How Your Web Host Affects Your Google PageSpeed Performance Scores

Being a website owner, you’d probably struggle with getting your website running at top speeds at all times. While there are many things at your end that you can do to improve speed, your choice of web host certainly contributes significantly to your website’s performance, including speed, a fact overlooked by many.

You probably heard of PageSpeed Insights (PSI) scores. Many use the Google PageSpeed Insights tool from Google to check their websites’ performance on mobile and desktop devices.

Are you wondering how your web host affects your Google PageSpeed performance score? Before this, let us look at the Google PageSpeed performance score.

What is Google PageSpeed Insights?

PageSpeed Insights is a free tool that uses Lighthouse, an open-source and automated tool powered by Google, to enhance web pages.

PSI analyzes the provided URL against several metrics and generates a performance score (how well-optimized your website is) individually for both mobile and desktop. It also advises on how to improve and optimize your website’s performance.

Your PSI score provides you with some critical metrics:

  • First Contentful Paint (FCP) – Measures perceived load speed when the user sees something on the screen (a fast FCP is good).
  • First Input Delay (FID) – Measures load responsiveness, basically the user experience when dealing with unresponsive pages (a low FID means the page is usable).
  • Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – Measures perceived load speed (a fast LCP means the page is useful).
  • Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – Measures visual stability by quantifying the user experience with unexpected layout shifts (a low CLS means the page is delightful).
  • Time to First Byte (TTFB) – Measures connection setup time and web server responsiveness.

These are performance signals essential to all web experiences. If your website is well-optimized, you should get a high PSI score (90 and above is good) which bodes well for you.

Do Google PageSpeed Performance Scores Matter?

Although the Google PageSpeed performance score is not a ranking signal, speed and page experience are. Hence, it serves as a good indication of where your website stands in impacting your Search Engine Optimization (SEO).

Also, most of your Google PageSpeed performance score is on the three Core Web Vitals ( FID, LCP, and CLS), which weigh on the user experience with your pages.

A high Google PageSpeed performance score means your website provides a good user experience which delights your SEO. You enjoy greater organic visibility, lower bounce rate, and higher conversion rates, which translates to higher revenue for your business.

While you should strive for a high Google PageSpeed performance score, this value should not be the all-important element you live and die by.

Remember, Google has many other ranking signals. That said, pay attention to the recommendations in your Google PageSpeed Insights report. They are crucial to help identify problem areas on your website for immediate rectification.

How Your Web Host Affects Your Google PageSpeed Performance Scores

Your web host plays a pivotal role in the survival of your website and business. There are several ways your web host can affect your Google PageSpeed performance scores:

Speed

For every second delay in mobile page load, conversions can fall up to 20 per cent - think with google
Slow loading speeds are detrimental to your conversion rate
Source: Think with Google

Speed is a ranking signal that search engines include when determining your rank in the Search Engine Results Pages (SERPs). The top spot on Page One of the SERPs is digital prime real estate. Website owners strive to reach this lucrative spot at all times.

The speedier your website, the more favorable your website’s user experience, the higher your Google PageSpeed performance score, the higher you rank, the greater visibility you enjoy, and the more conversions you secure.

One of the main contributors to your website speed is your web host. Users expect speedy websites and will not wait more than two seconds for the pages to load. The type of web hosting solution and web host you opt for determines the speed of your website.

Resources

Each web hosting plan comes with its set of defined resources:

  • Storage – Solid-State Drive (SSD) provides faster speeds and is more reliable than the standard hard drive.
  • CPU – Higher processing power equates to faster processing speeds.
  • RAM – More memory means faster processing speeds.
  • Bandwidth – Unlimited bandwidth bodes well for speeds.

If you consistently exceed the allocated resources, your website will register slow speeds and degrade your website user experience. Hence, look into your current web hosting solution and upgrade or explore other types of web hosting.

Several types of web hosting solutions:

  • Shared hosting – You share the same server as others, including resources (for blogs and small websites).
  • VPS hosting – In VPS hosting, you will share the same server as others, not your resources (websites that scale up soon).
  • Cloud hosting – Your website is on the Cloud, so you scale up and down when needed.
  • Dedicated hosting – Server and resources are yours alone (big websites with a critical demand for resources).

Server Location

Another factor that impacts how a website works with the audience is how far it is from them.

Your web server location determines the time the data reaches the users, thus affecting loading speeds. If your web server location is far from your targeted audience, the longer it takes to serve your website to them.

The rule of thumb is to know where you expect most of your visitors. Then choose a web server near that location. For example, if you are targeting Asia, go for a web host with a data center in this region, as your website will load faster. Remember, your web server location makes a difference in your website’s speed.

Caching

Caching is another technique your web host can deploy to help with speeds. It is typically data held in the memory (the frequently accessed data) so that a website is served promptly upon request for faster access.

Several types of caching:

  • Server-side caching is using the web server’s memory to hold relevant information.
  • Database caching helps web applications that heavily access the database to run faster.
  • Client-side caching relies on the memory at the user’s end.
  • Browser request caching manages the browser requests frequency from the web server.

CDN

Some web hosts offer Content Delivery Networks (CDNs); this is a network of linked servers across the globe.

These servers hasten websites serving static content anywhere in the world. By caching static content in these strategically placed servers, CDNs improve page loading speeds, reducing latency.

Since CDNs facilitate cached static elements of your website storage, there is less burden placed on your web hosting and help save on bandwidth.

Security

Cybercriminals will have a field day if your website has no security preventive measures. They take advantage of any security flaws, hack your website, gain access to everything there, and steal critical information such as your users’ details and financial information (especially if you own an eCommerce store).

A hacked website experiences snail speeds and downtime; this downgrades user experience causing a low Google PageSpeed performance score. As a result, your SEO suffers.

It is not surprising that hackers love to target web hosts. After all, they have tons of websites with lots of information.

Hence, your web host must implement the best security practices to ensure your website’s safety. Top-notch security features and best practices include SSL, military-grade encryption, frequent backups, malware detection and protection, server and network monitoring, DDoS attack protection, firewall, and others.

Related: How Not To Fall Victim To Phishing

SEO

SEO is short for Search Engine Optimization. It consists of a set of efforts and processes to optimize your website to increase its visibility for search queries in search engines. The higher you rank in search results, the better visibility you have, and the more traffic you gain to your website.

Search engines like Google crawl pages on the Internet to understand them and put them in an index (library of information where you look when searching).

Google uses algorithms and considers ranking signals to determine the order of these pages in this library for any search query. Hence, you rank high if you do well by the ranking factors. Fortunately, some strategies can help you increase Google rankings by hacking the algorithms.

If your website registers at blazing speeds, you give a good user experience to your audience. Your web host, which controls your website’s speed and performance, affects your user experience; this, in turn, impacts your Google PageSpeed performance score and ultimately frustrates your SEO. It is a round-about relationship but still an established link.

Uptime

Average cost per hour of enterprise server downtime worldwide in 2019
Enterprise server hourly downtime cost worldwide in 2019
Source: Statista

Your website is useless and worthless if it is consistently down. Nobody wants to do business with a company whose website is regularly down. They perceive that you’re not serious and doubt the competency of your business.

Frequent downtimes translate to poor user experience, which hurts your Google PageSpeed performance score and frustrates your SEO.

Hence, go for a web host who promises a high uptime. Many web hosts come with an uptime guarantee, so go for one with a minimum of 99.9%. Anything less is unfavorable.

Customer Support

Many overlook the importance of the quality of customer support of web hosts. Do not make this mistake, as having reliable and quality 24/7 customer support is essential to ensure that any issues are attended to and resolved promptly.

If your website or web pages are nonfunctional, your visitors cannot access them. Your pages are deemed unusable, and your Google PageSpeed performance score drops.

With great customer support and a functional call now button in place, you can immediately resolve any issues hindering your website. Ensure that your web host has a reliable and experienced support team ready to assist you.

Next: Improve Your Website’s Performance

Improving your website’s performance is a continuous effort. In this highly-competitive market, sporting a tip-top website performance is a must to stay ahead and on top of the game.

Don’t adopt a fire-fighting stance, be proactive to take care of the essentials that ensure a good user experience for your audience.

Look into your website’s speed, uptime, and security and practice SEO web design measures for a good and memorable user experience to increase your Google PageSpeed performance score.

A higher Google PageSpeed performance score means you have a better standing in terms of SEO. Hence, opt for a reputable and trusted web host to enjoy low bounce rates and higher conversions.


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