Hosting Performance Contest – December 2020 Roundup (The Last Of Them)

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hosting performance contest December 2020

Here’s the 59th Monthly Hosting Performance Contest Roundup for December 2020!
This month is the last time when I report about hosting performance this way. I’ve cut the number of the monitored hosts.
Starting from the next month I will report in a bit differnet format. The main improvement will be that I will introduce heavy-loaded sites. I will publish more details at the beginning of February 2021.

And in December 2020 I’ve been testing 3 hosts in the old-fashined way like I have been doing for a few previours years. Here are the results of the non-stop monitoring the performance of the few hosts that I left for now.

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 performed in December 2020!

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 20 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 2020 Hosting Performance Contest – Results


Here are the three hosts that you can compare this month. I’ve left the three groups: very affordable (below $5/mo), middle class (upto $8/mo) and more expensive ($8+/mo). Although this break-down did make a lot of sense since there are too little hosts. Anyway, I left it for a record.

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 RoundupThe winner of this month’s contest is A2 Hosting!

A2 Hosting took the 1st place. Its full page load time was 0.65 seconds. The host was ultra super mega fast. And its uptime was 99.98%. The host had ultra mega great uptime, much above the highest standards set for the greatest hosts (99.9%). My site was not available this month for just 8.9 minutes. As regards Satisfactory Apdex, it was 100%. It means that all the time the full page load time of my website hosted with this host was less than 2.5 seconds. The host had simply perfect Satisfactory Apdex, very much above the highest benchmark. The host surpassed the benchmark tests and thanks to the best speed A2 Hosting got the gold this month!

The silver medalist is HawkHost.

HawkHost took the 2nd place. Its full page load time was 0.82 seconds. The host was ultra mega fast. And its uptime was 99.99%. The host had almost perfect uptime, very much above the highest standards set for the greatest hosts (99.9%). My site was available all the time during this month except 4.5 minutes. As regards Satisfactory Apdex, it was 100%. It means that all the time the full page load time of my website hosted with this host was less than 2.5 seconds. The host had simply perfect Satisfactory Apdex, very much above the highest benchmark. And since this hosting was the second fastest host among the hosts which exceeded all the benchmarks determined for the greatest hosts HawkHost wins the silver medal.

The bronze medal goes to GeekStorage. Althought it’s the last place in the contest, so not a big deal of achievement.

GeekStorage took the 3rd place. Its full page load time was 0.79 seconds. The host was super fast. And its uptime was 99.69%. The host did not have a superb uptime, as it was below the highest standards set for the greatest hosts (99.9%). My site was not available this month for 2.3 hours. As regards Satisfactory Apdex, it was 99.5%. It means that 99.5% of the time the full page load time of my website hosted with this host was less than 2.5 seconds. The host had unbelievably great Satisfactory Apdex, much above the highest benchmark.

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 2020:


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 20 minutes.
Uptime: Uptime (the more the better). Checked every minute.
Superb Uptime: If Uptime Benchmark (99.9%) passed (YES is 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 20 minutes.
Superb Apdex-S: If Satisfactory Apdex benchmark (99%) passed (YES is very good).
Color areas: Green is superb and above the highest standards. The greener, the better. Yellow is good, but below the highest standards. Orange is not very good; worse than yellow. Red is comparatively the worst.
Note: The hosts with failed at least one benchmark go below the hosts with passed benchmarks in the rankings.

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).
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 performs well or/and has a good potential in winning prizes in the Contest, but I want to have more proved records of its technical and support performance.)

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 2020:

 

December 2020 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 2020 - 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 hosts on the screenshot have not passed the uptime benchmark test (99.9%) for the greatest hosting. The other hosts I’m monitoring were up more than 99.9% in this month. The websites on the uptime-failed hosting were not available for more than 44.6 minutes in total this month.

Hosting Performance Contest December 2020 - full page load time monitoring report


These tests are performed with 20-minute interval from two locations. It makes it a perfect real-user performance monitor. This monitor’s activity is equal to 144 unique visitors per day (about 4,320 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.

The hosts that I recommend considering all the possible nuances are on this page.

Conclusion

The two hosts were really great in December 2020:
A2Hosting and HawkHost.

And as regards the third participant, although it had a comparatively bad uptime (compared to the best possible performance), for shared hosting such uptime is acceptable.


You can download a PDF version of this article (545 KB):


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Comments

  1. Michael,

    Inspiring contest including the top players in the web hosting industry. By the way, how many hours you’d invest in creating such detailed article?

  2. Finally, the year-end contest, of course, your 59th one is out for us. Hats-off to your dedicated reviews and ratings, Michael.

  3. Good to know that this is your 59th roundup to end up the year 2020. By the way, A2 hosting is my all-time favorite host in every aspect. Thanks, Michael!

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