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5 Ways Your Web Hosting Affects Website Speed and Traffic

Like many people, you may think that your journey into web fame starts with analytics, choosy keywords and the smart use of these good keywords. While all these factors are very critical in building a successful website, are you aware that the very foundation of your website’s success actually begins with the hosting company you choose and which of their plans you selected?

While having a good web host is not going to magically make your website successful and give you lots of traffic without you doing the necessary work, a bad web host can significantly affect your website’s traffic and loading speed thereby damaging your reputation.

For your information, nobody has all the time in the world to sit and wait for a website that takes forever to load when he can easily navigate to another website (your competitor). Page speed apparently plays a significant role in a website’s user experience. Yet, most webmasters often pay less attention to website performance.

Whether people visit your website for its enchanting appeal, for an irresistible bargain they can’t turn down, or they simply discovered what they were searching for on your website, what matters most is their being able to land on your website as fast as possible. And if the process can be shortened by a matter of milliseconds, you could turn potential visits to real sales.

Now, that is the importance of page speed. According to a study conducted by Kissmetrics:

  • About 47 percent of consumers expect web pages to open in 2-seconds or less
  • Even a 1-second delay in page load time will lead to about 7 percent reduction in conversions
  • 40 percent of consumers will abandon a website that takes over 30-seconds to load
  • 52 percent of online shoppers said that fast page load is vital to their loyalty
  • 79 percent of web shoppers who are displeased with a website performance are less likely to purchase from the same website again

How Loading Time Affects Your Bottom Line

Why Web Hosting is a Critical Factor

Let’s quickly examine exactly what the work of a hosting company is and why this is very crucial. Essentially, when you register for a hosting service, you are typically hiring a space on a server connected to the internet.

Now, when someone types in your domain name on the browser (i.e. yourcompanyname.com) that domain points to the server which your website is hosted on. The server in return notices that someone is requesting to view a page from your website and delivers the page that they requested to view.

Furthermore, there are 3 basic tasks the web server takes care of:

1. Execute code: In most cases, the web server has to execute hundreds and thousands of lines of code (for instance, the PHP code that WordPress is made up of) to execute a single webpage. Just like it takes some time to open a program on your computer, it also takes some time to render all this code on the web server.

2. Run database queries: For any CMS (content management system) based website, the website code will be required to run database queries to recover the webpage content from a database (example, MySQL). A WordPress hosted website might make 100 or more database queries to render one page.

3. Serve files: A normal web page needs the web server to serve up a bunch of files (Javascript, images, CSS, etc.). For instance, loading Amazon.com’s homepage involves more than 350-requests to the web server.

That’s it.

But mind you, this is actually a simplified version of what really happens, but it gives you the simplest idea of what a hosting company does.

Therefore, if you host your website with a hosting company that is not using best practices, or is not concerned with its servers performance, your website will suffer. More importantly, your website visitors are going to experience real frustrations and abandon your site thereby resulting in little or no traffic at all.

With that out of the way, let’s get to the main topic of the day. In today’s post, we’re going to show you 5 different ways your web hosting affects website speed and traffic.

How Web Hosting Affects Website Speed and Traffic

how web host affect website traffic

1. Search Engine Optimization

If your web hosting provider does not know what’s search engine optimization (SEO) and don’t even know the basic principles, they could sometimes do things that can harm your efforts even without having any idea of what they’re doing.

For instance, we have seen some cases where some people complain of how their hosting provider restricted the google bot in the robots.txt file because they were making a lot of visits to their website! Now, if you know what robots.txt means, you can easily understand how SEO unfriendly the provider was.

And this is only one example out of many. Similarly, we have equally seen hosting providers closing down websites simply because they had lots of traffic and/or demanding that webmasters should uninstall plugins (such as Live Chat) because their infrastructure couldn’t handle the extra load (even though they promised unlimited resources). As you already guessed, this alone is enough to kill your website traffic and send you back to square one.

Here’s the bottom line: Your web hosting provider should not do anything that could potentially destroy your reputation or SEO because of their incompetence and more importantly if they should take any action on your website, let it be with your permission. This is why you should always opt for reputable web hosting companies.

Furthermore, since website loading speed is among Google’s numerous ranking algorithm, your page load speed may actually have some impact on your Google rankings, and on your overall website traffic. Although, the data on the specifics of this is quite confusing, and it appears likely that website loading speed may be a minimal ranking factor.

For instance, a study conducted by Moz indicates that there’s no correlation between page load times and Google rankings. However, the study did see a correlation for time to first byte (TTFB).

Similarly, another research by Website Optimization equally saw no direct correlation between page load time and rankings. It, therefore, seems that the impact of page load speed on rankings is perhaps very meager. But that’s not to say that you should ignore your website loading speed. This is because even though Google hasn’t come out to say whether it’s part of their ranking factors (which we think it is), having a slow loading website will definitely affect your traffic.

For example, some years back, an Amazon internal study discovered that a mere increase of 100ms in their website loading speed directly resulted in a 1% drop in sales.

Here’s an excerpt of the post:

Assuming your website is optimized correctly, your loading times should be super fast, except your web host is dropping the ball. Now, if things aren’t happening as you expect, it could be because of a lack of good investment in your web hosting server infrastructure, or shared servers overload – which shouldn’t be the case except your hosting provider is extremely neglecting their responsibilities.

So what can you really do to prevent being stuck with a sluggish hosting provider? The best escape is to perform a quick search around the internet for independent hosting reviews, including speed tests and more. There’s a large community of experts out there on the web who devotes their time to review these types of services, and they’re often very thorough.

2. User-experience (UX)

User-experience (UX) focuses on the role that website development and design can play in making the websites more user-friendly. But the foundation of both web development and design is web hosting —  the platform in which every other thing is built.

By itself, web hosting is a significant and often disregarded component of the user-experience mix. If by chance, you get the hosting wrong, every other UX work you carry out on your website is rendered pretty much useless.

In other words, once a visitor has a poor experience on your site, it affects the way he feels about your products and services on a larger extent. It might give them the impression that you’re not really concerned with their satisfaction or their experience on your website. This can consequently lead to dissatisfaction or the customer navigating to a competitor’s website, never to come back again.

Like we’ve already discussed in this post, one of the things to really pay attention to as regards to user-experience is page speed. It might interest you to know that the impact of website loading speed on users is probably much higher than its impact on Google rankings and other things. A lot of studies have continuously documented the effect of page load speed on user-experience – slow load times results in user abandonment and reduced conversion rates.

According to KissMetrics, loading time is a key contributing factor to page abandonment. The average user has no patience for a page which takes lots of time to load. And once you’re having this problem, you will be missing on traffic and potential buyers:

Although, the scale does matter when talking about this benefit. A growing improvement in conversion rate (which is enormous for big e-retailers) may lead to a very little monetary benefit for websites that has small traffic numbers.

Now, the type of web hosting you chose is one of the things that’ll have a great impact on your website’s user experience. This is because not all hosting package are created equal, nor are all websites. For example, a website that gets sudden spikes in traffic, like a very popular blog, might require a private cloud hosting and a content delivery network (CDN) to enable it scale quickly so as to meet the sudden demand.

On the contrary, a retail website will require large database resources in order to handle what is likely to be a lower concurrent but much more resource-intensive traffic. With users checking sizes, enlarging photos, colour options and availability, the database may likely need a dedicated server, with the other elements of the website hosted on a private cloud.

Similarly, bringing your hosting company on the limelight with regard to your marketing activities and seasonal surges of traffic, this will allow them to prepare beforehand for and respond to any traffic spikes. This will also encourage them to optimize to make sure your customers get the best possible experience. It also eliminates the chances of excuses after the event if UX wasn’t up to demand.

3. Uptime & Downtime

Your website loading blazingly fast will mean nothing if yours is always down. In case you don’t know what this means…

…Downtime consists of the amount of time a website is offline or unavailable due to a few technical problems with its server, and when it’s accessible and working properly is called Uptime.

And if a website is having a constant downtime, it may soon find itself penalized by the Google. Basically, search engine spiders may crawl websites few times per day, and if these bots crawl your site during downtime, it may be flagged as unreliable, and the search engine may deindex your website which will consequently affect search rankings and traffic.

This is because the search engines only show reliable web pages to searchers in order to maintain the quality of search results.

Therefore, the importance of uptime from a website owner’s perspective is very simple to understand. In order words, for each minute your website spends offline, you’ll be missing out on repeat visitors, new traffic, and most importantly… sales.

According to a recent study carried out by IHS, which polled about four hundred mid to large sized clients, “most businesses face an average of 5 network downtimes each month.” Undeniably, downtimes are critical for any sized business.

The study explores the cost, length, frequency, and causes of I.C.T downtime experienced by the North American organizations, such as application, network, and server outages or degradations. It consists of a companion downtime calculator that helps the cost of downtime to be modeled based on company downtime profile, demographics, and cost structure.

According to Matthias Machowinski, research director for video and enterprise networks at IHS, the researchers discovered that “the cost of ICT downtime is enormous, from $1,000,000 per year for a typical mid-size enterprise to more than $60,000,000 for a large company.”

Similarly, according to Medium, visiting any website and discovering that it’s down — or not functioning fully — is a bad experience, and usually creates frustration. The more frequently this occurs, the more it will affect the retailer’s reputation.

Even the most loyal of your audience or your regular visitors will get irritated and go for an alternative if they find it hard to access your website. That is why it’s so vital to prevent website downtime by choosing a reliable web host.

There are typically various reasons why downtimes occur which includes:

  • Power outages
  • Failure of network devices
  • Poorly implemented configuration settings
  • Lack of continuous supervision by system administrators
  • DDoS attacks

In fact, apart from being deindexed by Google, you can also receive numerous SEO penalties if your website is always down and you don’t do enough to remedy the situation. Many web hosting companies have challenges in adequately estimating an uptime for their services.

You will hardly find a number that is estimated below 99 percent, and in most cases, that number will be 99.9 percent. Even though this is likely close to the truth in many cases — in others, it is just a tactic of fighting the competition that is insanely fierce in the web hosting industry.

Prominent and reliable web hosting companies do have dependable and properly managed servers, but they are equally designated to go down sometimes. As a result of this, it is very critical to read their terms of services (TOS) and check the guarantees they offer. This is because a lot of web hosts out there provides policies that protect website owners in situations with unexpected downtime.

While it’s impossible for any hosting provider to provide 100% uptime, the best ones work extremely hard to get as near as possible to that figure. It’s important, however, to opt for a web host that can come as close to a 100 percent uptime as possible.

4. Website Security

Website visitors want to be assured of their safety while visiting your site, and they’re not going to get any virus or malware. If you operate an e-commerce website, safety is critical in terms of protecting the private data of your customers’ and their machines. No one wants to deal with hackers or malware while shopping or browsing.

Similarly, if a hosting company does not keep malware and hackers off their servers, it can lead to poor SEO ranking with the search engines due to the fact that they continuously scan websites for security problems and avoid displaying problematic sites.

In other words, a website that is riddled with malware or security issues can find itself not coming up in search engines result pages (SERPs) at all because of it being unsafe for visitors to visit, and this will typically affect your website traffic. Mind you, search engines are seriously safeguarding their visitors from malicious sites, and so should your web hosting service provider.

As you must already have known, hackers are continuously searching for new means of uploading malicious malware into web servers and the security of your website is insanely important.

Hence, your web host must offer you with the best security for your website, because a vulnerable website liable to security breaches could result in not only the loss of money and identity theft, and traffic, but also to your business building a bad reputation.

When selecting a hosting provider, you must consider several factors. You need to find out if your web host provides Secure File Transfer Protocol (SFTP), which protects your files and safeguard them from being intercepted and edited.

That’s not all, you equally need to check if your web host has a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate, as it is highly essential for your website’s security. An SSL certificate helps to encrypt the path between a browser and a web server. Interestingly, Google announced in 2014, that adding an SSL certificate or implementing HTTPS to your website could earn you a little ranking boost on the SERPs.

Again, this is incredibly vital if you run an e-commerce website, because SSL will protect sensitive information, such as your customers’ banking details, credit card numbers, their names and other important personal information. Therefore, SSL is a must for the complete security of your website.

Still on security, another factor that should be giving an ample consideration when opting for a web hosting provider is backup. Your web host must regularly backup their servers, and also provide you with a useful tool that will help you to also backup your website on your own.

Furthermore, server maintenance is also important as far as the security of your website is concerned, as it can safeguards it from security violations. Check if your web host offers a published security protocol, this will show if they are updated or not with the latest upgrades and patches.

There’s no denying that the software you use and the way you use it affect security in one way or the other, but so does your web hosting provider. If they don’t have a properly secured server, or if they don’t adequately handle attacks, your website will certainly go offline. In many cases, your website could get hacked and defaced, and you absolutely don’t want a user to land on your hacked website.

Additionally, developers who use unmanaged hosting must ensure they secure their server properly and keep it always updated. If making use of managed hosting, just ensure you’re using a reliable hosting provider and you should be okay. Mind you, you will equally need to update your software constantly if your managed web hosting provider does not provide updates as part of their service.

What’s more? Your web host should provide a very powerful policy against distributed denial-of-service attacks (DDoS). This will make sure that the hosting system is regularly accessible, even in the case of a cyber-attack.

Finally, nothing could be worse than having your website hacked and losing all your important data, the implications could be severe for online businesses, even to the point of putting an enterprise out of visitors and income. Therefore, it’s crucial to understand from your web hosting service how often they back up your data — exactly what data they back up — and where they store the backed up data.

5. Server Location

It may seem as though location has only recently become such a huge factor in Google’s ranking algorithm, but it has actually been a metric for a long time. Google relies on location information even when the search isn’t a local search.

For example, if a person is searching from within the United States, the websites on servers located in the United States are more likely to be near the top. They are much less likely to see sites from Japan or China in their results.

There was a time when they used only the Top Level Domain to determine a site’s location. Recently, they have started relying more on the IP address because it is delivering more accurate results. This is good news for the person making the search, but it can hurt your business if your server is in a different location.

You need to know where the server is located, as well as the location of your target audience. Then choose a hosting provider that has servers in the same country as the majority of your audience.

Server location is one of many factors that search engines take into the account when they determine where a website should be placed in their ranking. For example, if the user is searching from the USA, Google will usually show websites that are also based in the USA higher in the rankings.

Google, and other search engines, use various indicators to determine where your site is based. One of the most important and reliable factors is your IP address. The IP address that you get when you start your website is based on the location of the web host and the server you are using.

That means that if you choose to use a web host that has servers in the USA you should see better results and higher Google rankings when people in the USA type in your selected keywords. Of course, this comes with a downside, since you will be ranked lower when people from other countries search for your chosen keywords.

The location of your web hosting provider’s servers greatly impacts the speed of your website. It also influences your SEO depending on where it’s located. If your web hosting provider’s servers are located in India, for example, and your audience is in the United States, it can lower your SEO score. However, having your web pages served by a location close to your audience improves your SEO score due to its page rendering speed and its convenience.

Additionally, different countries are ranked according to their amount of infrastructure, with some countries like the United States being ranked first and other countries like India being ranked lower.

Best Web Hosting Providers 2019 | Our Recommendations

1. Bluehost

Used by lots of popular bloggers from around the word, if your blog is running on the WordPress CMS (content management system), Bluehost is certainly a provider worth considering.

While its managed WordPress hosting is slightly costlier than basic shared hosting, the company has both specific WooCommerce and WordPress hosting packages available (together with fantastic management support). But apart from that, it equally offers website migration service for an extra fee. But overall, Bluehost is still very cheap considering what they offer.

Bluehost also got some bonus points for its policy of carrying out constant daily backups, even on their cheapest shared hosting accounts. That said, the company also gained some more points for offering SSH access for certain plans, and 24/7 phone support.

Key Features

  • Free Domain Name
  • Free SSD and Free SSL  
  • 30-Day Money Back Guarantee
  • 24/7 Customer Support

2. Siteground

SiteGround Web Hosting Services

SiteGround sits in between enterprise web hosting provider and those who cater to consumer solutions. If you operate a small business with more complex internet needs than a typical small business, then SiteGround is a perfect solution.

Although pricing start as low as $3.95/month, we especially love their GoGeek plan, which is fully loaded with useful features, including a one-click Git repo creation and access to a staging server.

Furthermore, SiteGround is very very active about protecting the security of their customers. The company have a dedicated security team that writes web firewall rules and other necessary patches that help alleviate zero-day vulnerabilities. Aside from that, they equally use an AI-based system to dynamically monitor and apply fixes to their servers.

There’s basically a lot to admire about SiteGround, but the brand actually loses some points as a result of its policy of dramatically increasing your hosting costs after the first year. They call it the first-year discount, but that’s in a tiny, light-gray print.

I’ve been using Siteground to host some of my sites for quite a long time now, and have never had any issues with them. One thing that sets them apart from most other web hosting providers out there is their top notch customer service, I’ve never seen a web host whose customer service is as active and responsive as that of Sitegroung, I give it to them.

To sum it all, Siteground offers a complete tier of custom enterprise services. Therefore, if you choose the GrowBig plan (their mid-tier plan), you will be able to stay with them regardless of how big you get.

Key Features

  • Access to the Cloudflare CDN
  • Free automatic daily backups
  • High-performance SSDs for all plans
  • Free LetsEncrypt SSL certificate
  • Unlimited email accounts
  • Superb customer care support

3. Dreamhost

DreamHost Web Hosting For Your Purpose

Dreamhost is one the best web hosting for wordpress, the company holds a special place in my heart. In addition to its commercial services, Dreamhost offers a free shared website to nonprofits. For example, they offered a free website to a nonprofit organization I knew about, which at that time, was a big help for the cause.

Apart from that, Dreamhost is a 5-of-5 web hosting company for several reasons. They have their own control panel, which is pretty convenient and very easy to understand. Although phone support is not always available, they are responsive to tickets and chat.

Additionally, Dreamhost has a free SSL certificate (for more secure browsing), uses superfast SSDs for their storage, and offers SSH access for those packages that are meant for more technical customers.

There are basically two things I love about Dreamhost.

First, their pricing is very transparent. There are no other hidden charges in the rates (this is the best we’ve seen across most web hosting providers out there). And secondary, Dreamhost offers a 97-day money back guarantee to their users. So there’s literally zero risks in checking them out.

4. InMotion Hosting

InMotion hosting is included in this list for a good reason. InMotion hosting is one of the best web hosting for small business — we especially like that the company provides free SSH access and backups, even on their cheapest plans. Additionally, WordPress support with integrated WP-CLI is equally available.

Talking about the benefits, InMotion also offers a whopping 90-day money back guarantee. In addition to that, I found a special money-saving strategy when I was registering with them the first time. While in a chat session confirming offerings and pricing, the operator gave me some special deals and prices that slashed the advertised price by a few bucks.

I was equally informed that while the promotional pricing does increase at the end of the offer period if you reach out to customer service, InMotion will also offer you a “loyal customer discount,” which may bring down the price again.

Key Features

  • Provides an all-SSD infrastructure
  • They offer a basic website migration
  • 24/7 phone support in addition to the email/ticket/chat support options
  • Free SSL
  • Free malware detection
  • Full 90-day money-back guarantee

 

Conclusion

We believe by now, you already know the different ways web hosting affects website speed and traffic. We also understand that there are several cheap web hosting providers out there, and you’re always tempted to go for them in order to save money. But you also have to understand that you’ll always get what you paid for. Thus, the need to choose quality over affordability.

Web hosting is indeed a tricky industry to navigate. There are a bunch of moving parts involved, and determining what fits where is half the battle when creating a website. Our hope here at imviews.com is that this guide makes the entire process easy for you.

We didn’t go into the specifics of each web hosting provider listed here, so ensure to check out our web hosting reviews for the details.

Theodore Nwangene
 

My name is Theodore Nwangene, and I'm the founder of IM Views. I will teach you everything I've learned about Internet Marketing for the past 7 years.

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