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My website hosting is slow. Does that hurt my website rankings?

There's an old saying in life, "You get what you pay for." And it is usually very true in the world of websites. We often see beautiful websites with strong page loading times that are perfectly optimised for SEO, and still they don't rank well. And 9 times out of 10 it's because the site is hosted on a cheap website hosting package and the server response time is SLOOOOOOOOOOOOOWWWWWWW

Cheap website hosting is usually cheap for a reason, and that's because it's a shared hosting environment. Shared hosting is when a website hosting company puts hundreds if not thousands of websites all on one server. That means every time a user goes to view the website, the hosting server has to respond. When a server has thousands of websites on it, all it takes is for one site to become overly taxed (perhaps because it was hit by spam, a virus, or just gained more traffic than normal) and the server is slower in responding for views to YOUR website as a result of somebody else's increased traffic.

Server response time measures how long it takes a viewer's computer to load the code from your website's landing page from the server that is hosting your website. Google and other search engines take server speed scores very seriously, which makes sense when you think about it. Nobody wants to sit around and wait a long time for a site to load, and in the Information Age, "a long time" can be a matter of seconds. So Google looks at how quickly the website host server responds to requests to display a page as an important component in the overall rankings for a website's keyword in searches. 

How quickly does your website's hosting server respond?

You can check it out for yourself by going to Google's PageSpeed Insights and testing your website. If your website scores less than 70/100 on either Desktop or Mobile, Google will list all of the issues your site needs to address. If one of those issues is "Reduce Server Response Time", the test results will show how quickly your server responded. Google's standards for Server Response Time is that after the delay between Google and the website server is subtracted, ANY website's hosting server should respond within 0.2 seconds (200 milliseconds). Anything slower than this and your website is going to be penalised by Google before it even has a chance to review the content of your site. So a site with a server response time of 0.46 seconds might sound like it's not that bad, but when you think that 0.46 seconds is over twice as slow as Google's recommended server response time, you suddenly realise the impact a slow host can have on a website! 

There are lots of criteria that can negatively impact server response time, including poor application design, database queries that are too slow, slow resources or poor memory / CPU issues. Shared (cheap) hosting often doesn't allow for improved server response times to address any of these issues. The good news is most hosting companies will offer premium packages for servers that are more dedicated to your website. Better yet, changing hosting companies is usually a pretty straight forward matter for a website development company like Kook to manage.

Questions or concerns about your website's server response time? Contact your website host today or give Kook a call to discuss how we can help. 

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