If you’re a fan of our blog, you’re already familiar with the basics of a great website. But there’s one secret weapon that can have a huge impact on your site – both immediately and long term.
Hosting your website on a high-quality, dedicated server helps increase your site’s speed, SEO ranking, security, and up-time. It can be one of the biggest factors that will give you an edge over your competition.
Here’s how hosting your website on a top tier server can help:
Instant Speed Boost
When you switch from a heavy, weighed-down server to a more efficient, well-maintained one, your site’s speed can increase overnight! And not just increase a little bit – our private server averages a 38% bump for our clients. Since most users bounce off a site that takes longer than 2 seconds to load, every little improvement matters.
To understand what a high-quality server does to make sites work faster, let’s dig into the technical details…
- They have a dispersed content delivery network (CDN) – this means web traffic can be routed to a server near the user, no matter where they are. That will keep requests local and prevent unnecessary travel
- They’re prepared for large amounts of traffic – on a cheap server, if one site gets a lot of traffic at once it can decrease the performance of the rest. A good server will have multiple caching layers to best serve all users
- They let you know when your site needs an update – things like outdated plugins and WordPress versions can seriously slow down your site. A quality host will recognize when your site is behind so you can address the issue and get back up to speed
Long-Term SEO Improvement
Your website’s search engine ranking is based on how helpful search engines like Google or YouTube think your site is, based on a user’s inquiry. The most important factor is whether or not you provide helpful, informative content. But search engines also weigh things like your site’s speed, how well-maintained it is, and even what kinds of sites share the same server. That’s right – a site that was randomly tossed onto the same server could be dragging your SEO ranking down without you ever knowing it.
When a site is hosted alongside low-quality websites (like gambling, pharma, or online scams), it’s referred to as a ‘bad neighborhood’. And much like a real bad neighborhood, it can have a damaging effect on your home even if you keep everything in tip-top shape.
There’s a fascinating study that measured the SEO movement of thousands of sites from different quality servers, including ‘bad neighborhood’ servers vs. their higher quality counterparts. The study definitively showed that sites on the shared IP address ranked less strongly than those on the dedicated server, and the difference continues to grow over time.
Top Notch Security
One unfortunate side effect of the pandemic has been unprecedented levels of cybersecurity attacks. Thousands of sites are hacked every day, which results in leaked customer data, ransomware attacks, site takeovers, and plenty of other nasty things that can bring a business down. Here are a few ways a high-quality server plus regular maintenance can help:
- Includes an SSL certificate, which shows your site can securely process data transfer, authentications, credit card purchases, and more
- Alerts you when plugin updates are available, so you can avoid out-of-date and potentially vulnerable versions on your site
- Keeps you out of ‘bad neighborhood’ IPs, making you less vulnerable to attacks
- Provides regular backups and/or a backup environment, so you have a version of your site saved in case it needs to be restored
Signs You Might Have a Cheap Plan
Not sure how your current hosting arrangement measures up? Shopping around for better service? Here are a few red flags to watch out for:
- They offer a ‘free domain’ with your hosting package – often these programs will buy a your domain themselves, and essentially rent it to you as long as you continue paying for hosting. If you ever cancel your contract, they usually take your domain with them or sell it back to you at a premium.
- No staging site/test environment – before you roll out major site updates, new features, or plugin versions, you should test for issues on a backup version of your site. Many cheap providers forgo this, leaving you to make risky updates directly on your live site.
- Tons of add-ons and extra expenses – Some companies offer a cheap rate for hosting, but then charge you extra for things like your SSL, disaster recovery, space usage, and more. Before you know it, you’ll be paying five times the sticker price you budgeted for!