Choosing a webhost is an important but difficult decision, especially when a lot of reviews contain questionable content with affiliate links. It’s hard to find non-biased information such as real experiences customers have had with a company. One reliable source of information is the WPShout webhosting survey.
Despite a goal of 500, only 159 people responded to the survey. Although it’s not a large data set, it provides enough information to get a feel for the webhosting scene in the WordPress ecosystem. The survey collected data in eight areas:
- Average satisfaction
- Median site count
- WordPress compatibility
Each respondent was asked to provide an overall impression between 1-10 to each area with an option to provide a text comment. Monthly cost of a plan, number of sites hosted on the plan, and monthly traffic to hosted sites was also collected.
The Pricing Valley
One of the data points I find interesting is the graph showing customer experience by monthly cost. Those who use the cheapest hosting plans $0-$5 have the worst experience overall. Those who use plans in the $6-$15 range show a significantly higher satisfaction rate across the board. The customer experience level drops off with plans in the $16-$49 range.
I’m surprised by this statistic since several of the managed WordPress hosting plans are in this price range. I expect customers to be the most satisfied with these plans since the service is catered to hosting WordPress sites. The results prove this isn’t the case and managed WordPress hosting providers have room for improvement. Customer satisfaction gradually rises with those who use plans that are $50 or more. I don’t think it’s any surprise that the saying “you get what you pay for” applies to the webhosting industry.
Small or Specialty Webhosts Ranked Well
The results indicate smaller webhosting companies are not only agile in serving customer needs, they’re likely to provide an exceptional level of support. These types of companies fit into a mid-level tier of cost and popularity. Examples include Flywheel and A Small Orange. Digital Ocean also has a good showing with high rankings across the board.
Established, large hosting companies such as Dreamhost and Media Temple, have less than stellar ratings. Comment feedback indicates Dreamhost needs to improve not only its tech support, but reliability across the board. “I’ve liked Dreamhost in the past, but it seems the speed becomes slower each year, the servers become less reliable, and the support less helpful.”
Things to Keep in Mind
It’s important to keep in mind that ratings and averages for some webhosting companies in the survey are based on 2-5 responses. The data should not be used by itself to make decisions on which company to host a site with. Instead, use the data in combination with several other sources of information such as recommendations, personal research, and non-affiliated reviews.
I encourage you to review the results and if you want access to the raw survey data, send a request to WPShout. Are you surprised at all by the results or are they par for the course?
Even if the data set is small I think the results are pretty accurate.
What I’ve realized from my experience (I own a WordPress hosting company in Romania) is that people who chose cheap hosting have very unrealistic expectations and that makes their experience seem much worse than it actually is.