When people buy a new hosting plan, they usually go for a company they have heard of, a company they have read about on a review website, or a company they or people they know currently use. If you are not an ICDSoft customer yet, you may have not heard about us as we do not spend money for ads. Instead, we prefer to invest in upgrading our hosting infrastructure and improving even further our outstanding support. We do not appear on many review websites either, as the vast majority of such sites actually publish paid reviews that do not reflect properly on the quality of the service offered by a particular provider. What is worse, these reviews are often written by the company that is being reviewed. It doesn’t make sense to trust such reviews, does it?
How it all started
In 2021, we got in touch with a company called Review Signal to take part in their annual WordPress benchmark tests. We were curious to see how we compare with the competition. We have always strived to offer a top-notch WordPress-oriented service, but most, if not all, companies claim to offer such a service as well. This was a chance for us to see where we stood. Back then, we were still working on several performance-oriented projects that were not ready yet, and we were still fine-tuning our servers after a major hardware upgrade.
Nonetheless, we decided to take part in the tests. Our result was borderline – solid in some respects, but still not top-tier in others. We earned an Honorable Mention, which was pretty good for a first-timer, but not good enough for us. After all, we’ve been hosting thousands of WordPress websites, and we wanted to make sure that we would offer the best possible service to our customers.
By 2022, we had further optimized our servers and our hosting platform, so we entered this year’s competition with confidence. We will not keep you in the dark as you already saw the title of this article - we are proud to tell you that
We have earned a Top Tier WordPress Hosting Performance Award!
What was being tested and where we stand
Review Signal perform thorough tests to see how a server will perform with the default settings that customers get if they sign up. Simple one-click performance enhancements are accepted as well, but custom configurations that are designed solely for the test are not (with the exception of the high-end $500+ Enterprise tier). The clear methodology and the fact that Review Signal are probably the most trustworthy review website were the reasons why we trusted Review Signal – their results were really going to tell us where we stood against the huge competition on the hosting market. Performing real tests and being objective is what sets them apart from other review websites.
Top Tier WordPress Hosting (Full Star):
This is awarded to companies who maintain 99.9% uptime throughout the entire testing and show little to no performance degradation during load testing, primarily focused on error rate and consistent response times. Error rates above 0.1% and response times above 1000ms* will keep a company away from achieving Top Tier marks.
The tests are performed over a period of at least three months. This period allows the company to take accurate measurements and to make sure the performance is consistent. We will not bother you with much technical information, but we will mention a few of the things they measure:
- Uptime. You may be using the fastest server, but it will be no good if it goes down often. The three-month testing period ensures the uptime is measured properly and reflects the actual uptime that client websites will have. Here, our result is superb – our servers have 99.95% and 99.96% uptime measured by two different monitors – HetrixTools and UptimeRobot.
- Load test (no caching). This test measures the performance of the site if a very high number of visitors browse it or log in. You can see how the site will perform during peak times without any caching using a tool called Loadstorm. In this test, we have the second fastest loading page and the third fastest p95 page. We also have the fastest wp-login result.
- Load test (with caching). The test is performed with K6 - a tool that requests the home page repeatedly. It is similar to the LoadStorm test, but it measures the performance with caching enabled. Here, we are among the top few companies with fastest response time.
- WebPageTest. This test measures how fast the home page fully loads from 12 different locations around the world. The speed depends not only on the connection a particular provider utilizes, but also on the data center location relative to the testing servers. We have very good results here, beating some big names in the industry. From some locations, the page loading time on our servers was below 0.5 seconds!
- Raw speed performance. The WPPerformanceTester plugin is used for the test, which includes heavy computational and database operations. In this test, our result is in the top ten.
Here are a few screenshots of our results, but if you are interested to check out the entire report, go to https://wphostingbenchmarks.com/company/icdsoft/.
Although we are a first-time participant in this section, we received an WooCommerce Honorable mention as well. WooCommerce is a plugin that turns WordPress into a complete e-commerce solution. Running such a site usually requires a custom setup that may not be suitable for other WordPress-based websites. Usually, such a setup is significantly more expensive, but we decided to participate with our Business plan. We are happy that we have the top score in the buyer profile and login categories, and we are in the top 4 companies in almost all other categories! If you are looking for a very good, yet affordable hosting provider for your WooCommerce online store, our hosting plans would be a great choice.
What stands behind this recognition?
First of all, our dedication to offer the best possible WordPress-oriented service to all our current and future customers. We host thousands of WordPress websites, and we value this award as it is an impartial recognition of what we have done through the years. It shows us that we’ve been going in the right direction. Many hours of hard work finally paid off and today we can offer you an exceptional WordPress hosting service that truly stands out.
This is the place where we have to mention two important facts. The first one is that we score better than much bigger companies in most of the tests. This is to tell you that big names with very expensive ad campaigns do not necessarily offer good services. If you are not our customer yet, you can check the quality of our WordPress hosting plans yourself. If you have a website elsewhere, we will move it over for free. The second fact is that although the quality of our services surpasses that of lots of other providers, our prices are lower, sometimes significantly, compared to what you will have to pay to other companies. This is valid even before you take advantage of our discounts for new and existing customers.
Here are a few of the features, which made it possible for us to achieve such great results on the WordPress tests. Have in mind that they are part of all our hosting plans by default, so all our customers enjoy the same high level of service.
- PHP-FPM with OPcache. The PHP FastCGI Process Manager keeps PHP worker processes active at all times to make sure they can handle incoming requests promptly. As a result, the server response time (Time to first byte, TTFB) is significantly lower, while the server can handle more requests. PHP-FPM comes with OPcache - a caching platform that keeps code in the server memory for faster PHP execution.
- Server-side caching. Our platform will cache certain requests and deliver the content faster to your site visitors. This will reduce the loading time of your site and will decrease the system resources the site uses.
- Multiple server tweaks. Our administrators have thoroughly tested various tweaks and optimizations to make sure that any WordPress site runs flawlessly on our servers. This includes web, database, and storage servers. All our servers have the same configuration, so you can be sure that if Review Signal used your own hosting account for their tests, they would have achieved the same great results.
- WordPress toolkit. Not something that is directly related to the speed of your websites, but it certainly makes the site management much easier. We have added a number of tools and services that you can use for your WordPress site. Create a staging site; clone, back up or restore your content; protect your admin dashboard and the site sensitive directories; optimize WordPress and profile the site speed - you can do all these things with a single click. Using a fast and powerful server for your site should go hand in hand with fast and easy site management.
You can get even better results with some fine tuning even if you have no experience managing websites. The Review Signal tests were performed on an account running PHP 7.4, as this is the default version for new accounts on our servers. With a click, you can use PHP 8.0 or 8.1 and boost the performance of your WordPress websites even more.
If you have any questions about improving the performance of your WordPress websites, or you experience any problems, you can contact our amazing tech support team 24/7. Using a powerful server that is optimized for WordPress is important. Relying on people who have years of experience working with WordPress websites can be just as important. Not many companies have an average response and resolution time of just 15 minutes.
So, what’s next?
Our mission is to constantly improve our services. While we are very happy that our service was ranked among the best in the 2022 WordPress Hosting Performance Benchmarks, we will not rest, and we will not stop improving our hosting platform. Receiving this top-tier award only makes us more ambitious to take place in next year’s competition and to maintain our position as one of the top WordPress hosting providers out there. Our service is already great, but we are also constantly adding new features and improvements, so make sure you check our website regularly for new tools and tweaks that will speed up your WordPress websites even more and will make their management even easier.