Why Do Independent Tests Matter?

Imagine that you’re thinking of buying a new car: But you can’t decide between a Toyota Corolla, a Mazda 3, or a Honda Civic.

So to help you decide, you don’t bother with the over-the-top hype on each manufacturer’s website but instead you actually want credible, unbiased INDEPENDENT assessments of those cars, so that you can then make an informed decision about which car is best suited to your particular needs (no product or service in the world is right for everyone).

You might check out some YouTube car review videos or visit sites like Motor Trend or Auto Express (UK) where independent car journalists judge new cars, that’s their job – NOT to convince you to buy any of them but to assess how good they are, especially against their competitors in the marketplace.

How On Earth Is Any Of This Relevant To WordPress Hosting?

It’s relevant because it’s actually pretty hard to find anything online remotely like unbiased, independent testing of WordPress Hosts – usually, they are smothered in affiliate links and the ‘winner’ is the one that has the best affiliate commission payout for that site owner.

But one super nerd, Kevin Ohashi, has been running his own properly independent tests for years, firstly at reviewsignal.com, then at wphostingbenchmarks.com

Kevin’s approach is to bracket the best overall performers into a group he calls the Top Tier, his ‘gold standard’ of outstanding performers each year, based on a bunch of various tests, more on that shortly.

Kevin doesn’t declare a single winner, though there are winners in individual tests where he documents how every host performed in that test.

Do You Really Need A ‘Top Tier’ Host?

Kevin’s Top Tier groupings have nothing to do directly with price or cost but he does name his Top Tier for different price points e.g.

[a] under $25 monthly,
[b] $25-$50 monthly, and,
[c] $51-$100.

He has other price points higher than that but WPX only has plans in those above price categories.

As to whether you need a Top Tier host for your online presence, think about:

– the experience of visitors coming to your slow/very fast website (will they wait around for a slow site to load, would you wait?)
– the speed of your site all over the world, assuming that your niche is a global one, this is where a high-speed CDN is vital (WPX includes our own custom CDN for free for all customers) 
uptime or are you happy if a mediocre WordPress host means that your site goes down pretty often
security (WPX offers free malware removal, which can cost $200 a year per site with a service Sucuri.net)
– speed and quality of customer support (e.g. WPX averages under 30 seconds response time on live chat and we have over 3,000 5-star reviews from real WPX customers on Trustpilot.com)

In short, think about how site speed, support, and security will positively or negatively affect your websites if badly handled (or not handled at all by most hosts!)

What Exactly Does Kevin Test To Decide His Top Tier Hosts?

In each of the above price categories, Kevin tests:

  1. How much server load each host/plan can handle, using Loadstorm
  2. Caching performance
  3. Uptime (using both Uptime Robot and Hetrix, to cross-compare and avoid false positives)
  4. Global speed performance across 12 locations worldwide, using webpagetest.org
  5. Server performance with his WP Performance Tester plugin (in Kevin’s words: “WPPerformanceTester performs two benchmarks. One is a WordPress (WP Bench) and the other is a PHP Bench. WP Bench measures how many WP queries per second and higher tends to be better (varies considerably by architecture). PHP Bench performs a lot of computational and some database operations which are measured in seconds to complete. Lower PHP Bench is better”)
  6. SSL performance

If you want more technical detail, Kevin describes his whole methodology here.

How Did WPX Perform In 2023?

In the sub-$25 category, highlights for WPX were:

– no issues handling the full Loadstorm test
– fastest loading speed in 2 test locations (Sydney and Dubai)
– perfect uptime

In the $25-$50 category, WPX:

– had no issues handling the full Loadstorm load handling test
– had perfect uptime
– had the fastest page load time in the webpagetest.org test in 2 test locations (Sydney and Mumbai)

Then in the $51-$100 category, WPX:

– had no issues handling the full Loadstorm load handling test
– had perfect uptime
– had the fastest loading time in 5 of 12 test locations with webpagetest.org (Salt Lake City, London, Frankfurt, Mumbai, and Dubai), thanks to our high-speed custom CDN

Kevin’s Summary Of WPX This Year?

For sub 25$ price category Kevin wrote:

“WPX has been a consistent Top Tier performer in these benchmarks. The Load Storm test went very well this year with WPX clocking the second fastest p95 and the fastest Asset speed. The Static test went equally as well with WPX having a blazingly fast average response time of 11ms, good for third overall. Uptime was 100% and 99.9995%. WPX also managed the third fastest average on the WPT with the fastest score in 2 locations. WPX’s streak of Top Tier awards won’t be broken this year.”

For 25$-50$ price category Kevin wrote:

“WPX handled the Load Storm test without issue. It had the fastest Page and Asset speed, along with the third fastest p95 and Login speed. The Static test went equally as well with an incredibly fast 11ms average response time. WPX had perfect uptime on both monitors. It also had the third fastest average speed on WPT and was the fastest in 2/12 locations. WPX continues to earn Top Tier recognition year after year with excellent performances like this one.”

For 51$-100$ price category Kevin wrote:

“WPX had another good year. The Load Storm test saw it clock in the second fastest Page, Asset, and Login speed. The Static test had a blazingly fast 11ms average response time. Perfect uptime on both monitors is always nice to see as well. WPX’s home built CDN showed off in the WPT results where they picked up 5/12 fastest speeds in individual locations. Overall, it was another great performance from WPX which earned them Top Tier status.”

Summary: Where Is WPX Going In The Future?

Though WPX has racked up 4 Top Tier results in Kevin Ohashi’s independent tests in the last 4 years, we’re pretty OCD about speed, security, and support and the next 12 months will see WPX launch a range of new hosting and hosting-related products services, while continuing to optimize our platform for further performance gains.

FINAL FUN FACT: WPX originally launched on December 3, 2013 (yep coming up to 10 years old), was completely bootstrapped, has no outside investment, is fully independent (pretty rare in hosting!), currently employs 110+ staff has its own dog sanctuary and animal welfare foundation. 

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Terry Kyle
Terry Kyle

Terry is a Co-founder at WPX.net (with Georgi Petrov, CEO)allegedly the world’s fastest WordPress hosting company, and, Founder/Director of Every Dog Matters (EU). Terry Kyle is also known in the digital marketing space, particularly for his expertise in SEO and affiliate marketing. He has been involved in the online marketing industry for many years and has shared his knowledge through various channels, including his blog and online courses.

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