As the popular SEO joke goes, when you need to hide something really well, you put it on the second page of Google search results. That you can very easily end up in even better-concealed places due to your hosting provider is not quite as well known, though. 

The search algorithms of Google and other search engines are strictly confidential. However, many of the factors that can kick you out of the coveted first page have been well documented by SEO experts. Typically they are low-quality texts on the website, content copied from elsewhere, or unseemly SEO practices.

The effect of hosting quality is often neglected. But it influences your SEO quite a bit and from three main angles: speed, outages, and location.

1) Website speed

The faster your website loads, the better your search engine ranking becomes. Of course, top-notch website speed alone will not ensure the first spot in the results for you. On the other hand, there’s no way you’ll make it to the top without it. Combined with other SEO strategies, speeding up your site will help you climb the Google result ladder. 

Why is that? Website speed isn’t just some abstract Google metric. Slow loading is the leading cause of website visitor’s leaving. That leads to worsening metrics such as bounce rate and time spent on the site which in turn causes bad “search engine karma” and pushes you further down in the search results. 

In our experience, 3 seconds are a good benchmark. If it takes your site longer to load, your hosting might be at fault. Find out from your provider whether it’s caused by low performance, sharing resources with other users, or due to a suboptimal location of servers that store your data (we’ll get back to the location issue in a second). 

For more tips regarding increasing website speed, check out our dedicated article.

Tip: Not sure how fast your website is? We recommend the PageSpeed Insights tool from Google. It gives you the option to measure the speed of both the desktop and mobile versions of your website. 

2) Outages

Hosting outages are an unpleasant affair from start to finish – starting with unrealized sales, followed by loss of customer trust, and topped off with damaged SEO. That’s why we recommend you avoid them altogether by choosing a reliable hosting provider

Wait a second – what do outages have to do with SEO? Unfortunately, quite a bit. For example, Google penalizes websites that have been down for a while. Thus you’re risking a drop in your search result position. Getting back up is no easy task so prevention is key. 

3) Location

The location in which the servers storing your data are placed is closely related to the speed of your website and therefore also SEO. It is primarily about how great the distance is between the servers and the visitor to your site. The longer the distance your data has to travel, the longer it takes for it to reach the user. If the distance is, say, 500 kilometers and your hosting provider uses quality operators, everything works great.

However, if you have servers in ServerPark in Prague and a visitor to your site is sitting at a Starbucks in Los Angeles, they may be unpleasantly surprised by the slow loading. The ideal solution in this case is the so-called CDN, which periodically caches the content of your website (i.e. stores it in locations that are closer to site visitors). The result is a significant acceleration of your site loading time and thus an improved position in search results.

When choosing a CDN, focus on where the provider has the so-called pops. That is for which locations it is able to ensure the fast delivery of your content. For example, vshosting~ has pops all over Europe and North America.

Top SEO is not just about keywords and interesting content. You also need the support of a quality hosting partner to reach the top of the search. Make sure your SEO efforts are not sabotaged by poor hosting quality.


Why website loading speed matters

Do you want to get as many visitors to your website as possible and have them stay there for a while? Then you need to make your site as fast as possible. Loading speed is one of the factors that affect how a site ranks in search results. In addition, the slow loading of the website is the main reason why visitors who have already reached the website will leave again quickly. And what if a slow or even broken website damages your business?

In addition, users are increasingly accessing the web from mobile devices, where slow loading is even more noticeable (and annoying) than on desktop.

Studies show that:

– 47% of users expect the page to load in 2 seconds
– 40% of users leave after 3 seconds of loading
– 46% of online users decide whether to return to the site based on its speed
– an optimized site should load within 3 seconds

How fast is your website?

Step 1 is figuring out whether you really have a problem with website loading speed. You’ll be able to assess that by using any of the following tools:

If you get a result of 3-second loading speed or more, we recommend you take a good look at why that is the case. There are many factors that can affect website speed. Here are the most common ones.

Major website slowers

Excessive website size

The larger the page, the longer it takes to load. The ideal page size is up to 3MB. Page size is affected by the number of images, videos, fonts, styles, and other graphic elements. If you have more than one image on the web, focus on compressing them. This can be facilitated by a wide range of plugins, such as Smush for WordPress.

No caching

Proper caching can effectively speed up the web. Caching is, simply put, the storage of information in specialized repositories, from where it is possible to work with them quickly, and therefore it does not have to be retrieved from remote servers.

One of the options is making use of a CDN. CDN is a network for faster content delivery. It helps speed up websites by storing static content (images, videos, HTML code,…) in key locations, reducing the distance between a visitor to your site and the server running the site. In addition, CDN storage works on the basis of fast SSD disks, thanks to which they not only provide a closer distribution of content to your users but also help in the speed of loading this content.

Too many HTTP requests

In order for a visitor to load your site at all, the visitor’s computer must establish a connection with the server on which your site is running. A large amount of data needed to display the site properly begins to flow through this connection. The more elements (images, icons, styles, javascript, etc.) you have on the website, the more connections must be established and the longer it takes.

The solution is to switch to HTTP/2. Unlike older versions of HTTP, which communicated in text form, HTTP/2 is binary and allows many more requests to be transmitted over a single connection. When switching to HTTP/2, there is an acceleration in the order of 100ms to 1 second.

We recommend that you ask your hosting provider if they support HTTP/2 and if your site also runs on HTTP/2.

Outdated application versions

Outdated versions of applications can slow down and even jeopardize your site. A large number of websites are programmed in PHP. However, there are big differences between the older version of the language (PHP 5) and the new version of PHP 7. The performance difference can be up to 50% and some functions in the newer version of PHP 7 are many times faster.

It is also very important to update the content management system and its plugins. An out-of-date content management system means a high-security risk.

Inappropriate hosting location

The more remote the server on which the site runs is, the more connections must be established and the more complex the overhead and the number of queries. For remote hostings, the communication speed can be in the order of tens of 100ms. So choose hosting that is close to the site visitors or use CDN, which we mention in one of the previous points.

Lack of readiness for traffic spikes

You’ve launched a campaign, a special promotion, or are running an ad on TV. A wave of visitors from various marketing channels is heading to your website. You’ve optimized everything for the most conversions and look forward to great results.
But have you thought about whether your site can handle it? Traffic spikes are great for your business as long as the hosting works as it should.

The fact that the website does not withstand high traffic is often caused by neglect of hosting preparations. Most often, the performance of hosting is underestimated and during peak hours it cannot handle multiple requests to view the website. Make sure your hosting provider is ready for peak hours. They should have a performance reserve and sufficient line capacity.

In addition to hosting, you also need to look directly at the application (your e-shop, catalog, website) and optimize the database. Make sure that the application does not make unnecessarily many queries to the database and that it does not happen to store content that does not belong in the database.

Summing things up

Website and e-shop operators often focus primarily on creating and caring for site content and optimizing the marketing funnel. However, their work can be ruined by hosting that is not optimized for speed, reliability, and security.

Although the cost of hosting is not one of the main items in the business, it is hosting that can ruin all the effort and plans. Therefore, it is necessary to host your website or e-shop with a quality provider who can advise and has tools for the smooth running of your business.

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