Pantheon WordPress Hosting Review (2016)

Pantheon participated for the third time in WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks. They've done well in the past earning top tier status in both previous tests. This year they had four plans entered into the following ranges: $25-50/month, $51-100/month, $201-500/month and Enterprise ($500+/month).

Products

Company Plan Monthly Price Visitors Allowed Disk Space Bandwidth Sites Allowed
Pantheon 25-50 Personal $25 10,000 5GB Unlimited 1
Pantheon 51-100 Professional $100 100,000 20GB Unlimited 1
Pantheon 201-500 Business $400 500,000 30GB Unlimited 1
Pantheon Enterprise Elite $1,666.66 Unlimited 100GB+ Unlimited Priced Per Site

View Full Product Details

Performance Review

LoadStorm Results

Company Total Requests Total Errors Peak RPS Average RPS Peak Response Time(ms) Average Response Time(ms) Total Data Transferred (GB) Peak Throughput (MB/s) Average Throughput (MB/s)
Pantheon 25-50 268164 866 205.5 148.98 14422 315 6466 4.927 3.592
Pantheon 51-100 409962 57051 325.53 227.76 11682 762 20.74 17.97 11.52
Pantheon 201-500 629578 49212 510.78 349.77 15091 1353 33.88 28.9 18.82
Pantheon Enterprise 1295178 9964 1014.58 719.54 15101 786 30.86 24.18 17.15

LoadStorm test logged in thousands of users to simulate heavy uncached load on the server, scaling up with more users on larger plans after the $25-50/month range. Pantheon did well at the entry level and the enterprise level. The 51-100 and 201-500 range the load exceeded the capacity of the containers hosting the sites. Pantheon showed they definitely can scale at the Enterprise level, but some of the mid-range of their lineup struggled to keep up with our tests.

Blitz Results

Company Hits Errors Timeouts Average Hits/Second Average Response Time Fastest Response Slowest Response
Pantheon 25-50 27755 0 0 463 61 60 67
Pantheon 51-100 55499 0 0 925 61 60 64
Pantheon 201-500 83211 2 0 1387 61 61 68
Pantheon Enterprise 138607 4 27 2310 62 60 80

The Blitz test is designed to make sure that static assets (which should be served from cache) are being handled properly and can scale to very heavy big spikes in traffic. If the LoadStorm test was a clinic, this was absolute perfection. Pantheon had no issue with the Blitz tests at any level with near perfect results across every tier.

Uptime

Company StatusCake UptimeRobot
Pantheon 25-50 100 100
Pantheon 51-100 100 100
Pantheon 201-500 99.98 99.98

2/3 were perfect and the third was 99.98%. Pantheon did excellent in the uptime department.

Uptime wasn't tracked on most Enterprise level plans because they are just so expensive that it felt wasteful to run them for a long period doing nothing but monitoring uptime if the company had other plans in the testing which could also be measured.

WebPageTest / WPPerformanceTester

I mention these because they are in the full testing but I won't bother putting them here. No company had any significant issue with either and it's not worth writing about. If you're very interested in seeing the geographical response times on WPT or what the raw computing power test of WPPerformanceTester measured, read the full results.

Conclusion

Pantheon earned two Top Tier WordPress Hosting Performance awards this year, for their entry level Personal plan and their Enterprise level plan. They definitely can scale for enormous sites and compete with the biggest companies in the space. The only place they struggled this year was the mid-range of their offerings during the LoadStorm test. It's by far the most stressful test and the $201-500 range was the most difficult price/performance point of any of the price brackets. Pantheon has a very unique platform compared to the rest of the field that's exceptionally developer-centric and focused around building a toolkit for teams of developers to work on a site in an opinionated workflow. If you like that workflow, you get an amazing toolkit combined with scalable performance.

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Kevin Ohashi is the geek-in-charge at Review Signal. He is passionate about making data meaningful for consumers. Kevin is based in Washington, DC.
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