How do I set up my test websites when reviewing a host?
The first thing I do when reviewing a hosting provider is to set up a “dummy” test website on their servers and track its performance over time. You can see the results of this tracking in my reviews and other content on this website.
On this page, I wanted to list the exact details of how each website is set up. I use the exact same setup across all testing sites, for all hosts.
All of my test sites use the Twenty Seventeen WordPress theme.
Size of the page
I set up the front page, on which I run all of my tests, to be 2 MB large. This is based on a recent report which concluded that 2 MB was the average size of a web page in 2018. I wanted my test site to be as close to the “average” as possible.
To achieve this, I upload a set of eight (8) high-definition photos to the front page, along with a bunch of text and a few TablePress tables.
I install and activate the following plugins on each test site:
- Yoast SEO
- Contact Form 7
- W3 Total Cache
- Smush Image Compression
- Google XML Sitemaps
The list above is based on multiple rankings of the most popular WP plugins. Again, my goal here was for the test site to be as close to your “average” WordPress website as possible.