HRank.com

What is HRANK?

HRANK is our own rating system based on research, analysis and experience and is meant to be objective and up-to-date; and free.

We monitor only SHARED HOSTING PROVIDERS

 

As opposed to the majority of existing hosting review companies that base their decisions on uptime check option, we do not offer any software or online tool to monitor your personal website. We are for a bigger and much more objective picture when it comes to shared hosting performance. Our rating system estimates a hosting company on the basis of several factors, the major of which being

  • uptime,
  • response time,
  • price,
  • hosting company’s age, history and experience,
  • overall appearance of a website, its usability,
  • the level of support.

We provide the most accurate and reliable data with regards to hostings’ past and current performance – how they worked for a period of time, how long and how often they were down and how fast their servers respond.

The research and analysis we’ve done since the end of 2016 is really huge and it is in our plans to do so much more.


How We Actually Do It

 

  • We monitor and collect data from shared servers and their websites (constantly).

Shared servers can be (rarely) sparsely populated; however, most of the time they are pretty crowded (some may host up to a thousand websites.) After all, that’s the whole purpose of a shared hosting service – cheap and cheerful.

As we want to create the most objective picture of shared hosting performance, we include only those servers that host 50 or more domains into our analysis. Such a decision allows us to cover the maximum number of webservers (which is about 98%) and also to provide the most reliable uptime charts you can find anywhere on the Internet at the moment.

In our experience, this number (>50 domains/server) is the lowest but the most accurate limit to get an objective picture. Servers with >5 domains could add 0.5% (which is not much of a significance, really); servers with >100 domains are only able to give information about 86% webservers (unfortunately, such data is insufficient and cannot be considered representative.)

  • Our software aggregates and analyses the data and provides uptime and response time information for every web server (the average value for the previous 30 days).

Our bot sends 288 requests to each server every 24 hours. Let’s say, it visits a webserver every 5 minutes. The requests are totally random, and they are also unique each time. Due to the fact that most servers host large numbers of websites, we don’t strain them in the slightest by checking one website (say, out of 500-1000) at a time. No harm whatsoever.

  • Then we go to a hosting company website and wander there – have a look at their age, design, usability and overall appearance.
  • We have a look at support either. As long as we have first-hand experience with the majority of hostings we review here, we definitely have a few words to add.
  • We dig deeper into pricing information – far deeper than an average customer, as they rarely see beyond the cart (and promo prices are way different from the renewal ones). So, we give it a pretty thorough check.
  • We compile a hosting review (that are neither sponsored by hosting companies nor can be altered on their demand) and back it up with all technical statistics that we are able to provide.
  • We rate a hosting company – we give it an HRANK.

Our company has developed software that allows processing versatile and numerous data. We have access to > 40mln websites on the Internet and we know exactly where they belong – the hosting provider and the exact server. Or, if you look at it from another perspective, we have the statistics for each hosting in our database – the number and the location of the servers, which of them are faster, which are prone to having issues, how many domains are there, their migration patterns, etc.

Uptime and response time are the major factors we take into consideration. We strive to provide the most accurate and up-to-date information on both; thus, we also keep tabs on both active and unavailable servers.

While the former are all clear and comprehensive to approach: they work, they can be up or down (at times), but they don’t fail to response in the long-term period. If, however, it happens so that the “line goes dead” on the other side, we still take great pains to adequately evaluate the performance of the entire hosting.

For the sake of drawing the most objective and unbiased picture we provide charts for the previous 30 days running – instead of real-time data.

If may look like such approach defeats the purpose, but it’s not true. This is done specifically for the sake of checking on the servers that have recently stopped responding and might be dead. Thus, you can always see uptime and response time statistics for the previous week – which is the most reliable data you can get. And we intentionally give those servers that seized to response an extra week ; if they grab the chance, they are no longer taken into the account.

With all this we are able to outline hosting performance characteristics much more precisely.


Uptime

The software allows calculating an average response from each of the hosting’s servers and we are able to create a very clear performance picture of entire hosting for a given period of time. Thus, the first component of Hrank is our estimation of average hosting’s uptime.

Such an approach provides an unbiased image of what a hosting provider is really worth. Most of them claim having 99.99% of uptime, but surely enough, it is hardly possible.

What is possible is to assess the ones that are closer to what they claim to be. By accumulating information from all the servers of a hosting we can more objectively estimate and evaluate a hosting provider than, say, tracking performance of your personal website on one particular server. The latter won’t tell you much about the performance of the entire hosting company and all its servers.


Response Time

We monitor the servers whether they are up and working or down and for how long – and we draw our conclusions based on the average results. We do the same with the response time.

For a hosting provider to be called “good”, its response time should be fairly short. A good average comes within 200-350ms range; and we check it exactly for every server – taking into consideration all the factors that can affect or impair the number. Then, again, we draw an average from all the servers and it becomes another component of a hosting provider HRANK.


Support

We have a considerable number of online projects, thus, we are sighed to more than 300 hosting providers and we know about hosting pros and cons first-hand. We can provide expert opinion as we do have, well, a tremendous share of experience and we also know how the companies work with their customers, in other words, how their support really works. In cases when a hosting provider is unfamiliar to us, we initiate a phone call or a live chat conversation. We represent ourselves as potential customers and make inquiries of both general and technical nature, ask tricky questions about technical aspects and not the overall support team approach (and speed).

So, eventually, we get a 3-dimensional picture that is both objective and up-to-date (the ratings are subject to change as soon as any alternations are detected in the process of monitoring). Our rating system gives an opportunity to look at the hosting performance history and draw results on the basis of multiple examples (instead of one, or several).
At the present moment we can provide you with the information about 304 providers and their shared plans, all of them we have experience dealing with.


Other Factors

AGE: We pay attention to the age of the website and how long the company has been in the industry. Hosting market is quite versatile and there is no direct correlation between age and quality, though, sometimes companies that have been there for years are the ones that you can rely on. And sometimes not.

DESIGN: While good design does not necessarily mean good quality, outdated one is able to draw away even least fastidious customers. Companies that make an effort to keep their website nice, up-to-date and user-friendly are definitely ranked higher in our rating.

PRICE: Finally, we go and check the prices. We look at the cheapest offer from a provider (a monthly offer, not a promo price) – and trace how it correlates with the other features, whether it is a fair deal or not. Better performance webhostings with more attractive price offers are rated higher in HRANK.


We do not try to:

  • draw you to some particular hosting;
  • discriminate any hosting provider by presenting unfavorable reviews on purpose.

We try to:

  • be objective;
  • and of use.

We have no aspirations for being hosting gurus, however, there is a lot we can say on one particular subject. We specifically focus on shared web hosting as it is basically one of the most popular among website owners like us – not enterprises, but individuals and small businesses.