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Listen in! Pick up some expert advice to a reader's question that we selected from CyberSchmooz.

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How Your Website Host Affects Its Performance

 

If you’ve got a website, you know that crafting the perfect website in only one part of the picture.

Consider the metaphor of a website as the house, with the web host serving as all of the utility companies put together. Each aspect that is substandard or missing can make living the house unlivable, even if it is in perfect condition.

For your website, the following all affect how “liveable” your website is:

  • Good website speeds and short load times discourage users from bouncing to other sites.
  • Uptimes ensure that your website is in business and operational 24/7.
  • Tech support staff can answer your questions and solve your web-related problems.
  • Top-notch security practices ensure the safety of your website(s) as well as your visitors data.
  • Enough storage to accommodate your growing business.

 

In this article, we’ll take a look at five different aspects that your website’s host can affect its performance.

Website Speed

According to the most recent statistics from KISSmetrics, nearly 50% of a website’s visitors demand that websites load fast. How fast? Within 2 seconds or less. If it takes longer than this, almost 40% of users will find a faster website.

 

This is mission-critical for eCommerce website, where downtime and muddy load times (“this website takes forever!”) means lost sales and disenfranchised customers. Assuming that you’ve taken the proper steps to optimize your website, the blame may rest squarely on your choice of web host. Sometimes, a web host will use cheaper server infrastructure or experience an overload of volume across its servers—bogging down your website’s load speed (even if you’re not responsible for the traffic).

 

To ensure that you’re website it running at its fastest, you’ll want to spend some time comparing web hosts through popular blogs online that cover speed test. Look for ones that are independent and not tied to promoting certain companies over others. While their methodology may differ, you’ll find a consensus starting to form, especially if you’re looking for company that is located near you (and not with its servers located halfway around the world).

Uptime

If your website isn’t online and available to the Internet, then it doesn’t exist. Worse, for every hour that your website spends offline, you could be losing out new users, disappointing repeat visitors, and missing out on transactions that can be fatal for businesses with slim margins.

Downtimes are inevitable, however, as they can be caused by anything from power outages, DDoS attacks, or just human error on account of the web hosts staff. If you’re choosing between web hosts, consider contacting the company directly on their downtime statistics. You want to be aiming as close to 100% uptime as possible. Furthermore, look at customer reviews that cite downtime as the reason why they left a chosen web host. Chances are that a company may be having internal problems that spill out onto your website.

Customer Support

If you can’t get someone out to your house to fix a leak or power outage, your house can be severely compromised. The same goes for your website. If something goes wrong with your website, whether it was your fault (i.e. improperly installed plugins) or from the web host, you want someone from the company out to fix it. That’s where having a web host that offers dedicated customer service and tech support can ensure that your website is always up and running.

Look for companies that offer 24/7 round-the-clock dedicated service to get your website up and running. The best web hosting services offer this as an essential component of their business, not as a privilege. Additionally, if you’re planning to upgrade your website or want to handle some aspects of your website by yourself, your web host should be able to guide you through the process—even if it means messaging their staff until you get a link to a tutorial or custom advice from the service technician. If a scheduled downtime is the cause of your website being offline, make sure that the company gives you sufficient notice beforehand instead of just taking down its servers.

As a way of evaluating web hosts before committing to them, be sure to look up customer reviews—particularly the lowest-rated ones or the lengthiest. If the review cites a lack of tech support, an inordinate amount of downtime, or if they mention that the company is for those who know what they’re doing, you may want to look elsewhere until you have a more definitive idea of what type of support you need to carry out your online business.

Security

Using the metaphor of the house again, your website’s security ensures that intruders don’t steal your belongings. Customer data that is compromised by a security breach, whether you like it or not, can leave you at fault. After all, hackers only become more sophisticated in their methodology to exploit your website’s vulnerabilities. That’s where your web host plays a pivotal step in making sure that only verified individuals actually have access to the information. If your web host isn’t top-notch, then you could pay the price. 

 

However, the truth of the matter is that these issues are beyond the grasp of web novices, which is why they’re so insidious to begin with. These types of issues can be hard to identify, so make sure to do your due diligence beforehand and search for “[webhost name] security breach” in a search engine query. If something comes up, or there are a number of similar complaints, then chances are that security is seen as an afterthought of the web host.

 

Unfortunately, there is not catch-all solution that encompasses every type of security weakness. As a rule of thumb, if your web host uses outdated versions of web tools (i.e cPanel, database management tools, etc) or doesn’t store passwords without the proper encryption methods, you may want to look elsewhere—immediately!

 

Ease of Growth and Scalability

Hopefully, if you’re website has found a dedicated following and you offer a wealth of content that interests readers, then you should know that you’re going to need more space to grow your business and scale accordingly to meet demand. This is true of personal web blogs that you use to advertise your personal brand and interests, or a fully-integrated eCommerce website that functions as both a way of marketing your services/products and automatically completes customer-initiated orders. When it’s time to upgrade, you should be able to upgrade with ease.

One way of evaluating whether a hosting service is a viable option is to see whether they offer a wide variety of hosting plans. The best hosting service providers offer a wide variety of plans, which are designed to encompass every online business type and storage needs. For those who begin on the lowest tier, these companies will make sure to let you know (usually via email) when it is time to upgrade (if you’re approaching your storage limits), or offer services that can greatly expand your website with more resources catered to your needs. For instance, if your personal blog has grown into a niche-website selling products, you may be steered towards greater security options to protect you from hackers and liability suits related to exploited security measures.

However, a common scheme that substandard web hosts use is offer rock bottom prices for entry-level web hosting options with minimal storage, and then charge exorbitant rates to get up to the next tier. Be on the lookout for these types of web hosts. Even if it is your long-term strategy to eventually migrate to a better quality web host, always be on the lookout for a great disparity between its lowest-tier services and the next step up.

’s good news for businesses in a dying industry, you can let your creativity take flight. Don’t let your dinosaur industry go extinct. Make it a colossal success instead.

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