You may have noticed my last two profit reports had a secretive line item for “New site”. I kept saying that I’ll reveal what this is to you soon. Ladies and gentlemen, that time is now 🙂
I got the idea from you
Seriously, it was the reaction of you readers on this site that kick started this new project. I have an article that discusses my transition from HostGator to StableHost. It was meant to be a learning experience for me, so I could document before and after stats. I also wanted to get the word out about HostGator no longer being a decent host. And I thought I might as well include my referral code in the links to StableHost in the slight chance anyone signs up through me I’d get a buck or two.
The results of that one post have been impressive. To date it’s the most popular article on this site, receiving about 500 page views per month (about 13% of all my views). And what’s more impressive is I have done extremely little to promote it – all that traffic is just magically coming from SEO.
There have been 19 people that have become new StableHost customers as a result of reading that article. And at $25 commission per person, that’s almost $500. For a single blog post.
I realized there was a need
I realized there was a need for web hosting performance stats. Not reviews about who people *think* is the fastest, but real hard numbers that show a host is 2.9 seconds faster than an alternative host they were thinking about using. I looked around for sites that benchmark popular web hosting companies, and I couldn’t find any (other than a few blog posts like mine).
I realize that $500 from my 9 month old post isn’t that lucrative, but what if I was testing multiple hosts? And running more than one test on them. And updating the results every month. Then I discovered that $25 per referral is among the lowest in the industry. Some hosts pay you up to $100 per signup. I’m doing the math, and this looks like it has potential to make money too!
Plus I really wanted this information. I spent weeks trying to research hosts before I finally chose my existing one, simply because I was looking for hard evidence and all I could find was opinions. Wouldn’t it be nice to see a couple graphs showing me who really was the best, with numbers to back it up? Even if no one else benefited from it, I’d love it.
Creating the first version
I learned that the only true way to compare hosts is to have the same exact site hosted on both of them at the same exact time, otherwise differences in page size, internet bandwidth, and page resources throw the figures. I did find some sites that were comparing load or uptimes of the host’s corporate home pages, but that’s like comparing apples and oranges (and during different seasons too). I realized that I’d have to create hosting accounts on each of these hosts, put up a test page, and use the same test page across all sites. So I did just that.
And for the last 3 months I’ve been running performance tests on those hosts. Measuring uptime, page speed, download speed, stress test results, and even customer support response (yes, I create a ticket every month and measure how long it takes to get a response).
Finally I whipped up a very simplistic site to show the results. Using Bootstrap for the layout and Highcharts for the graphs, it actually hasn’t taken me too long.
Introducing Host Benchmarker
Okay, enough talk – here’s the new site: http://www.hostbenchmarker.com
I know it looks a little plain (it’ll get a makeover once it proves itself worthy). But all the data is there. What do you all think? Did I benchmark the host you’re currently using?
Results so far
So far things don’t look good from a profit perspective. I’ve spent almost $500 with no return, and am getting just a few (5 or so) visitors a day. But – I expected this. I know this project was going to be expense heavy (about $100/month to pay for hosting fees and testing tools), and was going to rely heavily on SEO. Getting traffic from search engines takes time (at least a few months, and sometimes up to a year) before it becomes steady.
The plan is to be patient and keep this going for a full year to see if I’m able to rank well and get some exposure.
However, even without lots of traffic, the results have been interesting so far. I definitely feel happy about being with StableHost, as they have ranked highly almost every month. And if I ever need specific qualities in a host, such as quick static downloads or high concurrency, I know exactly who to choose.
Here are a few insights:
- StableHost has remained true to their name, with 100% uptime. GoDaddy is absolutely miserable in this category (a day without a few minutes of downtime is rare).
- NameCheap may not be the best choice if you have lots of large files. When downloading a static 100MB file, most hosts complete within 2-3 minutes. Namecheap: 20-45 minutes for the first two months I tested. This month seemed better, but still.
- Yahoo surprisingly can handle lots of load (over 300 concurrent users), while most other hosts crash around 50 connections.
So, what do you think? Would love to hear any questions/comment/concerns from you – after all, you inspired me with the idea!
Check it out! http://www.hostbenchmarker.com