Your website is a highly valuable tool that is important to expanding your reach online. The quality of your website (i.e. the way it looks, functions and loads) are critical in your visitors’ decision as to whether they will make a purchase from your online store or not.

Many business owners believe it is the design of the website that determines the speed of the website. Therefore, many webmasters spend their time adjusting images, text and functions to improve the user experience for their visitors. However, many businesses don’t realise that web design is not the only factor for site speed. Their website hosting is also a factor.

In this article we look at why a quality web host is important for your site and what elements you should be looking for to ensure high speed.

 

The Benefits Of A Good Host?

Website hosting is a critical component of your website. It allows you to have your website live on the internet and visit-able by your potential customers. There are several benefits a good host can provide your website, including:

1. Fast Load time

The loading time of your website is important for your users. For every second it takes your website to load you’ll lose 7% of your revenue. This can be a significant drain on your incoming funds and can cause your business to make a loss overall if your site takes too long to load.

Another problem is that your business could lose traffic if it takes too long for your site to load. For instance, if your website takes longer than 4 seconds to load, 25% of your potential visitors will abandon your site. Nearly three quarters of those potential customers will never return to your site.

2. Limited Downtime

Some of the worst web hosts will constantly have problems with their customer’s sites being unavailable. Having your website offline is not a particularly good sign for your business. Customers may believe your business is no longer operational or that it is unprofessional.

Another problem is that search engines constantly look at how often your site is down. Therefore, if your website suffers from significant downtime, you will rank badly.

It is almost impossible to have 100% uptime; however, 99.99% is more than achievable. Ask your potential hosting organisation what their average uptime is.

3. Security

Your website’s security is very important. If you don’t have proper security, a malicious internet user (hacker) can enter in your websites files and make changes. These changes could be something simple like adding links to connect to their websites or an appearance change.

This can be a huge cost for your business if you don’t have a backup. Also, the changes that these businesses can make can be costly to your search engine optimisation efforts and you could lose traffic because you suffer from a Google penalty.

4. Support

Not everything is going to go right for your business’ website. A good website host will provide you with good technical support ensuring that any problems you have with the function, downtime or speed are quickly resolved.

 

What Elements Can Make A Good Hosting Company?

Content Delivery Network

A content delivery (distribution) network is a collection of servers or hosts scattered across various worldwide data centres. The idea is to deliver the content to your audience quicker by distributing it from the closest data centre. This speeds up load times no matter where the person in the world is.

However not using a CDN will mean those who are further away from your server will have poorer user experiences. This can be particularly bad if you are targeting a worldwide audience or if your server is located in a location not near your target audience.

Server Side Compression

Server side compression is another way to speed up your website’s download speed by compressing the HTML of your website so it can be sent in smaller data bursts to your visitor.

The technology to do this has long been supported by the major web browsers since 4.X generation. However, very few sites actually use this technique. This could give you a significant advantage online by speeding up your site and performing better than your competitors’.

Solid DNS

A Domain Name Server is the database which the internet uses to identify your website and ensure it is legitimate. The DNS stores a list of domain names and translates them to IP addresses. This is important because computers and mobile devices access websites based on the IP address and not the domain name.

For instance, your site might be www.mysite.com and that is what users will enter into their browser. However, the browser will translate that into an IP address like 216.167.220.65 and will collect the site’s details from that address and download the necessary information to display the website.

All the information stored on the DNS is stored at a central registry. Top quality hosting companies and internet service providers regularly communicate with the Central Registry to stay updated with the latest DNS information. It usually takes between 1 and 2 days for new sites to be registered with the central registry.

A good DNS supplied by a quality hosting company will support the authenticity of your website. Many suspect that your site’s search rank is affected by the quality of the DNS.

Unlimited Bandwidth

Bandwidth is the measurement of the bit-rate that your website can transfer data with. The more bandwidth that your hosting organisation offers your website the greater the speed of your website will be. There are several benefits for having unlimited bandwidth. Firstly, it will allow you to have high quality images, videos and audios hosted upon your site. Secondly, it will allow you to have a significant number of visitors without the degradation of user experience.

Without unlimited bandwidth, your site speed will be slower and this could affect your page rank on Google and other search engines.

 

Conclusion

The delivery of your website is dependent on your site being hosted with a quality web host provider. If you are unable to obtain one, your site can suffer from numerous problems such as slow load time, poor user experience and high visitor abandonment.

This will affect the amount of revenue generated by your site and could mean your website is a burden rather than a benefit. Check with your host that it supplies the items we’ve highlighted above and ensure you are presenting a professional image on your website.

Jake Burdess

Director at Aflua
This post is by Jake Burdess, the founder of Aflua and HEROIC. Jake is an English designer who lives in New Zealand with his wife and three kids.

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