended hosts. (Under review label means that the host is a newcomer which performs not bad or has potential in winning prizes in the Contest and I want to have proved records of its performance for a couple of months.)

Here’s a table with places within pricing categories:

 
Since it’s not always correct to compare hosts from different price categories together, I’ve broken down the monitored hosts into three categories to compete within as you can see above in the table.

The prices presented in this table are regular prices (i.e. applied after the first invoice). Note that prices for the first invoice (1-,2- or 3-year plan) are usually less (see them in the previous table). And special promo prices are not included (check them out on the hosting websites).

And here are the charts with the Hosting Performance Contest results in December 2016:

1. The golden medalist: GeekStorage (it’s in my list of the recommended hosts; see my review).
2. The silver medalist: SiteGround (it’s in my list of the recommended hosts; see my review).
3. The bronze medalist: MDDHosting (it’s in my list of the recommended hosts; see my review).
 

 

 

December 2016 Hosting Performance Contest Results – Notes


I use monitis.com services for uptime and full page load monitoring. The monitoring is performed from two locations in order to decrease chances of false alerts and make monitoring results more objective. You can read more about my methodology of monitoring here.

Here are the monthly monitoring reports screenshots:

Hosting performance contest December 2016 - uptime monitoring report
These monitor checks are performed with 1-minute interval, which makes it great for detecting website uptime and downtime.

So, we need Uptime values from this table for finding the winner of our Contest.
By the way, downtime is detected if server response time (time-to-first-byte) is more than 10 seconds.

Other values (just for information):
Response time is not that important for this Contest, because I’ve got a better indicator monitored, which is Full page load time (see below).
Number of failures may be interesting to look at, but this is just an additional information to Uptime, which is more important for the overall hosting evaluation.

Four last hosts on the screenshot have not passed the uptime benchmark test for great hosting. The other hosts I’m monitoring were up more than 99.9% in December. Websites on the uptime-failed hosting were not available for more than 44.6 minutes in total this month.

Here are some uptime details for the hosts in the order of the places the hosts took in the Contest in December 2016:

GeekStorage performed with great 99.99% uptime. It’s much above the highest standards (99.9%). My site hosted with this hosting was not available in December for 0.1% which equals 4.5 minutes.

SiteGround showed very good uptime 99.98%. It’s above the benchmark (99.9%). Being unavailable for 0.02% means just 8.9 minutes of downtime this month from a user point of view.

MDDHosting also showed very good uptime 99.98%. My site hosted with this host was unavailable for 0.02% (8.9 minutes).

HostWinds like the above two hosts had the same uptime 99.98%. 0.02% and 8.9 minutes downtime.

StableHost had pretty good uptime 99.94%. It’s above the benchmark (99.9%). Being unavailable for 0.06% means 26.8 minutes.

LunarPages showed quite a good uptime 99.92%. And 0.08% (about 35.7 minutes) being unavailable. It’s also above the benchmark (99.9%).

VeeroTech had good uptime 99.9%. It’s exactly at the benchmark level. My site hosted with it was unavailable for 0.1% (or 44.6 minutes) this month.

InMotionHosting showed great uptime 99.98% which means 0.02% (about 8.9 minutes) being unavailable. It’s much above the benchmark (99.9%).

A2Hosting also showed pretty good uptime 99.94%. My site hosted with this host was unavailable for 0.06% (about 26.8 minutes).

MochaHost also had high uptime99.95%. My site hosted with this host was unavailable for 0.05% (about 22.3 minutes this month).

GreenGeeks did not meet the highest uptime standards. Its uptime was 99.7%. My site hosted with this host was unavailable for 0.3% which is 2.2 hours) this month.

Squidix was very good with its uptime this month (99.96%). The site on this hosting was not available 0.04% of the time this month (about 17.9 minutes). It’s strongly better than the highest standards.

Eleven2 failed with its uptime. My website on this host was up 99.03%, which means no one could access my website on this hosting 0.97% of the time in this month (equals to 7.2 hours).

No uptime metrics for HawkHost this month due to IP propagation and resolution issues after hosting IP change.

GlowHost could not pass uptime tests this month. 99.89% being available, and correspondingly, it was not available for 0.11% of the time (49.1 minutes).

hosting performance contest December 2016 - full page load monitoring report


These tests are performed with 15-minute interval. It makes it a perfect real-user performance monitor. This monitor’s activity is equal to 192 unique visitors per day (about 5,760 unique visitors per month).

Avg Test Duration is the Full page load time, which is very clear and important factor for the Hosting Performance Contest.

We don’t need Uptime from this table because we have got a better (more precise) Uptime indicator from the previous table.

Also, we don’t need Failures from this table, because it’s less precise than the same indicator from the previous table.

But we will need Apdex, particularly its S (Satisfactory) part. This shows how much time (in %) the website loaded faster than 2.5 seconds. I call it Satisfactory Apdex.

GeekStorage for the third month in a row won the gold in the monthly Contest thanks to its the best speed compared to other hosts and other metrics (uptime and Satisfactory Apdex) being above the benchmarks. This month its average speed (full page load time) was 1.12 seconds.

SiteGround was slower than the leader (1.3 seconds on average) which made it the second with the silver medal. Very good!

MDDHosting was also fast (1.32 seconds full page load time) which brought it the bronze medal. It’s a very good result for the affordable plan I’m using on this host.

HostWinds was a little bit slower (1.34 seconds full page load time) than the above hosts.

StableHost was pretty fast (1.41 seconds) following closely the above hosts. It’s great for the affordable hosting like this!

LunarPages goes not far behind (1.48 seconds full page load time). It’s a good result for the the budget plan I’m using with this host.

VeeroTech satisfied all benchmark tests like the above hosts. But being a little bit slower (1.61 seconds full page load time) put it behind the better performing hosts. But still very good results for this affordable hosting.

InMotionHosting was also a bit behind the top performers. Good full page load time (1.68 sec) as well as other metrics, but not the best one.

A2Hosting had quite good speed in general (1.58 seconds full page load time. But it failed a bit Satisfactory Apdex.

MochaHost had a very decent speed (1.64 sec). But it failed in Satisfactory Apdex benchmark.

GreenGeeks had a good speed in general (1.71 seconds full page load time), but it failed both benchmarks.

Squidix had not bad speed in general (1.85 seconds full page load time. But it failed Satisfactory Apdex.

Eleven2, like in previous months, did not satisfy the strict rules of passing the benchmarks. And with its speed (1.86 seconds) it could not go higher in the rankings.

HawkHost had also not bad speed (1.98 seconds). But it failed Satisfactory Apdex.

GlowHost was significantly slower than all the other monitored hosts in this Contest (2.87 sec). And as expected, it failed badly its Satisfactory Apdex (just 4.12%). So, only the last place.

Conclusion

Thus, the best hosts which have demonstrated the best performance in December 2016 are the medalists: GeekStorage, SiteGround and MDDHosting. By the way, all the medalists are not from the most expensive hosting category!

By the way, all the top winners have passed the strict benchmarks determined for great hosting.

As regards the winners in different pricing categories, here they are:
The best hosts in the higher pricing category ($8-10/mo) in December 2016 go in the following order: InMotionHosting, A2Hosting and Squidix.

The best three hosts in the middle pricing category ($4-8/mo) in December 2016 are GeekStorage, SiteGround and HostWinds.

By the way, GeekStorage, although being an affordable hosting, has won the gold medal among all the hosts in this Contest the third month in a row! Really impressive!

The best three hosts in the most affordable pricing category (up to $4/mo) in December 2016 are MDDHosting, StableHost and LunarPages (I’m using its cheapest plan without cPanel).

Please note, that I’m using the cheapest plans available on each of the monitored hosts.

It’s interesting that many hosts from the middle and lower pricing category outperformed hosts from the higher pricing category. And the hero of this Contest is GeekStorage which managed to leave all other more expensive hosts behind.


P.S.: Past and future Hosting Performance Contest results are (and will be) published on this page.
Also, you can see real-time performance charts of the hosts I monitor as well as historical data on the hosting performance on this page.
Other monthly roundups of this Hosting Performance Contest are available here.
And my recommended hosts are here.

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