How your web host could help or hurt your website performance
One of the first questions people may ask web designers when planning out their website is: Does it really matter where my website is hosted, or if it is hosted at all? In short, yes! The hosting environment you choose for your school website can impact security, SEO, user experience and more. Hosting your website in a negative environment or not at all can be detrimental to your site visits, your website performance, and general online presence. In this blog post, we’ll focus on how your website hosting impacts your website speed and overall performance.
A good website is only as good as the performance it offers— and speed is important here. Look at it another way: would you buy a car that was sleek, and had fancy bells and whistles, but it would only hold one passenger, go a maximum of 20 mph, and got five miles to the gallon in gas? A fancy website is not going to get you where you want to go in terms of marketing goals if the website does not perform well in the first place! This is where a good web host steps in to take your current performance to the next level.
At DesignTLC, we host our websites with WordPress through several platforms like WP Engine, Kinsta and Siteground. Check out our blog post where we review our favorite hosting platforms to learn more about these options.
How does your web host impact your website performance?
Website loading speed
Where you host your website impacts both web and mobile responsiveness; it is important to use a hosting platform that can handle your server load properly. If your site takes too long to load, especially in a mobile format, you can bet you’ll see a drop in site visitors. In fact, 53% of site visitors will leave your website if it takes longer than three seconds to load. Put yourself in your site visitor’s shoes: if you were trying to navigate a site and it took too long to load, would you hang around, or would you go look for information elsewhere?
Take a look at this example— we compared the Design TLC website hosted on WP Engine to another hosting service. Notice the difference in loading speed!
The Design TLC website hosted with WP Engine loaded in 2.7 seconds, while the other, same exact website loaded in 4.3, earning a C grade rather than an A. The proof is in the pudding: having a web host for your website does impact your website’s loading speed!
Before you choose the web host that is best for you, there are several factors to take into account, including:
- Random Access Memory (RAM): How much storage your web host server provides to your scripts
- Type of Hard Drive: Your web host can either have a Hard Disk Drive (HDD) or a Solid State Drive (SSD)
- Bandwidth: How much data your web host can manage and transfer
There is nothing more important than the security of your school’s website. There are a lot of things you can do to protect your school’s website, but nothing beats a good web hosting platform that is protecting it around the clock. Not to mention, site security is also a ranking factor for Google’s search algorithm, meaning any hosting that is un-secure could negatively impact SEO.
Once set up, your web hosting software should be automatically updated for you, and needs to update over time automatically. Many hosts offer a proprietary intrusion detection and prevention system to block any attacks, hacks, malware, and more, and they may even collaborate with other third-party security firms to complete regular security audits to make sure the code is operating in tip-top shape.
Uptime means the amount of time your website is, well, up! A good web host ensures your website stays up, running, and highly functional with little to no downtime. Most web hosts guarantee an uptime of 99.99%, which is great reliability. You can rest at ease knowing the likelihood of your website being down is incredibly little. But remember— there still is that 0.01% of downtime. Most web hosts do experience downtime at some point in time. The key to working around this is choosing a web host that guarantees a high 99.99% uptime percentage as well as offers multiple power backup options just in case.
Good SEO is absolutely crucial for a stable, high-functioning school website. Like we said earlier, your school website’s loading times directly affect your SEO, amongst other factors. Without proper web hosting, your website will most likely load slowly for visitors, leading to a higher bounce rate on your website and lower performance rankings. To make matters worse, if your website is regularly down, your SEO will be negatively impacted.
To build upon your SEO strategy in tandem with your web host, there are several WordPress plugins designed to help you do just that. If you have a WordPress website and host through WP Engine, we recommend exploring Yoast. Yoast has been a partner with WP Engine to help the WordPress website community expand their SEO practices. Check out our blog post on Yoast and why we recommend it for WordPress websites!
Understanding why your small school website needs a web host is the first part of the battle; choosing a school web host that is best suited for your website is another can of worms. At a baseline, the web host you choose should offer high speed functionalities, premium security features, scalable and affordable hosting plan options, and great customer service.
Are you ready to find a web host for your small school website, but don’t know where to start? Book a FREE 15-minute consultation with us TODAY to get one step closer to achieving the school website of your dreams.