How a Web Hosting Provider can Affect Your website's SEO
There is a strong correlation between the quality of hosting a website uses and its search engine rank. Although having decent web hosting does not necessarily imply a boost in rankings, it does imply avoiding all the negative consequences – which are significant – of picking a bad host.
There are three main factors which connect your hosting and your page rank – uptime/downtime, speed, and location. Let’s take a look at the first two, as they can change on a monthly basis, requiring your constant supervision.
Uptime and Downtime - High Availability Demand
The term ‘downtime’ refers to the amount of time your website can’t be accessed due to server problems. Search engine crawlers will most likely visit your website a few times a day – if they happen to visit while the website is down, they’ll record it as inaccessible and move on. If this happens several times, then your website will be labeled as “unreliable” and your rankings will drop. The logic is simple – a search engine does not want to highly display sites they consider unreliable in their search results – because they would appear inefficient and useless if a user clicks on a result only to found out the site is inaccessible. Now, you’d want your website to be accessible all the time, but expecting some downtime is realistic, even on the best of servers – although no more than a few hours a month. Although you might assume that your hosting provider knows about the problem, you should contact them, putting pressure so they handle the problem as soon as possible. A 99% uptime is a standard you should maintain, and if your hosting provider can’t give you that, find someone who can.
Speed is What You Need
Algorithms which search engines use are usually not entirely available to the public, but we do know that Google takes the speed at which a website loads as one of the factors when determining its page ranking. The loading speed of your website can be seen here. But bear in mind that low loading speed could be caused by the configuration of your website, not the hosting. Still, if you’re certain that your website is optimized and set up properly, but it’s loading slowly nonetheless, ask your hosting provider to move your website to some other server. Usually there are plenty of websites on a single server, meaning they share the same resources – if your site is hosted on an especially busy server, it will load more slowly. Having a decent hosting provider means these things won’t happen as they’ll make sure that every website they host has enough resources to work flawlessly.
Location, Location and Location
Search engines take the location of a website into consideration when determining a site's ranking. If a user who lives in the USA conducts a search, the search engine will put the sites whose servers are located in the USA higher in the results. To determine where the site is located, they use several indicators, most notably the IP address. The IP address of your site is based on the location of the server the site is hosted on. This is nice to know and can prove useful, but there’s not much you can do about it, and, most notably, you can still rank well in one country even if your server is not in that country, but you’ll need to put in the extra effort.
Have these factors in mind when picking your hosting; choosing wisely will save you a lot of trouble and ensure your website is working as it should be.