WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks is designed to create a consistent set of benchmarks showing which web hosting companies offer best in class performance. The focus of these tests is performance, not support, not features, not any other dimension. Review Signal’s web hosting reviews has insights for some of the companies with regards to these other aspects. These benchmarks should be looked at in combination with other sources of information when making any hosting decision. That said, for the performance conscious, these benchmarks should be a good guide.
The goal of this research is testing the performance of specialized WordPress hosting. The two measures to determine performance are peak-performance and consistency. Peak performance is measured using load testing services which emulate large numbers of users visiting a website and watching how well the hosting responds under these stressful conditions. Consistency is measured using uptime monitoring to make sure that the servers remain available for a longer duration of time.
There are some non-impacting measurements taken as well that are recorded to help inform more advanced users and potentially be used to create a benchmark at a later time. Geographic response times from multiple locations using WebPageTest have fit in this category. The WPPerformanceTester tests also fit this category. The SSL test fits this category as well. These measures don’t impact the Top-Tier WordPress Hosting status we give, nor the honorable mention status.
The hosting packages are as close to default as possible. In some circumstances where turning on performance enhancements is very simple, clicking an option to turn on caching for example, this will be done. Otherwise everything is as-is for new customers upon sign up to avoid as much as possible the extra benefit of companies knowing they are being tested.
The exception to this rule is the Enterprise tier ($500/month+). This exception for the Enterprise tier is because at a certain level, a higher degree of service is expected. Customers spending large sums of money are generally on-boarded and optimized by hosting companies. As such, all companies competing in the Enterprise tier are allowed to optimize the package as much as possible to maximize the performance of the site.
This methodology isn’t perfect. One of the most common complaints companies participating have is that it doesn’t encapsulate their service well because they do ‘something special’ for every client. This may be true, but it’s hard to allow this behavior because the difference between ‘every’ client and ‘this specific test’ isn’t measureable. It also relies on good faith from the companies because load testing servers requires permission to do at a meaningful scale. These type of tests often trigger security measures and can impact existing clients. Working with the companies being tested is often a necessity to do these tests properly. Packages are compared to what was submitted and checking for cheating is done regularly. The comparison is designed to be as apples-to-apples as possible.