Hosting Performance Contest – September 2017 Roundup (15 Hosts Tested: The Affordables Rock)

hosting performance contest September 2017

Here’s the 20th Monthly Hosting Performance Contest Roundup for September 2017!
I’ve been testing 15 hosts in a non-stop manner the whole month and I’ll show you you the results below. In general, this contest’s result can be featured as “More affordable hosts show rocking performance”.

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 September 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 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.

 

September 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 September 2017The winner of this month’s contest is GeekStorage!. By the way, it’s one of the affordable hosts among the shared hosts I present in this Contest.
In the Top-3 also go GreenGeeks and SiteGround.

What’s interesting about the leaders is that two of them are not from the expensive pricing category.

Average full page load time of GeekStorage (the winner) was 1.32 seconds (it’s very fast). Its Uptime was perfect 100%. My site hosted with this host was available all the time during the whole month. And the host’s Satisfactory Apdex was also perfect 100% (i.e. all the time during this month the full page load time was less than 2.5 seconds). Brilliant! All these parameters are much above the benchmarks specified for the greatest hosting 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.

GeekStorage is one of the affordable hosts in this contest, and it’s noticeable that it outperformed more expensive hosts! Good job!

The silver medal goes to GreenGeeks.

GreenGeeks performed in September 2017 as fast as 1.38 seconds which is superb. It was slower than the leader by just 0.06 seconds. Its uptime was very good 99.95%. My site hosted with this host was not available for only 21.6 minutes during the whole month. And the Satisfactory Apdex was great – 99.85% (99.85% of all time the speed was faster than 2.5 seconds, and of course it’s above the highest standards set for great hosting). It was a fantastically good month for this host as it could break into the winners of the Contest.

The bronze medalist is SiteGround.

In September 2017 SiteGround was on average as fast as 1.42 seconds that is just 0.1 seconds slower than the leader. SiteGround‘s uptime was also almost perfect – 99.99%. My site hosted with this host was not available for only 4.3 minutes during the whole month. And its Satisfactory Apdex was really high – 99.9% (i.e. 99.9% of all time full page load time of my website hosted with this host was less than 2.5 seconds). Very good results!

MDDHosting took the 4th place. This host performed well and satisfied all the benchmarks set for great hosts. Its average speed was 1.46 seconds which is great. Its uptime (99.9%) was very good and exactly at the benchmark (99.9%). My site hosted with this hosting was not available for 43.2 minutes this month. Also, the host’s Satisfactory Apdex (99.75%) managed to well exceed the highest standards (99%).

LunarPages goes to the 5th place. Its 1.47 seconds full page load time was great. Its uptime (99.93%) was very good. My site was not available for just 30.2 minutes this month. Also, this host well passed the Satisfactory Apdex (99.95%) which was much above the benchmark (99%).

StableHost took the 6th place with 1.52 seconds speed, which is great. The host had a perfect uptime (100%) which means that my site hosted with it was available all the time during this month. Also, it had great Satisfactory Apdex (99.95% of the time my testing site was faster than 2.5 seconds). The values are much above the highest standards set for the best hosts. Super solid performance!

VeeroTech took the 7th place with 1.61 seconds speed, which is very good. And it had a great uptime (99.93%) this month. it’s above the benchmark level set for the greatest performance (99.9%). My site was not available for 30.2 minutes this month. The host had a great Satisfactory Apdex (99.51%), which is well above the benchmark level (99.51% of the time my test website loading speed was better than 2.5 seconds).

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

In September 2017 HostWinds goes to the 8th place. It was on average as fast as 1.37 seconds which is very fast. HostWinds‘s uptime was high – 99.89%, but a little bit below the highest standards (99.9%). That’s why the host did not make to the winners of this contest. My site hosted with this host was not available for 47.5 minutes during the whole month. And its Satisfactory Apdex was perfect and of course above the level of the benchmark set for the greatest performance. 100% of all time full page load time of my website hosted with this host was less than 2.5 seconds. Very good results in general!

Eleven2 got the 9th place. Its average speed (1.73 secs) was good. But it failed one of the benchmarks. Its uptime was 99.77%, which is below the benchmark (99.9%). My site was not available for 1.66 hours this month. The host’s Satisfactory Apdex (99.46%) could get to the highest standards (99%) though.

Squidix goes to the 10th place with its average speed 1.82 seconds which is generally good. Its uptime (99.72%) was not very high and below the benchmark (99.9%). My site was not available for 2 hours this month. And the host’s Satisfactory Apdex was 91.24% (91.24% of time its Full page load time was below 2.5 seconds). It’s a bit below the benchmark level (99%) too.

MochaHost takes the 11th place.. Its speed was generally good (1.86 seconds). But its uptime (99.59%) was below the benchmark (99.9%). My site was not available for 2.96 hours this month. And the host’s Satisfactory Apdex (96.71%) also did not pass the benchmark test (99%).

HawkHost took the 12th place. Its average speed (2.01 seconds) was not bad in general. But its Satisfactory Apdex (96.66%) did not meet the highest standards (99%). 96.66% of time in this month the speed of my test site was slower than 2.5 seconds. However, its uptime was almost perfect (99.99%) and much above the highest standards (99.9%). My site was not available for just 4.3 minutes this month. If its speed performance were a little bit more stable, it could get much higher in the rankings.

A2Hosting goes to the 13th place. Its 2.02 seconds full page load time was not bad. But its uptime (99.84%) did not pass the benchmark level (99.9%) a bit. My site was not available for 1.15 hours this month. Its Satisfactory Apdex (93.56%) was a little below the benchmark (99%) too.

InMotionHosting took the 14th place. Its average speed was generally not bad (2.06 seconds full page load time). Its uptime was good (99.92%), which is above the benchmark level (99.9%). My site was not available for 34.56 minutes this month. However, the host’s Satisfactory Apdex (95.59%) was a bit below the highest standards (99%). Better performance could bring this host quite higher in the rankings.

And finally, GlowHost is again on the last, 15th place. This host could not get higher because of its relatively slow speed. Its uptime (99.94%) was great and above the benchmark (99.9%). My site was not available for about 26 minutes this month. But the host’s speed was slow (3.25 seconds). And as expected, its Satisfactory Apdex (0%) was the lowest among other monitored hosts; and it was far from reaching the benchmark level (99%). All the time the loading time of my test website was slower than 2.5 seconds.

Generally, the competition of the best performing half of the monitored hosts this month was tight as usual. Like in the previous month it’s interesting to note that a good part of the hosts from the most affordable and the middle pricing categories outperformed more expensive hosts.

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 September 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: 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.

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 September 2017:

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

 

 

September 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 September 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.

Five 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 September. Websites on the uptime-failed hosting were not available for more than 43.2 minutes in total this month.

Hosting Performance Contest September 2017 - 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.

Conclusion

The best hosts which have demonstrated the best performance in September 2017 are the medalists: GeekStorage, GreenGeeks and SiteGround. The winners are from middle and higher pricing categories.

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 September 2017 go in the following order: SiteGround, A2Hosting and InMotionHosting.

The best three hosts in the middle pricing category ($4-8/mo) in September 2017 are GeekStorage, GreenGeeks and StableHost.

The best three hosts in the most affordable pricing category (up to $4/mo) in September 2017 are MDDHosting, LunarPages and VeeroTech.

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 even lower pricing category outperformed some hosts from the higher pricing category.

And the hero of this Contest is GeekStorage which managed to leave all other more expensive hosts behind and had a perfect performance (100% uptime and Apdex)!


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. Hi Michael,

    It’s Zal. Enjoyed your such a thoroughly researched web hosts. Absolutely delicious! 😉
    I still haven’t signed up with geekstorage. I’m constantly going back to Westhost. I ask questions, they always answer. Could you check them out, if they are good ?

    Thanks,
    Zal

  2. Hi Michael,
    a little note about StableHost. I like what they say and their FAQ is very informative and clear.
    While most hosts provide SSL certificate for free, StableHost charges $39 for a year !

    • another note about StableHost. They say their support thru ticket system/email is 24/7/365.
      I submitted a ticket at 11:30 PM, StableHost’s time in Arizona (my local time was 9:30AM). Now as of this writing it’s been over 2 hours, and no reply. So, it makes me think, what could happen if I need help in the morning my time, while StableHost’s time in late evening or very early morning. It means that they have no people to answer my questions. Questions were about SSL, and some other technical things.

      • I’ve looked at the history of my tickets with StableHost. Sometimes I get replies within minutes, sometimes it takes a couple of hours. However, I did not have any urgent queries and marked my tickets priorities as low or medium.
        Anyway, StableHost is not a large company with a lot of support stuff. So I assume that you may expect not instant replies to your queries, especially if your query is not urgent.
        Having a lot of support stuff is not always justified.
        If you appreciate very fast replies, I’d suggest looking at larger hosting providers like SiteGround who have online chat or phone support. Or who specifically emphasize SLA for the ticket replies.

        • There is nothing urgent for me. Just a wrong observation. I rely on you and your recommendations anyway. I’m reading all of the host you recommend, except the ones in more expensive category. Like I said, I like very much StableHost’s FAQ on every imaginable topic, with very clear answers. Thank you very much Michael!!! You’re the BEST!!!

          • Your are welcome, Zal.
            I recommend hosts which I’ve found the best in different categories for different types of clients. The hosts have their stronger and weaker sides focusing on different sides of the business.
            Anyway, if you are looking for an affordable host, StableHost is one of my best recommendations.

    • Hi Zal,
      StableHost offers a free Let’s Encrypt certificate AND a paid AlphaSSL SSL Certificate.
      By the way, I can see a free Let’s Ecnrypt SSL available in my cPanel dashboard, so the host does offer it.

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