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There’s no denying that some shared hosting is just slower than others, especially when the site utilizes a Content Management System, CMS. We decided to investigate a way to measure how many websites each of these four popular shared hosting providers ‘pack’ into each server:

  1. GoDaddy
  2. Network Solutions
  3. Bluehost
  4. HostGator

In our personal experience, GoDaddy is the worst offender here, followed by Network Solutions. Bluehost used to be one of our top choices, but have recently started getting slower and having uptime issues. HostGator has been our solid choice for a while, but is it only a matter of time before they begin to pack their shared hosting as well?

In an attempt to determine how many shared hosting clients each of the above providers packs into each of their servers, we used a reverse IP lookup tool to see how many domains share the same IP address. Here’s what we found:

  • GoDaddy – 4171 sites
  • Network Solutions – 1730 sites
  • Bluehost – 1390 sites
  • HostGator – 92 sites

GoDaddy we found to be consistently slow during working hours had 4171 sites attached to the sample IP address. This is three times the amount of the next highest, Network Solutions.

Network Solutions and Bluehost are roughly in the same boat. HostGator is clearly doing something different with only 92 sites coming up for our sample IP address. This is certainly what we’ve experienced with this hosting provider to date: fast, reliable, and consistent.

A few things to remember, this is only a single sample from each hosting provider, and each provider likely has different hardware, network setup, etc. Another proviso is that we’re not hosting providers, or system administrators, but there seems to be a correlation between number of site per IP and the level of performance experienced from that hosting provider.

So for today at least, HostGator is the way to go, but that may change at any time. Also, don’t assume that you will be able to contact your hosting provider and get a straight answer. You’ll probably get all the mumbo jumbo about “rebuilding your database” and all those fun tasks, so run while you can!