Welcome!

Agile Computing Authors: Liz McMillan, Elizabeth White, Xenia von Wedel, Sanjay Zalavadia, Dana Gardner

Related Topics: @CloudExpo, Java IoT, Microservices Expo, Linux Containers, Agile Computing, Cloud Security

@CloudExpo: Article

How to Compare Hosting Companies’ Speed & Reliability

In an 'always-on' world, there’s never a time when someone isn't surfing through your website

What do you look for when you choose a Web hosting provider? These days, it seems difficult to compare the differences between each service, whether you're talking about supported languages, databases or bandwidth. You might be tempted to pick the cheapest provider and plan in hopes of saving a few dollars. However, you should not overlook the importance of speed and reliability.

Take a small business for example - if its website is down or under-performing, the host is actually hurting the business. Even if the hosting were $1 per month, losing $100 in revenue because of unreliable performance means the customer loses $101. At that price, they could afford to grow their business to a dedicated server.

For the past year, my Hosting Performance Monitoring team at GoDaddy has scrutinized our environment and made some changes to make sure we are offering best in breed web hosting. Offering your customers a reliable, stable and fast platform is the most important feature you can provide. But that means more than just "Is the site up?" or "Is it fast?" You need to ask, "Is it up and fast all the time?"

In an "always-on" world, there's never a time when someone isn't surfing through your Website. Therefore, you want to double check that your Web hosting provider is fast and has great uptime, consistently. Outlined below is our tried and true performance and reliability measurement method, and a sample of results from studies that we've conducted.

The Hosting Reliability Measurement Method

1. Identify Your Providers
Make a list of the hosting companies you want to compare. It can be two for a head-to-head comparison, or hundreds to get an understanding of the entire industry.

2. Get Accounts
Purchase a Web hosting account from each company. Depending on the provider, this step can be daunting - some companies' sites make it incredibly difficult. For example, certain providers asked us to email or fax in our driver's license or credit card to buy an account.

3. Deploy the WordPress Sites
Load a cloned WordPress site to each hosting provider. This site should be completely single-sourced, which means the site only loads from its own resources, i.e. it doesn't reference any third-party scripts, images, etc. This makes the tests purely about the server's performance.

4. Audit
After setting up all the sites, make sure they're identical before you start testing. One way to do this is through webpagetest.org. Load each of your sites, then compare the Bytes In, Requests, and make sure there's only one domain listed in the Domains tab.

5. Measure
There are plenty of measurement techniques. You can pick any combination you see fit. We recommend trying a combination of the following:

Once you have all of the data on file, you can share it with the world! If you want to take your observations on a longer term, you can use APIs from the sites you used to perform the tests that automatically updates daily, weekly or monthly.

Here's a sample output from our own trials using two of the techniques we've outlined here. It compares GoDaddy cPanel to 6 of its closest competitors from January 1 2014 through March 1 2014.  The competitors listed here (A through F) are real competitors.

Pingdom, Response Time*                                            Pingdom, Downtime*

(Jan 1, 2014 through Mar 1, 2014)                                   (Jan 1, 2014 through Mar 1, 2014)

*Disclaimer: based on one site per product. It is not necessarily representative of the provider's product as a whole.

Analysis: In 60 days, 99.9% uptime means ~90 minutes down. Anything more should be unacceptable and likely violates the provider's uptime guarantee.

Competitor C and D had respectable response time averages at 0.804 seconds and 0.857 seconds, but should be disqualified for having worse than 99.9% uptime with 5,853 minutes (that's 4d 1h 33m) and 199 minutes of downtime.  Doesn't matter what the speed is, this much downtime should not be tolerated.

GoDaddy cPanel performed exceptionally well, with the lowest response times and better than 99.9% uptime. GoDaddy cPanel is the clear performance winner in this 60-day study.

Gomez Results

Jan 1, 2014 through Mar 1, 2014

*Disclaimer: based on one site per product.  It is not necessarily representative of the provider's product as a whole.

Analysis: This is full-page load, in this case 15 page objects (i.e., CSS, JS, images) totally approximately 750KB. Gomez test nodes are sitting on high bandwidth connections on the edge of their networks in top tier data centers. This is not the typical home user on wifi sitting 100 feet away through 4 walls, it's fast. Gomez nodes have latency to tend with, however. Whichever Gomez node location is fastest for a provider is very likely the closest node to the provider.

GoDaddy cPanel performed under 1.0s on avg, at 0.743s, throughout the 60 day period. Competitor D was close at 1.001s

Conclusion
There are very few, if any, Web hosting performance studies available to help consumers make the right choice. We urge industry review analysts to adopt the method described in this article because we believe it provides a comprehensive view of how hosting companies perform. It's straightforward, too. Just set up a cloned WordPress site on a few different hosts, and then use a tool like Pingdom to monitor performance.

If we can get trusted, third-party sources to publish information like this on a continual basis, customers will have all of the information they need to make informed decisions.

More Stories By David Koopman

David Koopman is Principal Engineer, Hosting Infrastructure Performance Engineering Team at GoDaddy. He leads the Hosting Performance Team at GoDaddy and is responsible for measuring and monitoring performance of thousands of servers, hosting millions of websites. His team works closely with product and infrastructure teams to ensure consistent performance across the GoDaddy web hosting product line.

Since joining GoDaddy in 2002 as a software developer, David has helped transform the company’s Web-based email product into a multi-million account operation. During his tenure at GoDaddy, he has held several development positions including Dedicated and VPS Hosting Development Manager, Architect, Sr. VP of Product Development, Chief Technology Officer, Chief Scientist and Principal Engineer.

Prior to joining GoDaddy, David was the Technical Director of The Web Mark, a medical Internet services company. He attained a BS in Computer Science from Southwest Missouri State University and is a certified Project Management Professional (PMP).

When not developing new product ideas at GoDaddy, David enjoys spending time with his family, skiing, off-roading and boating.

Comments (0)

Share your thoughts on this story.

Add your comment
You must be signed in to add a comment. Sign-in | Register

In accordance with our Comment Policy, we encourage comments that are on topic, relevant and to-the-point. We will remove comments that include profanity, personal attacks, racial slurs, threats of violence, or other inappropriate material that violates our Terms and Conditions, and will block users who make repeated violations. We ask all readers to expect diversity of opinion and to treat one another with dignity and respect.


@ThingsExpo Stories
The idea of comparing data in motion (at the sensor level) to data at rest (in a Big Data server warehouse) with predictive analytics in the cloud is very appealing to the industrial IoT sector. The problem Big Data vendors have, however, is access to that data in motion at the sensor location. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Scott Allen, CMO of FreeWave, discussed how as IoT is increasingly adopted by industrial markets, there is going to be an increased demand for sensor data from the outermos...
UAS, drones or unmanned aircraft, no matter what you call them — this was their week. Our news stream was flooded with updates on the newly announced rules and regulations for commercial UAS from the FAA. So, naturally we have dedicated this week’s top news round up to highlight some of our favorite UAS stories.
Internet of @ThingsExpo has announced today that Chris Matthieu has been named tech chair of Internet of @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 6thInternet of @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1–3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
CenturyLink has announced that application server solutions from GENBAND are now available as part of CenturyLink’s Networx contracts. The General Services Administration (GSA)’s Networx program includes the largest telecommunications contract vehicles ever awarded by the federal government. CenturyLink recently secured an extension through spring 2020 of its offerings available to federal government agencies via GSA’s Networx Universal and Enterprise contracts. GENBAND’s EXPERiUS™ Application...
Basho Technologies has announced the latest release of Basho Riak TS, version 1.3. Riak TS is an enterprise-grade NoSQL database optimized for Internet of Things (IoT). The open source version enables developers to download the software for free and use it in production as well as make contributions to the code and develop applications around Riak TS. Enhancements to Riak TS make it quick, easy and cost-effective to spin up an instance to test new ideas and build IoT applications. In addition to...
In addition to all the benefits, IoT is also bringing new kind of customer experience challenges - cars that unlock themselves, thermostats turning houses into saunas and baby video monitors broadcasting over the internet. This list can only increase because while IoT services should be intuitive and simple to use, the delivery ecosystem is a myriad of potential problems as IoT explodes complexity. So finding a performance issue is like finding the proverbial needle in the haystack.
"We work in the area of Big Data analytics and Big Data analytics is a very crowded space - you have Hadoop, ETL, warehousing, visualization and there's a lot of effort trying to get these tools to talk to each other," explained Mukund Deshpande, head of the Analytics practice at Accelerite, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
When people aren’t talking about VMs and containers, they’re talking about serverless architecture. Serverless is about no maintenance. It means you are not worried about low-level infrastructural and operational details. An event-driven serverless platform is a great use case for IoT. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Animesh Singh, an STSM and Lead for IBM Cloud Platform and Infrastructure, will detail how to build a distributed serverless, polyglot, microservices framework using open source tec...
SYS-CON Events has announced today that Roger Strukhoff has been named conference chair of Cloud Expo and @ThingsExpo 2016 Silicon Valley. The 19th Cloud Expo and 6th @ThingsExpo will take place on November 1-3, 2016, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA. "The Internet of Things brings trillions of dollars of opportunity to developers and enterprise IT, no matter how you measure it," stated Roger Strukhoff. "More importantly, it leverages the power of devices and the Interne...
Apixio Inc. has raised $19.3 million in Series D venture capital funding led by SSM Partners with participation from First Analysis, Bain Capital Ventures and Apixio’s largest angel investor. Apixio will dedicate the proceeds toward advancing and scaling products powered by its cognitive computing platform, further enabling insights for optimal patient care. The Series D funding comes as Apixio experiences strong momentum and increasing demand for its HCC Profiler solution, which mines unstruc...
The IoT is changing the way enterprises conduct business. In his session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how businesses can gain an edge over competitors by empowering consumers to take control through IoT. He cited examples such as a Washington, D.C.-based sports club that leveraged IoT and the cloud to develop a comprehensive booking system. He also highlighted how IoT can revitalize and restore outdated business models, making them profitable ...
Presidio has received the 2015 EMC Partner Services Quality Award from EMC Corporation for achieving outstanding service excellence and customer satisfaction as measured by the EMC Partner Services Quality (PSQ) program. Presidio was also honored as the 2015 EMC Americas Marketing Excellence Partner of the Year and 2015 Mid-Market East Partner of the Year. The EMC PSQ program is a project-specific survey program designed for partners with Service Partner designations to solicit customer feedbac...
IoT offers a value of almost $4 trillion to the manufacturing industry through platforms that can improve margins, optimize operations & drive high performance work teams. By using IoT technologies as a foundation, manufacturing customers are integrating worker safety with manufacturing systems, driving deep collaboration and utilizing analytics to exponentially increased per-unit margins. However, as Benoit Lheureux, the VP for Research at Gartner points out, “IoT project implementers often ...
"delaPlex is a software development company. We do team-based outsourcing development," explained Mark Rivers, COO and Co-founder of delaPlex Software, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 18th Cloud Expo, held June 7-9, 2016, at the Javits Center in New York City, NY.
In his general session at 18th Cloud Expo, Lee Atchison, Principal Cloud Architect and Advocate at New Relic, discussed cloud as a ‘better data center’ and how it adds new capacity (faster) and improves application availability (redundancy). The cloud is a ‘Dynamic Tool for Dynamic Apps’ and resource allocation is an integral part of your application architecture, so use only the resources you need and allocate /de-allocate resources on the fly.
Connected devices and the industrial internet are growing exponentially every year with Cisco expecting 50 billion devices to be in operation by 2020. In this period of growth, location-based insights are becoming invaluable to many businesses as they adopt new connected technologies. Knowing when and where these devices connect from is critical for a number of scenarios in supply chain management, disaster management, emergency response, M2M, location marketing and more. In his session at @Th...
Machine Learning helps make complex systems more efficient. By applying advanced Machine Learning techniques such as Cognitive Fingerprinting, wind project operators can utilize these tools to learn from collected data, detect regular patterns, and optimize their own operations. In his session at 18th Cloud Expo, Stuart Gillen, Director of Business Development at SparkCognition, discussed how research has demonstrated the value of Machine Learning in delivering next generation analytics to imp...
In his keynote at 18th Cloud Expo, Andrew Keys, Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise, provided an overview of the evolution of the Internet and the Database and the future of their combination – the Blockchain. Andrew Keys is Co-Founder of ConsenSys Enterprise. He comes to ConsenSys Enterprise with capital markets, technology and entrepreneurial experience. Previously, he worked for UBS investment bank in equities analysis. Later, he was responsible for the creation and distribution of life sett...
IoT is rapidly changing the way enterprises are using data to improve business decision-making. In order to derive business value, organizations must unlock insights from the data gathered and then act on these. In their session at @ThingsExpo, Eric Hoffman, Vice President at EastBanc Technologies, and Peter Shashkin, Head of Development Department at EastBanc Technologies, discussed how one organization leveraged IoT, cloud technology and data analysis to improve customer experiences and effi...
There are several IoTs: the Industrial Internet, Consumer Wearables, Wearables and Healthcare, Supply Chains, and the movement toward Smart Grids, Cities, Regions, and Nations. There are competing communications standards every step of the way, a bewildering array of sensors and devices, and an entire world of competing data analytics platforms. To some this appears to be chaos. In this power panel at @ThingsExpo, moderated by Conference Chair Roger Strukhoff, Bradley Holt, Developer Advocate a...