As a WordPress user, unless you’re using a service like WordPress.com, chances are high that you’ve had to choose a hosting provider. And choosing the right hosting service is critical to your website—it’s like finding a solid, dependable new home to live in.
If you’re anything like me, you don’t just jump on the first host provider that comes to mind. No, you do some hard research—probably a lot of research—to find the fastest and most dependable home to meet the needs of your new site.
But there’s a big problem when it comes to finding a reliable host—and that problem is finding reliable information.
If you’ve ever tried to research web hosting online, you know the obstacles you face. Trying to decipher between honest and helpful information, versus untrustworthy reviews that are self-serving and only exist to put money in the pockets of the site and hosting owners, is not easy.
This is where Hosting Facts comes in. As its name implies, their promise to website owners is to provide the facts on how well a hosting company measures up to the needs of its users. Instead of offering subjective opinions that can be misleading or fraudulent, they promise to offer reviews and recommendations based on measurable data and performance.
But how do you know that Hosting Facts isn’t just another biased service that’s standing between your hard-earned money and a reliable hosting provider? It’s this question that this review will focus on when we take a look at their free review service. Can Hosting Facts really help you make a better decision on the new home for your website? Or is it just another suspect service that needs to be avoided? Let’s take a closer look.
Features Offered at Hosting Facts
What does Hosting Facts offer the WordPress user?
At HostingFacts.com, you’ll find:
• Up-to-date hosting reviews for 30 popular web hosts based on uptime, page load speed, support, and more
• A list of the best-performing hosting services
• Individual user reviews/comments, as well as the opportunity to add your own short user review for $5
• Categorized topics such as Best WordPress Hosting, Cheapest Web Hosting, and more
• Coupons and special discounts for hosting and domains with various providers
• An explanation of their review process, as well as links to their test sites
• Test site data (current and historical) for the different host providers
• Tools, guides, and tutorials, including (but not limited to):
Introduction to Web Development & Design 101
How to Create a Blog with WordPress
How to Speed up Your Website — 21 Tricks and Tweaks
How to Secure Your Site — 28 Ways to Secure WordPress Blog/Site
Tips to Avoid Getting Ripped While Choosing a Web Host
Beginners Guide to cPanel — 2016 Edition
Best Email Marketing Services (2017)
6 Best Free & Paid Website Monitoring Services
10 Things That Make a Web Host Better Than Others
Different Types of Hosting Compared
Website Uptime/Downtime Calculator
15 Best Domain Name Generators
The Complete Guide to Evaluating Online Resources
Using Hosting Facts
So what’s the best way to use HostingFacts.com?
I think the best thing to do is to go to their homepage and scan the reviews for the 30 different hosting services they’ve covered.
Hosting Facts focuses on some of the most popular hosting providers. Each provider they choose must be at least two years old, have at least 50,000 active customers, and have chat or phone support. A few of the hosting services they cover include HostGator, DreamHost, SiteGround, Bluehost, and A2 Hosting.
Through Pingdom.com, Hosting Facts monitors the performance of each hosting company (they’ve done so for the last 17 months, and counting).
For their reviews, Hosting Facts puts a duplicate, simple WordPress site on each host provider, and focuses on:
• Reliability/uptime percentage of average (monitored over one minute intervals)
• Speed/load time average over one minute intervals (US, Europe, Asia)
• Customer support tests around 3-4 common hosting questions (average response times, knowledge level, and friendliness)
• User experience (ease of signup and account activation, ease of WordPress installation, control panel user-friendliness)
• Pricing and plans (including hidden fees or unfair practices)
Hosting Facts does a good job at allowing you to see at a glance who some of the best and worst hosting companies are.
For example, they include articles like:
3 Best Web Hosting Services for 2016
13 Hosts That Failed With Uptime & Speed
6 Hosts That Failed with Uptime
3 Hosts That Failed with Load Time
Hosting Facts Reviews
To get a good idea of how Hosting Facts ranks the different hosting services, you can check out their Review Process page.
Information within the reviews are covered in a friendly, conversational tone, instead of high doses of technical jargon that are typical of web hosting reviews.
Hosting Facts reviews cover:
• Background information about the host (with links to the Hosting Facts WordPress test site and detailed performance stats)
• Pros and cons about the host provider
• Informational graphics for page load speed and uptime (with a link to full data history)
Hosting Facts sets up a very simple WordPress website, duplicates it, and puts it on each host they review. In this way, they know their data is more meaningful because they’re comparing apples to apples, allowing them to get important, relative data. For example, they can see that Hosting Company A is faster (load time) or more reliable (uptime) than Hosting Company B.
Because Hosting Facts pays for each of their sites to be hosted, they are actual customers of each hosting provider. Then, as their sites are hosted, they use Pingdom.com to track the metrics for site uptime and page load speed over 12+ months. They can also see site load times for different countries and devices.
• Information about user experience
To measure user experience, Hosting Facts mainly rates the quality of customer support they get, and also considers user reviews. Hosting Facts test support teams with 3-4 questions that are typical for new website owners. In doing so, they evaluate:
• How long it takes support to respond
• How well they communicate (friendliness, ability to understand)
• Knowledge level of support staff
• Marketing and pricing information (Are they upfront and easy to understand? Are they hiding fees? Are there lots of upsells? )
• Support channels (email, phone, etc.)
• Overview about hosting plans offered
• “Quick Facts” and recap summaries
• Whether or not they recommend the host provider (with link to host website)
• Any available special discounted pricing
• User comments/reviews
Individual user comments appear at the end of the Hosting Facts reviews. These types of comments can sometimes be useful, especially if you see a recurring theme (e.g., multiple people saying support was slow). But I think you need to take individual user comments with a grain of salt. They’re more prone to personal bias and can’t be proven by data in the way that Hosting Facts reviews can.
Users rank hosts between 1-100 (100 being the best), whereas Hosting Facts ranks hosts as to where they stand in different areas among the 30 hosts. For example, A2 Hosting is ranked 1st (out of the 30 hosts) for average page load time, and Bluehost is ranked 14th out of 30 hosts for site uptime.
The Final Tally
Based on the above criteria, Hosting Facts says they give each hosting company a rating from 0-10, with 10 being the highest possible score, (although I couldn’t find any 0-10 ratings, you can find ratings for where a specific host company ranks among the 30 hosts they’ve reviewed).
According to Host Factor, site uptime, page load speed, support, and price are each weighted at 25% in the overall rating.
Hosting Facts then lists each of these factors separately so that you can get a clear understanding of where a hosting company’s strengths and weaknesses are.
Support & Documentation
I found HostingFacts.com to be an easy website to navigate, without the need for much support or documentation.
That said, they do provide answers on their site to common questions about web hosting.
And along with helpful website reviews, they have a page for free guides and tools.
Finally, visitors who wish to leave feedback can do so through their contact page.
Hosting Facts is free for anyone to use.
Not only is their review information freely accessible, but they also offer tutorials and guides, as well as discounts on the pricing of various hosting services. I was impressed with some of the discounted deals they have on their site, including one for 80% off the cost of hosting.
So how does Hosting Facts spend time and money reviewing these hosting providers without charging for the information? As disclosed on their site, they have affiliate relationships with some of the hosting providers they review. Is this a conflict of interest that leads to untrustworthy and biased information?
Personally, I don’t see that being the case here, for a couple of reasons. Because Hosting Facts has taken the unusual step to become actual customers with all 30 hosting services, they need to invest $2500/year to cover their hosting expenses. Affiliate relationships are a common business model that allows information providers like Hosting Facts to provide a valuable service and still put food on their table.
Additionally, affiliate relationships should never equate to higher costs for customers who decide to purchase through their links. As a matter of fact, as mentioned earlier, Hosting Facts offers valuable discounts through their site that can’t be found elsewhere.
And with the access they give to their WordPress test sites, and history of data collection for those sites, readers can examine and even test the performance metrics around the hosting companies they review. Because of this, in my opinion, reviews and rankings at Hosting Facts have a solid foundation that takes away a lot of possible bias.
Conclusions & Recommendations
With the huge amount of misleading information around the web hosting industry online, finding a fast and dependable host for your WordPress website can be a hit-or-miss adventure.
Hosting Facts is an informational website that aims to combat this problem, hold hosting companies accountable, and make it easier for you to find the right hosting company for your needs.
I particularly like the overall model of HostingFacts.com, where they become actual customers (who sign up anonymously) of each hosting service. As customers, they can more easily obtain real performance data (through Pingdom.com) and more accurately judge user experience, allowing them to give you real insight into the strengths and weakness of each hosting company.
As mentioned before, although Hosting Facts has affiliate relationships with certain hosting companies, the fact that reviews are so highly impacted by performance metrics helps to remove much of the ambiguity and bias that can sometimes creep into affiliate relationships. And because Hosting Facts provides a link to their test sites and data collection history, they appear to be committed to transparency and openness. Doing so helps improve trustworthiness because it allows readers to look into or even test the data more closely, if desired.
I also like the conversational tone of the Hosting Facts reviews. Readers who want more technical information may find the writing a bit off-putting, but I personally found the lack of jargon refreshing, easier to digest, and even entertaining, at times.
While they do take their work seriously, they’re not too highbrow to include a “fun fact” within some of their reviews. For instance, according to Hosting Facts, Fatcow has “the funniest name in the web hosting industry”.
So, if you’re in the market for a new hosting provider, where should you start? Well, if you’re looking for reliable and data-driven information, HostingFacts.com may just be the weapon you need in the fight against the vast amount of misleading and deceptive host reviews online.
To find out more about Hosting Facts, you can check them out at HostingFacts.com.