I like to take this opportunity to look back at the year and see how Review Signal has changed. This past year we added ~36,000 new reviews. Added one new company: WebFaction. 49.6% of reviews were positive overall. 52.1% of unique reviews were positive. What is interesting about the difference is that people with negative things to say were more likely to send multiple negative messages, but as a whole more individual people said positive things than negative.
Another year, another mountain of data added to the largest web hosting review site. This year we added over 49,000 new reviews (a slight increase from the 45,000 last year). We added two new companies in Arvixe and Site5, both of which are now owned by EIG. We published our first WordPress Plugin WPPerformanceTester. WPPerformanceTester was built for our WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks which we performed yet again with our largest batch of companies ever. We even got some outside validation from LiquidWeb which published its internal NPS benchmarks which matched very closely to their Review Signal Rating.
But the year ended on a somewhat sour note with The Rise and Fall of A Small Orange. It tells the story of ASO and how they've played such a huge role on this site. Including winning at least one of these awards every year since inception. But not anymore. So without further ado...
For the second year in a row FlyWheel [Reviews] has set the bar in terms of how high a company's rating can be. They won the best specialty web hosting award with their managed WordPress hosting.
For the first time ever someone besides A Small Orange [Reviews] has won the best shared web hosting. A huge congratulations to LiquidWeb [Reviews]! They also managed to pickup the Best Managed VPS hosting award.
Digital Ocean [Reviews] continues its massive growth and popularity, they have won the Best Unmanaged VPS provider for the third year in a row.
Finally, SiteGround [Reviews] returned to our awards and won Best Web Hosting Support, an honor they last received in 2013.
It's always interesting to look back at a year and analyze what happened. 2014 was the second full year of operation for Review Signal. Four new companies were published on Review Signal: Azure, FlyWheel, Pagely, WebSynthesis. We added roughly 45,000 new reviews (oddly enough about half as many as last year). We ran two massive performance testing reviews of managed WordPress hosting companies (1, 2).
So I finally got around to slicing and dicing the data exclusively looking at data collected in 2014 and here are the awards:
New comer FlyWheel [Reviews] has set the bar in terms of how high a company can fly (I'm sorry!). When I introduced FlyWheel they had the absolute highest numbers I've ever seen and continue to be in a tier of their own. They do WordPress hosting and that is it, so maybe there is some advantage to specialization. They took the best specialty hosting and support awards this year.
Digital Ocean [Reviews] has become the fourth largest web hosting company in under two years according to netcraft. It's easy to understand why when they take home the best unmanaged VPS provider for a second year in a row.
Finally, a new-comer into our awards list, Known Host [Reviews] managed to take the Best Managed VPS award this year beating out last year's winner, A Small Orange.
2013 was the first full year of operation for Review Signal. It has been an exciting year and a successful year. We've added roughly 90,000 new reviews in 2013. We added two new companies this year. One was a company we struggled with to get listed because of their vast size and scope: Amazon. The other has been possibly the fastest growing new web hosting company of 2013: Digital Ocean. While proud that we added these two companies, it isn't enough. We're tracking over one hundred companies and there are a more that should be added soon. Adding a new company does take some extra work, but we need to find that time and make sure it gets done. Without further ado...
A Small Orange continues to be the top web host that offers a broad range of hosting options. It was only beat out by newcomer, Digital Ocean, which provides very specific unmanaged SSD backed VPSes. And SiteGround is a new comer to our best of the year category. They eked out a less than 1% edge over A Small Orange in support rating. We would like to congratulate all of these companies on an excellent 2013 and hope that they continue their stellar performance in 2014.
I would also like to thank Cat Robinson for designing this year's awards. My favorite part of working with her was 'I don't know what a cute symbol is for VPS provider.' Me either. Thank you Cat.
*The way these scores were calculated were the same as last year. We only look at data collected in the 2013 calendar year, so there may be some differences in what you see on the site live, which keeps all data from all years versus this years rankings.
It's been an exciting year at Review Signal. We launched in September. It's been going well and we have really enjoyed the feedback from our users. Thank you to everyone who has visited, reached out and help us along the way.
We wanted to end the year with a look back through our data and recognize some exceptional companies that stood out this year.
Best Overall Web Host: A Small Orange
A Small Orange have consistently had the highest rating of any company all year. Their rating for the year ended at a 77% Overall Rating. Their customers have been simply raving about them.
However, one new specialty hosting company did eclipse them in November.
Best Specialty Web Host: WPEngine (WordPress Hosting)
WPEngine was a late addition to our system and it got a huge number of reviews very quickly. The consensus was that WPEngine is pretty good with an Overall Rating of 80%.
One of the biggest differentiators for hosting companies these days is the support. We wanted to recognize two companies that had the best service ratings. We separated them into managed and unmanaged because of the very different nature of each offer. We ran into some issues where some companies had high ratings but very few actual reviews related to it. To normalize for volume we applied a Wilson Score interval, so some companies may appear to have higher support scores but the confidence in those is lower because there were only a few reviews making up that rating.
Best Managed/Unmanaged Hosting Support: LiquidWeb / Linode
Both LiquidWeb and Linode have very passionate customers and are near the top in Overall Rating as well as having the highest Support Ratings in their respective categories. Linode has a passionate fanbase in the developer community who seem more than happy to manage their own VPSs. LiquidWeb's customers are generally in the managed Dedicated and VPS categories.
We congratulate each of these companies on an excellent 2012 and hope their performance only continues to improve in 2013.