Hosting Performance Contest – January 2017 Roundup (15 Hosts Drift)

hosting performance contest January 2017

Here’s the 12th Monthly Hosting Performance Contest Roundup for January 2017!
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 “The hosts continue drifting”.

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 January 2017!


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.

 

January 2017 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 fourth month in a row!
In the Top-3 also go MDDHosting and SiteGround.

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 1.16 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 fourth month in a row. Congratulations!

The silver medal goes to MDDHosting.

In January 2017 MDDHosting was on average as fast as 1.3 seconds that is 0.14 seconds slower than the leader. MDDHosting‘s uptime was very good too – 99.92%. And its Satisfactory Apdex was high – 99.74% (i.e. 99.74% of all time full page load time of my website hosted with this host was less than 2.5 seconds). Very good results!

The bronze medalist is SiteGround.

SiteGround performed in January 2017 as fast as 1.34 seconds which is pretty good. Its uptime was very high 99.97%. And the Satisfactory Apdex was very high – 99.94% (99.94% 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 1.42 seconds speed, very good uptime (99.97%) and perfect Satisfactory Apdex (100%). The values are much above the highest standards set for the best hosts.

LunarPages took the 5th place. Its 1.46 seconds full page load time was great. Its uptime (99.99%) was almost perfect. And its Satisfactory Apdex (100%) was superb and of course much above the benchmark. Really good performance!

A2Hosting took the 6th place. Its 1.58 seconds full page load time was very good. Its uptime (99.96%) was great. And its Satisfactory Apdex (99.84%) was also great and much above the benchmark. Great performance!

InMotionHosting goes to the 7th place. Its performance values were also above the benchmarks which is very good. Its speed (1.72 seconds) was pretty good. As well as its uptime (99.97%). And its Satisfactory Apdex (99.28%) was very high. Not the fastest host, but very good performance and with all metrics above the benchmarks which is awesome.

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 in general.

StableHost took the 8th place. Although its average speed was the fastest pf all (1.11 seconds full page load time) and its Satisfactory Apdex was great (99.89%), it failed uptime by just 0.01% (99.89%). It was a little bit below the highest standards (99.9%) set for great hosting. That’s only why this host did not get higher in the standings. It could have won the gold, actually.

VeeroTech has taken the 9th place. Its speed was very good (1.57 seconds full page load time). And its Satisfactory Apdex (99.43%) was well above the benchmark (99%). But its uptime (99.86%) was a bit below the benchmark level set for the greatest hosts (99.9%). That’s why it didn’t get higher in the rankings this month.

MochaHost goes the 10th place.. Its speed was good (1.61 seconds). But its uptime (99.82%) was below the benchmarks. Also, its Satisfactory Apdex (98.92%) did not pass the benchmark test (99%).

GreenGeeks goes to the 11th place. Its average speed (1.76 secs) was not bad. But its other metrics failed the benchmarks. Its uptime (99.89%) was a little bit below the benchmark (99.9%). And Satisfactory Apdex (98.36%) also did not get as high as the highest standards (99%).

Eleven2 got the 12th place. Its average speed (1.92 secs) was slower than the above hosts. And it also failed both benchmarks. Its uptime was 99.68%, which is below the benchmark (99.9%). And its Satisfactory Apdex (97.24%) could not get to the highest standards (99%) as well.

HawkHost took just the 13th place. Its average speed (2.28 seconds) was quite slower than the above hosts. And its Satisfactory Apdex (77.16%) did not meet the highest standards (99%). Besides, its uptime also failed badly (99.88%) compared to others. Both benchmarks failed.

Squidix goes to the 14th place with its speed 2.4 seconds which is quite slow. What also did not work very well for this host is its Satisfactory Apdex which was 75.89% (75.89% of time its Full page load time was below 2.5 seconds). And its uptime (99.77%) was also below the benchmark level (99.9%). Not the best month for this host.

And finally, GlowHost is again on the last, 15th place. This host could not get higher because of its low speed. However, this month it showed quite a good uptime (99.92%). Its speed was not really good (3.06 seconds). And as expected, its Satisfactory Apdex (0.4%) was the lowest in its history as I’ve been monitoring it and far from reaching the benchmark level (99%).

Generally, the competition this month revealed slight speed changes for the most hosts. An interesting part is that some of the 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 January 2017:


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.
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 15 minutes.
Superb Apdex-S: If Satisfactory Apdex benchmark (99%) passed (YES is very good).
Color areas: The greener, the better. Yellow is below the highest standards. Orange is worse. Red is the worst.

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 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 January 2017:

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

 

 

January 2017 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 January 2017 - 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.

Nine first hosts on the screenshot have passed the uptime benchmark test for great hosting. The other hosts I’m monitoring were up less than 99.9% in January. 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 January 2017:

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 January for 0.1% which equals 4.5 minutes.

MDDHosting also showed great uptime 99.92%. My site hosted with this host was unavailable for 0.08% (35.7 minutes) this month.

SiteGround showed very good uptime 99.97%. It’s above the benchmark (99.9%). Being unavailable for 0.03% means just 13.4 minutes of downtime this month from a user point of view.

HostWinds like the above host had the same uptime 99.97%. 0.03% and 13.4 minutes downtime.

LunarPages showed almost perfect uptime 99.99%. And 0.01% (about 4.5 minutes) being unavailable. It’s also above the benchmark (99.9%).

A2Hosting also showed pretty good uptime 99.96%. My site hosted with this host was unavailable for 0.04% (about 17.9 minutes).

InMotionHosting showed great uptime 99.97% which means 0.03% (about 13.4 minutes) being unavailable. It’s much above the benchmark (99.9%).

StableHost had not bad uptime 99.89%. It’s a little bit below the benchmark (99.9%). Being unavailable for 0.11% means 49.1 minutes.

VeeroTech had also not bad uptime 99.86%. It’s a bit below the benchmark level. My site hosted with it was unavailable for 0.14% (or 62.5 minutes) this month. By the way, my second test site with this host had 99.95% uptime which is well above the benchmark.

MochaHost also had uptime (99.82%) below the benchmark. My site hosted with this host was unavailable for 0.18% (about 1.34 hours this month).

GreenGeeks did nearly meet the highest uptime standards. Its uptime was 99.89%. My site hosted with this host was unavailable for 0.11% which is 49.1 minutes) this month.

Eleven2 failed with its uptime. My website on this host was up 99.68%, which means no one could access my website on this hosting 0.32% of the time in this month (equals to 2.38 hours).

HawkHost this month failed uptime quite badly (98.88%). No one could access my website on this hosting 1.12% of the time in this month (equals to 8.34 hours).

Squidix was not very good with its uptime this month (99.77%). The site on this hosting was not available 0.23% of the time this month (about 1.7 hours). It’s below the highest standards.

GlowHost could pass uptime tests this month. 99.92% being available, and correspondingly, it was not available for 0.08% of the time (35.7 minutes).

hosting performance contest January 2017 - 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 fourth 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 1.16 seconds.

MDDHosting was also fast (1.3 seconds full page load time) which brought it the silver medal. It’s a very good result for the affordable plan I’m using on this host.

SiteGround was a bit slower than the leaders (1.34 seconds on average) which made it the third with the bronze medal. Very good!

HostWinds was a little bit slower (1.42 seconds full page load time) than the above hosts.

LunarPages goes not far behind (1.46 seconds full page load time). It’s a good result for the the budget plan I’m using with this host.

A2Hosting had quite good speed in general (1.58 seconds full page load time.

InMotionHosting was a bit behind the top performers. Good full page load time (1.72 sec) as well as other metrics, but not the best ones.

StableHost was the fastest among all other hosts this month (1.11 seconds). But it failed a tiny bit uptime (99.89%). Anyway, it’s great for the affordable hosting like this!

VeeroTech was a little bit slower than some of the above hosts (1.57 seconds full page load time). But it failed a bit its uptime metrics (99.86%) which put it behind the above hosts. But still very good results for this affordable hosting.

MochaHost had a very decent speed (1.61 sec). But it failed both uptime in Satisfactory Apdex benchmarks.

GreenGeeks had a good speed in general (1.76 seconds full page load time), but it also failed both benchmarks.

Eleven2, like in previous months, did not satisfy the strict rules of passing the benchmarks. And with its speed (1.92 seconds) it could not go higher in the rankings.

HawkHost had not the best speed (2.28 seconds). And it failed both uptime and Satisfactory Apdex benchmarks.

Squidix had comparatively worse speed (2.4 seconds full page load time. And it failed both benchmarks.

GlowHost was significantly slower than all the other monitored hosts in this Contest (3.06 sec). And as expected, it failed badly its Satisfactory Apdex (just 0.4%). Although it passed the uptime benchmark test this month. Anyway, only the last place.

Conclusion

Thus, the best hosts which have demonstrated the best performance in January 2017 are the medalists: GeekStorage, MDDHosting and SiteGround. 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 January 2017 go in the following order: A2Hosting, InMotionHosting and Squidix.

The best three hosts in the middle pricing category ($4-8/mo) in January 2017 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 fourth month in a row! Really amazing!

The best three hosts in the most affordable pricing category (up to $4/mo) in January 2017 are MDDHosting, LunarPages (I’m using its cheapest plan without cPanel) and StableHost.

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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Comments

  1. Surprised that MDD Hosting is listed here on the 2nd place. I host one of my websites with them and they had 90+ outages in the past year and a half. In terms of reliability they are one of the worst hosts I am currently using, can’t wait to leave them when my paid hosting expires. Agree re StableHost, I use them and they are very good.

    • Hi Jeff. Thanks for sharing your experience. Although I’m surprised.
      I’ve been using MDD since August 2016 and the uptime (checked every minute on my website hosted with MDD) have never been less than 99.92%. Here’s the table with historic uptime data I’ve put together.
      Perhaps, our websites are located on different servers at MDD. This is the only reason I can think of why our experiences differ.
      Anyway, thanks for the info.

      • I am using Pingdom and UptimeRobot to monitor my sites, both reported these outages. My uptime number for MDD is 99.4%, average for my sites across 12 hosts is 99.8%

        • Thanks Jeff for the numbers.

          I also cross check some of my test sites with uptimerobot, pingdom and siteuptime. Although the only paid service I use is monitis (the one I use to publish the stats in these Hosting Performance Reports). I’ve noticed that monitis gives me more precise information (probably because I use multiple (two) locations and more frequent checks than with the free options).

          After all, I’m not doubting your stat numbers. It’s interesting that we have quite different stats for MDD (different servers maybe..?).

          By the way, the uptime average of all my tests for the 15 hosts during a year is close to your number (about 99.82%).

          Thanks again for your info.

  2. I’m using hawkhost for 5 years, shared hosting professional, now my site is slow, full load tooks 7s, I didn’t understand because last year my site full load is under 1s.

    However, my UV still same only 1k-2k per month (this is portfolio website I rarely update). I think maybe plugin and theme updates become larger and larger, or their server become crowded.

    Btw I’m using fancy theme with heavy script, using cloudflare and keycdn, and I’m using W3 total cache, I’m hosting my images on third party. Until last year my CPU usage is under 10% everyday, but now is around 50%-100%, which is my site become slower because they’re limitation.

    Someone said that I need to upgrade to VPS, well it doesn’t worth because my site is just for formality, not active site like blog and I didn’t get any money from it.

    What is your suggestion? should I stick with hawkhost but upgrade to higher plan? or migrate to siteground?

    Btw, which one do you think better, siteground, A2 or inmotion?

    • Hi Kris,

      Sorry to hear you are experiencing the performance issues.

      Performance issues can be caused by many factors. Server is only one of the possible reasons. My thoughts below are just assumptions (and suggestions), because I don’t know the technical details of your website. So please take them accordingly.

      Above all, it could be that your installation (theme and plugins) have been heavy from the beginning. And on a standard plan of any shared hosting (incl. SiteGround, A2 or IMH) it could be also slow.

      Themes and plugins (especially themes) are often the reason of slow performance. Some themes (especially multipurpose ones) need VPS or some high-performance plans.

      As regards HawkHost, I doubt they overcrowd the servers. Overcrowding the servers is a mean practice and destroys the hosting reputation. You mentioned there’s a limitation on CPU usage. Did they apply this limitation specifically for you, or how did it become so that your CPU usage jumped up so sharply?

      CPU abusing issues is often a sign of a website’s heavy scripts (and not the server overcrowding).

      I’d contact HawkHost support with these details as you told me to hear what they say. it’s not their responsibility to optimize or analyze your site, but at least they probably could give you some additional info.

      Also, I’d do some basic and easy optimization of your website. As you say, your site is quite old. And it could naturally get bloated throughout the time. Although this particularly does not explain the very sharp decrease of your site performance. But anyway, optimization is worth doing.

      (Just in case) Make sure you have a backup(s) before working on your site.

      1. Apart from a basic stuff like removing unused plugins, optimize your database stuff. It’s often the reason of slow performance for database applications like WordPress if the application have been working for a while. There are great free plugins for that. For example WP-Optimize.

      By the way, while doing your optimization, test your site performance with a tool (my favourite one is webpagetest.org).

      2. Also, try improve the performance by using a free lazy load plugin (e.g. a3 Lazy Load). It can drastically help with improving full page load time (although it does not help much with start render time and visually complete time).

      3. Additioanlly, try using Autoptimize free plugin. It helps with optimizing scripts very well and improving how fast your site loads.

      If the three steps above do not help, test a performance of your website with webpagetest.org and you are welcome to share a link to your tests with me so that I could have a look at it.

      As regards other hosts your mentioned, I favour SiteGround the most, although from a performance point of view all these hosts are more or less in the same speed performance category (on basic plans). However, I’d stick with HawkHost for now at least while you are trying to optimize your site and locate the performance bottlenecks and till it’s more clear that the hosting is the reason of your website slowness. Considering what you’ve told me about CPU usage, it seems to me now that the reason is not in the hosting server.

It's important for me to know what you think

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