A look at some of the
key factors you should consider when choosing web hosting, including uptime,
loading times, service restrictions and security.
Choosing a web hosting company is easy. You can sign up to a service in a
matter of minutes and there are packages for every budget imaginable that will
have your site up and running in no time. However, choosing a hosting provider
that delivers the technical performance you and your users need is far more
This might not be the first thing you consider when it comes to hosting your
website. In fact, it may well be the last thing you think about once your
website is finished and ready to go live. Yet, the web hosting company and
service you choose have more of an impact on the day to day workings and
results of your site than you might appreciate.
There are two key areas that your choice of web hosting company/service will impact your website:
The impact of your hosting service on these two aspects will become clearer
as we look at the relevant components of website hosting in this article. By
the time we’re done, you’ll know exactly what you need from a hosting provider
to support the performance and functionality of your website.
First, though, I want to make a quick point about the impact your hosting
service has on your search ranking. Your choice of hosting influences a number
of direct ranking factors, such as loading times and secure encryption, and an
even larger set of indirect user actions (or lack of) that could impact your
So this is important stuff, whichever way you look at it.
There are a number of key factors to consider when you’re choosing a web hosting provider. Here, we focus on the aspects that impact the performance of your website.
There is no user experience if people can’t access your website. Every
second your server is down, you’re losing potential traffic and there’s no
guarantee these people will ever try to access your website again.
Downtime is bad news and you want to make sure you get a 99.9% or more
uptime guarantee from your provider and check customer reviews to gauge how
reliable these are. To give you an idea of what this actually translates into,
here are some downtime calculations for common guarantees:
There are some providers that promise 100% uptime guarantees but every
company experiences technical problems and any guarantee comes with a bit of
Slow loading times are probably the only UX killer worse than server outages
and, frustratingly, they’re also far more common. There are plenty of steps you
can take to optimise your website for speed but they’ll do little to help if
your hosting service is throttling your loading times.
There are a number of ways your hosting service influences page speed:
For business purposes, you generally want to avoid shared hosting, which
means your site is stored on the same server as multiple other sites. This can
mean bad news for speed and security while uptime records for shared servers
tend to be lower as well.
Ideally, you’ll want to get a dedicated server located relatively close to
the country you operate in. If you’re an international business, you’ll want to
check the location options of your provider and look into options like a CDN to
boost loading times.
When you’re choosing a hosting package, pay close attention to any service
restrictions that could limit the performance of your website. For example,
some options may limit the number of visitors you can have each month and block
further visitors or send you an unexpected bill.
Again, there are a number of things to consider here:
There are plenty of other service restrictions you might come across for any
given hosting package, especially on company’s cheaper options. The key thing
is to understand what you need now and
what you may need in the future so you can choose a hosting company that has
room to meet your growth expectations.
If you plan to increase traffic by 300% over the next year, you want to know
your hosting service is ready for it.
Security is one of the most important factors of all. It matters for every user, and businesses have a legal obligation to keep their users as safe as possible.
If you’re doing any of the following, security is a priority:
You also want a proactive hosting company, who keeps your hosting solution up to date with the latest patches and fixes, just as you would your website itself. Going back to SEO for a moment, Google also made secure encryption a ranking factor in 2014 so this is another aspect that will impact your search ranking. More importantly, though, features like this are designed to protect the users engaging with your brand so do your homework on hosting providers to gain an understanding of their security features and performance.
Last but certainly not least is the level of customer service you receive. Ever had a problem and been frustrated by the level of support you receive? Or feel like you’re talking to a brick wall? Unfortunately it’s common enough especially for the budget options. While this may not seem a problem when things are working fine, when there’s a problem (and even with the simplest of websites and requirements there will be, eventually) you want to know they’ve got your back. This is why we like to work with our preferred hosting company on behalf of our WebCare clients – we know we can rely on their service, just as our clients can rely on us in doing so.
The right hosting service for your business depends on the kind of website
you’re running. A global eCommerce brand with a large inventory of stock will
be among the most demanding in terms of what they need – all those visitors,
images eating up space, multiple locations and security threats to think about
(among other things).
Not every business has such high demands but you do need to make sure your
website is accessible to users, quick to load and secure for every action
they’re going to take on your site. Just like a quality website, quality
hosting should be high on your requirements for a faster, more reliable
If you’re looking for a reliable hosting service, speak to our team today on 02392 830281 or drop us an email and we’ll call you.
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Kerry is Head of SMB SEO. Kerry started her digital marketing career with a web design company back in 1996, then moved in-house as a digital marketing manager before moving back to the agency fold with Vertical Leap as an SEO specialist in 2006, moving to the department head role in 2011. She currently lives in Bishop's Waltham with her husband and daughter.
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