The number of organisations depending on a web presence has increased significantly recently. Many use a Managed Service Provider (“MSP”) like HostSailor as a quick route to establishing a web presence. This has thrown a sharp focus on identifying who are the best at providing Fast Web Hosting services, and why they can do it.
Why is Fast Web Hosting Necessary?
Fast Web hosting is essential for customer satisfaction. Research has shown that a delay in website load times causes:
- 11% fewer page views. If it takes too long, customers just click away;
- A drop of at least 15% in customer satisfaction; and
- Fewer conversions. A typical drop is over 5%
In summary, take too long to load a webpage and you will lose customers and sales. An empirical study suggests that customers expect a site to load in two seconds or less. If it isn’t there by then, they will click away. It will also affect your Google ranking and how close to the top you appear in searches. This is especially true now Google is using the new mobile-first index as their prime search ranking.
What are Some of the reasons for Slowness?
The reasons for poor web page load and processing times are a combination of effective web design and optimised hardware infrastructure. To look at some:
E-Commerce and websites in general, need to have good speedy responses. Customers will click away if they feel that a site is slow and unresponsive.
That is where design comes into play. Before even thinking about the look and feel, you need to be clear about the objectives of your website. Canvass potential users, your business colleagues and other stakeholders about what they would expect of your website.
The “Design Thinking” process is an ideal way of developing a website. The developer provides comprehensive coverage.
Google states that the best practice for page load times is three seconds. However, they find that most sites are nowhere near that.
Your ISP, web design specialist or MSP will help with creating an effective design.
One basic area of consideration for fast web hosting in an outsourced hosted environment is the type of hosting, Shared, VPS or Dedicated. Your website performance will depend on the type chosen. A simple way to achieve fast web hosting performance might be to upgrade the hosting type to reduce the number of shared resources and increase the usage of dedicated resources like storage.
What can you do?
Design considerations for a fast and efficient website include:
- Minimising HTTP processing requests. As a page is loaded, the various components like layout, images, and scripts downloading. Each element has an associated HTTP Look at the page structure and see how HTTP requests can be minimised.
Other design considerations include the “KISS” principle. Simple pages load and process more quickly. Very often, particularly when techies design a page, it includes lots of flashy stuff with videos and jazzy artwork. They take time to load and process. Make sure your pages are clear and deliver the message you want to deliver to your customer. Having to search the page for the “Next” button, or being distracted by on-screen irrelevancies can make users click away. That’s another reason for using “Design Thinking”. Having users involved in the design will make sure that the overall look and feel and each page design stays relevant to the message.
Try to use static rather than dynamic page building.
Time to First Byte
One item that is often overlooked is the time it takes for your page to start loading. Customers don’t look at a blank or static screen for more than a couple of seconds before moving on. The “Time to First Byte” or TTFB is how long you wait before seeing the page starting to load.
Starting a Page loading is a three-step process: Finding the page using a DNS lookup; the server processing the request; the page load starting on the requestor’s screen.
In general, slow TTFB is caused by network issues, dynamic content creation, web server configuration, or traffic. Having sorted out TTFB, the focus is then on the operation of the website itself.
What does the Future Hold?
An unintended consequence of upgrading one element of the fast web hosting environment could have adverse effects elsewhere. MSPs like HostSailor are continually looking at their own infrastructure configurations and service providers to maximise levels of service and maintain fast web hosting services.
Currently, issues such as DNS and browser caching, file compression and identifying duplications of effort are under continual review.
Overall, maintaining fast web hosting performance is challenging, particularly in a shared resource environment, but achieving it will have a positive effect on your organisation’s performance.
If you are unsure of your current configuration or need to move to a fast web hosting environment, talk to us.