Web hosting is a compulsory part of getting your website online. Along with the need for a domain name, hosting forms the technological backbone of most websites, holding the files and media that make up the site your visitors will see. But the function of web hosting is much more than just space. It can have much further-reaching implications for those that want their website to succeed.
Hosting has a key role to play in the user experience your website delivers, and poor quality hosting can actively hamper the value of your website’s browsing experience. Whether it’s an online service, a product or a local business, your website needs to be as user-friendly as possible to drive leads and customer enquiries. Sluggish hosting can quickly put visitors off, and can make your website feel clumsy to use.
Any website that feels difficult to use is unlikely to win many fans. For the sake of spending a little more on the backend, improved hosting quality can help boost the speed and stability of your website. The more robust and slick to use your website feels, the more likely your prospective customers will peruse as many pages as they need to make a decision.
Slow hosting is not just a scourge on the user experience. From a search engine perspective, it can also be particularly damaging. According to Search Engine Journal, inferior website hosting is one of 10 mistakes new websites should avoid in order to optimize for search engine rankings.
“A large portion of your audience will leave if the site doesn’t load within a few seconds. You don’t have to sacrifice multimedia, but it should load last, and the site should be useable without it. Don’t skimp on hosting. Nothing is more frustrating to a user than using high speed internet and still dealing with a website that loads as if it were on 56K.”
Page load time is also a factor Google is known to consider in its search engine ranking algorithms. Website owners should never find themselves trying to save money on hosting at the expense of a potentially more lucrative search engine presence – it’s a false economy that can cost you money in the long run.
The speed of a hosting package depends on a number of technical factors. Firstly, the specification of the server on which your files are hosted will have a big impact on the load time and user experience. Naturally, more powerful servers tend to make for faster websites, because there is more raw processing power available to quickly and efficiently load the website.
Websites hosted on shared servers tend to be slower and take longer to load than those on their own dedicated servers. Various shared hosting plans enable website owners to host multiple domains on their account, which sit on the same server as a number of other independent websites. Good quality shared hosting can compensate for load times, and the speed of more robust shared hosting packages is enough to challenge the more expensive alternative.