Speed matters. And one of the areas where it matters most in life is when it comes to your website. When people are browsing, they
want expect fast loading times.
You may think the information on your website is worth a wait, but for your busy visitors who have a huge world wide web of sites to choose from, waiting for yours to load will hardly feel worth the time. How will they even learn your content is worth sticking around for if they click away before it loads?
4 Reasons to Look for the Fastest Web Hosting
Web hosting isn’t the only factor that impacts site speed, but it matters. When choosing your web hosting provider, selecting the fastest web hosting solution gives you a headstart on delivering quick loading times. And that’s important for a few main reasons.
1. A fast-loading site creates a better user experience.
Whatever the main goals for your website are, realizing them depends on providing a good experience to your visitors. If you want people to visit your site, stick around, and keep coming back, people have to have a good experience on their visits. When your website loads fast every time a visitor clicks on it, that creates a better experience than if they’re forced to wait.
2. A slow site will lose visitors.
Having to wait on a slow site to load is a frustrating experience. But for many of your visitors, they won’t even bother waiting. They’ll just click away. Google research found that people are 32% more likely to leave a website that takes even just three seconds to load.
The work you put into your website isn’t worth much if visitors don’t stick around long enough to see any of it.
3. Faster speeds are good for SEO.
Google cares about what their users care about. Because website visitors expect fast loading times, Google’s algorithms give more weight to websites that deliver them. Making sure your web pages load fast is an integral part of technical search engine optimization (SEO). Fast loading times alone won’t get you to the first page of Google, but if your website’s habitually slow to load, it can keep you off it.
4. Website speed impacts conversions.
Research from Portent found that site speed also has an impact on conversions. If you run a business website, that means choosing fast web hosting can directly affect your profits. Even if your website isn’t for a business, there’s probably some action you want your visitors to take (signing up for an email list, following you on social media, leaving donations, etc.). Investing in a fast web hosting plan increases the odds your visitors will take that extra step.
How to Evaluate a Web Hosting Provider on Speed
You know site speed matters, but that doesn’t mean choosing a fast web hosting provider is easy. How do you even evaluate which web hosting providers provide fast hosting services? There are a few different factors you can look at.
1. Check what web hosting plan options they offer.
Choosing the right web hosting company is part of the equation in achieving website speed. But investing in the right web hosting plan is at least as important. Web hosting providers offer a few main types of web hosting plans, each designed for websites with different levels of need.
If you run a small business website or started a personal website to share your main hobby with the world, your website needs are probably relatively simple. You likely won’t be getting thousands of visitors a day, will have a manageable number of pages, and won’t be hosting too many large files. For businesses with basic needs, shared hosting or WordPress hosting will usually do the trick.
Once you’re dealing with a website that has more complex needs—hundreds of thousands of visitors a month, hundreds of pages, and lots of large files, for instance—then a shared plan may not offer enough bandwidth for you to continue delivering a good experience to your visitors. At that point, you’ll want to invest in a more sophisticated plan, such as VPS hosting, or even a dedicated server.
For most newer websites, these higher-level plans won’t be necessary right away. But if you want the ability to scale if your website grows over time, choosing a web hosting provider that offers hosting plans for you to grow into can help you maintain a speedy site for years to come.
2. Consider their server locations.
When you launch a website, it’s easy to think about it as something that exists in the ether. But websites are stored on physical servers that have to be located somewhere. And where those servers are can influence how quickly your website loads for visitors.
If your web hosting company’s servers are located in Europe, but most of your visitors come from the United States, the distance will cause slower loading times. When choosing your web hosting provider, look for information on where their servers are located to confirm that they’re not too far from where your most likely visitors will be. It doesn’t matter so much if it’s the same city, but the same side of the world does make a difference.
Also check if they use a CDN (content delivery network). A CDN like Cloudflare can route websites through data sites all over the world, which speeds up loading times for visitors located in far-flung locations.
3. Look into the hardware they use.
The quality of your web host’s physical servers matters too. A web hosting provider that invests in technology that’s high-quality and up-to-date and keeps it well maintained will be able to deliver better overall performance than one that doesn’t, which includes faster speeds.
While you may not understand the ins and outs of web server technology, check to see what information a web host provides about the technology they use, so you can get an idea of if their practices are up to par.
4. Look up third-party reviews.
Finally, look for unbiased third-party websites that provide reviews. Many will specifically comment on website speed based on speed tests they’ve performed. It can be tricky finding good information about a web hosting company’s typical speed, since so many factors impact how fast a website is. But review sites will often be able to give you some idea of a company’s overall reputation.
How to Test Your Website’s Speed
If you already have a web hosting plan and aren’t sure whether it’s providing the level of speed you want, the best way to find out is to perform a speed test. While you can always test out your website yourself on your own computer or mobile device, that won’t give you a sense of how well your website is performing for other people.
For that, you want to use a speed test tool like Page Speed Insights from Google. Simply enter your URL and click on “Analyze,” and the tool will provide you a score based on your speed performance. You can see your score for both desktop and mobile devices, as well as specific recommendations for what you can do to improve your website speed.
What Else Should You Consider Besides Speed?
Your web host matters, but it’s not the only factor that determines website speed. You also want to think about factors like the size of the images you use, how many plugins you have, and whether you’ve enabled browser caching. But choosing a reputable web hosting company provides a solid foundation that ensures the other steps you take to keep your website fast pay off.
Considering WordPress hosting? Read our guide to finding the fastest WordPress hosting.