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How Important is Web Hosting Optimization for Website Performance

How Important is Web Hosting Optimization for Website Performance

Everyone wants a fast website that performs well. Here’s a secret… You can’t skimp on web hosting and expect your site to run smoothly and speedily. If you’re interested in optimizing website performance, then the role of web hosting is worth looking into. 

Don’t think you can go for cheap hosting and install top-end plugins to boost performance later. Your website will only run as smoothly as its foundation is strong, so choose the right web host from the start, and you’ll already be ahead of others in terms of how your site performs. 

Choose a Hosting Provider Wisely 

Optimizing website performance begins with choosing a great web hosting company. And great web hosting is MOSTLY about hardware. Look for a web host that has: 

  • Solid-state drives (SSDs) 
  • High-capacity RAM 
  • Plenty of bandwidth 

These are the cornerstones of a stable, reliable web host. From there, you can look a little deeper into each web host and find the one that ticks all the boxes you need it to. 

The Right Hosting Plan for Your Needs 

Shared hosting is never recommended if you’re planning on optimizing website performance. It’s likely to work for you only if you have a small, static, local site that’s not expected to get a lot of traffic. 

But in this case, you’re not likely to need to make many adjustments to optimize your site’s performance—if it’s low-resource and low-engagement, it’s not going to require much to run smoothly. 

If you’re expecting medium to high traffic levels, then we recommend a VPS web host at the least. Dedicated hosting is a better choice, but it comes with a higher price tag. Cloud hosting is the gold standard, but it’s best for high-traffic, highly interactive websites that are resource-heavy. 

Once you’ve chosen the type of hosting that seems best for you, check out what various hosting plans offer. You need adequate storage space and bandwidth, as well as room to upgrade as your website grows. 

Optimize HTTP Requests 

Site design makes a difference, and the simpler your site is, the better it will perform. A simple site minimizes HTTP requests, which are requests the browser makes to the target server. Simplifying your site reduces the number of requests, making your site load faster and much more smoothly. 

Simplifying could include getting rid of unnecessary files on your site, optimizing your images for the web, and reducing the use of third-party apps like YouTube, which add extra requests to the list. 

Enable Browser Caching 

Browser caching is almost a superpower in the world of optimizing website performance. It’s as simple as enabling it in the back-end of your settings, and it can significantly improve the speed and performance of your website. 

This handy feature allows browsers to store your website data, almost like leaving a copy of your website on it for easy access. That way, if a previous visitor comes back to your site, instead of sending a request all the way to your server, it just pulls the copy of your site from the browser and loads much quicker. 

Find out how your web host handles this. Many use the control panel to activate it, but some WordPress web hosts might require a plugin. 

Optimize Server Configurations 

This can get complicated for those who aren’t technically-minded. But it’s worth learning about if you’re serious about optimizing website performance, because tweaking your server configuration can make a big difference to how your website performs. 

Fine-Tuning PHP Settings 

On your control panel, you can fine-tune a whole lot of stuff. Check out (and adjust) memory allocation, execution time, and whatever other PHP parameters you need to optimize your website’s resource usage. 

If you’re on a managed hosting plan, the web host should be able to do this for you. Otherwise, it’s a good idea to find a video on YouTube that shows you how to do it on your particular hosting control panel. 

Enabling Gzip Compression 

The point of enabling Gzip compression is to minimize the size of your files. When your server sends data to web browsers, a tool like Gzip shrinks them down so they’re easier to send and don’t slow things down. 

You may need to do some research upfront to find out if your web host supports file compression, as not all do. 

Performance Monitoring Tools 

Careful monitoring of your data can help you identify problems and take steps to fix them. You can add performance monitoring tools like Pingdom or Google Analytics to find those bottlenecks and fix them ASAP, which can keep your site performing at its max. 

Image/Video Optimization 

Images and videos take up more space and bandwidth than you realize. Compressing them can be a huge help, but the key is to compress them without sacrificing quality. You can do this before you upload them, but most web hosts offer optimization tools or plugins. 

It’s also a great idea to regularly browse through your own website library and get rid of images that you aren’t actively using on your website. It happens—pictures get uploaded and end up not being used, at which point they just hang around and take up space. 

Monitor Your Plugins 

Plugins can be fun to try, but it’s easy to let them build up on the backend if you aren’t using them all. Take some time to go through them and get rid of those you aren’t using. 

Be ruthless here—don’t fall into the trap of thinking you might use this one someday and keep it there! If you aren’t actively using it right NOW, uninstall it. It’s just wasting space! 

At the same time, double-check that your plugins are all updated. Another thing to check is active plugins that you don’t recognize. It sounds funny, but if you don’t remember installing a particular plugin, there could be a lapse in your site security, so check this out. 

Minify Your CSS and JavaScript Files 

Images aren’t the only things that need to be compressed! Minifying CSS and JavaScript files can make them smaller and faster to load, giving you a slight edge when it comes to speedy page loading. You can usually do this from your web hosting control panel. 

Use a Content Delivery Network (CDN) 

A CDN is a valuable feature that we highly recommend using. This tool distributes a “copy” of your website data to various servers around the world, so no matter where a visitor is from, it loads fast and with minimal lag. 

If your target audience is located across the world, a CDN is a must-have. Not a luxury! Most web hosts do offer CDN services, but double-check before you sign up because it’s not true for all of them. 

Keep Your Software Up to Date 

Out-of-date software, themes, security features, and plugins can slow your website down. Many web hosts offer automatic updates, which streamlines the process and makes sure your site is always at the top of its game in this regard. 

Mobile-Friendliness 

Mobile-friendliness is an important SEO ranking factor, but it’s also just a UX factor. If your site isn’t mobile-friendly, you can’t expect it to perform well when someone accesses it from their phone (which a vast majority of people do these days). 

You might need to take a few different steps to make your site mobile-friendly, including checking out your current theme and possibly changing it if necessary. But there’s likely to be somewhere on your control panel to switch between mobile and laptop view and make sure everything looks great on both. 

Conclusion 

Optimizing website performance isn’t just a “click of a button” kind of thing. There’s plenty that goes into it, but starting on the foundation of a great web host is key. 

Choose a strong, adaptable, scalable web host that gives you all the resources you need. Remember, skimping on a web host means you’ll struggle with performance going forward… So selecting the right one from the start is essential. 

About the Author

Paul Wheeler runs a web design agency that helps small businesses optimize their websites for business success. He aims to educate business owners on all things website-related at his own website, Reviews for Website Hosting

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