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Hosting vs SEO: Does Choosing a Hosting Service Affect Organic Search Engine Ranking?

What is hosting and what are the types?

Hosting is a service that is responsible for the round-the-clock maintenance of websites on the web. Such a service is possible thanks to servers that are constantly working, and thus are constantly available in the network. Of course, there is no problem to set up a website on your own computer, but there are many barriers to it. Therefore, it is a rather temporary solution, good for local project work. Servers must meet stringent requirements related to round-the-clock work. There are many types of hosting on the market, or rather ways to keep your websites online. The hosting includes:

A. Shared hosting – usually the cheapest type of hosting. We only get a certain pool (usually not too large) of physical resources of the server. In most cases, there is no advanced server configuration option. The website will have so-called neighbors, i.e. websites of other people who have also purchased shared hosting from the same provider. Unfortunately, often due to the large number of pages on one server, the performance is sometimes poor. Services of this type are good for private clients or small and medium-sized companies that do not have a lot of traffic and thus do not need large server resources. This solution is good for people who are not familiar with the technical configuration of the server.

B. VPS server (Virtual Private Server) – as the name suggests, it is a virtual server, and in fact a separate part of the server on which a virtual machine is running. In the case of this type of service, we have full access to a separate part of the machine. The virtual machine guarantees us the purchased server resources such as: disk, memory, processor cores. Which will be associated with greater page efficiency. Of course, as it’s a virtual machine, we still share server resources with other people, but it’s safer. To operate a VPS server, technical knowledge is required to properly configure and monitor the service. The cost of such a service is usually greater than that of shared hosting, of course, it all depends on the resources of the server you buy. The service is good for larger projects, i.e. rather for medium and larger companies.

C. Dedicated server – in this case, by purchasing the service, we get the entire server. The entire physical machine located in the server room will be at our disposal. Thanks to the full possibility of any configuration, this type of service offers the greatest possibilities. Of course, as in the case of a VPS server, everything depends on the purchased resources. If we are looking for high performance, this type of service needs attention. Technical knowledge is required for the correct configuration of a dedicated server. This type of service is aimed at demanding users who are able to pay much larger amounts for both the service and administration. A dedicated server is dedicated to large projects with high traffic.

D. Cloud server – is a kind of alternative to dedicated servers. Thanks to the advanced capabilities of the cloud, it is possible to scale the resources that are needed to service the website. It is a kind of a network of dedicated servers (cluster) based on the infrastructure of a selected company. Due to the complexity of the service, good knowledge is required. The price varies greatly, it all depends on the resources currently used. In most cases, it is more expensive than shared hosting or a VPS server. Destiny is usually very popular and demanding projects.

What are the SEO characteristics of good hosting?

I will also try to refer to all of these features in the context related to SEO. Virtually every feature in some way affects or may affect the evaluation of the page by the Google robot or other search engine. The features that are worth including are:

– High availability time (Uptime) – we care about the highest possible reliability of services. Uptime shows the availability of services as a percentage, ideally it should be 100%. We want the website to run continuously. External service monitoring tools are used to check the server uptime.
SEO Context: Robots check the availability of the page. When a page is unavailable, it may be temporarily hidden or even removed from the index.
– Infrastructure – we are talking about both the connection speed and the specification of the device itself, which will affect the speed of the hosted service. The selection, of course, depends on the requirements of the project and the traffic that the service will have to handle.
SEO Context: Regardless of the volume of traffic and the complexity of the project, everything has to be fast. This affects the positive feeling of using the website and promoting it in free search results.
– Fast disks – nowadays it is worth investing in the fastest SSD disks. It is very important to have quick access to files that are placed on the website. SSDs do not have heads that have to search for the correct sector on the disk, as is the case with HDD disk drives.
SEO Context: It is important that the visitor to the website does not have to wait for the resource to load. This affects the so-called Page Experience, which is an important ranking element in Google.
– The latest and configurable versions of the software – it is worth being able to change the software version or configure it. This includes selecting the PHP version and any add-ons that the project may require.
SEO context: The speed and security of the website are closely related to the approach that Google forces on webmasters. The website must be reliable and secure.
– SSL certificate – we are talking about both the configuration of such a certificate and the possibility of obtaining it for free. In the case of small websites or those that do not process a lot of user data, free LetsEncrypt or CAcert certificates are quite sufficient. The data between the server and the visiting user’s computer will be encrypted.
SEO Context: Having an SSL certificate is one of the ranking factors. It is mainly related to the safety of users using the website.
– Access to logs – this is a completely basic thing related to checking how users (including robots) use our website. Based on the error logs, we can fix the page. However, access logs can be used to create statistics that will be used to analyze the website.
SEO Context: Constant verification and analysis of traffic flow helps in fixing bugs and improving the design. It is related to both speed, readability and security, which is pointed out by Google.
– Spam and anti-virus filters – as in the case of computers, servers should also be protected. Of course, a lot of security comes from the application code itself. The danger may also come from a poorly secured server.
SEO Context: Search engines value user safety extremely. Bad security measures can lead to the substitution of the content of the page, which can ultimately result in a complete blockade of the page in search engines.
– Fast and 24/7 support – in case of any problems or breakdowns it is extremely important to act quickly.
SEO Context: If you want to avoid penalties or large position fluctuations, it is extremely important to act quickly in case of problems.
– Backup copies – in the event of a breakdown or hack, it is extremely important that the website is returned as soon as possible. With frequent backups, this is possible.
SEO Context: In addition to the server-side availability of the website, it is also important that everything works properly from the website functionality side to avoid penalties from Google.
– Trial period – thanks to the possibility of testing the services, we are able to check whether the service is sufficient for us. It is worth testing both the speed and possibilities of services, as well as their personalization. It is also important to check the support in order to act as quickly as possible at critical moments. In fact, it is worth testing all the above-mentioned issues.
SEO Context: All the above-mentioned features will provide a good Page Experience, which Google pays for, among others.

I tried to write the above-mentioned features in a rather general way. It all depends on the technologies used and the project requirements. Each project should be approached separately to know the exact requirements.

Does Web Hosting Affect Core Web Vitals?

Basic Internet Ratings are closely related to the user experience of a website that Google believes is very important. Core Web Vitals consists of three main pillars:

– Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) – this is the loading time focused mainly on the largest element that is immediately in view after the user enters the site. Google is committed to ensuring that every page is loaded as quickly as possible. The LCP should not exceed 2.5 seconds.
The impact of hosting: Fast page loading is closely related to the server hosting the page.
– First Input Delay (FID) – this is the time after entering the page, after which the page loading process begins. The FID should not be greater than 100 milliseconds.
The impact of hosting: Page response time is related to the infrastructure that supports the website and its load. Choosing the right service for your project requirements is important here.
– Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) – while loading the page, there should be no element shifts that could mislead the user (e.g. by clicking on an invalid link). This ratio should not be greater than 0.1.
The impact of hosting: This metric is largely influenced by the coding of the page. Hosting can only be affected when a loaded item is not able to load quickly enough for some reason. In these cases, there should be a (code-side) placeholder to prevent unwanted shifts.

Ensuring the quality of all the above pillars will result in a higher website quality in the eyes of the Google search algorithm.

Does the choice of hosting affect website optimization?

Choosing the right services has a great impact on website optimization. Of course, ultimately everything will depend on the person implementing the optimization. In some cases this can be made easier by the use of technology on the server that will facilitate the optimal optimization of the website. In the case of the popular CMS system – WordPress – it can be support for special plugins optimizing the website. It is important to be able to run the cache on the side of both the website visitor and the server itself. This will significantly speed up page loading and command execution. Another issue is the ability to scale resources when the traffic on the site will be much higher.

What is SEO hosting used for?

When looking for good hosting, you may come across so-called SEO Hosting. This service is aimed mainly at clients dealing with positioning of websites. The main difference between regular hosting is the availability of additional IP addresses. Placing pages on different IP addresses will help to create a larger database of pages (back-end) on one service, which will be somewhat in a different location due to a different server address.

Will an investment in good hosting affect SEO?

Good hosting is certainly one of the factors that will positively affect the position of a website in organic search results. This is just one of many components that should be taken care of before Off-site activities. The service should be properly selected for the project being implemented. In the event of a rapid increase in traffic, you need to react quickly to maintain the upward trend.

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