Everyone wants a fast website. But the truth is, not everyone knows what “fast” really means. Here’s a shocking fact: if your website doesn’t load within 3 seconds, more than half of your visitors will jump ship.
So it’s in your best interest to do everything you can to optimize your site speed if you want to run a successful online business. And it starts with something you may not realize—your web host.
Here’s how web hosting affects your website’s speed and how to choose the right kind of web host to keep your site running optimally.
Why Is Website Speed Important?
Regardless of whether you’re a business, ecommerce, or personal website, the first impression a visitor has of your brand is your website. The ideal website loading time is 2 seconds or less. If your website loads in 3 seconds or more, visitors will leave.
The speed of your website has a direct impact on your site’s SEO (search engine optimization), search ranking results, and conversion rates. If your website loads slowly on both desktop and mobile devices, you risk losing 50 to 70 percent of the visitors.
This can lead to further negative impressions and effects, such as:
- Potential harm to your brand’s reputation, as users may see your website as being unreliable or unprofessional.
- A high bounce rate, which can hurt your website’s SEO as it may signal that users aren’t finding what they are looking for on your website.
- Slow loading speeds, increasing the risk of visitors leaving without making a purchase.
How Does Website Hosting Affect Your Site Speed?
There are a number of ways in which a web hosting provider can affect your website speed. These include:
The Type of Hosting You Choose
The hosting package that you choose can have a significant impact on your website speed.
With this type of hosting, you’re going to be sharing the server resources with multiple websites. If a few of these websites have a spike in traffic, this will lead to slower performance of the other websites on the same server.
Dedicated hosting can be a more expensive option, but depending on your business needs it can be invaluable. This hosting option provides an entire server dedicated solely to your website. The performance and loading times of your website will be fast, as you’re not sharing any of the resources with other websites.
This option creates a virtual space for your website on the server, but it’s also assigned dedicated resources. You’re still sharing the server with other websites, but the allocation of resources maintains consistent performance and faster loading times.
Cloud hosting is growing in popularity as it uses multiple servers that are interconnected to distribute resources. Even if there’s a spike in traffic across multiple sites or if one server is offline, the performance and website speed is fast.
This also means that your site can adapt to the changing demands without experiencing significant speed or performance issues.
The location of your hosting server can also affect your website speed. While websites can be accessed by users all over the world, if the server is far away from your target audience the data has to travel a longer distance. This can cause the website to load slower for them.
The hardware that the server uses is vital to the speed and performance of your website.The most important factors that can affect your websites performance is:
- CPU speed
- Type of hard drive
- Server’s network connectivity and bandwidth capacity
The CPU is the server’s central processing unit (think of it as the brain of the server) that handles all of the incoming requests. If the CPU is fast it will process these requests a lot quicker, which will lead to faster website speed.
Two types of hard drives are used in servers. The traditional hard disk drive is less expensive but it does use spinning disks to store data. So it takes a bit of time for the read/write head to move into position, which slows down the access time.
Solid State Drives (SSD) use flash memory to store data and have no moving parts, which makes them versatile and fast. One of the biggest benefits of an SSD is that the memory can be erased and reprogrammed multiple times and it won’t lose any data.
The amount of RAM that’s allocated on the server will determine how much data can be stored. If there’s plenty of RAM available on the server, then it will be able to handle multiple requests at the same time.
It will also store data that’s frequently requested, which will allow for faster retrieval when a user is on your website. If the server doesn’t have enough RAM, it will slow the response down and this will cause your website speed to drop.
The server’s connection to the network and its bandwidth capacity will determine how quickly data is transferred between the server and website visitors. If the network is fast and reliable, it will reduce latency and users will be able to access your website quickly.
Your website will determine the amount of server resources that are needed to run. If your website has videos, lots of images, needs social media integration, or is an ecommerce site, it will require more server resources.
Other considerations for server resources include:
- Size and complexity of the website
- Number of visitors
A website with a lot of visitors will need more CPU and RAM than a website with few visitors. If a website does not have enough server resources, it may experience performance problems. These problems can include slow loading times, errors, and crashes.
How to Choose the Right Web Host for Your Website
When you’re looking for a web hosting provider, you need to make sure that they align with your website’s needs. You should also take into consideration the following factors before you sign a contract.
- Reliability and uptime
- Speed and performance
- Scalability and flexibility
- Security features
- Customer support
- Pricing and value
- Control panel and ease of use
- Additional features
- Reputation and reviews
How You Can Improve Your Website Speed
You can also look at what you can do to enhance the speed and performance of your website, ensuring a better user experience for your visitors. In most cases, these are small adjustments you can do yourself, but which can increase your website speed by up to 1 second.
Set aside some time to take these actions on your website:
- Use a content delivery network (CDN) to cache your website’s files
- Optimize your images for the web
- Use a caching plugin for WordPress
- Avoid using too many plugins
- Keep your website’s code clean and well-organized
- Regularly check your website’s speed using a tool like Google PageSpeed Insights
- Use a content delivery network (CDN) to improve loading speed for users located far away
- Keep software up to date to address security vulnerabilities
Your web hosting provider makes a bigger difference than you think! Get this right from the start, and you can expect good performance from your website. If you feel you chose the wrong web host in the beginning, you can always switch over to a new one for better results.
About the Author Paul Wheeler runs a web design agency that helps small businesses optimize their websites for business success. He aims to educate business owners on all things website-related at his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting.