- Aug 03, 2013
- by Brad Litwin
At A2 Hosting, we constantly challenge ourselves to find new and innovative ways to speed up and secure our web hosting environment. We believe that everyone deserves a fast, secure place to host their websites. We’ve gone through great effort to compare ourselves to our competitors to determine exactly how we stack up against them in speed.
In an effort to be fully transparent and fair, we are sharing our methodology for testing our servers against the servers of our competitors.
Our main test is page load speed. Statistics show that the longer a page takes to load, the more visitors will bounce, conversions will decrease and ultimately (for e-commerce) revenue will decrease. To test page load speed, we installed replica versions of the target software on each hosting server. The actual test consisted of loading the home page of the software and timing how long it took the page to completely load. No CDN or caching was used on either server, and the page we tested contained mixed content (HTML, CSS, JS and images). The A2 Hosting server and test competitor server loaded the same page, from the same software, at the same time.
During each interval, the page was loaded 10 times consecutively. The purpose for this was to ensure we would garner data that included testing the speed at which the server could retrieve data from physical storage, as well as the time it would take to load the page from RAM. The logic here is that the first time a page is accessed, it will not be cached and not be in RAM, so the web server will have to load the scripts, data and resources from the physical disk and process them. On the subsequent 9 tests, all of that data will already have been loaded into RAM. This tests the overall speed at which the server can process through PHP and MySQL transactions.
The above test was repeated every hour for 7 days straight on each host. This was to give us data over a period of time, capturing both peak and off-peak loads throughout the course of a week.
The servers/hosting packages we tested were chosen to be as similar to our own available packages as possible. We used what information was available to the general public for each hosting provider to determine which of their services would be similar to our own.
For this round of tests, we used PrestaShop as our base platform – the results can be seen in the graph (above, left).
As you can see from our results, pages load 2-3 times faster on A2 Hosting’s servers compared to our competitors. Over the next few weeks we’ll be releasing test results and data for several different hosting companies as we test and compare them to our A2 Hosting SSD servers.