When a company launches a website, they spend weeks, months or even years planning how it will look, etc, but often give little thought to where it will be hosted. The foundation of anything is often even more important than what lies above, and a website is no exception. Looking at all of the available possibilities, and taking time to analyse possible website hosting solutions, can help your site not only have a trouble-free launch, but also be an important component in its future success.
1/ Use Self-source Hosting or Web Designer Hosting?
Often a web development company will offer hosting as part of the design process and, while it allows for easy integration, there can be pitfalls. Just because you use a web development company for initial design and launch, does not mean you will use them forever, and having your site hosted on their server can cause issues down the track should you change web design companies. Your web site does not have to be hosted on a particular server, so by sourcing hosting yourself, you retain autonomy of the site should the relationship sour, or you just want a change of web designers for any reason. In truth, your web developer will just be renting a server from a server farm, the same as you would be doing … so cut out the middle man and save any potential issues moving into the future.
2/ Server Speed & Stability
Not all hosting solutions are the same, and having a slow solution can severely hamper a site’s growth. When people source server hosting, they often look purely at price – which is a mistake. Not all solutions are the same, so each should be reviewed individually across various platforms. Most start-ups will look at shared server, which means you are sharing a server with other sites. Check how many sites you are sharing with? What is the average up-time of the server? Do some research into the proposed hosting solution in the form of looking for reviews etc … a bad solution will often leave a trail of disgruntled users – you just need to look for them.
Server speed and stability are attributes Google looks at when ranking sites. A poorly performing or slow site will provide a poor user experience and this affect your ranks as Google will favour sites with good user experiences.
3/ Location of Server.
This is often an over looked facet in server hosting selection, but one that can be very important. In theory you can host your site on any server in the world, but often using a server hosting in the region your website is targeting is the best option. There are two main reasons for this. Firstly, speed and reliability. The closer the server is to your potential client base,the faster it will load, and the fewer hoops it needs to jump through to deliver the site to the end user … fewer hoops means less possibility of a break in the chain, causing your site to load more slowly or not at all.
The second reason has to do with support. Websites are hosted on servers which, no matter how reliable, like all pieces of hardware can fail. Being able to contact your host during peak business hours, should the site go down, can save you lots in terms of lost revenue. Using our company as an example, we are an SEO agency based in Sydney, and while we offer our services worldwide, we still use a Sydney-based hosting company for quick support during business hours, should our site have any issues.
Getting the right foundation for your site is the first process to building a successful website but one that is often overlooked. Making the right decision early can save you a lot of time and money going forward and give your website the best launch pad for success.