Hosting is both the first and final frontier of your online business. It determines how quickly your websites will load and affects the user experience - in a massive way. Therefore, it is very important to choose a provider which is going to deliver on that enormous responsibility.
Companies do their absolute best to get new customers - promising amazing performance for a great price. In our tests, looking for the best web hosting, we do our research to see if those promises match reality.
In many cases, they do! However, as the time goes by, I found out that the honeymoon period doesn't last forever. Some hosts tend to improve on their early results and get better with each passing month. Some do the exact opposite. That's what this blog post is all about.
Hosting providers going bad
Some providers do not deliver on the early promises. The 3 hosts shown below have been somewhat disappointing - for different reasons, as well. Let's have a look:
It suffers from an expected issue
This is a good one to start with. Clocking way under 400 ms for the last couple weeks of 2017, it has been steadily slowing down: now rarely going under that mark. Even then, however, it's no tragedy.
What may have happened with FastComet?
In this case, we are looking into a regular hosting provider issue - overcrowding the servers. The math is fairly simple - the more data there is on one server, the slower the response times should be. Having neighbors is never good in this instance. We had some, we slowed down. For now, it's not a huge problem.
There are some small peaks you can see. Those problems, however, are even more visible with our next hosting provider.
Something is fishy around here...
For many months, Bluehost has been one of the top-performing hosts of our lineup, constantly challenging the top dogs, like Hostinger or 1&1. As you can see, however, even in the good old days it hasn't been the most stable provider around. Yet something, something interesting has happened in the middle of October, a few months after purchase...
What may have happened with Bluehost
There are a couple of theories. The occasional spikes show a serious possibility of the server suffering from DDoS attacks or software issues. The bigger the peaks and the slower the times, the more aggressive are the loads. However, the switch in October may point to a different thing altogether.
Is it possible that our test website has been moved to a completely different server? Maybe that could've been done in order to reduce the software issues. If so, that didn't work - the spikes in response times are as aggressive as they were but now, the peak performance times are even worse. That is not good. Yet there is one company which has done yet more poorly...
They must think we're stupid!
This, ladies and gentlemen, is an example of a hosting provider taking away your lunch money. In the NameCheap review I did back in summer of 2017, I praised this provider for combining unreal price and decent performance. Now, not so much. Just like magic, in early January, a regular sub-500 ms server has become twice as slow.
Suddenly, with no explanation and no warning, it turned worse. It's not like there were glaring issues with stability that needed addressing. A decent host has suddenly turned bad.
What may have happened with NameCheap
Business, that's what. When you aim at budget-conscious users and charge less than $10 for a year of hosting, corners have to be cut somewhere. NameCheap attempts to have as many clients as possible in as few servers as they can.
This. After several months of beautiful smooth sailing, our unsuspecting website has been mushed in a server that's twice as slow. It's quite disappointing - and could happen to you as well.
Hosting providers that improve!
Every cloud has a silver lining. In this part, we will give our thanks and praise to some providers that, like Leonardo DiCaprio, only get better with age.
In the hosting world, it is pretty much fashionable to hate on whatever GoDaddy is doing. That's probably quite expected, knowing how big they are and how much people tend to dislike the behemoths of every business. Yet it has to be said: from the 1st of September 2017 to the mid-March, 2018, we've seen nothing but improvements.
Starting off pretty weak, GoDaddy sure has made a lot of the things work later on. Who knows, maybe earlier they've had some issues with DDoS and software and just cleaned up their servers in order to increase the performance? That's quite likely. In any way, that's a very good showing from GoDaddy - quite a good example as to why this company is doing so well.
The overhaul was worth it!
Very recently, I updated our Hosting24 review that was originally written several months ago. On my first run, I took a couple of stabs at the host being rather painfully slow. I'm talking about 1000 ms. Pretty bad, right?
Well, the company has recently done an overhaul which appears to have been quite serious. I mean, just look at it! The response times are now twice as fast. Combine Hosting24 with NameCheap and you'll have yourself one stable hosting provider!
For every host that is going down or going up, there's iPage. Not doing anything crazy, not offering amazing speeds and just being more stable than the place where horses live. It's great. I guess...
What should you do to keep your hosting quick
We all want our servers to be snappy for a really long time. However, it's also a well-known fact that many of us don't really invest a lot of time in monitoring the performance.
In this case, I can seriously recommend using a monitoring service, perhaps something like Uptime Robot. It has a free version, which checks a website's response time once every 5 minutes. As the weeks roll by, data collected will paint a pretty (or ugly) picture of whatever your hosting provider is up to.
But what should you do when (or if) you finally find out that there are issues? Well - the best thing you can do is talk.
For example, the Hosting24 chart you saw just above changed after I contacted customer support and asked for help. Knowing and seeing that there was a serious update, I asked whether it means that there are also some beautiful brand new servers I can hop on to. Turns out, yes!
So I was transferred - easily and with no problems and the response times improved a lot. There is a lesson to take from all of this. If you want something, you need to inquire.
No matter if you see your hosting provider here or not, it is still worth asking questions: do I really know if my servers are not getting any slower? As I found out in this investigation of mine, the honeymoon period does not always last forever.
This is why we write and constantly update the reviews we write - so you can get the best and newest hosting provider data!