There are plenty of web hosting comparison sites on the web but in our opinion very few of them really take the time to conduct thorough research to compare and contrast popular hosts. Our goal was to use a variety of reliable metrics to truly find “the best web hosting” provider.
Before conducting our experiment we went out and found the five largest hosts that consistently are being named as the “best host” on top hosting review sites like BestWebHostingGeek.com. Our research found that on average Bluehost, Hostmonster, iPage, FatCow, and Justhost ranked higher than all other hosts on the web. For today’s quest to compare the top hosting providers we will study these five hosts.
Our researchers found that these top-tier hosts often offer users many of the same “Features & Functionalities” so we decided to look deeper at four-specific metrics not normally compared to determine the best host.
We will be examining the follow:
- Total Number of Customers Hosted on Servers
- Price Comparison
- Amount of “Search Traffic”
- Poll-of-Polls – Massive Study of User Reviews
Total Number of Customers Hosted:
For today’s research we are going to be utilizing a variety of assumptions. The first being, “A company that has historically grown faster & larger than other companies must be producing an overall superior product”. This assumption is based on the common marketing strategies that say, “Word of Mouth is the Best Advertisement” and “A Good Product Sells Itself”. If a company provides a GREAT product than naturally it will gain more exposure and ultimately grow larger and more successful than its competitors.
On July 29, 2013 our researchers utilized the research tools from WebHosting.info to determine the total number of clients that these top five hosts have in total. The results were as follows:
- Bluehost – 1,895,702
- Hostmonster – 702,076
- iPage – 567,293
- Justhost – 349,995
- Fatcow – 284,231
By an overwhelming margin we found Bluehost to have the largest client-base followed by Hostmonster, iPage, Justhost, and lastly by FatCow. Bluehost and Hostmonster are sister companies and we believe it is no accident that they rank the highest in total number of clients.
BestWebHostingGeek.com researchers had a in-depth discussion to determine if “Price Comparison” should be a factor when attempting to find the best host. Our team decided that out of the four categories price was actually the least important to determine “HOST QUALITY” but was still very significant if the true goal is to fully compare hosts.
- iPage $1.99/mo. – Out of the five hosts iPage was the most affordable hosting option. There appears to be a special promotion running for limited time.
- Justhost $2.95/mo. – Justhost came in as the second most affordable host; however, their rate was nearly one dollar more per month than iPage.
- Fatcow $3.15/mo. – Slightly behind Justhost was FatCow who advertised a rate of $3.15 a month.
- Bluehost & Hostmonster $3.95/mo. – Bluehost and Hostmonster tied for 4th in the affordability category. Both of these hosts have 3.95 rates; however, you must click on one of our promo links to enable this discounted rate.
Sometimes individuals have a really low budget when starting a website and price plays the biggest role in choosing a host. However, with less than $2/month difference between all the hosts we put little weight on this category.
Amount of Search Traffic:
This is one metric that many ignore when determining the overall quality of a web hosting provider. Our team researched back several years to determine how often users searched for the brand name of each of our hosts on Google. (For example, “Bluehost”, “Hostmonster”, “iPage”, “Fatcow”, “Justhost”.)
An upward trend in search traffic could signify that the host is doing something right and growing while a significant downward trend may signal a host that is diminishing/not growing. The graph below should give a clear visual as to how each of our five hosts have grown throughout the years.
(Click to enlarge)
The results of this particular category were very interesting! Out of the five hosts only two had strong signals of groth, one host was steady, and two hosts were gradually losing momentum.
- Bluehost (GROWING) – The fastest growing host and also historical most successful host of the five was by far Bluehost. As a whole Bluehost has shown steady growth since 2005 and is currently at its peak signifying successful, long, and steady growth.
- iPage (GROWING) – Another host that has shown significant growth signs is iPage. Similar to Bluehost this host has continued to grow since day one and is currently near its all time peak.
- Fatcow (STEADY) – This host is not growing or dropping, from what we can see Fatcow has maintained pretty consistent traffic over the last five years.
- Justhost (DECLINING) – Justhost seemed to have peaked in 2010 and has since witnessed a gradual decline in exposure and traffic.
- Hostmonster (DECLINING) – The largest decline in traffic has been witnessed by Hostmonster. This host has been around for many years and grew steadily but in 2009 things started going downhill. Since this time Hostmonster has witnessed the largest decline in search traffic.
Based on this graph it is clear that Bluehost and iPage are the only two hosts out of the group that are showing significant signs of growth. This could be caused by a variety of factors including: Customer Satisfaction, Innovation, Word-of-Mouth, and Quality of Products.
Poll-of-Polls – Massive Study of User Reviews:
In any scientific study the larger the study sample the more accurate the results. Our team of researchers decided that utilizing and reading user reviews was by far the best way to determine the QUALITY of a host. A host that was working hard to innovate and provide great customer service would ultimately have more satisfied users than a host only focused on their bottom line.
In order to provide the most accurate results in this very important category we calculated and converted user-reviews from ten large hosting review sites and averaged the ratings to determine the most accurate score of satisfaction (10 = most satisfied, 1 = not satisfied).
Overall average ratings for all five host were impressively high; however, there was a clear winner in this category.
- Bluehost – Users clearly scored Bluehost as their best host, the company’s average rating checked in at an impressive 9.37/10.
- iPage – The second highest average was achieved by iPage.com who also had an average rating over 9.
- Hostmonster – Hostmonster squeaked by Fatcow and had the third best user rating.
- Fatcow – The fourth highest user ranked host was Fatcow who achieved an average rank of 8.75/10.
- Justhost – In 5th place with the lower customer satisfaction rate was Justhost with 8.67/10.
Summary & Analysis:
BestWebHostingGeek.com set out to compare web hosting providers and attempt to determine the overall “best web hosting” provider. Instead of simply comparing features and functions of each host we attempted to dive-in to deeper research to determine which host is truly the best at gaining & keeping satisfied users.
Our team analyzed four different categories: Total Number of Customers Hosted, Price Comparison, Amount of Search Traffic, and a Large Collection of User Reviews. In each of the categories we were able to determine which hosts were the best out of the group. To determine an overall winner (best host) we decided to assign a numeric score to the winner of each category (5 points for best, 4 for 2nd, and so on). After adding up the scores were able to determine two clear winners:
Bluehost – 17 Points
iPage – 16 Points
Hostmonster – 10 Points
Justhost – 9 Points
Fatcow – 9 Points [br] [br]