The $1000 Case Study
Best Web Hosting of 2018

We bought them all, tested them, and provide the info for free so you can make the best choice.

I care about...


TCO (Total Cost of Ownership)

Total cost of ownership takes into account the total amount of money you will spend if you have your website for 1, 3, and 5 years. Introductory pricing is a great way to bring in new customers, but if you jack up the price later the customers aren't going to be happy.

We list the total amount you should expect to pay when using each host. This isn't entirely apples to apples because each hosting plan has a different number of visitors, hardware, and support, but it should give you an easy tiebreaker if you are tied between a few hosts.

1 Year Up Front & Renew Yearly After

Host

1 year

3 year

5 year

$48 ($4/mo)

$288 ($8/mo)

$528 ($8.80/mo)

$96 ($8/mo)

$312 ($8.60/mo)

$528 ($8.80/mo)

$60 ($5/mo)

$251 ($7/mo)

$453 ($7.40/mo)

$72 ($6/mo)

$336 ($9.30/mo)

$600 ($10/mo)

$84 ($7/mo)

$276 ($7.60/mo)

$468 ($7.80/mo)

$45 ($3.75/mo)

$273 ($7.58/mo)

$500 ($8.34/mo)

$48 ($4/mo)

$287 ($8/mo)

$527 ($8.80/mo)

3 Year Up Front & Renew Yearly After

Host

1 year

3 year

5 year

$144 ($4/mo)

$144 ($4/mo)

$336 ($5.60/mo)

$180 ($5/mo)

$180 ($5/mo)

$396 ($6.60/mo)

$108 ($3/mo)

$108 ($3/mo)

$300 ($5/mo)

$144 ($4/mo)

$144 ($4/mo)

$408 ($6.80/mo)

$144 ($6/mo)

$140 ($6.60/mo)

$432 ($7.20/mo)

$135 ($3.75/mo)

$204 ($5.66/mo)

$432 ($7.19/mo)

$94 ($4/mo)

$213 ($6/mo)

$453 ($7.50/mo)

Support Availability Tests

Here is a quick view of how each host stacked up in our real-life Live Chat test. To see exactly what we tested and see the full chat transcript, just click on the host you are interested in learning more about.

Host

Total Live Chat Time (seconds)

45

240

270

300

330

600

Performance

Page Load Comparisons (times in ms)

Host

Page Load Time (milliseconds)

450

700

515

521

650

900

400

Availability Comparisons

Host

Availability (%)

99.98

99.97

99.93

99.965

99.96

99.94

99.92

The Motivation

Web hosting is a SKETCHY industry. The margins are high and the competition is fierce. If you aren’t careful and don’t do your research, you will end up sharing a server with 100 low-quality sites with no performance or tech support to be found. Like we did...

Getting quality data about hosting shouldn't be hard, but due to the high affiliate commissions there is rampant misinformation and misleading reviews that are aimed at one thing... to get money out of new users and let them fend for themselves when things go wrong.

That is why we decided to do something different. Instead of coming up with a story to try and sell you on how Hosting Company X is the best thing since sliced bread, we pulled out our wallet and put the top web hosts through a web hosting gauntlet and share the raw data with you through this case study.

But don't just take our word for it. We encourage you to take a look around and see what everyone else has to say. Regardless of your decision or whose information finally pushed you over the edge, this case study will prepare you to make the right decision for you or your business.

If we can save even one person from the extreme pain that comes from a web host that didn't fit their needs then this study will have done its job.

What We Did

First, we pulled out our wallet and purchased the top web hosts and plans that fit blogs and small to medium sized businesses. We believe this hits the sweet spot for what most people need out of a web host.​

Then, we designed a web hosting gauntlet that tracks the installation, performance, and support characteristics of each hosting provider. See the technical details behind the tests here. It covers the following areas:

Installation & Pricing

Other reviews talk at a shallow level about the features and offerings and usually just promote the cheapest option.

We dive in-depth into the plans and installation process so you can decide what is right for you.

It isn't enough to just understand the cost of each host on a monthly basis. You need to understand what services are available for free, which cost money, and your expected TCO (total cost of ownership) over multiple years before you make a decision.

Performance

Page Load Speed

Other reviews measure how long it takes for the page to load for one visitor at one time.

We test what happens with multiple simultaneous visitors, multiple times a day, over weeks at a time and use a website with multiple pages (not just one).

Seeing how fast a page loads for 1 request on a default WordPress installation isn't good enough. You need to understand how your host is going to stand up to multiple visitors at a time and how different hours affect the performance so you aren't left stranded during peak load.

Availability

Other reviews take the marketing material from the hosting providers website when talking about availability.

We tracked down multiple third party sources and started collecting historical availability data for the websites we run on each host so you see the realtime results.

For many of us, if our website goes down so does our business. While past results are no guarantee of future returns, it won't hurt to see where the host has been when deciding if it is right for you.

Number of Websites Per Host

Other reviews don't talk at all about how many other websites share the same physical server with you.

We tracked down how many other websites share a host with ours.

Unless you have a large budget, you will be purchasing "shared" hosting which means you will be on the same server as other websites. Use our data to see what shared means for each provider.

Support

Other reviews talk about the type of support that are available.

We actually use the support option, measure the response time, and share the conversation with you so you can understand our experience and know what you are getting yourself into.