Review Signal’s Kevin Ohashi has published the 2022 WordPress and WooCommerce Hosting Performance Benchmarks. These benchmarks are among the most trusted review sources in the hosting industry due to Ohashi’s transparent methodology. No hosting company is sponsoring the work. Instead, Ohashi charges a standard, publicly documented participation fee that covers the cost of testing.
In 2022, Ohashi tested 33 companies with 79 different plans across seven different pricing tiers, including the WooCommerce tier.
If speed is one of your primary concerns when selecting a hosting company, these performance reviews may be of interest to you. Benchmarks include a Load Storm test designed to simulate real users visiting the site, logging in and browsing (non-cached performance). They also test cache performance, SSL, WP requests per second, performance of some compute and database operations, and a WebPageTest that fully loads the homepage and records how long it takes for 12 different locations around the world.
The results are easy to review at a glance. Top Tier (Full Star) status is awarded to hosts that perform well under the test battery:
Top Level WordPress Hosting (Full Star)
This award is given to companies that maintain 99.9% availability throughout testing and exhibit little to no performance degradation during load testing, primarily focused on error rate and consistent response times. Error rates greater than 0.1% and response times greater than 1000ms* will keep a business from achieving top marks.
In the budget <$25/month category, 2022 Tier One winners included 20i, 34SP, EasyWP by Namecheap, Eco Web Hosting, GreenGeeks, HostXNow, ICDSoft, LightningBase, MechanicWeb, Pressable, SiteGround, and WPX.
At the other end of the spectrum, in the Enterprise tier ($500+/month), there were far fewer participants, but the majority of them achieved higher tier status, including Top Performing Websites, Presslabs, Scaleforce powered by Virtuozzo, Servebolt (Scale + ACD), Servebolt and WordPress VIP.
This is the second year that Ohashi has done WooCommerce hosting reviews. Testing is done on a mock WooCommerce website with Storefront set as the theme and sample products loaded.
Top tier winners for WooCommerce hosting include GreenGeeks, Pressable, Servebolt, and WordPress.com. Two others got honorable mentions – ICDSoft and SiteGround.
Clicking “Show Full Results” for any of the tiers will give you a detailed breakdown of all tests with comparison charts and summaries for each participating host.
WordPress Hosting Gets Faster
“I think the most noticeable trend is how fast things are going,” Ohashi said. “For example, if we look at the enterprise level of 2021 versus 2022, the fastest average response time (static test) was 9ms and 6.4ms and p95 was 41ms to 20ms. The 3rd fastest p95 last year was 65ms, which would be the 7th (out of 9) fastest this year if you moved it around.
“Although the numbers are already incredibly fast, the whole cohort accelerated even faster.
“And it’s not just at the high end, at level <25, on the static test there was 1 company with less than 100ms p95 last year (CynderHost - 61ms). This year you have three – Pressable (18ms), SiteGround (67ms), WPX (89ms).
“At the slow end, the slowest <25 static average response time was 267ms, last year there were 5 companies with equal or slower averages (maximum being over 1200ms). "
Ohashi said there might be some selection bias, as poorly performing companies might not want to participate again and screen themselves out.
“But some of these companies have improved a bit like GoDaddy was from 295ms to 234ms, which is a 61ms improvement,” he said. “I want to challenge the companies that have sometimes had trouble with these tests, and continue to participate. I respect them and it makes me happy to see them making continuous improvements.
“While I give awards to companies that do well, I think it’s important to recognize that not doing so well isn’t failure, it’s about what companies do with that information and how they improve their services. All in all, it seems like everyone is improving and that’s a win for hosts and consumers alike.
Ohashi said one of his goals for 2022 is to speak with companies to explain the value of participation. Beyond the value of the benchmarks themselves, these reviews help the ecosystem push for better performance. One of Ohashi’s testing policies is a big driver for this:
“Hosting packages are as close to default as possible. In certain circumstances where enabling performance enhancements is very simple, such as clicking an option to enable caching, this will be done. These changes should be obvious or communicated clearly in the welcome email so that every user is assured that they are at least presented with the option, otherwise everything is as is for new customers when signing up to avoid, whenever possible, the added benefit of companies knowing they are tested.
Companies that pass these tests are those that have adopted performance by default, so any performance-enhancing technology is already enabled or proactively introduced to customers.
“One of the things I majored in is economics and we talk about opt-in vs opt-out policies like organ donation and how flaws can significantly influence outcomes,” Ohashi said. . “By forcing opt-in performance improvements, I don’t know how many thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of sites have been positively impacted by these benchmarks without ever being aware of it, as hosting companies are forced to enable better defaults.”
Ohashi also works with companies on things that don’t fit into the benchmarks, like reporting integration/UI/UX experience issues and reporting bugs.
“I’ve probably used more different WordPress hosting companies than anyone else in the world at this point (I have to be in the top 10 to do these benchmarks for a decade, right ?)”, did he declare. “If I can’t figure out how to do something in your system, it’s probably your system, not me. I really want to see everyone do better, because everyone wins in this scenario and I will try to help as much as possible to make that happen.
Check out the 2022 WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks for a more detailed breakdown of all the different pricing tiers and a full explanation of the testing methodology. Benchmarks from previous years are also available on the website. This year, Load Storm went out of business, so Ohashi replicated the tests in k6. All of its load testing scripts are open source and available on GitHub, so others are welcome to use them to test their own sites or build their own test suites.