We run a lot of websites, on numerous different host company servers worldwide. I prefer clients run the site I build on my own local setup. But too often for their own reasons, they like to stick with their own provider. But when it comes to online, a slow host means it’s annoying to site visitors AND to Google, who typically provides at least half your new site traffic.
The clearest example of the trouble you can get into was a new client site we moved earlier this year. Complaining of a very slow WordPress site of 500+ pages, could I help? Certainly, but you’ll need to move off your cheap shared host provider (Openhost in this case), onto something better. I did note he’d already done all the right things with the site, including trying caching plugins etc. But little helped.
Check Your Webmaster Tools Crawl Stats
His response times (according to the Google webmaster tools crawl stats), varied from 3 to 25 seconds, averaging around 7 seconds, when the site was actually working, the blank areas in the chart indicating when the site was down or Google just ‘gave up’. We quickly moved him to my own local SSD cloud server I rent, optimised for WordPress.
This migration, done in a morning, instantly reduced his site response time down to a consistent one second. With some monitoring and further tweaks over the next month, I reduced this still further.
But, the best part, within 24 hours, Google and other search bots actually started to crawl his site properly for the first time in years, with a huge increase in pages and posts now crawled, from 1 to 150 pages/day in this case. (chart below)
What very few people or developers appreciate, is that if you have a very slow website on a slow host, it not only annoys users, but the search bots will start to ignore you too, meaning your superb content won’t be indexed, meaning you won’t get found.
Even if Google appears to be indexing your website it may not be updating regularly or doing a decent crawl, since your site is not responding well. Submitting your site to Google and running Yoast SEO and various caching plugins won’t help a bit. Your host is the problem here…
So, why wouldn’t you want the fastest host?
Here’s an extract from a developer conference, where one development company discussed their frustrating experience with a slow host with erratic performance. In this case, Amazons EC2 cloud. Many IT geeks recommend it as it’s highly configurable, scalable and robust. But speed is more elusive. (Full video)
What’s a millisecond you ask? Less then the blinking of an eye. And this guy had a site with less the 0.2 seconds load time, when the industry average is over 2.0 seconds – And with business site loaded up with big images, fancy sliders etc, is commonly 4-6 seconds. Yikes! Often, overtaking your competitors in user retention and search ranking, may be just a matter of optimising site content and a fast host.
All hosts are not the same..
Most people just assume that ‘all web hosts are the same’ and those that charge more are simply ‘ripping us off’. The cheapest deal from the biggest names is a safe choice most think. But the reality is that hosting does vary immensely, with hundreds of differing configurations and costs involved. And you do get what you pay for. A common $25/mth shared account on openhost/freeparking/net24 is typically half the speed of a $50/mth mini VPS host, which is around half the speed of a $100/mth managed, optimised, VPS/SSD host.
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