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Does Hosting Affect SEO?

Does Web Hosting Impact SEO? Our Comprehensive Research Guide Helps Breakdown Whether Hosting Affects Rankings & Results In Search Engines Like Google or Bing.

Photo of Danny Mahoney
Danny Mahoney
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Web hosting is an aspect that is often overlooked in the digital marketing world.

But it is, in fact, one of the most crucial factors that can affect your SEO success. Your chosen web host can make or break your site as it helps determine the site experience website owners offer their visitors.

Hosting / SEO Image

And as people come back to visit the site, search engines deem the content provided by it valuable and reliable. This helps improve its ranking in search results. However, changing domain names and web hosting can result negative impacts as well, which we’ll be talking about in this informative guide.

Before that, it makes sense to introduce you to the concept of web hosting. Once you get the basic idea, we’ll go on to address the primary question, forming the basis of this article - “does hosting affect SEO?

What Is Hosting In SEO?

Let’s begin by understanding the basic concept of hosting in SEO. To put it simply, web hosting is the process of hosting a website using a server. During the process, a hosting company allocates space on a server for the site to store its files and content, such as images and codes like HTML and CSS for online viewing.

That said, based on the kind of technology used, additional services offered, and the level of management, hosting can be categorised into four types: shared hosting, VPS, dedicated server hosting, and reseller.

You’ll have to decide which hosting type is the best fit for your website. But before knowing how to choose the right host, it’s important to note the ways in which web hosting can impact technical SEO results.

The Impact Of Hosting On SEO

1. Page Load And Site Speed

One of the most crucial factors that can determine your site’s SEO ranking is the speed at which it loads.

The faster its pages load, the higher chance it has to organically rank in the search results. After all, a slow loading host will lead to poor user experience and metrics, such as high bounce rates.

Hosting Impact on Performance

This will prompt Google to push your rankings down, leading to lower conversions.

2. Data Loss

There’s a chance your data might get lost at the host’s data centre. This can deteriorate your site’s ranking on Google search results. So, it’s important to have an automated backup system to protect your website and rankings from data loss.

That’s why you should always pick a high-quality host that offers a backup system to help you recover all your lost files, images, and codes.

3. Downtime

Having a website down will not only affect your SEO rankings but may also negatively impact the user experience. And that’s expected; after all, if a visitor keeps visiting your site only to find it offline, they won’t be returning. This will lead to high bounce rates and affect your CTR from the search engine.

However, it’s not possible for web host servers to always ensure 100% uptime. There will be intermittent downtime periods when the site won’t be available for visitors and search crawlers. So, you can only hope your web hosting platform ensures the lowest downtime possible so that it doesn’t affect your site’s SEO performance.

Nonetheless, keep in mind that the better your host, the higher uptime your website will have. You may even set up monitoring systems like Uptime Robot to keep a close watch on the site’s uptime. And if you face regular downtime issues, it’s better to upgrade or swap your hosting provider.

Uptime Robot Results

For best results, replace it with a hosting company that guarantees at least 99.99% uptime. This translates to downtime of 1.44 minutes and 8.8 hours per year, which is a good metric.

4. SSL Certification

Your website needs to be trustworthy for Google to rank it higher in search results. The same goes for visitors; you have to build trust with your audience by making them feel secure and safe while browsing. Only then will they want to maintain a long-term relationship with your brand.

The best way to do this is by installing an SSL (secure sockets layer) certificate on the site. It will encrypt the exchange of data taking place between your website’s server and the user’s web browser.

This will ensure the secure exchange of personal information and allow people to feel safe when they visit your site.

Additionally, since 2014, SSL certificates are acknowledged as a ranking factor in SEO as they help improve a site’s ranking. That said, you can opt for a hosting company offering free SSL certification to activate the certificate on your domain within a few minutes. If not, there’s also an option to purchase SSL certificates from sites like ssls.com or other third-party sources.

5. Server Location And Performance

The server location will also affect the performance of your website. And this will depend on the type of hosting you’re using. For instance, your site’s performance won’t be affected if you’re using cloud hosting services. But in case you’re using VPS, shared hosting services, or a dedicated server, then your site may load a bit slow if your visitors are far from the physical location.

Map of World Hosting Locations

Earlier, Google relied on TLD’s (top level domains) to categorise websites based on the country in which the hosting servers were located. Now they use the IP address of the site instead.

That said, make sure your website server is located in the same country as your website to avoid losing traffic because of the difference in geographical locations.

If you operate in one country but use a web host that’s located in the opposite end of the world, the server location might look suspicious to the search engine. As such, it may affect SEO rankings and website performance.

You may even rank your website higher in search engines in one country if it’s hosted in another country, but the process is quite challenging. And it’s better to avoid the extra work.

How To Choose An SEO-Friendly Hosting Company?

Now that we’ve highlighted the ways in which web hosting providers affect your local and national SEO rankings, it’s time you chose a web host that can support and enhance your website performance. So, here is a brief guide that will help you look for an SEO-friendly web hosting company.

First things first, there’s no perfect web hosting company for every style of website. The web host will look different based on your website traffic and the type of business you run on it.

Suppose you have a small website that doesn’t get much traffic. In that case, a shared hosting provider will be good enough to support your site. However, sites with thousands of visitors every month will need cloud, VPS, or dedicated server hosting companies. Using a shared web host in such cases might negatively impact the website performance and affect SEO rankings.

Furthermore, you’ll need to check whether the web host type guarantees a higher uptime to boost your search rankings. It should also have the provision to install or purchase an SSL certificate for your site to help build a trustworthy relationship with the visitors.

Even the location of the server and the website’s speed should be considered while choosing an SEO-friendly web host. The server your site hosts on should be located closer to your website. So, it’s best to choose a local web host to target a local audience.

Let’s now explain a few more factors that will help you select the right web hosting company to improve SEO rankings.

1. Choose A Local Host To Target Local Audience

Every website is assigned an IP address that relates to the site’s location. This plays a vital role in determining its SEO ranking. For instance, an Australian user will more likely be linked to an Australian website, which is an advantage for any local business.

So, choose a local web hosting provider to target the local audience. This will improve the website’s local search engine rankings.

2. Avoid Shared Hosts

Despite being cost-effective, shared hosts are not preferable as they come with the disadvantage of spamming. Plus, they fail to provide you with speed and reliability, which impacts the website’s authority and SEO ranking. Moreover, the lack of security may result in data theft and your website being compromised.

Shared hosting vs dedicated hosting

3. Good Reviews And Support Team

Take some time to read the online reviews of the hosting provider to validate its marketing claims that appear to be ticking the right boxes. This will also give you an idea about the features it offers. Also, don’t forget to read about its customer support team.

The ideal host should offer 24/7 support for free, so verify its operating hours and check if there is a phone number that can help you get in touch when required. You might also be asked to provide your name, email id, and other contact details for a call-back.

The Impact Hosting has on Rankings

There’s no doubt that the wrong web hosting provider can negatively impact SEO rankings. But one of the good things about it is that website owners can easily switch hosts within no time.

Just make sure you follow the guide provided above to choose the right host. If not, you’ll have to be prepared for a higher page load time, downtime, and poor SEO rankings.

Remember, you need to optimise your site to improve its performance and user experience; only then will Google search engines rank it higher on the results page. So, your first priority should be finding an SEO-friendly host for your online site.

And in our opinion, the best host for SEO is the cloud-based hosting provider since it reduces page load time and improves uptime to boost rankings.


Photo of Danny Mahoney

Danny Mahoney

Danny is head of web design at sitecentre and uses user-behaviour metrics to improve UX/UI and accelerate conversions. Using his unique combination of skills, Danny is able to deliver award-winning websites to SMB’s quicker whilst delivering better results.

Find them on their website: sitecentre, Facebook and LinkedIn.

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