When you’re looking to start your own website, one of your primary concerns might be what types of content you’ll be offering, what needs you’ll be providing solutions for, and what the best platform is for your business. While those are certainly important for your website to gain traction, you’ll also want to have it hosted by a reliable service provider.
In this article, we’ll discuss the importance of good web hosting, how it affects and SEO, and help you choose the right type of web hosting for your business needs.
What is web hosting?
Web hosting refers to an online service that allows you to publish your website or web application on the internet. Essentially, a web host lets you rent space on a server where you can store all the files and data necessary for your website to work properly. Hostinger’s analogy below is a great way to make sense of this.
1] How web hosting works
A key part of web hosting is ensuring that the server (a physical computer) runs without interruption so the websites it hosts are available at all times. The web host’s job is keep the server up and running, transfer the website’s content to visitors’ browsers, and ensure its security.
The web host also stores all of the website’s files, assets, and databases on its server. So when a user types in a domain name, or finds that website via search, the host transfers all the files necessary to serve the request.
2] Web hosting features
Apart from delivering web pages to users’ browsers, here are other features you should expect from a web host:
- Email accounts – Hosting providers can allow you to create domain email accounts (e.g. yourwebsite.com / [email protected]).
- FTP access – This allows you to upload files from your computer to the web server. So if your website is built using HTML, you can transfer files to the web server using FTP, which in turn allows your website to be accessed over the internet.
- Technical support – Good web hosting providers typically employ in-house technicians to ensure that their clients’ websites run without fail 24/7. As well, should website owners need troubleshooting related to the site (domain email problems, domain name renewal, script debutting, etc.), these technicians are at their service.
- WordPress support – Because WordPress powers over 25% of websites on the internet, most hosting providers will inform you off the bat if their plans are compatible with WordPress or not.
Other services related to website management like SSL certificates, page builders, developer tools, automated website backups, and one-click software installs, among others, may also be provided by web hosts.
3] How web hosting affects SEO
As you saw in the analogy pictured earlier, web hosting is your website’s home on the web. This means that you shouldn’t scrimp on it because doing so could only nullify all your other efforts (web design and development, digital marketing, etc.) to drive customers to your website.
Speaking of driving traffic, fast, reliable web hosting is a crucial element for SEO. Here are some of the web hosting factors that can affect your SEO.
Nobody likes slow websites-most customers are gone if your website doesn’t load in a few seconds, and Google puts great consideration in speed when it comes to their ranking factors. You could have the best content, best products, and the cleanest web design, but if your site is slow, then you run a great risk of losing conversions and traffic.
While the goal is to get close to having your pages load in two seconds, most websites fail to achieve this, mostly because of poor hosting. Tools like Pingdom and Google Page Speed allow you to test your website and hosting speed.
Pingdom not only details how long your website loads, it also shows you what’s causing the delay. The yellow on the diagram above refers to the wait time – something that’s mostly driven by web hosting.
Meanwhile, apart from informing you of slow load times, Google’s tool also lets you know what you can do to your website in terms of technical optimization. It even provides real-world examples of how fast your website loads for real users.