Study: What Web Hosting Customers Prefer

 

At JoomlaHosting.co we are continually digging to find out what customers want from their hosting company. This has led us to try something new. We decided to take a nationwide survey of what people prefer most about web hosting.

What Question Did We Ask

The Question: "Which would you say is most important in a website hosting company?"

The question is best when asked in a way that is simple to understand while representing a majority of web hosting consumers. We got most of our multiple choice answers from how we review hosts already. Our review method takes the most important factors and simplifies them into five categories.

Five Web Hosting Characteristics

  1. Price
  2. Technical Support
  3. Features
  4. Speed & Uptime
  5. Company Reputation

The Result: Web Hosting Customers Prefer Speed & Uptime

The_Result_Web_Hosting_Customers_Prefer_Speed___Uptime.jpg

To the question we asked, "Which would you say is most important in a website hosting company?". We received the following feedback.

  • 28% Speed & Uptime
  • 21% Price
  • 20% Technical Support
  • 17% Features
  • 14% Company Reputation

We are fascinated with this result. We had thought for a long time that Company Reputation played a much larger role in peoples choices. From this result we have realized that it actually plays a much smaller role in preference. From this conclusion we are able to see that our future outlook will switch to incorporate more about Speed & Uptime. Our guess is that people just want their web site to perform well, with little hassle.

People Earning $25-49K, Men Picked Speed & Uptime More Than Women

People_Earning__25-49K__Men_Picked_Speed___Uptime_More_Th.jpg

This result is interesting because it shows that men who are not making a whole lot of money, still choose Speed & Uptime over price which came in second at 26%. In this same demographic we found women chose Features (23%), but only by a slight margin over Technical Support (22%).

What We Hoped To Learn

There are a lot of uncertainties about buying web hosting. We know because we have been doing it for several years. There are a lot of factors to consider, and it's hard to know which are most important.

The reason we did the study was to learn what people want when they are looking for a web host. A lot of our opinions are based on our years of experience. This has shaped our opinion into an educated one. We prefer some characteristics over others because we know how our websites run. We wanted to do this study to see what the rest of the population would say.

The problem that this study helps us to solve is understanding what the majority of web hosting customers prefer in their hosting company. Up until now we can only account for the opinions of a small subset. Our goal has been to gather a widescape opinion about personal preference for insight on how the average web hosting customer makes their decision. This would help to clear up any misinformed opinions we may have.

The importance of this study is it could potentially change the way we review web hosting companies. Because we have been using our own set of skills and knowledge up until now, we have never had an opportunity to ask a sample of the population what they would prefer. With this opportunity, we will have the chance to help web hosting customers find hosts more effectively.

The scope of this study encompasses the web hosting industry and it's potential customers. We asked potential customers what they would ideally prefer in a web host.

Methodology

Our sources of information came from the people choosing an answer on a one question survey. This survey was sent to ~1000 people representing a large portion of the U.S. population. It was multiple choice and asked an opinion of the individual. There was no requirement to have experience or an understanding of the web hosting industry. We surveyed our sources using Google Surveys.

Our rationale is that any clear answer we felt would be most highlighted if the survey was taken by a diverse sample of people. A preference that arises out of a diverse sample shows a commonality between all participants that is less descrimintory.

Our procedure for analyzing the results of the survey was straightforward thanks to the simplicity of the question we asked. We took the overall answers of all participants as the most important answer because it represents everyone. The hope is that the result is clear enough that one can make logical assumptions about the real life implication it may have. After the most important answer is identified, we dig further into each of the subsets and look for interesting market segmententation. This will give us clues about how to approach any future studies.

Our criteria of for evaluating the information is two fold. First, It needs to represent a diverse sample. Second, the result must be significant enough (over five or so percent) to be considered a statistically representative answer from the whole survey pool.

Web Hosting Survey: Men vs. Women Samples

Web_Hosting_Survey_Men_vs._Women_Samples.jpg

According To The Survey:

The biggest percentage point gaps are the Speed & Uptime and the Technical Support answer. On the Speed & Uptime answer there is a 10 percentage point difference which is pretty significant. It's a good indication that men are more likely to worry about Speed & Uptime than women. The answer does not give any clear explanation as to why this occurred but it is important to note for future surveys and research.

The answer regarding technical support has a pretty strong percentage point gap as well. It's not enough to say all or even most men or women can be put into a category of preferring technical support or not. That being said, the gap is significant enough to point out that women are more interested in Technical Support than women.

  • Speed & Uptime is preferred by 34% Males and 24% Females
  • Price is preferred by 25% Males and 19% Females
  • Technical Support is preferred by 15% Males and 23% Females
  • Features are preferred by 16% Males and 18% Females
  • Company Reputation is preferred by 10% Males and 16% Females

Web Hosting Survey: Age Samples

Web_Hosting_Survey_Age_Samples.jpg

Speed & Uptime Age Sample

This result does not surprise me to much on a personal level. But, if we're looking at it statistically, there is not a huge percentage gap between any of the ages. Though, it is odd that the 55+ age groups were more interested in Speed & Uptime than the 45-54 age group.

  • 27% were 18-24
  • 32% were 25-34
  • 30% were 35-44
  • 25% were 45-54
  • 27% were 55-64
  • 27% were 65+
media_1351206722992.jpg

Price Age Sample

The most significant percentage point gap is between the 18-24 and 45-54 age groups. This is a 10 percentage point gap with is fairly significant.

  • 25% were 18-24
  • 25% were 25-34
  • 24% were 35-44
  • 15% were 45-54
  • 20% were 55-64
  • 20% were 65+
media_1351206753153.jpg

Technical Support Age Comparison

There is a large percentage point gap between the age groups 18-24 and the age groups 45-54. This is a 8 point gap that is significant enough to not, but does not mean that one is preferred absolutely over the other. It suggests a simple lead by the older age group.

  • 18% were 18-24
  • 14% were 25-34
  • 18% were 35-44
  • 26% were 45-54
  • 22% were 55-64
  • 22% were 65+
media_1351206790062.jpg

Features Age Sample

This result indicates that, in web hosting, people 18-24 years old prefer Features over those who are between ages 45-54.

  • 21% were 18-24
  • 20% were 25-34
  • 16% were 35-44
  • 14% were 45-54
  • 16% were 55-64
  • 18% were 65+
media_1351206818954.jpg

Company Reputation Age Comparison

This result shows us that there is a pretty large gap between the older age groups. The most significant gap is between age groups 18-44 and 45+. At the largest percentage point gap (18-24 and 45-54) there is a gap of 12. This is one of the largest differences in the study

  • 9% were 18-24
  • 9% were 25-34
  • 12% were 35-44
  • 21% were 45-54
  • 17% were 55-64
  • 13% were 65+

Web Hosting Survey: Regional Samples

Web_Hosting_Survey_Regional_Samples.jpg

Speed & Uptime U.S. Regional Sample

There is not a huge difference between the Midwest, Northeast, and South. The largest gap is between the South at 26% and the west at 34%. This is a percentage point gap of 8 points. This indicates that people in the West prefer Speed & Uptime in web hosting over people in the South by 8%.

  • 28% located in Midwest
  • 28% located in Northeast
  • 26% located in South
  • 34% located in West
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Price U.S. Regional Sample

There is a good indication that In web hosting this result indicates that people in the Northeast prefer price and people in the west are less concerned with it.

  • 23% located in Midwest
  • 25% located in Northeast
  • 21% located in South
  • 17% located in West
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Technical Support U.S. Regional Sample

This result shows that, in web hosting, people in the South prefer Technical Support over people in the west by 11 percentage points.

  • 19% located in Midwest
  • 18% located in Northeast
  • 25% located in South
  • 14% located in West
media_1351208214130.jpg

Features U.S. Regional Sample

This result shows that Features are preferred most by people in the Midwest and least by people in the South by a difference of 7%.

  • 20% located in Midwest
  • 16% located in Northeast
  • 13% located in South
  • 18% located in West
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Company Reputation U.S. Regional Sample

This result shows that, in web hosting, people prefer Company Reputation in the West over people in the Midwest by a difference of 7%.

  • 10% located in Midwest
  • 13% located in Northeast
  • 15% located in South
  • 16% located in West

Web Hosting Survey: Urban Density Samples

Web_Hosting_Survey_Urban_Density_Samples.jpg

Speed & Uptime U.S. Urban Density Sample

This result shows that, in web hosting, people in both Urban and Suburban areas prefer Speed and Uptime over Rural people by a difference of 8%.

  • 30% lived in Urban Areas
  • 22% lived in Rural Areas
  • 30% lived in Suburban Areas
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Price U.S. Urban Density Sample

In this result we see that, in web hosting, people in rural areas prefer prices less than people in both Urban and Suburban areas by a difference of 3%.

  • 21% lived in Urban Areas
  • 18% lived in Rural Areas
  • 21% lived in Suburban Areas
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Technical Support U.S. Urban Density Sample

We see that in Rural areas people prefer web hosting technical support 8% more than people in Urban and Suburban areas.

  • 19% lived in Urban Areas
  • 27% lived in Rural Areas
  • 19% lived in Suburban Areas
media_1351208703530.jpg

Features U.S. Urban Density Sample

When it comes to Web Hosting Features, we can see that Rural areas prefer Features over Urban areas by 5%.

  • 16% lived in Urban Areas
  • 21% lived in Rural Areas
  • 17% lived in Suburban Areas
media_1351208745029.jpg

Price U.S. Urban Density Sample

When it comes to Company Reputation in Web Hosting there was no clear difference between Urban, Rural or Suburban areas.

  • 14% lived in Urban Areas
  • 12% lived in Rural Areas
  • 13% lived in Suburban Areas

Web Hosting Survey: Income Samples

Web_Hosting_Survey_Income_Samples.jpg

Speed & Uptime U.S. Income Sample

This result indicates that, in web hosting, individuals making $75,000-$99,999 prefer Speed & Uptime over individuals who make $0-$74,999 by a difference of 9%.

  • 28% made $0 - 24,999
  • 27% made $25,000 - $49,999
  • 28% made $50,000 - $74,999
  • 37% made $75,000 - $99,999
  • Insufficient data $100,000 - $ 149,999
  • Insufficient data $150,000+
media_1351209918036.jpg

Price U.S. Income Sample

In this result it shows that, in web hosting, there is a somewhat clear difference of Price preference between those making $0-$24.999 over those making $75,000-$99,999 by 8%.

  • 25% made $0 - 24,999
  • 21% made $25,000 - $49,999
  • 18% made $50,000 - $74,999
  • 17% made $75,000 - $99,999
  • Insufficient data $100,000 - $ 149,999
  • Insufficient data $150,000+
media_1351210005660.jpg

Technical Support U.S. Income Sample

This result shows that, in web hosting, people that make $50,000-$74,999 prefer technical support over people who make $75,000-$99,999 by 7%.

  • 19% made $0 - 24,999
  • 20% made $25,000 - $49,999
  • 24% made $50,000 - $74,999
  • 17% made $75,000 - $99,999
  • Insufficient data $100,000 - $ 149,999
  • Insufficient data $150,000+
media_1351210077369.jpg

Features U.S. Income Sample

This result shows that Features are preferred by people who make $25,000-$49,999 over people who make $50,000-$74,999 by a difference of 5%.

  • 15% made $0 - 24,999
  • 19% made $25,000 - $49,999
  • 14% made $50,000 - $74,999
  • 14% made $75,000 - $99,999
  • Insufficient data $100,000 - $ 149,999
  • Insufficient data $150,000+
media_1351210127514.jpg

Company Reputation U.S. Income Sample

When it comes to Company Reputation and Income Distribution, there is no statistical difference worth noting.

  • 13% made $0 - 24,999
  • 13% made $25,000 - $49,999
  • 16% made $50,000 - $74,999
  • 15% made $75,000 - $99,999
  • Insufficient data $100,000 - $ 149,999
  • Insufficient data $150,000+

Conclusion

After completing this survey, there are a couple of interesting findings. These are mostly where the largest gaps between percentages are found. These differences show a clear attribute over a particular demographic over another. Some where not to clear but some are worth noting and will go to fuel future development of this and other sites.

Web Hosting Preferences:

  • Speed & Uptime is preferred by Men over Women who make $25,000-$49,999 by 14%.
  • Difference of Price preference between those making $0-$24.999 over those making $75,000-$99,999 by 8%
  • Rural areas people prefer web hosting technical support 8% more than people in Urban and Suburban areas
  • People in the South prefer Technical Support over people in the west by 11%
  • People in both Urban and Suburban areas prefer Speed and Uptime over Rural people by a difference of 8%

The Answer To Our Question:

  • We asked people, "Which would you say is most important in a website hosting company?"
  • They answered: Speed & Uptime

Now what?
We asked this question not only to help ourselves get a real world answer, but also to help other consumers see what their peers are looking at most. Using this knowledge we will have a much better understanding of the web hosting industry and how people perceive it. With that, we hope to take sites like JoomlaHosting.co to a new level of service by reviewing hosting companies more effectively and understanding the consumers better.

Source:
Interactive Google Survey: http://www.google.com/insights/consumersurveys/view?survey=rl5zyehbrdr2k&question=1&filter=&rw=1

About The Author

David writes for several websites. Specializing in Joomla, he develops websites like this one in order to provide help to those who need it. He enjoys taking concepts not everyone understands and breaking them down so that it is easy for everyone. On the weekends he can be found having beers with friends, watching soccer and enjoying the outdoors.