Tag Archives: pantheon

A2, CloudWays, Heart Internet, HostPapa, OVH, Pantheon, ScaleWay and TsoHost Added to Review Signal

Happy to announce a lot of new additions to Review Signal including our first UK companies (HeartInternet and TsoHost). UK companies are displayed with a UK flag in search results and on the company pages.

Overall score is in parentheses after the company.

A2 Hosting (49%)

CloudWays (65%)

HeartInternet (28%)

HostPapa (27%)

OVH (38%)

Pantheon (77%)

ScaleWay (62%)

Tsohost (70%)

 

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.

pantheon-logo-black

$500+/Month Enterprise WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks (2016)

LoadStormLogo

Sponsored by LoadStorm. The easy and cost effective load testing tool for web and mobile applications.

The full company list, product list, methodology, and notes can be found here

This post focuses only on the results of the testing in the $500+/month price bracket for WordPress Hosting.

Enterprise WordPress Hosting Introduction

This is super exciting for me to test the ultra high end of the market. The past three years I've focused entirely on entry level plans, but the market has changed tremendously since I started and there is a very real demand for Enterprise WordPress hosting. I think this is the first time that a lot of these companies have been benchmarked, especially at this scale and level. So I hope this adds a new and incredibly valuable door for the minority of sites out there that really need to handle massive amounts of users.

The Enterprise testing this year had some fundamental differences from all the other testing that need to be discussed upfront. These are huge and expensive systems that are normally customized on a per-customer basis by these companies. They all offer a much more hands on experience than hosting plans at the other end of the spectrum and charge accordingly. For that reason, I felt it was only responsible to change how they were tested slightly.

The first change is there is no default setup, which is what I test in every other price tier. The companies were given explicit permission to customize their platform and knew what tests were coming their way. Some even ran their own load tests to make sure they were going to perform as advertised and made changes. This is what I would expect from plans charging hundreds, if not thousands of dollars per month for large sites. So I wanted to let them perform their normal services for this tier.

Uptime monitoring was reduced for many companies in this tier. Since these plans are very expensive and consume huge amounts of resources, I didn't want to keep my test sites eating up lots of money and resources. If they had other plans entered into the system, I created a composite based on what all their other plans averaged for uptime.

 

$500+/Month Enterprise WordPress Hosting Products

review_signal_table_enterprise

$500+/Month Enterprise WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks Results

1. Load Storm

Test 500-10,000 Concurrent Users over 30 Minutes, 10 Minutes at Peak

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)
Kinsta 1314178 274 1041.28 730.1 15014 340 75.7 60.75 42.06
Pagely 1388436 18 1108.3 775.24 9086 259 76.97 61.75 42.76
Pantheon 1295178 9964 1014.58 719.54 15101 786 30.86 24.18 17.15
Pressable 1538237 7255 1162.63 854.58 15099 733 29.18 21.95 16.21
Pressidium 1349118 3792 1076.52 749.51 11798 324 73.63 60.18 40.91
WordPress.com VIP 4660190 8151 3726.38 2588.99 8186 101 197.82 158.29 109.9
WPEngine 1515128 247976 1211.18 841.74 19797 281 52.1 40.34 28.94

Discussion of Load Storm Test Results

First off, this is the biggest load tests I've run to date. I had limited resources and wanted to test a high enough number to really put some stress on these systems. 10,000 concurrent users seemed like a reasonable choice based on limited resources and high enough to be meaningful for sites that are truly getting a lot of traffic.

Kinsta and Pagely [Reviews] had basically flawless performances. Flat average response times, minimal errors and no spikes.

WordPress.com VIP had a nearly perfect looking run except for some minor issue with wp-login that might be security related but persisted the entire test at a tiny level (0.17%). The average response time was impressively flat and the fastest of any company by a good bit at 101ms. They also maintained the lowest peak response time. WP VIP also loaded a lot of extra scripts that nobody else did, which increased their transfer data to be multiple times higher than anyone else.

Pantheon [Reviews], Pressable and Pressidium each had minor spikes but put on nearly perfect performances otherwise.

WPEngine [Reviews] ran into what looks to be a similar issue to the other tests, wp-login/admin security issues. Which caused a lot of errors and makes the test look not great. However, their average response time was flat, but it's really hard to say with such a high error rate (16.37%).

 

2. Blitz.io

Test 1-5000 Concurrent Users over 60 seconds

Blitz Test Quick Results Table

Company Hits Errors Timeouts Average Hits/Second Average Response Time Fastest Response Slowest Response
Kinsta 135485 7 0 2258 85 83 87
Pagely 146339 0 0 2439 4 3 14
Pantheon 138607 4 27 2310 62 60 80
Pressable 129866 13 2 2164 132 131 139
Pressidium 143452 0 2 2391 26 24 35
WordPress.com VIP 146200 0 73 2437 6 3 21
WPEngine 108168 12939 1061 1803 158 6 346

Discussion of Blitz Test 1 Results

This test is just testing whether the company is caching the front page and how well whatever caching system they have setup is performing (generally this hits something like Varnish or Nginx).

Who performed without any major issues?

Kinsta, Pagely [Reviews], PantheonPressablePressidium and WordPress.com VIP all handled 5000 concurrent hits to the frontpage without any issue. The largest spread in response times among all of them was a minuscule 20ms. Pagely even managed an impressive perfect no errors or timeouts.

Who had some major issues?

WPEngine [Reviews] struggled with this test. Around 20 seconds into the test, there was a substantial increase in response time which continued to slowly increase for the rest of the test. The errors and timeouts started to kick in 5 seconds later at the 25 second mark and also gradually increased until the test ended.

3. Uptime Monitoring

Both uptime monitoring solutions were third party providers that offer free services. UptimeRobot was paid for and monitoring on a 1 minute interval. All the companies were monitored over approximately two months (May-June 2016).

For Enterprise testing, many of the plans were only setup for a short period of time because of the enormous cost involved with setting these up. Only WordPress.com VIP and WPEngine were monitored directly. The rest are composite scores based on the other plans companies entered in and the company's average uptime as denoted with an asterisk (*).

Uptime Robot & StatusCake

Company StatusCake UptimeRobot
Kinsta* 99.98  100
Pagely*  99.98  99.98
Pantheon*  99.99  99.99
Pressable*  99.92  99.90
Pressidium*  99.97  99.99
WordPress.com VIP 100 100
WPEngine 100 100

* Composite uptime based on all the plans entered in 2016 testing from a company.

Every company in the enterprise tier seems capable of keeping their servers online, thankfully.

4. WebPageTest.org

Every test was run with the settings: Chrome Browser, 9 Runs, native connection (no traffic shaping), first view only.

Company WPT Dulles WPT Denver WPT LA WPT London WPT Frankfurt WPT South Africa
Kinsta 0.718 0.588 0.958 1.256 1.741 5.844
Pagely 0.752 0.758 0.953 1.243 2.029 9.885
Pantheon 0.809 0.563 1.02 1.284 1.826 4.882
Pressable 1.056 0.894 1.207 1.691 2.126 7.244
Pressidium 0.848 0.661 1.165 1.279 1.634 5.819
WordPress.com VIP 1.02 0.786 0.918 1.471 1.755 3.045
WPEngine 0.813 0.592 1.07 1.223 1.743 3.814
Company WPT Singapore WPT Shanghai WPT Japan WPT Sydney WPT Brazil
Kinsta 2.084 22.391 2.055 1.643 1.891
Pagely 2.455 23.148 2.203 2.117 2.153
Pantheon 2.336 22.723 1.95 1.852 2.032
Pressable 2.707 22.521 2.227 2.807 2.205
Pressidium 2.202 22.477 2.265 1.662 1.797
WordPress.com VIP 1.809 24.098 1.83 1.386 1.916
WPEngine 2.255 22.971 2.115 1.722 1.846

It's not surprising that these companies deliver content pretty quick all around the world. What is interesting is WordPress.com VIP was the fastest to Sydney, Japan, Singapore, South Africa, and LA. Kinsta was the fastest in Dulles and Shanghai. Pantheon was fastest in Denver. WPEngine was the fastest to London. Pressidium was the fastest to Brazil. I'm not sure how meaningful it is, but it's interesting to see the most expensive product having the fastest load times in locations all across the world.

5. WPPerformanceTester

Company PHP Bench [Seconds] (lower=faster) WP Bench [Queries Per Second](higher=faster)
Kinsta 11.37 320.82
Pagely 9.136 249.81
Pantheon 11.322 216.31
Pressable 10.834 491.64
Pressidium 10.958 367.24
WordPress.com VIP 2.244 500.25
WPEngine 13.178 533.9

I'm not sure what WordPress.com VIP is running, but it put up the absolute fastest scores in the PHP bench that I've seen by a wide margin. Roughly triple the speed of the next fastest which had a 6.5 second score. Every other company looked to be in the normal range between 9-13 seconds.

Another interesting part of the results here is that nobody was really going much faster than 500 queries per second in the WP Bench. I don't think a single one is running a local database which put up some blazing fast speeds in the lower tiers. If you're looking to host enterprise WordPress sites, you lose that no network latency performance, but certainly gain in reliability and scalibility.

Conclusion

White glove service and hefty price tags makes for some spectacular performance. It's nice to see that if you really have a site getting millions of visitors per day, there are a lot of really solid choices out there who can handle the mega WordPress sites that need Enterprise level hosting.

Top Tier WordPress Hosting Performance

review_signal_2016_trophy_enterprise

Kinsta, Pagely [Reviews], PantheonPressablePressidium and WordPress.com VIP all offer Top Tier Enterprise WordPress Hosting. None of them had any real struggles with keeping their servers up, the 10,000 and 5,000 user load tests. If you can afford them, they all seem worthy and capable.

Individual Host Analysis

Kinsta

Kinsta had essentially perfect LoadStorm and Blitz tests. They also had no flaws in any other tests. I'm at a loss for words to praise their performance.

Pagely [Reviews]

Pagely aced it. The fewest errors on LoadStorm and a no errors on Blitz. I can't find any faults with Pagely's Enterprise offering.

Pantheon [Reviews]

Pantheon really stepped it up for the Enterprise testing. Effortlessly went through the Blitz test. They had a some minor spikes in the LoadStorm test and their average response time started to creep upwards but nothing worth being concerned over. Overall, a top tier performance.

Pressable

Pressable performed nearly identical to Pantheon. Excellent Blitz test, some minor spikes and increase in response times in the LoadStorm test. The uptime was the lowest of everyone with UptimeRobot having an average of 99.90% which has been my border for pass/fail. I gave them top tier, but they were about as close as you can get to the edge.

Pressidium

Pressidium had a nearly perfect Blitz test with 2 timeouts and did excellent on the LoadStorm test which had 2 very minor spikes but maintained a nearly flat average response time otherwise. Easily a top tier performance.

WordPress.com VIP 

WordPress.com VIP was by far the most expensive plan tested and it put on a fantastic performance. It had a near perfect Blitz test. Despite having what appeared to be a security issue on the LoadStorm test it had the fastest average response time at 101ms and moved more data than any other company by a wide margin because of the custom scripts. But that didn't seem to negatively impact their performance at all. I'm also not sure what sort of hardware they are running by they blew my WPPerformanceTester PHP bench out of the water. Despite the highest price tag, they put on an amazing show and easily earned Top Tier Enterprise WordPress Hosting status.

WPEngine [Reviews]

Unfortunately, WPEngine was the only company in this tier not to do well in this tier. They struggled in both load tests. LoadStorm looked like it may have been security related, but Blitz looked like it really had trouble with the load. I believe the plan I tested cost $600/month, but the sales team wasn't willing to give me specific pricing for their enterprise tier.

$201-500/Month WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks (2016)

LoadStormLogo

Sponsored by LoadStorm. The easy and cost effective load testing tool for web and mobile applications.

The full company list, product list, methodology, and notes can be found here

This post focuses only on the results of the testing in the $201-500/month price bracket for WordPress Hosting.

$201-500/Month WordPress Hosting Products

review_signal_table_500

$201-500/Month WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks Results

1. Load Storm

Test 500-5000 Concurrent Users over 30 Minutes, 10 Minutes at Peak

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)
Kinsta 671665 47 528.38 373.15 9991 285 38.68 31.73 21.49
MediaTemple 775277 34144 616.05 430.71 15334 761 39.71 33.5 22.06
Pagely 553754 133181 456.03 307.64 16132 3333 19.32 13.94 10.73
Pantheon 629578 49212 510.78 349.77 15091 1353 33.88 28.9 18.82
Pressable 896616 12256 740.88 498.12 6362 450 37.87 33.8 21.04
Pressidium 697020 0 547.88 387.23 4894 266 38.16 31.05 21.2
PressLabs 692581 21180 547.72 384.77 15493 2109 23.02 18.45 12.79
SiteGround 640337 48537 507.98 355.74 15564 1549 30.64 24.25 17.02

Discussion of Load Storm Test Results

Kinsta and Pressidium were clearly the two best performers in this test.

Pressable had some minor issues that looked like they may have been security related to wp-login.

MediaTemple [Reviews] had a spike of errors at the very end and some minor errors throughout the test that might have been security related since they didn't impact response times at all.

PressLabs had some spikes and wp-login related problems but the server started to slow down its response times as the test progressed.

Pantheon [Reviews] had similar issues to PressLabs with slowing down and the largest chunk being wp-login related.

SiteGround [Reviews] started to have trouble around 12 minutes in and saw spikes, also mostly related to wp-login/admin. They also had increased and unstable response times associated with the spikes.

Pagely [Reviews] struggled the most with this test with spikes and increased response times. wp-login again was the worst offender.

What is amazing is none of these companies completely failed with 5000 real users logging in and bursting caches.

2. Blitz.io

Test 1-3000 Concurrent Users over 60 seconds

Blitz Test Quick Results Table

Company Hits Errors Timeouts Average Hits/Second Average Response Time Fastest Response Slowest Response
Kinsta 81386 3 0 1356 84 84 86
MediaTemple 44310 33581 450 739 249 189 676
Pagely 79095 1554 1153 1318 23 2 195
Pantheon 83211 2 0 1387 61 61 68
Pressable 77850 11 1 1298 132 131 135
Pressidium 85439 11 14 1424 31 25 82
PressLabs 87432 0 0 1457 8 3 13
SiteGround 82396 1 0 1373 71 71 72

Discussion of Blitz Test 1 Results

This test is just testing whether the company is caching the front page and how well whatever caching system they have setup is performing (generally this hits something like Varnish or Nginx).

Who performed without any major issues?

Kinsta, Pantheon, Pressable, Pressidium, PressLabs, and SiteGround [Reviews] all had close to no errors (and exactly none in PressLabs's case).

Who had some minor issues?

Pagely [Reviews] had a couple spikes which increased response times and errors.

Who had some major issues?

MediaTemple [Reviews] had an early spike and a big spike later. The big spike later looks like it may have partially been a security measure. But it did eventually increase response times as well.

3. Uptime Monitoring

Both uptime monitoring solutions were third party providers that offer free services. UptimeRobot was paid for and monitoring on a 1 minute interval. All the companies were monitored over approximately two months (May-June 2016).

Uptime Robot & StatusCake

Company StatusCake UptimeRobot
Kinsta 99.98 100
MediaTemple 99.96 99.97
Pagely 99.95 99.95
Pantheon 99.98 99.98
Pressable 99.88 99.9
Pressidium 99.95 99.99
PressLabs 99.99 99.98
SiteGround 100 99.99

I hate having to penalize a company for uptime, but Pressable recorded 99.88 and 99.90 uptime scores which is below the 99.9% I expect from every company.

Every other company did well.

4. WebPageTest.org

Every test was run with the settings: Chrome Browser, 9 Runs, native connection (no traffic shaping), first view only.

Company WPT Dulles WPT Denver WPT LA WPT London WPT Frankfurt WPT South Africa
Kinsta 0.77 0.545 0.947 1.151 1.707 4.466
MediaTemple 1.064 0.608 0.901 1.341 1.925 6.576
Pagely 0.658 0.651 0.947 1.144 1.691 3.868
Pantheon 0.762 0.623 1.054 1.104 1.672 4.493
Pressable 0.973 0.781 1.084 1.514 1.967 7.708
Pressidium 0.687 0.641 1.181 1.17 1.68 4.516
PressLabs 0.762 0.754 1.082 1.148 1.624 5.357
SiteGround 0.801 0.725 1.25 1.214 1.757 4.514
Company WPT Singapore WPT Shanghai WPT Japan WPT Sydney WPT Brazil
Kinsta 2.165 22.777 2.114 1.785 1.848
MediaTemple 2.164 22.061 1.811 2.071 2.118
Pagely 2.215 22.811 1.798 2.193 1.794
Pantheon 2.166 22.427 1.797 1.769 1.872
Pressable 2.426 22.233 2.124 2.945 2.135
Pressidium 2.105 22.355 2.038 1.672 1.745
PressLabs 1.643 22.048 1.581 2.358 2.092
SiteGround 2.496 22.431 2.051 3.27 2.034

Fast. Not much to really say about these results. Nobody had issues, nothing was particularly interesting here other than nobody can get into China at any price level.

5. WPPerformanceTester

Company PHP Bench [Seconds] (lower=faster) WP Bench [Queries Per Second](higher=faster)
Kinsta 11.297 321.34
MediaTemple 12.331 107.49
Pagely 9.841 194.36
Pantheon 13.836 184.81
Pressable 11.016 384.32
Pressidium 11.902 304.79
PressLabs 8.055 841.04
SiteGround 17.082 738

Not sure why SiteGround's PHP bench was so slow. The average WP Bench scores are also lower than every previous tier with PressLabs leading the way at 841. These more expensive solutions are generally trending towards cloud/clustered solutions which have slower database throughput in exchange for scale.

Conclusion

The high end WordPress hosting market is growing and has a lot of good options. No company in this tier completely faltered during the load tests despite a huge strain being put on them  of 3000 concurrent hits to the frontpage and 5000 logged in users browsing the site.

Top Tier WordPress Hosting Performance

review_signal_2016_trophy_500

Kinsta and Pressidium clearly led the pack in terms of performance. They were the only two companies that handled LoadStorm without issue. They also didn't have any other issues across the other tests.

Honorable Mentions

PressLabs earned itself an honorable mention. It had some issues with the LoadStorm test but it managed to stay up and did well on all the other tests.

Individual Host Analysis

Kinsta

Overall, a splendid performance that earned them top tier WordPress hosting in the $201-500/month range. No faults in their performance at any point.

MediaTemple [Reviews]

It's nice to see Media Temple playing with the big boys and doing a respectable job. They had a little bit of trouble with the LoadStorm test and some possibly security related issues during the Blitz test which kept them out. But they weren't out of place in this bracket and were by far the cheapest at $240/month.

Pagely [Reviews]

Pagely had some minor problems with the Blitz test but the LoadStorm test really seemed to be the big problem. The 5000 users seemed to clearly tax the server too much. Pagely reviewed the results and issued a full explanation. Their tl;dr was "Wrong plan/instance size for this test.
We price the value of our human Support and DevOps resources into the plan cost, which puts the ideal Pagely plan for this test outside the $500 cap. If the customer does not utilize the full range of services we provide they are essentially overpaying for AWS instances that in this case were undersized and not tuned for the test. "

Pantheon  [Reviews]

Pantheon did well everywhere but LoadStorm which was a common theme for this bracket. They didn't fail, but they certainly were being taxed with increased load times and error rates.

Pressable

Pressable could have earned an honorable mention if it wasn't for some uptime issues. They found themselves just below my 99.% expectation. They handled Blitz without issue and LoadStorm looked pretty good except wp-login had some what I imagine was security related issues.

Pressidium

I'm running out of positive adjectives to say how well Pressidium has done this year. A perfect LoadStorm test with zero errors, the lowest peak response time and lowest average response time. Followed up by a near perfect Blitz test. Top tier for sure.

PressLabs

PressLabs was the only company to earn an honorable mention. They had a bit of issues in the LoadStorm related to wp-login of course, but other than that put on an excellent performance.

SiteGround [Reviews]

In an odd twist of fate, I accidentally ran the same Blitz test on their lower priced cloud platform and it did better than the dedicated server. The shared infrastructure can often have far more powerful hardware backing it than dedicated machines and that's one of the interesting results. For large bursts, it may work better. Overall, this plan did pretty well, but LoadStorm clearly overloaded the server a bit too much to earn any special recognition.

$51-100/Month WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks (2016)

LoadStormLogo

Sponsored by LoadStorm. The easy and cost effective load testing tool for web and mobile applications.

The full company list, product list, methodology, and notes can be found here

This post focuses only on the results of the testing in the $51-100/month price bracket for WordPress Hosting.

$51-100/Month WordPress Hosting Products

review_signal_table_100_updated

 

$51-100/Month WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks Results

1. Load Storm

Test 500-3000 Concurrent Users over 30 Minutes, 10 Minutes at Peak

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)
BlueHost 322139 166336 267.9 178.97 20999 9268 9.425 7.086 5.236
CloudWays Amazon 306701 73421 214.07 170.39 15256 4810 13.9 10.05 7.723
CloudWays Google 267495 128912 199.23 148.61 15392 7341 8.35 6.595 4.639
Kinsta 416335 544 324.57 231.3 15059 317 24.01 19.91 13.34
LightningBase 456430 0 356.3 253.57 3909 261 23.65 19.41 13.14
LiquidWeb 520072 2745 408.3 288.93 15322 525 24.04 19.69 13.35
Media Temple 486702 8588 397.55 270.39 16001 582 25.43 23.08 14.13
Pagely 392898 1952 298.8 218.28 15178 1593 21.38 16.85 11.88
Pantheon 409962 57051 325.53 227.76 11682 762 20.74 17.97 11.52
Pressable 569095 0 441.43 316.16 3152 239 24.35 20.19 13.53
Pressidium 429538 0 335.78 238.63 3030 306 16.11 13.26 8.951
SiteGround 449038 742 352.05 249.47 11247 383 22.93 19.26 12.74

Discussion of Load Storm Test Results

KinstaLightningBaseLiquidWeb [Reviews], Pressable, Pressidium and SiteGround [Reviews] all handled this test without any serious issues.

MediaTemple [Reviews] had some minor issues with spikes and increasing average response times.

Pagely [Reviews] had some spikes but more concerning was the increased response times which were averaging around 3000ms during the 10 minute peak of the test. It kept the website up and error rate low enough (0.5%), but it was definitely struggling to keep up.

BlueHost [Reviews], CloudWays [Reviews] (Amazon + Google) and Pantheon [Reviews] all struggled with this load test. BlueHost crashed (85% error rate). CloudWays Google had 48% errors. Amazon fared better with only 24%. Pantheon had the lowest error rate at 14% but all of them were unacceptably high along with increase response times.

2. Blitz.io

Test 1-2000 Concurrent Users over 60 seconds

Blitz Test Quick Results Table

Company Hits Errors Timeouts Average Hits/Second Average Response Time Fastest Response Slowest Response
BlueHost 28901 714 2710 482 654 185 1562
CloudWays Amazon 55678 906 0 928 24 3 106
CloudWays Google 38278 16248 158 638 102 83 226
Kinsta 54273 7 0 905 84 83 86
LightningBase 54946 0 0 916 71 71 73
LiquidWeb 54574 0 4 910 78 77 82
Media Temple 44598 442 85 743 261 195 614
Pagely 57828 1 0 964 13 2 81
Pantheon 55499 0 0 925 61 60 64
Pressable 51781 0 0 863 135 134 136
Pressidium 57348 1 0 956 27 25 30
SiteGround 83437 0 0 1391 58 58 60

Discussion of Blitz Test 1 Results

This test is just testing whether the company is caching the front page and how well whatever caching system they have setup is performing (generally this hits something like Varnish or Nginx).

I also mistakenly ran an extra thousand users against SiteGround (1-3000), but since they performed perfectly, I figured why not just leave it. The chance for random network timeouts is always there, they got a perfect score, I let them keep it. That's why their numbers look higher than everyone else's.

Who performed without any major issues?

KinstaLightningBaseLiquidWeb [Reviews], Pagely [Reviews], PantheonPressable, Pressidium and SiteGround [Reviews] all handled this test without any serious issues.

Who had some minor issues?

MediaTemple [Reviews] had some minor issues with load starting to impact response times and some errors/timeouts at the end of the test.

CloudWays (Amazon) managed to keep the server up but started to lag around 35 seconds in with some errors at the very end.

Who had some major issues?

BlueHost [Reviews] and CloudWays (Google) both failed this test.

3. Uptime Monitoring

Both uptime monitoring solutions were third party providers that offer free services. UptimeRobot was paid for and monitoring on a 1 minute interval. All the companies were monitored over approximately two months (May-June 2016).

Uptime Robot & StatusCake

Company StatusCake UptimeRobot
BlueHost 99.98 99.98
CloudWays Amazon 100 100
CloudWays Google 99.99 99.99
Kinsta 99.99 100
LightningBase 100 100
LiquidWeb 100 100
Media Temple 99.94 99.97
Pagely 100 100
Pantheon 100 100
Pressable 99.93 99.95
Pressidium 100 99.99
SiteGround 100 100

I can happily say every single company kept their servers up.

4. WebPageTest.org

Every test was run with the settings: Chrome Browser, 9 Runs, native connection (no traffic shaping), first view only.

Company WPT Dulles WPT Denver WPT LA WPT London WPT Frankfurt WPT South Africa
BlueHost 0.94 0.813 0.995 1.525 1.861 5.923
CloudWays Amazon 0.774 0.975 1.066 0.988 1.625 3.597
CloudWays Google 0.706 0.644 0.929 1.107 1.706 3.37
Kinsta 0.834 0.62 0.958 1.12 1.688 3.637
LightningBase 0.542 0.465 0.955 1.013 1.569 4.541
LiquidWeb 0.616 0.55 1.003 1.076 1.624 5.634
Media Temple 0.904 0.537 0.855 1.318 1.932 2.809
Pagely 0.808 0.542 1.04 1.137 1.675 5.583
Pantheon 0.856 0.508 0.955 1.051 1.704 5.628
Pressable 1.032 0.757 1.08 1.449 1.948 5.793
Pressidium 0.738 0.727 1.171 1.292 1.67 5.747
SiteGround 0.867 0.678 1.114 1.176 1.671 4.56
Company WPT Singapore WPT Shanghai WPT Japan WPT Sydney WPT Brazil
BlueHost 2.652 22.102 1.863 1.937 2.255
CloudWays Amazon 2.236 23.404 1.781 1.75 1.752
CloudWays Google 2.031 22.418 2.026 1.609 1.793
Kinsta 2.235 24.017 2.109 1.602 1.851
LightningBase 2.227 22.437 1.683 1.968 1.612
LiquidWeb 2.335 23.238 1.885 1.96 1.635
Media Temple 2.19 22.265 1.814 2.101 2.091
Pagely 2.415 23.124 1.914 2.103 1.943
Pantheon 2.093 25.209 1.781 1.975 1.804
Pressable 2.382 23.897 2.234 2.821 2.132
Pressidium 2.245 23.303 2.061 1.785 1.747
SiteGround 2.309 22.746 2.017 2.935 1.907

LightningBase put up the fastest individual score of any bracket this year in this test with a blazingly fast 0.465ms average response in Denver. Other than that, nothing special here other than all these companies seemed capable of delivering content fast pretty much everywhere in the world except Shanghai.

5. WPPerformanceTester

Company PHP Bench [Seconds] (lower=faster) WP Bench [Queries Per Second](higher=faster)
BlueHost 11.655 713.78
CloudWays Amazon 10.993 324.99
CloudWays Google 11.192 327.33
Kinsta 11.333 318.47
LightningBase 10.537 1067.24
LiquidWeb 7.177 1084.6
Media Temple 13.9 98.85
Pagely 10.102 165.86
Pantheon 11.687 202.92
Pressable 10.952 492.61
Pressidium 10.749 240.67
SiteGround 11.522 1030.93

LiquidWeb put up one of the fastest scores on the PHP Bench at 7.177. Everyone else fell into the 10-14 range we generally see.

The WP Bench saw some slow scores from MediaTemple and Pagely and handful breaking the 1000 barrier in LightningBase, LiquidWeb, and SiteGround. Interestingly, the trend seems to be slower as you go up in price as you get more non-local databases.

Conclusion

This is the last really crowded bracket as we go up in price. It's sitting right at the border of entry level plans and the more serious stuff. This is the first tier that tested plans more heavily than any plan last year as well. The results were also very encouraging.

Top Tier WordPress Hosting Performance

review_signal_2016_trophy_100

KinstaLightningBaseLiquidWeb [Reviews], Pressable, Pressidium and SiteGround [Reviews] all earned top tier WordPress Hosting for the $51-100/month tier.

Honorable Mentions

MediaTemple [Reviews] and Pagely [Reviews] earn honorable mentions. They had some minor issues in the LoadStorm test and MediaTemple had some minor issues in the Blitz test.

Individual Host Analysis

BlueHost [Reviews]

BlueHost fell short again in the load tests.

CloudWays [Reviews] (Amazon + Google)

CloudWays is always interesting because you can compare head to head performance on different cloud platforms. I would pretty confidently say that Amazon outperformed Google in this instance with similar specs (although Amazon charges more).

Kinsta

Kinsta's entry level plan put on a fantastic performance. The higher end providers are starting to show up in this price tier and really showing why they charge their premium prices. Kinsta easily earned top tier status.

LightningBase

LightningBase's most expensive plan that we tested this year (although they offer higher ones), and for the third consecutive price tier (and year), they handled the tests flawlessly. A literaly perfect score for LightningBase: 100% uptime on both monitors and 0 errors on all load tests. Simply perfection. Undoubtedly a top tier WordPress Host.

LiquidWeb [Reviews]

LiquidWeb is a newcomer to this testing and this is their entry level plan. Boy did they make a positive splash. 100% uptime across the board and excellent load testing scores. They also had the fastest PHP Bench in this bracket (and third fastest of any company this year). They have a fantastic reputation here at Review Signal on our reviews section, I can confidently say they also have a top tier WordPress Hosting product to boot.

MediaTemple [Reviews]

Media Temple earned an honorable mention which is a step in the right direction. They had some minor problems with the load tests. No major concerns, just need to figure out security issues and minor performance stuff to make them top tier again.

Pagely [Reviews]

Pagely was a bit of a disappointment. They've been in the top tier the past years but fell to an honorable mention this year. The increased LoadStorm test seemed to put some strain on the server and caused spikes and increased load times. Everything else looked very good like previous years.

Pantheon [Reviews]

Pantheon, like Pagely, struggled with the LoadStorm test, but to a larger degree this year. It knocked them out of the top tier and didn't even earn an honorable mention in this price bracket. Everything else looked very good.

Pressable

Pressable showed up in a big way. No problems in any of the tests. Zero errors on both load tests. Easily in the top tier for this price bracket.

Pressidium

One error, nearly perfect uptime. Hard to really expect a better performance. Pressidium's entry level plan remains in the top tier for another year.

SiteGround [Reviews]

I screwed up with the Blitz load test and they got a perfect score with an extra thousand users which is impressive. They had a small spike at the start of the LoadStorm test but otherwise put on a flawless performance with 100% uptime on both monitors as well. SiteGround is in the top tier.

$25-50/Month WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks (2016)

LoadStormLogo

Sponsored by LoadStorm. The easy and cost effective load testing tool for web and mobile applications.

The full company list, product list, methodology, and notes can be found here

This post focuses only on the results of the testing in the $25-50/month price bracket for WordPress Hosting.

$25-50/Month WordPress Hosting Products

review_signal_table_50

$25-50/Month WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks Results

1. Load Storm

Test 500-2000 Concurrent Users over 30 Minutes, 10 Minutes at Peak

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)
A2 193764 68658 148.28 107.65 17563 6541 7.647 11.37 4.248
CloudWays DO 196963 54589 148.48 109.42 15809 5841 8.474 7.384 4.708
CloudWays Vultr 207994 50049 144.13 115.55 16187 5339 9.439 8.398 5.244
Conetix 169625 116960 134.43 94.24 18510 8578 2.635 3.898 1.464
LightningBase 315348 1 238.4 175.19 3567 272 16.34 13.47 9.077
Pantheon 268164 866 205.5 148.98 14422 315 6466 4927 3592
Pressable 394405 26 294.6 219.11 15101 226 16.4 13.32 9.111
Pressjitsu 300931 3913 228.47 167.18 11121 502 16.86 14.29 9.365
SiteGround 300999 0 232.75 167.22 10926 462 15.83 14.35 8.972
WP Land 294459 14976 235.63 163.59 15422 864 15.15 14.04 8.417
WPEngine 348796 26572 270.23 193.78 15091 311 14.95 11.38 8.307
WPOven 288369 0 217.85 160.21 5815 283 16.64 13.63 9.245

 

Discussion of Load Storm Test Results

Many companies handled this test without any sort of struggle: LightningBasePantheon [Reviews], PressableSiteGround [Reviews], and WPOven.com. In fact, SiteGround and WPOven managed to have zero errors, while LightningBase had 1. Truly impressive performances put on by these companies.

Pressjitsu struggled a little bit. There were some errors and increased response times at the start of the test. It managed to stabilize for the last 22 minutes as load increased though.

WPEngine [Reviews] and WP.land struggled a bit more than Pressjitsu, but didn't completely fall apart. Both seemed to be having issues with the wp-login page, possibly security related.

A2 Hosting [Reviews], CloudWays [Reviews] (Digital Ocean & Vultr), and Conetix did not do well during this test. High error rates and slow response times show they were not equipped to handle this type of load.

 

2. Blitz.io

Test 1-1000 Concurrent Users over 60 seconds

Blitz Test Quick Results Table

Company Hits Errors Timeouts Average Hits/Second Average Response Time Fastest Response Slowest Response
A2 51 14265 7339 1 800 411 1047
CloudWays DO 28328 13 16 472 32 25 91
CloudWays Vultr 28763 3 0 479 24 24 25
Conetix 2359 1097 6070 39 1412 763 2410
LightningBase 27460 0 0 458 72 71 72
Pantheon 27755 0 0 463 61 60 67
Pressable 25914 0 2 432 134 134 136
Pressjitsu 23902 481 0 398 205 205 206
SiteGround 26623 1 26 444 86 71 255
WP Land 28352 0 1 473 39 38 40
WPEngine 26281 69 0 438 117 114 127
WPOven 26687 0 0 445 103 101 104

Discussion of Blitz Test 1 Results

This test is just testing whether the company is caching the front page and how well whatever caching system they have setup is performing (generally this hits something like Varnish or Nginx).

Who performed without any major issues?

CloudWays (Digital Ocean & Vultr), LightningBasePantheonPressableSiteGround [Reviews], WPEngine [Reviews], WP.land, and WPOven.com all handled the blitz test without any significant issues.

Who had some minor issues?

Pressjitsu again had what seems to be security related issues. A perfect flat response time but some timeouts at the end of the test.

Who had some major issues?

A2 Hosting and Conetix both failed the Blitz test.

3. Uptime Monitoring

Both uptime monitoring solutions were third party providers that offer free services. UptimeRobot was paid for and monitoring on a 1 minute interval. All the companies were monitored over approximately two months (May-June 2016).

Uptime Robot & StatusCake

Company StatusCake UptimeRobot
A2 97.91 99.35
CloudWays DO 100 100
CloudWays Vultr 99.95 99.87
Conetix 99.92 99.93
LightningBase 100 100
Pantheon 100 100
Pressable 99.91 99.92
Pressjitsu 99.78 99.65
SiteGround 99.99 100
WP Land 99.92 100
WPEngine 100 99.99
WPOven 100 100

A2 had significant downtime issues with StatusCake recording 97.91% and UptimeRobot recording 99.35% uptime. The CloudWays Vultr server had some issues with UptimeRobot recording 99.87%. Pressjitsu also had some uptime problems with StatusCake recording 99.78% and UptimeRobot 99.65%.

Everyone else was above 99.9% on both monitors including CloudWays Digital Ocean, LightningBase, Pantheon, WPOven all recording perfect 100%/100% scores.

4. WebPageTest.org

Every test was run with the settings: Chrome Browser, 9 Runs, native connection (no traffic shaping), first view only.

Company WPT Dulles WPT Denver WPT LA WPT London WPT Frankfurt WPT South Africa
A2 0.879 0.747 1.237 1.61 2.029 5.657
CloudWays DO 0.836 0.58 1.031 1.221 1.668 7.08
CloudWays Vultr 0.713 0.676 1.087 1.109 1.636 7.643
Conetix 2.328 2.078 2.242 3.845 3.497 8.69
LightningBase 0.567 0.563 1.054 1.067 1.511 4.199
Pantheon 0.86 0.583 1.024 1.259 1.649 7.625
Pressable 0.945 0.715 1.162 1.533 2.013 9.377
Pressjitsu 0.94 0.549 0.93 1.33 1.912 6.288
SiteGround 0.838 0.655 1.043 1.063 1.693 6.927
WP Land 0.816 0.622 1.002 1.189 1.693 3.307
WPEngine 0.872 0.523 0.939 1.199 1.796 4.434
WPOven 0.85 0.534 1.093 1.452 1.79 4.844
Company WPT Singapore WPT Shanghai WPT Japan WPT Sydney WPT Brazil
A2 2.956 22.788 2.231 2.609 2.342
CloudWays DO 2.123 22.42 1.898 1.713 1.755
CloudWays Vultr 2.223 22.573 1.832 1.7 1.797
Conetix 2.027 23.425 2.63 1.308 3.56
LightningBase 2.041 23.977 1.717 1.848 1.667
Pantheon 2.194 22.605 1.769 1.661 1.784
Pressable 2.451 22.258 2.194 3.079 2.049
Pressjitsu 2.046 22.352 1.73 1.416 2.055
SiteGround 2.245 23.087 1.806 2.27 1.855
WP Land 2.157 22.428 1.872 1.658 1.784
WPEngine 2.121 24.584 1.87 2.051 1.863
WPOven 2.089 2.82 1.796 1.712 1.859

What I learned was getting traffic into China is terrible. Nobody really did well on the Shanghai location except WPOven which somehow didn't get the delay that every other company experienced. South Africa is also really slow. Most servers were US based but were delivering content to most corners of the world in about 2 seconds or less which is impressive.

Conetix is an Australian focused company and they delivered to Sydney faster than anyone which is a relief that the geographic advantage is real. Beyond the Australian market the connectivity seemed slower to just about every other location. Australia has notoriously bad connectivity though, so I can see the advantage of having a company specializing in the local market.

I wish I could compare averages against last year except they removed one of the testing locations (Miami) and I did a global test instead because that was something people wanted to see.

The US connectivity is very fast though, with everyone delivering to Dulles(VA) and Denver (CO) in under a second (minus the Australian server) with LA at about one second exactly for everyone.

5. WPPerformanceTester

Company PHP Bench [Seconds] (lower=faster) WP Bench [Queries Per Second](higher=faster)
A2 18.456 592.77
CloudWays DO 15.028 353.98
CloudWays Vultr 13.145 392.62
Conetix 12.833 410.51
LightningBase 10.795 1353.18
Pantheon 12.292 189.54
Pressable 11.062 525.21
Pressjitsu 12.771 648.09
SiteGround 11.414 1109.88
WP Land 13.491 1094.09
WPEngine 13.494 406.17
WPOven 9.412 690.61

In this tier, there was a lot more normalized spread on the PHP Bench with most people being within the 10-14 second range we saw last year. WPOven lead the pack at 9.4. A2 was the slowest at 18.456.

The WP Bench scores varied a lot, again. LightningBase had another blazingly fast score of 1353.18. Siteground and WPLand also broke the 1000 barrier, whereas last year's fastest was 889. At the bottom of the pack was Pantheon with 189.54, which I am sure they would say infrastructure plays a large role in. Anyone with a distributed/non-local SQL database will be slower by a lot. They would probably argue that's one of the trade-offs of scalability and based on their load testing performance, it would be hard to argue against.

Conclusion

A very crowded bracket with lots of competition. This range is still pretty entry level, not the cheapest stuff like the <$25/month plans I compared. But with increased price came better performances. Although two of the top tier companies in this bracket make up two of the three top tier performers in the cheapest bracket. But it is nice to see some loose price to performance correlation in the market. Many of these plans are the entry level for their respective companies.

One of the interesting things to watch was the VPSs in this range (A2, CloudWays, Pressjitsu). They were outperformed by the Shared/Cloud providers who can presumably burst more shared resources for any given site. So for spikey sites that expect to get a Reddit/Slashdot effect, there may be some advantage in being in that sort of environment (if you cant easily scale the VPS, which some providers make quite easy). But since these are dummy sites not really tested heavily over the two months, there is the potential for bad neighbors negatively impacting you too during such a spike, and then you might want your own isolated VPS. I can see arguments for for both sides.

Without further ado, I will tell you who had the best performance, who deserved an honorable mention and then analyze each host individually. I still don't believe in ranking in any particular order, only grouping companies by how well they performed.

Top Tier WordPress Hosting Performance

review_signal_2016_trophy_50

LightningBasePantheonPressableSiteGround [Reviews] and WPOven.com.

Honorable Mentions

Unfortunately, no company deserves honorable mention status which I give to companies that came close but weren't quite perfect or they looked like they were good but something external (generally security measures) interfered with the tests but from all other indications they seemed to be doing well.

The closest in this bracket would have been Pressjitsu, except they had uptime issues which I give no leeway for being under 99.9%.

Individual Host Analysis

A2 Hosting [Reviews]

I try to find bright spots in a company's performance, but A2 really didn't have one in this test. If you buy a VPS there is also no default way to install WordPress beyond the old fashioned DIY. You have to pay extra for Softaculous installer from the admin panel.

CloudWays [Reviews] Digital Ocean / Vultr

The most interesting part of CloudWays is being able to see the same stack tested on multiple providers. It's a small sample, but it looks like Vultr marginally outperforms Digital Ocean in performance. Although, Digital Ocean was more stable (again, small sample size to compare head to head). It was nice to see CloudWays do well with the Blitz tests and keep very good uptime, especially the Digital Ocean machine which was perfect.

Conetix

Conetix had good uptime and connection to Australia, their target market. They strongly using W3TC but it didn't come fully installed and I don't test anything beyond the default configuration because it gets into too much minutia and conflict with hosts about what could be done to improve scores. I also believe most people just stick with the default based on all the user testing I've seen across various fields. So the unfortunate results were the load test performances didn't look very good for them.

(9/19/2019 Update) Conetix have issued their own statement regarding Review Signal's test and why they believe this methodology doesn't accurately represent their performance and why a unique Australian perspective is required when evaluating them. I recommend reading the full details.

LightningBase

LightningBase put on basically a perfect performance. 100% uptime on both monitors. 0 errors on blitz, 1 error on loadstorm. Unequivocally, a top tier performance.

Pantheon [Reviews]

Pantheon showed up again, in a good way. They earned themselves a top tier performance accolade. They had a few errors at the start of the LoadStorm test, but beyond that aced everything.

Pressable

Pressable is back for the first time since my first testing in 2013, with new ownership (WordPress.com). They had had some good tech back then but it wasn't perfect and had some minor issues. I can happily say that has changed as they delivered a top tier performance this year with no issues in any test.

Pressjitsu

Pressjitsu felt like 2013 Pressable, the foundations of a really good company but just didn't get it all put together. The biggest problem was the sub 99.9% uptime. They had what appeared to be security measures mar the blitz test and had some errors at the start of the LoadStorm test but managed to stabilize for the duration and put on a good showing.

SiteGround [Reviews]

SiteGround got even better this year. They jumped up from honorable mention to top tier status. Their Blitz and LoadStorm tests both improved while everything else remained at a high level. An all around fantastic performance which deserved top tier status.

WPEngine [Reviews]

WPEngine fell slightly this year, it could have been a security issue with wp-login during the LoadStorm test, but there were too many errors to give it honorable mention status for this plan which it earned last year. Everything else looked good though.

WP.land

WP Land like WPEngine had too many problems during the LoadStorm test that it didn't earn honorable mention status. Everything else looked very good for them and it's great to see a strong new entrant.

WPOven.com

The knock on WPOven last year was their LoadStorm test. Everything else was perfect. I'm glad they maintained everything else, but this time they managed a perfect LoadStorm test to boot. A huge improvement and a very well deserved entry in the top tier of WordPress Hosts in the $25-50 range.

WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks (2016)

LoadStormLogo

Sponsored by LoadStorm. The easy and cost effective load testing tool for web and mobile applications.

This is the fourth round of managed WordPress web hosting performance testing. You can see the original, 2014 version , and 2015 version.

Companies Tested

A2 Hosting [Reviews]
BlueHost [Reviews]
CloudWays [Reviews]
Conetix
DreamHost [Reviews]
FlyWheel [Reviews]
GoDaddy [Reviews]
Incendia Web Works
Kinsta
LightningBase
LiquidWeb [Reviews]
MediaTemple [Reviews]
Pagely [Reviews]
Pantheon [Reviews]
Pressable (Formerly ZippyKid)
Pressed.net
Pressidium
Pressjitsu
PressLabs
Hosting Agency (German)
SiteGround [Reviews]
Traffic Planet Hosting
WordPress.com VIP
WPEngine [Reviews]
WP.land
WPOven.com

Companies that didn't participate this round but did on previous rounds: WebHostingBuzzWPProntoNexcessA Small Orange [Reviews] and  WebSynthesis [Reviews].

Every plan was donated by the company for testing purposes with the strict stipulation that it would be the same as if any normal user signed up. There is a notes section at the bottom that details the minutiae of changes made to plans at the end of this post. Nearly every single company had security issues that I had to get around, so they worked to make sure my testing went through properly. Load testing often looks like an attack and it's the only way I can do these tests.

The Products

This year is a bit different than years past where every company and plan competed against one another. When I started the price gap was from $5/month to $29/month. Last year the gap was $5.95 to $299. I was only testing entry level plans but the market has dramatically changed since I first got started. Today, there is demand at many different price points and lots of companies have gone upscale with WordPress.com VIP at the top of the price bracket starting at $5,000/month. The only logical way to break things up was by price brackets. So below you will see the brackets and which companies participated. Specific details will be included on each bracket's write up.

 

<$25/m $25-50/m $51-100/m $101-200/m $201-500/m $500+/m
A2 Hosting A2 Hosting LiquidWeb A2 Hosting Kinsta Kinsta
Bluehost Conetix Bluehost Bluehost Media Temple Pagely
DreamHost LLC Lightning Base Cloudways (AWS ) Conetix Pagley Pantheon
Flywheel Pantheon Cloudways (Google) Kinsta Pantheon Pressable
GoDaddy Pressable Kinsta Liquid Web Pressable Pressidium
Incendia Web Works Pressjitsu Lightning Base Pressable Pressidium WordPress.com VIP
Lightning Base SiteGround Media Temple Pressidium Presslabs WP Engine
Media Temple WP Engine Pagely Pressjitsu SiteGround
Pressed WP.land Pantheon
Hosting Agency.de Cloudways (DigitalOcean) Pressable
SiteGround Cloudways (Vultr) Pressidium
Traffic Planet Hosting WPOven SiteGround
WP.land

 

Methodology

The question I tried to answer is how well do these WordPress hosting services perform? I tested each company on two distinct measures of performance: peak performance and consistency. I've also included a compute and database benchmark based on a WordPress plugin.

All tests were performed on an identical WordPress dummy website with the same plugins except in cases where hosts added extra plugins. Each site was monitored for approximately two months for consistency.

1. LoadStorm

LoadStorm was kind enough to give me resources to perform load testing on their platform and multiple staff members were involved in designing and testing these WordPress hosts. I created identical scripts for each host to load a site, login to the site and browse the site. Logged in users were designed to break some of the caching and better simulate real user load. The amount of users varies by cost.

2. Blitz.io

I used Blitz again to compare against previous results. This tests the static caching of the homepage. I increased the number of users based on monthly cost this time.

3. Uptime (UptimeRobot and StatusCake)

Consistency matters. I wanted to see how well these companies performed over a longer period of time. I used two separate uptime monitoring services over the course of a month to test consistency.

4. WebPageTest.org

WebPageTest with 9 runs, first view only, native connection. I tested from Dulles, Denver, Los Angeles, London, Frankfurt, South Africa, Singapore, Shanghai, Japan, Sydney, Brazil.

5. WPPerformanceTester (free plugin on WordPress.org)

I created a WordPress plugin to benchmark CPU, MySql and WordPress DB performance. The CPU/MySql benchmarks are testing the compute power. The WordPress component tests actually calling $wpdb and executing insert, select, update and delete queries.

 

Notes - Changes made to Hosting Plans

A2 - VPS Servers can't install WordPress out of the box without extra payment for Softaculous. Disabled recaptcha.

Conetix - disabled WordFence and Stream plugins.

SiteGround - fully enable SuperCacher plugin

GoDaddy - 24 database connection limit increased if you notify them of heavy load

CloudWays - disabled WordFence

Pantheon WordPress Hosting Review

This post is based off WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks (2014).

pantheon_logo_tagline

Overview

Pantheon is one of the new comers into the managed WordPress space. They came over from the Drupal world where they focused on developers and enterprise. They've taken their developer tools and brought them to the WordPress space and made quite a splash leaping into our top tier of managed WordPress hosting companies.

The Plan

All testing was done on the Professional plan (shared) and using the WordPress stack. The plan had 20GB of space and allowed 100,000 visitors per month. The price was $100/month.

Performance

LoadStorm

The first performance test was done with LoadStorm. Pantheon made it to the final round of testing where 2000 concurrent users were logging into WordPress and browsing the test site. The test was designed to test non-cached performance by logging users into WordPress. It caused many hosting setups to crumble. You can see Pantheon's result in this graph (click on it to play with the interactive results):

 

Load-Storm-Pantheon-2000

Pantheon had a whopping zero errors and scaled without issue.  LoadStorm independently analyzed my testing and named Pantheon as performing the best of any WordPress company tested.

Blitz

The second load test that was run on Pantheon was Blitz. Blitz was used to test cached performance. It simply requested the home page from 1-2000 times per second.

Blitz-Pantheon-2000

Pantheon's result looks like it was from a textbook. It maintained roughly the same response time from one to two thousand concurrent users. Full Blitz Results (PDF)

Uptime

Two third-party uptime monitoring services (StatusCake and UptimeRobot) tracked the test site for a month. The results for Pantheon in both cases was perfect uptime. There's nothing more to say than that.

WebPageTest

“WebPagetest is an open source project that is primarily being developed and supported by Google as part of our efforts to make the web faster.” WebPageTest grades performance and allows you to run tests from multiple locations simulating real users. Pantheon was tested from Dulles, VA, Miami, FL, Denver, CO, and Los Angeles, CA.

Company Dulles,VA Miami, FL Denver, CO Los Angeles, CA Average
Pantheon 0.654 0.828 0.923 0.954 0.83975

There was absolutely no issues with their WebPageTest results, it loaded very quickly with a great average speed of under one second.

Conclusion

Pantheon specialized in Drupal hosting, so I was wondering how well it would translate to WordPress. The short answer is, it converted over really well. They had a flawless run on the LoadStorm test - zero errors and not even any spikes in response time over 30 minutes. Pantheon is one of the more expensive options on the market, but they make a very strong case for it. Perfect uptime and near flawless load testing sent them easily into the top tier.

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