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What to look for in a web hosting service?

So you’ve gathered all of your content, designed a beautiful website, optimised it for search, and you’re ready to go live. Now the question is: What should I look for in my web hosting service? And how can I compare the range of web hosting provides available?

The answers vary based on the specific needs of your website, including where your audience is, how much traffic you expect, and a bunch of other factors.

But the four most important components for testing a hosting service are:

  1. Speed
  2. Reliability
  3. Scalability
  4. Security

So let’s inspect each of those dimensions.

Testing a hosting service’s speed means measuring how quickly your content loads in your site visitors’ browsers, no matter where they are. If your site’s files are hosted on just one server, in one place, then visitors will see slower and slower page loads the further they are from your server. The solution is to store and distribute your assets in a content distribution network (CDN). A CDN distributes your files throughout data centres worldwide, then delivers them to visitors via the data centre that’s closest to them. This means snappy page loads for all your visitors worldwide.

We wanted to make sure your website loads as fast as possible for people across the globe, so we took it a step further, by using not one, but two CDNs:

  1. Fastly
  2. Amazon Web Services (AWS)

How we use fastly to speed up your Time To First Byte (TTFB)

The first CDN we use, fastly, delivers your HTML documents. Speed is the key with that first document, because it’s what tells the browser which image, CSS, and JavaScript files it needs next, which is why we use a second CDN. We’ve striven to optimise the time to first byte (TTFB), because it’s the biggest factor in visitor experience and page load speeds.

This is often overlooked by page speed tools, but there’s a good reason to believe that it affects your site’s rankings: According to a Moz article, there’s a correlation between lower TTFB and higher search engine rankings — yet another reason we’ve focused so much on this vital metric..

How we use Amazon Web Services to speed up site content loading time

Our second CDN, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloudfront, delivers your site’s assets to you from even more locations (or, PoPs, for “Points of Presence”). This ensures that images and videos will also load extremely quickly.

Our business hosting plan takes that giving you access to three times the number of PoPs as our other hosting plans.ize.

Scalability: “Will my site crash if it goes viral?”

Will your site be able to handle tons of traffic? Or will your server fall over when it gets too many requests? This is the core question for scalability: What happens when your site traffic increases?

The best services handle this by automatically spinning up servers as your traffic ebbs and flows, so you can handle any amount of traffic.s.

Reliability: “Will I have to deal with downtime?”

A website that does not the load is useless. So look for a service that guarantees 99.99% reliability, because outages are a pain (and damage your brand).

“Cheap” hosting can often be highly unreliable — and ironically expensive to your brand — since they often store your files in the shared hosting space, which can go offline if your server neighbours see unexpected spikes in traffic.

We pride ourselves on our uptime. Last year, we only had 1 minutes of total downtime, which translates to 99.999% uptime.