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Choosing a Web Host

Choosing a web host that is right for your business website goes well beyond simply picking the best priced plan from the biggest name provider. Going with a big-name web host is not always the best choice, especially if you require a lot of technical help – with big name hosting companies you are liable to be just another number in a long queue of support tickets whenever you need urgent help. Very often, smaller providers can deliver comparatively better results, with better support and much more personalised levels of hands-on service. If your business relies on the leads or sales generated by your website, such high end web hosting is certainly worth considering, especially in the light of Google’s increasing focus on page experience, and as a part of this experience, site speed. That said, what web hosting provider you do choose in the end, will always depend on your specific needs. Continue reading to learn more about how to choose a web host who can provide you with the level of service that you and your business need.

If you are concerned about your website’s performance and would like to learn how much further it may be improved, call Resurge Digital – the Brisbane SEO agency that many business owners like you trust, on 1300 659 035, e-mail [email protected] or get in touch online now.

How to Go About Choosing a Web Host?

Choosing a web host that is right for your business website requires the consideration of several key factors:

  • What your budget is – Cost is probably the most obvious factor, and the service quality does not necessarily scale (increase) with price. Typically, the more you pay, the more monthly traffic allowance (how many people per month can visit your site before the service stops) and storage space (how much website data you can keep on the server), but not necessarily performance (as in speed) you can expect to get. Ultimately, you have to balance your technical requirements with what you can afford to pay at a given stage of your business’ lifecycle.
  • How much hands-on technical support you will you need – the largest hosts, have equally large customer bases. This means that typically you will have to submit a ticket and wait for someone to respond and hope that they are not just answering with a scripted response. Otherwise, you can expect to do a lot of Google searching and scouring through various internet forums in search of solutions to issues only vaguely related to yours. A smaller host may sometimes be more expensive, but will likely be able to provide personalised, hands-on support when you need it.
  • How busy your website is now and how busy do you expect it to become – it is important to not get caught out without enough bandwidth. Many hosting plans come with a data allowance cap (like some internet connection plans). Once the plan capacity is reached, the service is either suspended or severely downgraded. When selecting a host, and a hosting plan, consider how many visitors your site gets every month, how much data you will need to show your site to those visitors, and by how much can you expect these numbers to increase in the future, as your business grows. If you have ever seen a website display a message that reads “509 Bandwidth Limit Exceeded” this is not a problem with the website itself (it is not “down” or “broken”), it simply is not hosted using a hosting plan adequate for the amount of traffic it gets and it reached its monthly allocation, resulting in service suspension.

What Does it Mean to Reduce Initial Server Response Time?

The quality of a hosting service is also an underappreciated factor in website speed. If you have any hands-on experience with testing your website’s speed, you may have encountered online tests and benchmarks recommending that you reduce initial server response time.

It is important to note here, that although online benchmarks are useful in generating some insights as to where your site may be improvable, they do not always reflect how well your website performs in the real world and assume that you have absolute control over all of its aspects. Not all recommendations they make are actionable to all website owners, SEOs or developers. If you have a WordPress site for example, the WordPress platform itself, the theme your website uses, and the plugins it relies on for functionality, are usually developed and maintained by several different third parties (these are hardly ever your own web developer), and the decisions they make about how they write their code and consequently how it performs, will rarely be something you, your SEO, or your web developer can do anything about. This is true to varying degrees for all CMS driven websites, like those on WordPress, SquareSpace, Wix etc.

That said, website speed is not only about how lightweight or well build your site itself is. The server on which your website is running (in other words, your web host’s computer on which your site is stored) and its connection to the internet are also a factor. In simple terms, the initial server response time, is the delay between when a visitor’s web browser requests a page from the server, and when the server starts sending this page back to the requesting visitor. This is also referred to as TTFB (time to first byte) – the amount of time it takes the server to send the first byte of requested website data back to the visitor. Regardless of how well your website is built, or how lightweight it is, if your web hosting provider’s system is not pulling its weight, it will be bottlenecking your site’s performance. It is then important to find out and thoroughly consider how well a given provider performs when choosing a web host. Depending on your provider, upgrading your plan could reduce initial server response time. Otherwise, moving to better hosting provider is another way to effectively reduce initial server response time.

Do you need help with choosing a web host? At Resurge Digital we have partnered with Benjam.Network, a trusted Brisbane web host for hassle-free, high-end performance web hosting services for our Australian clients. If you would like to learn more about how well your website performs, whether your current host is stopping your site from ranking higher on Google, or get advice on how to choose a web host in the first place, reach out to us today.

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