Joomla Hosting Directory Report on the Top 6 Hosts for Q1 of 2014

Posted on Feb 10 2014

Last year we have performed series of speed, security and support tests on all of the hosting providers featured in our directory. Our initial idea was to make those test every three months. Unfortunately, due to the complexity and time those tests required we couldn’t keep this promise. However, we believe that those tests are crucial for choosing the best Joomla hosting provider. This is why, we have repeated them in the beginning of 2014. Below, you will find information on how we made those tests and how the providers performed this year and an year ago.

Joomla hosting companies speed tests

HOW DID WE TEST: To determine the speed of a host, we tried to recreate a real-world environment where the host server is under stress load. We tried to create a situation with a normal to high load and see how quickly the host server will process hits in a two-minute period, what will be the average time per transaction and would the server remain available or return an error, meaning it couldn’t bear the load generated.

During the year, four of the top 6 hosting providers remained the same. Here’s a comparison table showing their results in the beginning of 2013 and 2014:

Company Hits in 2013 Hits in 2014 Uptime 2013 Uptime 2014
SiteGround 7000 hits 13192 hits 100% 100%
Rochen 2070 hits 1578 hits 99% 100%
Arvixe 700 hits 1346 hits 62% 99.12%
Bluehost 250 hits 244 hits 100% 87.14%

In addition to those, we have two new members of our top ranking Joomla hosting providers list:

Company Hits in 2014 Uptime 2014
Cloud Access 1215 hits 100%
A2 Hosting 1031 hits 99.90%

Joomla hosting companies security tests

For the security tests, we have used the same criteria we did last year – we checked the level of account isolation. We’re happy that we couldn’t find serious security issues in any of the hosting providers listed in our site. All of them seem to take security seriously and apply the necessary patches and filters to have you covered.

Joomla hosting companies support tests

HOW DID WE TEST: To measure the level of Joomla customer support, we tested the response time and the quality of the responses given by the hosts. Two types of inquiries were made – basic and advanced Joomla issues. Basic ones were simple cases as “Reset my Joomla admin password” or “install a fresh Joomla on my account”. Advanced issues required more tweaking on our end so we could break a Joomla and see how the host would react. For example, we broke the template on our installation and asked for a fix.

Support is one of the most important criteria you should take into consideration when choosing a Joomla hosting provider for your site. Here’s how the providers that were listed last year performed:

Company Basic question in 2013 Basic question in 2014 Advanced question in 2013 Advanced question in 2014
SiteGround 5 min 5 min 15 min 15 min
Rochen 6 hours 22 min 8 hours 2 hours
Arvixe 26 min 30 min 1 hour 1h 10 min
Bluehost 8 min 15 min 12 min 1 hour

Here’s how our new entries performed. It took Coloud Access 16 min to send their first reply and a total of 31 to have a basic Joomla issue fixed. Unfortunately, they didn’t manage to reply to the advanced Joomla ticket correctly. It took A2 Hosting one day to answer the initial ticket with a very basic Joomla question and another 24 hours to close it without resolution. At this level of support, we decided that there is no need to test with advanced Joomla questions.

Company Basic question in 2014 Advanced question in 2014
Cloud Access 8 hours 2 hours with NO resolution
A2 Hosting 48 hours (no resolution) No advanced support

Innovations and additional features

There isn’t much that most of the hosting companies have added to the value of their packages except for SiteGround. The folks from SiteGround have completely redesigned their site making their Help Desk system even better. In addition to that, on the higher shared hosting plans, they’ve added some Joomla-specific features like an in-house developed caching solution that can be enabled with a single click and even easier to use staging functionality that allows you to make development copies of your website in seconds.

Another hosting that changed a lot during the year is A2 Hosting. First, they have switched their servers to use SSD hard disks which should improve the speed of their service. Unfortunately, they weren’t listed top 6 last year so we can’t really compare them.

Final results

We have combined the results from all the test and ordered the hosting companies by what we believe is a very trustworthy criteria. Again, SiteGround got the first position with their incredible support, fast and stable servers and Joomla-specific optimizations. Some of the other hosting providers have improved during the last year too. For example, Rochen have significantly reduced the response time of their support team for basic Joomla questions. Unfortunately, others like Arvixe have become worse. This is why, we’ve placed them after Bluehost.

  1. SiteGround
  2. Rochen
  3. Bluehost
  4. Arvixe
  5. Cloud Access
  6. A2 Hosting

Joomla Hosting Directory Report on the Top 6 Hosts for Q1 of 2013

Posted on Apr 02 2013

The Joomla Hosting Directory has launched a new set of tests to measure the performance of hosts servicing Joomla websites. As you know many hosts claim to support Joomla, but the question is how good their service is especially if they are priced at up to $10/month, which is considered a low price for quality shared hosting. To address that concern, we have come up with an objective set of tests that will help us evaluate hosts and compare their performance. Starting with this first quarter of 2013, we will apply the same set of tests every quarter from now on and monitor the deviations, which should also result in change of rankings where needed.

The Joomla hosting directory tests are based on three main criteria that distinguish a good hosting service – speed, security and support for Joomla sites.

How is speed measured?

To determine the speed of a host, we tried to recreate a real-world environment where the host server is under stress load. Each shared server has to process hundreds of thousands of hits and how fast your site will load very much depends on the load the server processes at that very moment. That is why we test if hosts are actually able to handle the so-called Slashdot effect – a large number of requests towards a Joomla website in a short period of time. We tried to create a situation with a normal to high load and see how quickly the host server will process hits in a two-minute period, what will be the average time per transaction and would the server remain available or return an error, meaning it couldn’t bear the load generated. Based on our speed & resilience tests, here is how hosts ranked:

  • SiteGround 7000 hits processed with 100% availability
  • Rochen 2070 hits processed with 99% availability
  • Ipage 1300 hits processed with 95% availability
  • Hostgator 580 hits processed with 100% availability
  • Arvixe 700 hits processed with 62% availability
  • Bluehost 250 hits processed with 100% availability

How is security level measured?

Our test on security is based on the following three questions: Did the host implement a mechanism for isolating the accounts on a shared server? Is all software on server up-to-date? Could we access and withdraw any information from the server that could serve an attacker with bad intentions? Account Isolation was our primary goal though, as this is an essential yet not so simple tool to guarantee that accounts on a shared server won’t get hacked when another account on the same server is targeted. For five hosts we could prove that they have a way to isolate accounts: SiteGround, Arvixe, iPage, Rochen and Hostgator. The others either don’t do it, or do it in a way that we consider not secure enough. We did not detect any major vulnerabilities or bad maintenance among the hosts we chose for our top 6.

How is customer support measured?

To measure the level of Joomla customer support, we tested the response time and the quality of the responses given by the hosts. Two types of inquiries were made – basic and advanced Joomla issues. Basic ones were simple cases as “Reset my Joomla admin password” or “install a fresh Joomla on my account”. Advanced issues required more tweaking on our end so we could break a Joomla and see how the host would react. For example, we broke the template on our installation and asked for a fix. Here is how hosts ranked:

  • Bluehost – basic issues 8 minutes, advanced – 12min
  • SiteGround – basic issues – 5min, advanced – 15min
  • Arvixe – basic issues – 26min, advanced – 1hour
  • Hostgator – basic issues – 35min, advanced – 10 hours
  • Ipage – basic issues – 25min, advanced – 20+ hours
  • Rochen – basic issues – 6 hours, advanced – 8 hours

Additional tests

We are very interested to see what else hosts do for Joomla in particular. It is a well-known fact that the more you pay, the more you will get. However, given that we compare hosts within the $1-$10/month range, the price factor is insignificant hence all are comparable. All the tested hosts have free tutorials for Joomla and offer easy auto-installations through tools like Softaculous, Simplescripts or Quickinstall. One new interesting service that popped up and is worth mentioning however, is Joomla auto-updater. Until now, only SiteGround and much more expensive niche providers offer this service.

Based on the tests explained above, we have ranked the hosts as follows:

  1. SiteGround
  2. Hostgator
  3. Ipage
  4. Bluehost
  5. Arvixe
  6. Rochen

Check Our Interview with SiteGround CEO on Joomla Speed, Security and more…


Disclaimer 1: The web hosting companies in this directory have been chosen and ranked based on the editors' personal experience and/or research about each company performance. We do receive affiliate commissions from some of the listed web hosting companies, but the size of the commission does not play key role for the presence or the ranking in the directory.

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