Welcome!

Microservices Expo Authors: Dalibor Siroky, Elizabeth White, Pat Romanski, John Katrick, Liz McMillan

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.


@MicroservicesExpo Stories
The nature of test environments is inherently temporary—you set up an environment, run through an automated test suite, and then tear down the environment. If you can reduce the cycle time for this process down to hours or minutes, then you may be able to cut your test environment budgets considerably. The impact of cloud adoption on test environments is a valuable advancement in both cost savings and agility. The on-demand model takes advantage of public cloud APIs requiring only payment for t...
"Codigm is based on the cloud and we are here to explore marketing opportunities in America. Our mission is to make an ecosystem of the SW environment that anyone can understand, learn, teach, and develop the SW on the cloud," explained Sung Tae Ryu, CEO of Codigm, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
High-velocity engineering teams are applying not only continuous delivery processes, but also lessons in experimentation from established leaders like Amazon, Netflix, and Facebook. These companies have made experimentation a foundation for their release processes, allowing them to try out major feature releases and redesigns within smaller groups before making them broadly available. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Brian Lucas, Senior Staff Engineer at Optimizely, discussed how by using ne...
Many enterprise and government IT organizations are realizing the benefits of cloud computing by extending IT delivery and management processes across private and public cloud services. But they are often challenged with balancing the need for centralized cloud governance without stifling user-driven innovation. This strategy requires an approach that fundamentally reshapes how IT is delivered today, shifting the focus from infrastructure to services aggregation, and mixing and matching the bes...
"CA has been doing a lot of things in the area of DevOps. Now we have a complete set of tool sets in order to enable customers to go all the way from planning to development to testing down to release into the operations," explained Aruna Ravichandran, Vice President of Global Marketing and Strategy at CA Technologies, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
While we understand Agile as a means to accelerate innovation, manage uncertainty and cope with ambiguity, many are inclined to think that it conflicts with the objectives of traditional engineering projects, such as building a highway, skyscraper or power plant. These are plan-driven and predictive projects that seek to avoid any uncertainty. This type of thinking, however, is short-sighted. Agile approaches are valuable in controlling uncertainty because they constrain the complexity that ste...
Cavirin Systems has just announced C2, a SaaS offering designed to bring continuous security assessment and remediation to hybrid environments, containers, and data centers. Cavirin C2 is deployed within Amazon Web Services (AWS) and features a flexible licensing model for easy scalability and clear pay-as-you-go pricing. Although native to AWS, it also supports assessment and remediation of virtual or container instances within Microsoft Azure, Google Cloud Platform (GCP), or on-premise. By dr...
"This all sounds great. But it's just not realistic." This is what a group of five senior IT executives told me during a workshop I held not long ago. We were working through an exercise on the organizational characteristics necessary to successfully execute a digital transformation, and the group was doing their ‘readout.' The executives loved everything we discussed and agreed that if such an environment existed, it would make transformation much easier. They just didn't believe it was reali...
It’s “time to move on from DevOps and continuous delivery.” This was the provocative title of a recent article in ZDNet, in which Kelsey Hightower, staff developer advocate at Google Cloud Platform, suggested that “software shops should have put these concepts into action years ago.” Reading articles like this or listening to talks at most DevOps conferences might make you think that we’re entering a post-DevOps world. But vast numbers of organizations still struggle to start and drive transfo...
Agile has finally jumped the technology shark, expanding outside the software world. Enterprises are now increasingly adopting Agile practices across their organizations in order to successfully navigate the disruptive waters that threaten to drown them. In our quest for establishing change as a core competency in our organizations, this business-centric notion of Agile is an essential component of Agile Digital Transformation. In the years since the publication of the Agile Manifesto, the conn...
"We're developing a software that is based on the cloud environment and we are providing those services to corporations and the general public," explained Seungmin Kim, CEO/CTO of SM Systems Inc., in this SYS-CON.tv interview at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The cloud revolution in enterprises has very clearly crossed the phase of proof-of-concepts into a truly mainstream adoption. One of most popular enterprise-wide initiatives currently going on are “cloud migration” programs of some kind or another. Finding business value for these programs is not hard to fathom – they include hyperelasticity in infrastructure consumption, subscription based models, and agility derived from rapid speed of deployment of applications. These factors will continue to...
While some developers care passionately about how data centers and clouds are architected, for most, it is only the end result that matters. To the majority of companies, technology exists to solve a business problem, and only delivers value when it is solving that problem. 2017 brings the mainstream adoption of containers for production workloads. In his session at 21st Cloud Expo, Ben McCormack, VP of Operations at Evernote, discussed how data centers of the future will be managed, how the p...
Enterprises are adopting Kubernetes to accelerate the development and the delivery of cloud-native applications. However, sharing a Kubernetes cluster between members of the same team can be challenging. And, sharing clusters across multiple teams is even harder. Kubernetes offers several constructs to help implement segmentation and isolation. However, these primitives can be complex to understand and apply. As a result, it’s becoming common for enterprises to end up with several clusters. Thi...
Let's do a visualization exercise. Imagine it's December 31, 2018, and you're ringing in the New Year with your friends and family. You think back on everything that you accomplished in the last year: your company's revenue is through the roof thanks to the success of your product, and you were promoted to Lead Developer. 2019 is poised to be an even bigger year for your company because you have the tools and insight to scale as quickly as demand requires. You're a happy human, and it's not just...
DevOps teams have more on their plate than ever. As infrastructure needs grow, so does the time required to ensure that everything's running smoothly. This makes automation crucial - especially in the server and network monitoring world. Server monitoring tools can save teams time by automating server management and providing real-time performance updates. As budgets reset for the New Year, there is no better time to implement a new server monitoring tool (or re-evaluate your current solution)....
We just came off of a review of a product that handles both containers and virtual machines in the same interface. Under the covers, implementation of containers defaults to LXC, though recently Docker support was added. When reading online, or searching for information, increasingly we see “Container Management” products listed as competitors to Docker, when in reality things like Rocket, LXC/LXD, and Virtualization are Dockers competitors. After doing some looking around, we have decided tha...
"Opsani helps the enterprise adopt containers, help them move their infrastructure into this modern world of DevOps, accelerate the delivery of new features into production, and really get them going on the container path," explained Ross Schibler, CEO of Opsani, and Peter Nickolov, CTO of Opsani, in this SYS-CON.tv interview at DevOps Summit at 21st Cloud Expo, held Oct 31 – Nov 2, 2017, at the Santa Clara Convention Center in Santa Clara, CA.
The benefits of automation are well documented; it increases productivity, cuts cost and minimizes errors. It eliminates repetitive manual tasks, freeing us up to be more innovative. By that logic, surely, we should automate everything possible, right? So, is attempting to automate everything a sensible - even feasible - goal? In a word: no. Consider this your short guide as to what to automate and what not to automate.
identify the sources of event storms and performance anomalies will require automated, real-time root-cause analysis. I think Enterprise Management Associates said it well: “The data and metrics collected at instrumentation points across the application ecosystem are essential to performance monitoring and root cause analysis. However, analytics capable of transforming data and metrics into an application-focused report or dashboards are what separates actual application monitoring from relat...