Web Hosting Reviews Driven by Data, Not Dollars

I'm disgusted with fake webhosting "reviews." Since 2014, I've been tracking the results of real-life performance tests for downtime, speed & support at the world's most popular web hosting companies. You'll be shocked by the results...

Page Speed Test

This test measures the total time it takes to load a standard web page. Lower is better.

This test is performed by submitting a typical web page served on the host to WebPageTest and recording how long it takes to load. This test web page is 56 KB of HTML, 287 KB of JavaScript, 51 KB of CSS, and 1,128 KB of images (these are typical according to the HTTP Archive). WebPageTest (a 3rd-party, vendor-neutral organization) uses servers located in Virgina and California to measure the page load waterfall in the latest version of Chrome, on a very fast internet connection. The test is ran 5 times each, and the middle (median) result is what is counted from each location. Then the east coast and west coast times are averaged, which should eliminate any bias due to server location. We're interested in first page load, not the repeat/cached view.

If you're really interested, I use the 'Load Time' measurement that's returned from WebPageTest for ranking page speed. I still collect other metrics such as TTFB (time to first byte), fully loaded time, and the speed index, in addition to server setting scores which are translated to grades. You can see these detailed values in the "Raw Results."

This test is important if your site resembles a typical website and you're concerned about speed (which you should be!)

Measuring page speed with WebPageTest.org


In September 2014 I updated this test to be more accurate, and you'll notice page speeds were a bit higher before then. The test used to be run only 3 times from one location using a simulated cable internet connection on Internet Explorer 11. The new method provides much more consistent results.

Overall Page Speed Comparison

HostGator performs above average in the Page Speed test, with an average result of 2.85 seconds. Its best run was 2.38 s, but has been as bad as 15.02 s. HostGator's most recent result on Nov 19 was 2.53 seconds. Back in the day HostGator used to share a datacenter with SoftLayer - and they were lightning fast. Now that they made everyone transition to their own datacenter (after the EIG buyout), page speed has been worse, although not as bad as some other hosts here.

GoDaddy performs above average in the Page Speed test, with an average result of 2.99 seconds. Its best run was 0.31 s, but has been as bad as 37.97 s. GoDaddy's most recent result on Nov 19 was 2.49 seconds. GoDaddy consistently has very fast page load speeds. I'm attributing this to the fact that they have a stellar Hosting Optimization team, headed by Dave Koopman. He actually reached out to me after seeing this site to not only give me kudos for doing this, but offer additional testing resources (which at the moment I am not using). Regardless, he's pretty passionate about their hosting performance and their stats prove it.

StableHost performs stellar in the Page Speed test, with an average result of 3.05 seconds. Its best run was 2.37 s, but has been as bad as 12.29 s. StableHost's most recent result on Nov 19 was 2.55 seconds. Stablehost is one of the few hosts that routinely has page load times under 3 seconds - that's awesome. They have all headers optimized for performance (compression, caching, connections), and their stats back it up.

Bluehost performs impressively in the Page Speed test, with an average result of 3.11 seconds. Its best run was 0.30 s, but has been as bad as 9.17 s. Bluehost's most recent result on Nov 19 was 2.51 seconds. Bluehost is usually pretty inconsistent with its page speeds - sometimes quicker than other hosts, sometimes slower. Its slowest times are usually when accessed from the east coast. While they do optimize connections and compress images, they fail to set caching properly for repeat views.

DreamHost performs stellar in the Page Speed test, with an average result of 3.14 seconds. Its best run was 1.60 s, but has been as bad as 21.25 s. DreamHost's most recent result on Nov 19 was 3.63 seconds. I expected Dreamhost to have poor performance, but they're not that bad. There are faster hosts out there, but you're not going to be disappointed with them.

MDDHosting performs impressively in the Page Speed test, with an average result of 3.16 seconds. Its best run was 2.27 s, but has been as bad as 74.96 s. MDDHosting's most recent result on Nov 19 was 2.50 seconds. I had heard great things about MDDHosting, and I thought their speed would be on par, but it has proven to have some hiccups. Lately they've been alright, but back in October I was seeing load times of 10+ seconds - wow that's poor! Yet, they are one of the few hosts that has all their server settings optimized.

Recent Raw Results from Nov 19

Host Location Load time TTFB Fully loaded Speed index Keep-alive Score Compress Score Caching Score
BluehostDulles, VA2.5s0.3s2.6s0.9sAAF
BluehostSan Jose, CA2.5s0.4s2.6s1.4sAAF
DreamHostDulles, VA5.0s2.8s5.1s3.7sAAF
DreamHostSan Jose, CA2.3s0.2s2.3s1.3sAAF
GoDaddyDulles, VA2.7s0.3s2.8s1.2sAAF
GoDaddySan Jose, CA2.3s0.2s2.4s1.4sAAF
HostGatorDulles, VA2.5s0.3s2.6s1.1sAAF
HostGatorSan Jose, CA2.5s0.3s2.6s1.4sAAF
InMotion HostingDulles, VA3.0s0.4s3.1s1.4sAFF
InMotion HostingSan Jose, CA2.7s0.2s2.8s1.8sAFF
MDDHostingDulles, VA2.7s0.3s2.8s1.3sAAA
MDDHostingSan Jose, CA2.3s0.2s2.3s1.3sAAA
NamecheapDulles, VA2.8s0.4s3.0s1.3sAAF
NamecheapSan Jose, CA2.3s0.3s2.4s1.5sAAF
Site5Dulles, VA2.9s0.4s3.0s1.1sAFA
Site5San Jose, CA2.9s0.4s3.0s1.5sAFA
StableHostDulles, VA2.8s0.3s2.9s1.2sAAA
StableHostSan Jose, CA2.3s0.3s2.3s1.5sAAA
Yahoo Small BusinessDulles, VA3.2s0.7s3.6s1.8sAFC
Yahoo Small BusinessSan Jose, CA3.5s0.8s4.1s2.1sAFC