Did you know that visitors who are coming to your site will give up and leave if the website takes longer than 3 seconds to load? Yes, you read that right, that’s three seconds!
So, if your website loads in more than 3 seconds, there is no doubt that you’ll lose sales, conversions, prospect clients sign ups and email newsletter subscribers every single day, and on top of that your SEO will also be negatively impacted.
If you want to rank higher in Google’s search result pages with a slow performing website, then good luck to you! Reality is it won’t happen.
Why is that? Because Google officially recognizes site speed and fast web hosting as factors that they use for rankings, and they have published numerous articles and guides on the importance of a website’s performance.
But here’s the thing.
Most website owners are willing to spend top dollars on improving their website’s speed, but they forget to fix the biggest blunder that slows down almost every website out there.
So, what’s that blunder you might ask? It’s the web host you have signed up with. Fast web hosting is the single most important speed factor.
Why fast web hosting is crucial for your website’s speed
The servers the hosting service provider uses will ultimately determine how quick or slow your website will load in the browser.
You could do basically everything under the sun to try to speed up the load times of your site, however if your blog or website is hosted on a server which is slow or poorly configured for speed, then all the work you do is doomed to fail.
And if your website’s server is not optimized for speed, then this takes a lot of time, which keeps adding to your website’s load time.
So, if you want the website you have worked so hard to build to load fast and secure high rankings on Google, then you need to select the fastest web hosting available, and go with a hosting company that optimizes their server stack for fast performance.
So, what are the qualities of a fast web host?
A web host that takes speed seriously and optimizes their servers for speed will offer a lot of features that most cheap web hosts don’t or can’t.
This can include proprietary technology and speed software solutions which are designed to give your site a boost without any configuration on your end.
Although there are more than hundreds of different things that web hosts can do to tweak and optimize their own servers for speed, here are a few speed features that you should look for when choosing a fast web hosting:
If a page on your website has 30 files (made up of HTML, CSS, images, Scripts and so on.), then your visitor’s browser will download all of these 30 files one by one. This puts a lot of heavy load on the web server and will ultimately slow down your site.
Not only that, but if your website’s server isn’t optimized to leverage browser-side caching, then common files like logos and style sheets will be downloaded again and again each time the visitor navigates to a different page on your site.
Fast web hosts have one thing in common, they all optimize their web servers to cache dynamic web pages and serve static copies to prevent server load. They also optimize their web servers to leverage browser side caching.
Most web hosts use the well-known Apache web server software on their servers. Although Apache is used by millions of websites on the Internet, it is not fully optimized for speed.
NGINX, on the other hand, is a more modern web server software that is optimized for speed. Web servers that use NGINX are suitable for most types of websites and can offer a significant boost in speed.
Data Center Location
The further away geographically a site’s server is from your computer’s location, the slower the website will load. If most of your website’s visitors are located in the US, then it doesn’t make any sense to host your website on a server in India.
Most fast web hosts out there offer dozens of server locations for you to choose from. They allow you to pick a location that will be closest to where most of your target customers are.
Most web hosts almost never update their servers unless it’s a necessity. If you would like your site to run fast and smooth, then it is critical that you use a hosting service that is running the latest version of PHP, which is PHP 7. PHP7 is a recent and significant release of the PHP language and the release comes with major speed improvements.
HTTP/2 is the latest version of the HTTP protocol that runs the web. HTTP/2 reduces latency which will have an impact on how much time it takes to load a website. Most modern web browsers (like Firefox and Chrome) support the latest version of HTTP but to take advantage of it, your server needs to be configured to be able to use HTTP/2.
Simply put, a CDN is a network of servers distributed across the globe, which caches (makes a temporary copy of) your websites and then servers the copy from the server physically closest to where your website’s visitor is. If your web host doesn’t offer a CDN, then you might have to spend hundreds of dollars every month just for a CDN service.
The Fastest Web Hosting Companies For Every Budget
SiteGround (Best & Fast Web Hosting “Budget” Option)
I know it sounds like a good idea to go with the cheapest web host you can find if you are just starting out online. But the problem with cheap web hosts is that they are neither reliable nor optimized for speed.
A good and fast web hosting service like SiteGround will never shut down your website if it gets a traffic spike and all their servers are speed optimized.
Their servers offer a proprietary caching tool they call SuperCacher, that they claim can boost the load time of your website if it is on WordPress, Joomla, or Drupal.
Unlike other shared hosts on the market, they don’t compromise on the quality of their services. There are a lot of other web hosts that offer web hosting at similar prices but almost all of them lack the quality support that SiteGround offers.
Their support department is considered the best in the industry and will answer all your requests within only a few minutes.
SiteGround’s shared hosting also offers unlimited email hosting for your domains. This means, you can create email addresses on your own domain for free.
If you are a beginner looking for high quality budget web hosting, then I highly recommend that you go with SiteGround.
Why SiteGround is fast (a rundown of SiteGround’s “speed” features):
- Fully managed WordPress hosting, i.e. updating and patching WordPress for you.
- Free CloudFlare CDN that installs with just a few clicks.
- PHP 7 which is the latest PHP version.
- NGINX Servers.
- SSD (Solid State Drives) for faster read/write speed.
- SuperCacher reduces server load even when you get a surge of internet traffic.
- HTTP/2 enabled servers.
Kinsta (Best & Fastest Web Hosting “Premium” Option)
Kinsta is a premium and fully managed WordPress web hosting provider. They power thousands of websites including the ones that get millions of visitors every month.
If you run a WordPress site, then Kinsta might be perfect for you. All their servers are speed optimized for WordPress sites.
If you have your WordPress website with Kinsta, you’ll see an instant boost in performance as Kinsta’s servers are already preconfigured, tuned and optimized for WordPress.
The best part about hosting your site with Kinsta is that their services are highly scalable.
Whether you get just a few hundred visitors a month or thousands each hour, Kinsta has the right hosting solution for your business.
Kinsta offers free site migration from the competition, so if you are already hosting your website with another web host, Kinsta’s support department will help you transfer your website from that web host to your Kinsta account, for free.
Kinsta runs their servers on Google Cloud Platform, which offers you access to the same servers that Google uses to run their services. The best part is that Google Cloud Platform can be scaled as much as you need without any halt in services.
Why Kinsta is fast (a rundown of Kinsta’s “speed” features):
- Premium and fully managed WordPress hosting, updates and patches WordPress for you.
- Full page caching at the server-level.
- NGINX servers.
- Hosted on Google Cloud Platform.
- Servers run on PHP 7.3 which is the latest PHP version.
- Premium KeyCDN comes included for free on every plan.
- Servers are fine-tuned and optimized to run WordPress sites.
- Over 20 data center locations to choose from.
How to choose a fast web host: Quick wrap up
The importance of having a super fast loading website cannot be deemphasized, because your users demand it, and so does Google.
And the fast web hosting provider you decide to sign up with plays an integral part when it comes to speed.
If you want your website to load fast, then you need to use a web hosting provider that offers the fastest web hosting possible.
In this article I have explained how to choose a fast web host and what the speed qualities of a fast web host are. I have also listed some of the best providers out there, for every budget, to help you make the right decision.
If you are just starting out online and want to test the waters, I suggest going with SiteGround.
Not only are their servers professionally configured and optimized for speed and security, SiteGround is also affordable, and one of the most recommended web hosts for beginners.
On the other hand, if you are a seasoned blogger or a serious business owner with more money to spend on fast web hosting, then I strongly suggest Kinsta. You don’t want your website to go down when you get your big break.
Unlike SiteGround’s shared hosting environment, Kinsta’s managed WordPress hosting offers features like scheduled time checks, automatic scaling, and automatic backups to ensure your website doesn’t crash; and if it does, then it doesn’t stay down for very long!
Author’s bio: Matt Ahlgren is an Australian web developer and online marketer with 15 years of experience in the digital marketing space. He blogs about WordPress, web development and web hosting over at websitehostingrating.com. You can reach him on Twitter and Facebook.
Image 1 by chuttersnap on Unsplash.com