Why you should test the speed of your hosting
It’s a good idea to conduct a web hosting speed test, as this could be the determining factor in the success or failure of your site. Web hosting speed can affect your site in a number of ways, including:
- Search Engine Optimisation
As search engines get smarter and quicker, they are not only testing for relevant keywords and terms, they also assess sites for speed. This is all factored into their ranking, with the faster sites displaying closer to the top of the rankings.
- Consumer decision making
Hosting speed also affects the loading speed of your pages and this is one of the most important factors influencing conversion rates in ecommerce. While in a physical shop consumers will wait on average 15 minutes in the queue before deciding to give up and go elsewhere, online it’s a different story.One in four people will give up on a purchase if the webpage takes more than four seconds to load. That’s a colossal 25% of business you could be losing because of a couple of seconds loading time.If an online site is making £100,000 of sales a day, a delay of a few seconds load time could end up costing the company £2.5 million over a year. That’s serious money.
- Mobile experience
More and more people are using their phones or mobile devices to make purchases and browse sites. It now accounts for more than 50% of traffic. A fast hosting speed time on smaller devices is now a crucial factor in online success.
Most common mistakes with speed testing
While it’s easy to compare features such as storage space, cost and bandwidth it’s harder to get accurate data for metrics such as speed and reliability of service. There are some common ways that people use to find out information on these less quantifiable metrics but not all are accurate, including:
- Online reviews
The hosting review market is flooded with false reviews that boast of impressive results. This is often done so affiliates can profit from redirecting your custom through links on their sites. So don’t just believe what you read in the reviews.
- Direct comparisons
Some hosting providers and reviews claim to have compared website speeds but unless you have the exact same site running on two hosts at the same time, this seems unlikely.
- Using online speed testers
A quick Google search throws up hundreds of speed testing sites promising accurate data. While some of these are accurate, others are just advertising platforms with fancy graphics. You might get a ballpark figure at best but it won’t be a reliable measurement. Short of testing at regular intervals over a number of sites to accrue an average, it’s hard to trust the information.
Most reliable tools to test host speed
When conducting a web host speed test, you need to know which areas to focus on and which tools to use. If not, you might not be looking at the wrong metrics and getting a false impression.
You should concentrate on:
- Page speed results – a good indicator of load speed for a typical website. Try WebPageTest.
- Uptime test – measures the percentage uptime of a host. Try Pingdom
- Support response test – how quickly the support team responds to your concern (just write an email and see how long it takes to get back to you). After all, you need to know that your host is on hand to help when problems arise.