Your site’s speed plays a significant role in the success of your online store or brand. Actually, even web search engines like Google usually take into account website speeds in their ranking process. But while there are several ways of improving these speeds, most people overlook a critical element that determines website speed – web hosting.
Web hosts employ different technologies, infrastructure, and network designs. Some prioritize uptime and response time, whereas others simply want the user to find a plan within their budget. This can be substantiated by the fact that different web hosts usually have different response times.SiteGround, for instance, has an average response time of 145.82ms as tested on HostScore.
If the host you use has slow response times, chances are you’ll experience speed issues regardless of how well you tweak all the other factors. Your site will be slower compared to one hosted by a fast web host, even with compression and optimization.
Why do page loading speeds matter?
There are two main reasons why speed matters.
Speeds influence user gratification
You probably don’t wait up when a site you’re trying to visit takes long to load. You become impatient and find the next site that offers the same content. Most users on the internet are just like you - they don't have the time or patience, especially considering the many alternatives out there.According to a survey conducted by LoadStorm, 1 in 4 users abandon a website if it takes more than 4 seconds to load. The survey also found out that a 1-second delay in website loading lowers customer satisfaction and page views by 16% and 11%, respectively.
Google likes meeting the needs of users instantly
Google, in itself, is a business and like any other business. The company loves identifying what its users want, and it strives to provide exactly that. And since users want faster sites, Google ensures that this is reflected in the search results.
This means that your site's speed is included in Google's SERP algorithms, and therefore faster speeds work in your favor. If your site takes a lot of time to load, it probably won’t make the top pages of Google search results. This makes it hard to compete with other sites offering similar content or products.
The relation between website speed and web hosting
When an internet user visits your website and scrolls through a particular page, they ideally access data held on a remote web server. The web server typically executes hundreds of correlated codes to display a page of the website. In some cases, executing these codes takes a while, which explains why other pages take long to load depending on their host providers.
In content management based database sites, another factor, running the database queries, is introduced. Retrieving the requested page content involves running a search through several databases. Case in point, it takes over 150 database questions to load & display a page in a WordPress site.
How web hosting affects website speed
There are different ways in which web hosting affects site speed ranging from the hosting package to the resources available.
Hosting type and resources available
The most common hosting options today are shared, VPS, dedicated, and cloud hosting. Dedicated hosting offers the best performance since all server resources are directed to your site and your site only. Shared hosting, on the other hand, involves sharing server resources with other sites using the same server.Slow load time means you get fewer conversions. If you run a big site and lack the budget for dedicated hosting, you can opt for Virtual Private Server (VPS) hosting. It isn’t as fast as the dedicated server option, but you get better performance compared to what you would have gotten on shared hosting.
The location of your hosting
Here’s what happens when a user loads your site: A request is sent from their browser to your web host. Once the information they requested is retrieved, it is sent back to their browser. If the majority of your target audience lives in Stateside and your web host is in Singapore, it will take some time to send the request and retrieve the response.For faster response, your web host should be located close to where your site visitors reside. This reduces the overall time it takes to send requests and deliver responses. You can also use a content delivery network that caches versions of your site at different locations for fast delivery.
The performance of the hard drive
Solid-state drives offer much better performance compared to traditional hard drives. If your web host uses the latter, expect slower loading times. Fortunately, most hosting providers nowadays use SSDs that are faster. A few companies use both and offer SSD only on higher premium plans.
Co-location of the website’s resources
Some hosting plans have their resources scattered across multiple servers. In such cases, when a user accesses a page on your site, files need to be retrieved from different servers. Depending on the number of serves involved, this can take a while. To avoid this inconvenience, consider having the essential files on one web server.
Most internet users lack the patience and time to wait for a site to load. Statistics show that you lose out on a lot, especially in e-commerce, if your site is slow. As web hosting goes a long way in determining the speed of your site, it is only wise to spend a little bit more on this aspect to ensure you get the best performance.