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WordPress Hosting - Does Price Give Better Performance?

reviewsignal.com | Dec. 7, 2018 | 7 min read

Analyzing performance data to determine the impact of price on performance in WordPress hosting

8 votes   Flag
Sallie Goetsch (rhymes with 'sketch')

There's a fundamental rule of statistics that you need to keep in mind: correlation does not imply causation. It's not simply the money you spend, but what the money is buying you. If hosting companies raised the prices of their bottom-tier shared hosting, the performance of the sites on that tier wouldn't magically increase.

It costs more to buy additional servers and hire more people to maintain them, so a better quality of service is likely to be more expensive than poor-quality service even if offered at cost. The article concludes that based on the tests the author conducted, you generally get what you pay for. But that doesn't guarantee that paying a high price gets you good service--you still have to find out how well-suited a given host is to the kind of site you want to build. (And there are also confounding variables like the complexity and traffic on sites that use enterprise hosting versus those on inexpensive hosting--you'd actually want to test the same exact site across hosts, but I doubt it would be possible to put a massive enterprise site on one of those tiny plans.)

Kevin Ohashi

I believe my conclusion said there is a correlation, and correlation doesn't necessarily imply causation. There could be some causation though, and when you're looking at something like paying more and getting more service. I suspect there actually is some degree of causation (in fact, I HOPE there is because otherwise what's all the money for?).

As far as the concern about they could just raise their prices and performance wouldn't magically increase, sure, they also might lose a lot of customers since it's a more expensive product with poor performance. The data is from benchmarks I do where companies are opting in to be tested at difference price tiers, so they are balancing the appearance of the price of their plan and the performance that will be given. So in this specific case, I would say that concern is less relevant about they could simply raise prices because of how this data was collected.

Your concern high paying hosts being automatically good is addressed quite explicitly when I wrote " It's not a rule at the specific host level and there are definitely some companies performing better than others." This was a meta analysis on average performance across price tiers. On average, you do seem to get more performance based on how much you pay. If you want to compare on an individual host level, that's what the original benchmarks do. They use the same site across every price on every price tier for testing as well.