Ever wondered how website hosting affects your website’s speed and how to tell if it’s working for you or against you? Keep reading!
Have you ever popped onto a website and waited for it to load… And waited… And waited… And eventually, clicked away because it was just taking too long. It happens to us all. The problem is, if your website doesn’t load fast, that’s exactly what people could be doing when they land on it.
Website loading speed is much more significant than you might think at first. A few seconds isn’t too bad, right? Well, here’s a shocking statistic for you—more than half of your website visitors will leave if the web page isn’t loaded within 3 seconds.
Now 3 seconds isn’t that much time! But when half your traffic is disappearing before you even get a chance to try and convert them… Then you’re leaving an enormous amount of money on the table.
Website speed can be improved by doing a number of things. Getting rid of unnecessary plugins, hosting your videos on YouTube or Vimeo instead of on your site, using system fonts… But have you ever considered how your chosen website hosting affects your website’s speed?
Here’s an overview of the factors in your web hosting that can have an effect on your speed. Once you understand this, it’ll be much easier to know if your host is working for you or against you!
What is Site Speed?
Site speed is, simply put, how fast each website page loads to the point where it’s fully functional. It can take anywhere from a second or two to over 10 seconds for a web page to load… But the faster it loads, the happier your visitor will be.
Why is It Important?
Site speed is a hugely important factor in user satisfaction. Whether you run an e-commerce site, a service site, or an information site, you want visitors to stay on your website for as long as possible.
The longer they’re there, the more chance you have of converting them to paying customers or getting them on your email list.
Aside from gaining more customers and making sales, your website loading speed can affect your search engine rankings, making you more difficult to find when someone searches for related keywords.
And apart from all the actual business stuff, the longer it takes your website to load, the more irritated your visitor is likely to get. It could lead to them making a mental note of never visiting your site again, telling others about the experience, or just developing a negative impression of your business before they even know what you’re about.
Different Types of Hosting Packages
Understanding different types of hosting can help you figure out if the one you’re on is contributing to a slow page loading speed.
Shared hosting packages are the most likely to kick up the slow loading speed problem. This is because when you’re using this kind of hosting, your website is hosted on a server that shares space with a bunch of other sites.
It’s like living in one room of a huge house, sharing the space, the water, the food in the fridge, and the electricity with everyone else living in the house. If you come through for a midnight snack and someone else ate the food… Then there’s not much you can do about it.
Any resources on the server are split between the many sites hosted on it. If there’s a spike of traffic on one site, it becomes quite resource-heavy, and your site just has to take a back seat.
In keeping with the analogy above, dedicated hosting is like having a full house to yourself. It’s just you, and all the resources in the house are for your use only. You don’t have to worry about someone else drinking your coffee… Or using your resources when their site needs it.
It’s more expensive but worthwhile if you want the freedom and security of not having to split resources with anyone else.
VPS hosting is like renting a flat in someone’s backyard. You’re on the same property but still get allocated your own resources. It’s cheaper than dedicated and more stable than shared, so it’s a good middle-ground option.
You can also choose between managed and unmanaged hosting. Managed is great if you don’t know the technical stuff behind a website. Unmanaged allows you to take control of all that on your own.
Cloud hosting is the best option if you want optimal loading times, security, reliability, and scalability. Your site files are stored on the cloud rather than a server, so there’s no sharing space or resources. It’s also super scalable and can grow with your business. The downside? It’s the most expensive type you can find.
WordPress hosting is designed specifically for WordPress websites, which of course make up a huge chunk of the sites out there. It’s designed specifically to optimize WordPress websites for faster loading times.
How Does Hosting Affect Your Site Speed?
A number of different factors go into this. Check out these factors to understand the effect your chosen web host can have on the loading speed of your website pages.
Hard Drives vs Solid State Drives
Hard Disk Drives—HDDs—are old-school technology now. Solid State Drives—SSDs—are notably faster and more reliable than HDDs. HDDs physically write data onto the disks, while SSDs use flash memory, which is much speedier. Stick to a host that uses SSDs if you want optimal web page loading speed!
Power of RAM
RAM—random access memory—is the stored website information. It’s measured in GB—gigabytes—and the more GB, the faster the stored data can be processed and delivered to the page to load.
The minimum you should consider is 2GB, but choosing a web host that offers 4GB is even better. This will give you room to grow! Check what your web host is offering—it could make a difference to your site speed.
If your website is susceptible to hacking or cyber attacks, there’s a chance that malware could infect it, making it slower. While you can add security plugins, that also has a chance of slowing your site down, especially if you’ve got a lot of plugins.
Check what security features your web host offers. You want to see things like an SSL certificate and secure website access, which will protect your site while you’re working on making it faster.
Ensure your website has security features like SSL certificate and secure website access. Additionally, you can consider using an unlimited residential proxy for added protection against cyber attacks and to bypass geographical restrictions.
Server Resources Allocated
To a large extent, this depends on what kind of hosting you go for. Shared hosting will naturally offer you fewer resources, whereas VPS and dedicated provide more. Cloud hosting typically offers the most, as your site is split across multiple servers. It’s a good idea to check what your hosting plan offers. The more, the better, in terms of speed!
Location, location, location! If your server is located in the USA and someone from South Africa tries to get onto your website, it’s going to take longer to load for them than it would for a local visitor.
This isn’t really an issue if you’re a local business. But if your target market is all over the world, it’s important to consider. This is where choosing cloud hosting comes in handy for upping your speed.
To bypass this, you could use a CDN. This is a network of servers located across the globe, which stores your website info and makes it easier for non-local visitors to access it quickly. Some hosts offer this in their web hosting plans, so check if yours does.
Bandwidth—also called the data transfer rate—is the amount of data your site/the server can transfer at a time. The more bandwidth you have, the more information gets through in a shorter period of time—like a tunnel. If the road has to narrow down to one lane for the cars to pass through, there’s going to be a backlog, and it’ll slow down.
Spikes in Traffic
This isn’t something your web hosting provider can control. But the amount of traffic your website gets can affect its loading speed. If you get a sudden spike of traffic, it uses more resources than when traffic is slow and steady.
Your hosting provider needs to be able to keep up and provide all the resources you need to maintain a steady performance and keep page loading speed high.
This is the amount of time your website is online and available for people to use. When it’s down, it means people can’t access your site for whatever reason. Most website hosts offer 99.9% uptime, but it can be tricky to determine who’s actually telling the truth!
Check if your host offers multiple backup options, a high uptime percentage, and excellent technical maintenance and services. It’s also worth doing a bit of research on the provider you’re looking at and finding out what other people say, not just the actual company.
Your website host needs to be able to accommodate your website as it grows. If you’ve been with the same host for a while and your website has grown in size or traffic, this could be one of the reasons it’s slow.
Your web hosting plan may not be able to accommodate the size of your website as it is. You may have to upgrade in order to get access to the resources you need to help your growing site to thrive.
Make sure you choose a host that can scale with you—or help you scale as your company and website grow to new heights.
There’s a lot that goes into how website hosting affects your website’s speed. But as you can tell, if you’re having problems with the page loading speed, there’s a chance that your web host could actually be part of the problem.
It’s a good idea to do a bit of an audit and see which boxes your host ticks and where it falls short. Fix this, and you’ll find that not only does your website speed improve, but so do all elements of online business performance!
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