Web Hosting Industry Trends – It’s All About Speed
Building our first website, we are looking to create a stunning-looking page with all the functionalities our visitors may desire. While these are definitely essential focus points, at least one more factor deserves your full attention – site speed.
As the online competition is getting more fierce, brands have to stand out from the crowd with something really unique. But no one would be able to see it if your pages take forever to load.
It’s quite simple, really – users see the growing opportunities and naturally demand more for their money.
What does that mean for webmasters, though?
The Current State of Web Hosting
As of January 2021, there are nearly 2 billion websites online, and this is just counting the active ones. A whopping 330,000+ registered hosting providers house these online projects, taking proactive care of their smooth performance, uptime, connectivity, and security.
If you look at the different types of hosting services, the clients are getting more and more evenly spread across the niches:
- Shared Hosting ~ 32%
- Dedicated Hosting ~ 28%
- VPS Hosting ~ 11%
- Reseller Hosting ~ 13%
- Colocation & Others ~ 16%
Keep in mind, this data is from 2018, and a lot has changed since then. Cloud and VPS services have grown a lot in popularity, so you are in for a treat whichever service you choose.
So how does speed fit into the equation?
According to recent surveys regarding the top factors potential clients consider when picking a hosting provider, speed is consistently among the top 3 choices. There are more than a few good reasons for that…
Why Website Speed Matters?
When building the website of their dreams, people often want to cram all their ideas into one perfect-looking webpage, and that’s completely understandable. But in the process, they often lose sight of how that affects their site speed and end up with sub-par performing projects.
Optimizing your pages for maximum speed brings many sweet benefits:
1. Great First Impression
When someone hears about your brand and visits your website, you only have a few seconds to attract their attention and make them want to see more. If you waste those precious seconds with a clunky page load – you’ve already lost them.
As simple as that.
2. Keeping Users On Page
Long gone are the days when it was normal to wait a few minutes for an image file or a website page to load. In our consumer society, we want everything, and we want it now (well, yesterday if possible).
As proof of this theory, the average user expects the website they visit to load in no more than 3-5 seconds. After that, they will simply close the page and forget about it. That is especially true for online shoppers, where 79% admit they will never re-visit an ecommerce website that seems to have troubles with speed.
3. Better Google Rankings
While Google often likes to keep things behind closed curtains, their reps have repeatedly admitted that website speed is one of the most important factors in their search ranking algorithms. And there are more than 200 of them…
From a user standpoint, the results on Google’s Page 1 are often enough to answer their question. You WANT to get there. But that would be impossible if your website is not fast enough. While your actual content is equally important, people will never get to see it if your pages are sluggish.
4. More Sales Conversions
Let’s do some math real quick. About 40% of people leave websites that load for more than 3 seconds. If you get 10,000 visitors per month, over 4,000 of them are lost in the initial few seconds. When running a for-profit business, such a waste of potential revenue can easily kill your project long before it blossoms.
5. Building Brand Trust
When you see a business owner taking great care of its website, you can naturally assume they are doing the same for their clients. It’s basic psychology, really. And users are not wrong to think so – oftentimes, a fast and well-designed website gives a good reflection of what you can expect from the service.
How to Check Your Website Speed?
Luckily for webmasters, there are more than a few tools that help you measure your website speed. Many of them are free and available online, mainly differing in the number of server locations and report details.
When checking your site speed, it’s always best to perform numerous tests using a combination of tools. This way, you will avoid false positives and get a clearer picture of your page performance.
Here are some of the crowd favorites:
- GTMetrix – choose between 7 server locations and get detailed analytics about your page speed and what you can do to improve it. Can run tests both through Chrome and Firefox.
- Pingdom – you’ve got 7 server locations over 5 continents. In-depth statistics are neatly stacked in categories and different color codes.
- WebPageTest – a whopping 37 server locations on 6 continents. Multiple options from testing via different browsers and mobile environments.
What Affects Your Website Speed?
Now that we have outlined the importance of lightning-fast pages and how to measure them quantitatively, the next step is to actively seek their optimizations. While you can do tons to speed up your website, you can narrow down the factors to three major areas.
- Page Weight/Size – every little element on your page carries some weight – themes, plugins, images. As much as we want to cram a ton of HD visuals and fancy functionalities, we have to consider each of them will add up to the load of your server. Check your current speed results and determine which elements cause the most delays. Put their optimization with the highest priority.
- Server Location – if your provider supports a high-connectivity network and reputable data center providers – your server location wouldn’t matter that much. Still, the simple logic dictates that the closer your hosting servers are to your visitors – the faster your website will load if all other conditions are equal.
- Hosting Plan – here is where a reliable hosting provider can make a huge difference. VPS solutions and Cloud platforms are getting increasingly more affordable, and such plans can easily accommodate even high-traffic websites. Starting from the hardware configuration and software setup, your host can minimize the delay caused by the server and balance its load for an always-smooth performance.
VPS and Cloud packages are specifically optimized for speed and often give you a choice between a Managed VPS or Unmanaged VPS platform. Price rates have already dropped to a point where providers like ScalaHosting are able to offer VPS services for less than $10/mo.
Hopefully, after reading this guide, you will never neglect the importance of website speed again. Building a visually stunning website should always be a priority, but when you pair it with impressive speed and UX – you are already sprinting on the path to success.
Is your page fast enough? Time to check today!