Why you shouldn’t choose your provider based on price alone
One of the most common mistakes that first-time site owners make is opting for hosting packages based entirely on price, rather than what their site needs. When you’ve invested a lot of time and money into building a beautiful, functional website filled with SEO optimised content, the worst thing you can do is put it on a slow, over-crowded server, just to save yourself a few dollars per month.
We know that most of the time this mistake is only made because the site owner doesn’t fully understand how hosting infrastructure can affect your SEO and performance in Google’s organic search pages. In this blog, we’re discussing the different ways a sub-par hosting package can ruin your exposure and the different factors that you should be considering (beyond just price) when selecting your website hosting provider.
Common Problems with Cheap Hosting:
More often than not, server hosting companies offering ludicrously cheap rates make their money by overloading their servers with tonnes of websites just like yours. This results not only in slow load times, but often in peak hour, you might find that your site is completely inaccessible. Not only is slow load times a poor user experience for your audience, but it is also a major ranking factor that contributes towards your organic rankings; if your website is consistently loading slowly then you might see your competitors overtake you in Google, despite your website being better in terms of design and content.
Cheaper hosting packages may be cutting corners on security. If your website is hosted on a shared server with many other websites, and one of those sites is hacked or infiltrated by malware, it becomes significantly easier for the hacker or malware to attack your website as well. A good hosting company will have strong security protocols in place that help prevent, identify and remove malware and other malicious bots or activity. They will also take regular backups of your website so that if any security breach does occur, they can roll back your website to an earlier version that doesn’t contain malware.
Security threats have the potential to completely ruin your rankings in Google – if Google discovers spammy activity on your website then it will completely remove you from its search engine and may even black list your domain name, which means it will be almost impossible to regain your rankings.
What to Consider When Choosing Your Hosting Package:
Obviously, upgrading to a server package with greater bandwidth, memory and email capabilities is a start, but there’s more to it than that. There’s a number of additional hosting services or inclusions that will actually help you improve your SEO rankings.
Content Distribution Networks:
We can’t stress the importance of content distribution networks (CDNs) enough. If you’ve got a business that services a large geographic area or have extensive web traffic, CDNs are basically a necessity if you want to lower your site load times. CDNs mirror your content to web servers all around the world, so people in other countries can load and interact with your site quicker.
A lot of premium hosting packages are starting to include a CDN service as part of their standard hosting packages while many others include it as an optional add-on. Either way, we recommend making sure that your hosting provider is offering this service in some manner.
You may already know, but to get a HTTPS designator for your website’s URL, you need an SSL certificate. Google announced that from July this year, sites without HTTPS / SSL certification will be marked as ‘non-secure’ in Chrome. It’s also become increasingly important in SEO ranking criteria.
Many of the cheaper website hosting providers offer SSL Certification as an expensive add-on whereas majority of premium hosting packages will include SSL installation and configuration as standard.
Consider Specialised Hosting:
We are starting to see more and more specialist hosting companies enter the market that specialise in a niche area such as a specific CMS program. They optimise their servers specifically for the niche that they service, ensuring that your website performs optimally on their servers. Some examples of this include WP Engine and Flywheel whose servers exclusively host WordPress websites. These types of services are some of the most expensive hosting solutions on the market, but the level of customer care that you receive paired with the benefits for your website and SEO make them worthwhile.
Continually Review Your Hosting Options:
It is important to review your hosting options from time to time – the site hosting package that was perfect for you in your first year of business will probably not meet the needs of your established business. Hosting and digital technology move quickly as well, so there are likely to be new products and services on the market that weren’t available previously.
We’re not advocating that you go out and purchase the most expensive hosting package that you can find – most brand new websites or websites that are not (yet) generating significant amounts of traffic don’t need the top-of-the-line premium hosting packages. There are middle of the-of-the-road hosting packages that will suit your needs perfectly and which aren’t the most expensive but also aren’t the cheapest option on the market. There’s no point developing a perfect SEO keyword and content strategy if your site is hosted on a server that isn’t even going to give you a fighting chance. The difference between stagnating site traffic and continuous development and success could be spending $10 / month more on your hosting.