If you have a slow loading website, you’re killing your site before it’s even had a chance to succeed.
Today, having a fast web host is no longer an option. It’s a necessity. With a slow loading site you’ll be negatively influencing your search engine rankings, impairing your user experience, and likely losing a lot of potential sales.
But all the onsite optimization in the world won’t matter if your web host is slow.
While on-page improvements like image optimization will make a huge difference, your web host sets the stage for your site speed. You can think of your hosting company as either making it easier or harder to achieve blazing fast loading speeds.
Below we not only examine why having a fast loading website is so important, but we also show you what to look for in fast web hosting services.
Why You Need a Fast Web Host
If you didn’t hear the news, attention spans are down. You can’t expect your users to sit around and wait for your site to load. In fact, if your site takes longer than 2 seconds, then they’ll click the back button and head over to one of your competitors.
Your web host can either greatly enhance your site speed or make it very difficult to achieve even subpar loading speeds.
Here are some of the biggest reasons you’ll want fast web hosting services behind you:
1. Rank Higher in the Search Engine Rankings
Google loves websites that load fast. Think about it, Google’s mission is to provide search engine users with the most relevant and highest quality search results.
When your site loads slowly, your visitors are immediately put off. They start moving their mouse (or trackpad) towards the back button as fast as possible.
Site loading speed is a Google ranking factor. Keep in mind that it’s not a big one, but everything adds up when it comes to SEO. Plus, if your site takes too long to load, then Google will send crawlers to your website less often. So, they won’t know if you’ve published that new blog post you’ve spent hours on.
Beyond the ranking factor impact, having a slow loading website will also influence user experience factors like your bounce rate. Having a very high bounce rate will signal to Google that your site is low-quality, so you can say goodbye to those hard-earned rankings.
2. Offer a Positive User Experience
If you want your site to succeed in the long-term, then you need to be creating a positive experience for your visitors.
Face it, the web is a crowded place, so if you’re looking to stand out, a great way to do that is with your user experience. Create a super enjoyable experience for your visitors and you’ll be having visitors come back to your site again and again (and maybe tell their friends about it too!).
As you’ve already seen, today’s internet users are impatient. We all are. We all expect things to happen instantly. So, if your site fails to achieve this expectation you’re going to have a lot of disappointed visitors on your hands.
Also, as we mentioned above, when you create a great user experience you’ll improve key website stats like your bounce rate and dwell time, which suggest a positive user experience. This will have a compounding effect of ensuring it’s easier for your site to rank, and helping turn visitors into customers, subscribers, and more.
3. Create a Stellar First Impression
The moment a visitor lands on your website they’re judging you. This doesn’t mean you need to feel self-conscious. It’s something we all do.
Visitors are immediately making judgments about your site. Should they trust you? Is this site worth their time? Are you a professional?
These judgments happen instantly. One of the best ways to help bring visitors over to your side is to have a fast loading website.
Sure, there are important elements of your site that need to be in place too. But, users tend to view fast loading sites as more trustworthy. On the other hand, when your site loads slowly, it does the exact opposite of inspiring confidence.
In fact, if your site loads too slowly, your visitors may never return again.
4. Improve Your Conversions
Most people will leave your site and never return again if it loads slowly. According to some experts, 40% of people will abandon your site if it takes more than 3 seconds to load.
So, let’s say your site gets 10,000 visitors per month. With a slow loading site, 4,000 of those visitors will leave your site!
That’s 4,000 visitors who could have become customers.
If your site is generating revenue, then any lost visitor is a potentially lost customer. Of course, not every website visitor will buy something from you. But, losing 40% of your visitors due to a fixable problem with site loading isn’t something you’ll want to experience. The more traffic your site gets the more tragic this figure becomes.
5. Make Speed Optimization Easier
Finally, when you choose a fast hosting services you’re making your life as a webmaster so much easier. No matter what kind of hosting plan you’re on there are steps you can take to help get the highest performance out of your site.
But, if you’re on a slow loading web host, even big changes will only lead to very small improvements. It’ll be near impossible to overcome the slow loading baseline that’s set by your host.
Some web hosts are so blazing fast that they deliver incredible loading speeds without any onsite speed optimization. In an ideal world you’ll have a host that values speed, along with having proper onsite optimization to truly get the highest levels of performance out of your site.
What to Look for in a Fast Web Host
Now that you understand the importance of having a fast loading website let’s look at the things you should look for in a web host. Note that some of the factors are actual features of a hosting company while others are more dependant on the needs of your site.
The following factors will help you find a host with the fastest web hosting:
1. Choosing the Right Plan
One of the biggest influences on the performance of your site is choosing the right type of hosting and plan for your needs. For example, if you’re on a basic shared hosting plan, but your site gets a large volume of monthly traffic, then this will probably lead to poor performance. There’s no way around it.
It’s important to choose a host that can actually support your website needs. For most hosting plans there are limits, and when you hit these your site performance is going to suffer.
First, ensure that you choose a hosting plan that can support your existing traffic and storage levels while giving you space to grow or upgrade your plan.
Second, consider choosing a type of hosting that’s best suited to your site. For example, if you run a WordPress site whose traffic levels are increasing, then you might want to consider moving to WordPress hosting.
2. Server Location
One thing that’s typically overlooked is the actual physical location of the servers. If you primarily get traffic from the UK, but your servers are based in Los Angeles, then your loading times won’t be as fast as they could be.
If you have the opportunity to select the location of your servers, then choose a location that’s the closest to your website visitors and not your physical location.
If you can’t select this, then at least make sure there’s a bundled CDN, or you have the opportunity to utilize one.
3. Quality Server Hardware
The server hardware will also influence your site’s performance. Look for a host that uses the latest web server hardware technology, not simply a host that’s trying to get by with older server hardware.
Typically, the higher the level of your plan the better web server hardware you’ll have access to. This includes things like the quality of the processors, integrated caching, unlimited bandwidth, along with support for faster software or program updates, like PHP 7.
4. Type of Drives
When you purchase hosting services you’re basically buying a place to store your site’s files. If possible, try to find a host that uses Solid State Drives (SSDs). This is an upgrade from the traditional HDD drives. SSDs have a much higher level of performance and can execute server commands at a much faster rate.
5. Bundled CDN
Using a CDN will help your site load faster across the board. With a CDN behind you, cached versions of your site will be stored on different servers across the globe. Whenever a visitor accesses your site, they’ll be served a version of your site from a server that’s in the closest physical proximity.
Choosing the Fastest Web Host for Your Needs
Even though speed is important, there’s a lot more that goes into choosing a web host than just evaluating speed.
Here are a few factors you’ll want to look for along with fast performance:
1. Fits Your Budget
You’ll need to find the fastest form of hosting available within your budget. In time, as the size of your site and traffic levels grow you can upgrade to more expensive forms of hosting that will also offer upgrades in performance.
2. Quality of Support
A rock-solid customer support team should be mandatory when deciding between different web hosting providers. The chances are high that you’ll need to reach out to support at some time to help you resolve an issue regarding your hosting or your website.
You’ll want to look for a support team that offers customer support in your preferred channel, along with actually being responsive and helpful. When an issue arises with your website you’ll want to be confident you can get it resolved as quickly as possible.
3. Ability to Grow With You
Chances are your site will grow in time and so will your hosting needs. Even if you’re building out your first site you’ll want to choose a hosting company that can grow with you.
This means you should be on the lookout for hosts that offer multiple plans, as well as, multiple forms of hosting services.
4. Bundled Tools and Features
When looking for a host make sure they can meet all of your needs, not just your need for speed.
For example, maybe you want a host that allows you to manage and send email, or you know you want to use cPanel to manage your web server, or you want a host that has a website builder.
Take stock of your additional needs before you begin researching and exploring different web hosting services..
5. High Level of Reliability
Site uptime is incredibly important. Even if your site loads in 10ms, this won’t matter if it’s offline all the time. Look for a host that offers an uptime guarantee of 99.99%.
This uptime percentage refers to the percentage of time that your site will be online. This might not seem crucially important, but think about it from the perspective of a visitor who comes to your site while it’s offline.
Or, a visitor who came to your site with the intention of making a purchase, but all they see is an offline site.
Look for a host that offers a high level of uptime, and even an uptime guarantee if the time your site is offline drops below their baseline percentage.
Choose a Fast Web Host for Your Website
Hopefully, you have a better understanding of why having the fastest web hosting is very important. With a low loading host behind you, you’re going to have an uphill battle from the very beginning.
By using the information above you’ll be on your way towards finding the best blazing-fast web hosting package for your website. Whether you go for shared hosting, dedicated server hosting, or any of our other web hosting packages, our team at HostGator will help you find the best service for you and your website. If you’re looking for a web host that values load time speed and also checks all the boxes above, then explore HostGator’s hosting plans today.