Analysis shows that on average, it takes a little over 10 seconds to load a web page on desktop PCs and over 27 seconds on mobile. That initial load time affects a lot of things, including how likely your visitors are to click away from your site before it even loads.
Website speed is important and your hosting service plays a big part in it. Let’s look at how the two relate and what you should look for in a good web host.
Why Is Website Speed Important?
A fast-loading website makes a big difference in the number of visitors who click away from your site before they see any of your content. If they land on your website and it takes too long to load, they’ll click away and find another option. This is known as a bounce.
Studies show that a two-second delay in loading a page increases the bounce rate by more than 100 per cent.
How quickly your website loads can also affect its ranking in Google and other search engines. Google wants the pages it lists in its results to provide the best possible experience for searchers. A slow-loading page doesn’t provide that.
Your bounce rate also matters for SEO (search engine optimization). If someone clicks on your site in the Google results and immediately clicks back to find another option, Google sees that happen. If it happens too often, it will cause your pages to drop in the rankings.
Types of Web Hosting
There are several common types of web hosting:
- Shared hosting
- Virtual private server (VPS)
- Dedicated server
- Cloud hosting
Each has several advantages and disadvantages, particularly when it comes to website loading speed.
Shared hosting puts more than one website on the same server. Each site has its own account and is independent of the rest from the user’s perspective but they all share server resources like memory, storage, and processing power.
Shared hosting is the more affordable option but because there are multiple sites on the server, the performance isn’t as good as the other options.
Virtual Private Server
A VPS shares the server resources between several users, similar to shared hosting, but each user gets a fixed share of those resources. With many shared hosting services, a single website could use more resources and slow down the performance of the other ones on the server.
A VPS typically only has a few users sharing the resources as well, where a shared host could have dozens of websites running from the same server. Some less reliable hosting providers may even have hundreds of sites on the same shared server. This means a VPS can offer faster site speed than most shared hosting services.
A dedicated server is exactly what it sounds like – a server that’s dedicated to a single user. You can host more than one website on it if you want but you have access to all its resources.
Dedicated hosting gives you better performance than the two shared options since no other websites are using some of the server’s resources. You can also configure the server exactly the way you want, giving you more flexibility for website speed optimization.
Cloud hosting uses a network of servers to host your website. Instead of a single server doing all the work, it gets divided between several.
If one of those servers goes down for some reason, your website doesn’t go offline. The other servers just carry the extra weight of the one that’s missing.
And from a performance perspective, cloud hosting is more scalable. If your website sees a surge in traffic, more server resources can get provisioned to your site to keep it running quickly.
Factors That Affect the Speed of Your Site
There are several aspects of hosting services that affect the speed of your website. Since a web server is just a specialized type of computer, some of them are similar to factors that affect the speed of your PC.
RAM is the memory that a web server uses to run server software, process data, and various other things. Having more RAM in your server means it can keep up with a higher load.
If your website uses a database, runs any kind of scripts or other code, or runs on a content management system like WordPress, more RAM will improve its performance. If it runs out of RAM, it has to offload some information to storage which is a much slower type of memory.
Similar to desktop or laptop PCs, web servers can have hard drive or solid-state drive (SSD) storage. There’s a significant difference in speed between the two, with SSD storage running a lot faster.
Choosing a web server with an SSD drive will help your website load more quickly but the trade-off is that you can get larger capacity hard drives, which also cost less. If you have high storage needs, your best choice might be a combination of the two — an SSD for serving the information that most visitors need when they visit your site and a hard drive for storing the higher-capacity data that isn’t needed as often.
Having enough storage also makes a difference in the speed of your site. If your web hosting storage is almost full, it slows down the speed of your website. Make sure you have enough storage to accommodate leaving some available for the server to use in the background.
The bandwidth offered by your hosting service also plays a big part in the speed of your website. There are two aspects to bandwidth — the amount of data your server can transfer every month and how much data it can transfer at once (the port size).
The total amount doesn’t affect performance but the port size does. A larger port can maintain a good speed for more visitors at the same time.
Think of the port like a highway. The same number of cars can travel from point A to point B on a two-lane or a four-lane highway. But the two-lane highway will get backed up sooner if there’s enough traffic.
A web server works the same way. The same amount of data can go through a smaller port but it will get backed up if there’s enough traffic on your website. If that happens, your website’s performance suffers.
Number of Websites On Your Server
As we’ve already discussed, the number of websites on your server plays a big part in your website’s performance. Choosing an unreliable hosting service that overloads shared servers with hundred of sites will cause performance issues for yours.
The revenue you lose because people click away from your site will likely outweigh anything you save by choosing one of these cheap hosting services.
Amount of Traffic Coming to Your Website
The amount of traffic coming to your website will impact its performance as well. This isn’t about the total number of visitors though — it’s about concurrent visitors.
If you only have a handful of visitors at any given time, and that number is consistent, your site’s performance will be stable. As long as you choose a hosting service that offers enough resources for the number of visitors you get, you’ll be fine.
But if your traffic spikes and you suddenly get a lot more visitors at once, that’s going to overload a basic server and your site speed will suffer.
How to Choose the Best Hosting Service for Your Website
To choose the right web hosting service, you need to look at your needs today as well as where you expect your website to be in a few months or years. If you expect your traffic to grow or you plan on building a larger website, you’ll want to choose a host that gives you room to grow.
The first decision is which type of hosting to choose. If your website needs are simple and you don’t expect it to grow significantly, shared hosting will be fine. If you think your traffic or resource requirements are going to grow conservatively, a VPS plan is likely best.
If you want complete control over your hosting or you think your traffic and resource needs are going to grow significantly, a dedicated server is your best choice. And if you want the ability to scale your hosting service up or down as your needs change, cloud hosting is the best choice.
Make sure you consider the hosting provider’s service and support. You need to be able to get fast, effective help if you run into any problems with your hosting.
It’s a good idea to contact their support with any question you have before you make your decision. If they don’t get back to you quickly when you’re looking for a hosting service, there’s a good chance the response will be the same when you have trouble.
Fast, Reliable Australian Web Hosting
If you’re looking for reliable Australian web hosting that will offer good website speed, UpTime Web Hosting is here to help. We offer a range of website hosting plans for sites of all sizes.