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How Hosting Impacts SEO and User Experience?

Website Speed: How Hosting Impacts SEO and User Experience?

For many, web hosting is just that thing that you signed up for once upon a time when you first started your website. A lot of website owners forget it’s even there until our monthly or annual fee comes off! 

However, neglecting to dig deeper into your website hosting company’s features can set you back. If you don’t yet know how hosting impacts SEO and user experience, prepare to be interested and maybe a little shocked. 

Hosting and website speed go hand in hand. Take some time to learn about the relationship here, and then go ahead and examine your own web host to figure out if they’re helping your business or making it more difficult! 

How Hosting Impacts Website Speed 

Your web hosting provider has a direct impact on how fast your website loads and performs when someone opens it. Here’s how: 

Server Response Time 

The time it takes for the host server to respond plays a huge role in the user experience. If the server is slow to respond, your page will load slowly, causing your visitor to become impatient. An impatient reader is more likely to bounce, which ends up knocking down your SEO ranking in the long run. 

Faster response times make the experience much more pleasant. It’s smooth, it’s streamlined, and visitors tend to stick around for longer, which does good things for your search engine optimization. 

The latency of the network connection also plays a role. A high latency means it’ll take longer for information to travel from one point to another, slowing down loading speeds while the visitor waits on the other side. 

Other things that can contribute negatively to your website loading speed include the overall load on the server at the time of use (another reason shared hosting isn’t recommended), and the complexity of each individual request being made to the server, although this is somewhat out of your hands. 

Server Location 

Where the server lives matters. If there’s a huge gap between the server and your visitor, then there’s bound to be a bit of a lag. But if they’re close by, website loading goes a whole lot faster. 

Faster load times = happier customers who don’t bounce too soon. Many web hosts who don’t have servers all over the world use content delivery networks to bring your content closer to the user and help reduce that lag time. 

Server Configuration 

The server’s configuration can also make a difference to your website’s speed. Things like the type of operating system it’s using, the server software installed, and database settings can all impact performance, which underscores the importance of choosing a reliable web host. 

All of the above influence the way a web server handles requests and what it does in response. Servers that are smartly configured can improve your website’s speed and performance, while those with improper configuration can make the experience unpleasant for your users by slowing everything down. 

Regular server software updates are also important to maintain proper server configuration. Make sure the host you choose is transparent about their configurations so you know upfront if it might be a problem. 

Resource Allocation 

Storage space and bandwidth are necessary for a website to provide a good experience. If your storage is full, it’s going to load slower because it’s just overwhelmed. And if you’ve run out of bandwidth, you might face a similar problem. 

Choose a host that offers more than enough of both. Also, make sure you don’t leave images, videos, and other junk in there to clutter up the memory. 

It’s also worth noting that websites on shared hosting plans have to share resources, so they may not have enough resources to run smoothly at any given time. This is a sure way to annoy a visitor and chase them away forever… So avoid shared hosting wherever possible. 

Bandwidth and Traffic Capacity 

Hosting plans that offer higher bandwidth can easily handle higher amounts of traffic without slowing your website down. Limited bandwidth can cause slower loading speeds, especially during peak traffic hours. 

If you want your site speed and user experience to be great all the time—not just during lower-traffic periods—then it’s in your best interest to choose a host that offers unlimited bandwidth. 

It’s worth noting that “unlimited” isn’t exactly correct—but it’s highly unlikely that any website will need so much bandwidth that it needs to be truly unlimited. 

Tech & Infrastructure 

If your web host is using an old, slow, clunky server, well then, it’s hard for your website to keep up with the streamlined, modern ones. On the other hand, web hosts with modern, cutting-edge tech and innovative high-performance hardware will be faster.  

Solid-state drives have become the gold standard for high-performing servers. Hard-disk drive web hosts tend to fall behind, while hosts with SSDs are more reliable and faster. Servers with faster processors and more RAM will most likely outperform ones with slower, outdated hardware. 

How Website Speed Impacts SEO and User Experience 

So, let’s have a look at how your website speed can impact the user experience and your website’s very own search engine optimization

Lower Rankings in Search Engine Results Pages 

Search engines give extra points to websites that load fast. The user experience is an important factor in rankings—it’s not just about keywords! If your website loads slowly, you’ll struggle to climb the rankings, even if you’re putting plenty of effort into on-page SEO. 

Bounce Rate and User Engagement 

Your website has THREE seconds to load before more than half of visitors get fed up and bounce off of it to find something faster. Don’t let something as simple as a laggy page loading time ruin your business! 

When search engines see that your bounce rates have increased and engagement has decreased, they score you lower, so you rank further down. Unhappy visitors, unhappy business owners! 

Crawl Efficiency 

The faster your website loads, the quicker search engine bots can crawl it and move on. Server response speed can play a big role in this, but as long as our pages load pretty fast, you shouldn’t need to worry about your SEO being bumped down too much. 

Engagement and Conversion Rates 

If more than half your visitors leave after just a few seconds due to slow loading, there’s no way you even get a chance to convert them. And if they do manage to make it all the way to adding something to their cart, slow loading here might frustrate them enough to quit before they finish up. 

Fast websites statistically see more engagement and better conversion rates. Users who aren’t frustrated with slow loading speeds tend to spend more time exploring, giving them a better chance to trust your business and take that extra step to converting. 

Mobile Experience 

Not all web hosts have great mobile adaptability. This is crazy when you consider that more than half of all traffic these days comes from a smartphone! If your site doesn’t look and perform great on a phone, you’re missing out on business and your visitors are missing out on a pleasant user experience. 

Google and other search engines often crawl the mobile version of your content instead of the web version. You could be dropping in the rankings because your website is not user-friendly. 

Secure and Accessible Website 

Your web host’s security can either be a thumbs-up or a red flag to search engines. Your web host needs to have layered security features to provide you with the best protection, and this doesn’t go unnoticed by Google and others. 

A great web hosting provider will also make sure they deliver at least 99.99% uptime. The more your website is offline, the more business you miss out on, and it can also come across as a sign of being unsafe, causing Google to bump you down even more. 

Scalability for Traffic Spikes 

Traffic increases are something everyone hopes will happen to their website. But the web host needs to be able to handle it, keeping your website up and running without slowing it down too much. 

If your site keeps going down during the busiest time of the day, week, or year, Google notices. You’ll find yourself dropping without even knowing why! An excellent web host will be able to scale up with you, to where you need to be. 

Proximity to Users 

The closer your web host’s server is to the visitor on your website, the faster it’ll load. It’s not always possible to have a server in the same place as ALL your visitors, and those who are far away might suffer from the “poor connection”, so to speak. 

The best website hosting companies will make use of a content delivery network, which essentially stores your website’s data on servers across the world for you. 

Technical Optimization Tips for Improved Speed 

To boost your website speed, improve your rankings, and keep your customers happier, consider implementing these strategies. 

Optimize Images 

Images can take up a lot of space on a website, and image libraries can quickly become overloaded. Aside from clearing out your image library, removing unused images, and getting rid of duplicates, take some time to optimize all images. 

Compress each image to a size appropriate for a web page. You can find plenty of free image compression tools to do this for you. It may take some time to go through each one, but trust us—it can make a huge difference to your site speed. 

Leverage Caching 

Caching means that your site allows web browsers to store copies of its contents on the user's device. That means that when someone comes back to your site, it’ll load much faster because it can pull that data from their browser to load quickly while it waits for the server response to load the full site. 

It’s as easy as a click of a button to implement, and the time gained in loading speed is well worth it. This is something you can do no matter who your web host is—just a bit of Googling will help you find how to do it. 

Minimize Code 

Unused code can also take up unnecessary space on your website and slow it down significantly. The more code there is, the longer the browser takes to read it and render the content. 

If you know how, do a code spring clean and get rid of any code that’s not necessary. If you don’t know how, ask your web designer to help out. 

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) 

Some web hosts use CDNs, but others don’t. If your site has a lot of content and is struggling with loading speed, consider implementing a CDN to take the load off. 

Content delivery networks distribute your website’s data to multiple servers across the world. This is valuable as it speeds up loading time for visitors all over the globe—they don’t need to be close to your web host’s server. 

Regularly Test and Monitor Website Speed 

Regular testing is imperative. Don’t assume that because your website speed was good when you last checked it, it must be good now. You can find free tools like Google PageSpeed Insights to test your site speed and identify where it can be improved. 

We suggest performing a test at least every month if not every few weeks. This way, you’ll be able to pick up potential problems before they become big issues and fix them quickly so your site doesn’t take too much of a knock. 

Choose a Reliable Hosting Provider 

We’ve spoken a lot about the features and functions your chosen web host should have. Make sure you know what you’re looking for upfront and compare every host carefully against your list of needs. Choose one that ticks all the boxes and don’t compromise—you’ll thank yourself later. 

If you’re already using a web host that you now feel is insufficient, there’s nothing wrong with changing hosts. Find one that suits your needs, cancel with your old one, and migrate your site over—it’ll be worth the hassle, trust us.


Understanding how hosting impacts SEO and user experience is the first step toward better business performance! Once you know what to look for, it becomes easier and easier to see problems and fix them before they start affecting your business. 

So, is your web host working for you or against you? Are they helping you gain business or chasing your customers away? These are the questions you should be asking yourself… And if it turns out they aren’t helping your business, it’s time to look for another web hosting company. 

About the Author

Paul Wheeler runs a web design agency that helps small businesses optimize their websites for business success. He aims to educate business owners on all things website-related on his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting.

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