With more than 5,000 web hosting companies on the Internet, consumers are looking for a short cut to finding the best service for their business and personal requirements. A little known secret from the “geek” community can greatly simplify the process of finding the perfect match for you.
Since the mid-1990’s, a company in Bath, England called Netcraft has been providing free research data and analysis on many aspects of the Internet. They are a respected authority on web hosting providers, operating systems, ISP’s, electronic commerce, encryption, and content technologies, to name but a few. Netcraft is the place where webmasters and other information technology professionals go when they want answers to solve real-world problems. Fortunately, one of the best reports Netcraft produces is an on-line near-real-time web host performance report. It provides performance data on about 50 of the top web hosting companies on the Internet. Incredibly, the report is free and updated every 15 minutes.
Netcraft’s Hosting Providers Network Performance report can best serve those who are seeking to locate a reliable hosting service. It tracks outages over the past 24 hours providing the hours, minutes, and seconds of outages. Performance monitoring agents are operating in the USA and the UK so that the network performance can be determined from different points. Web hosting performance is comprised of the time to process the http GET request and return the page contents. The time reported depends on the speed of the processor, the size of the data, the number of concurrent requests being processed by the web server and so forth. Dynamic content generally requires more time than static content. During the http GET request Netcraft records four times: (1) DNS (2) connect (3) first byte, and (4) total.
The DNS category provides performance information on the time it takes for the Domain Name Service (DNS) to lookup the hostname. The customer’s local name server as well as the authoritative name server for the domain affects DNS response time. Due to the wide variability of this performance parameter it is not part of the total time recorded. The connect performance parameter is the first phase of the http GET request when the TCP/IP connection is made to the web hosting server. Connect is typically reflective of network latency but if the web host is under heavy load the time recorded will increase. The first byte performance parameter is the time from when the last byte of the http GET request is sent until the first byte of the response header is received. Although many different factors, including application associated processing, are involved this performance parameter is generally useful in determining how fast the web hosting server is responding. From a performance perspective this is the silver bullet because studies have shown that consumers purchase more often and in higher dollar amounts from fast performing web servers. The last performance parameter is the total, which is the time from when the http GET request is started until the last byte is received.
Can selecting a great web hosting provider really be so simple as looking at web hosting performance reports? Well, yes and no. If you are simply looking for the best virtual web hosting company using Netcraft’s web hosting performance report can help you select from the 1% of hosting companies who are so confident in their service that they pay Netcraft to monitor and publish the results for everyone to see. The chances are very good that companies willing to do this will do everything possible to keep their operation running as competitively as possible. Of course, you still need to determine which of these best 50 companies can satisfy your needs in terms of operating system support, programming languages supported, and so forth. You can save yourself lots of valuable research time by using iTechGuide’s
Hosting table to help further identify the best web hosting company for your needs.