Your online sales primarily depend on your search engine rankings. Website downtime is one of the drawbacks of an ineffective or bad web hosting service. If website downtime continues for weeks or months, Google removes the website from the index.
In marketing terms, there are two ways to improve your online sales: improve the number of visitors coming to your website and secondly choose effective ways to improve conversion. An ideal web hosting service helps you in achieving both goals.
An effective web hosting service provides:
- excellent customer service
- round-the-clock secure, fast, reliable, unlimited bandwidth
- cost-effective options
- ensures ultimate control panel management
- and provides maximum server space.
Industrial Categorization of Web Hosts
Web hosting services can be categorized as follows.
On Purchase/Cheap Web Hosts
These web hosts focus more on quantitative services than qualitative services. Three key web hosting services include shared hosting, VPS and dedicated server hosting.
Shared hosting is the cheapest of these three services, but it comes with many drawbacks including likelihood of experiencing website downtime, a broken server, unavailability of technical support and lesser security. Therefore, cheap web hosts are not highly reliable.
Free Web Hosts
Since 1999, there has been a flood of free web hosting service providers. Every month, new free web hosts with new services and more attractive packages are introduced. However, these are unreliable for long term business purposes. Free web hosts are also unreliable for secure processing.
Defining Features of an Effective Web Hosting Service
Google keeps a check on the speed of your website and if it finds the website frequently down, it removes the website from the index. It also ranks the websites according to data security.
Here are the factors which affect your online sales, improve conversions and boost your online reputation and search engine ranking to maximize sales.
1. Web Server Uptime
In shared hosting, all the websites are located in a complex of CPUs which work as a unit. If traffic flow increases or many websites are active at a time, the server goes down along with driving your search engine ranking pages down. When a server is down, it shows Internal Server Error or Error 500 to the visitors. Dedicated servers never go down as one website runs on one server only, but these are extremely expensive.
For long term business purposes, web developers prefer VPS hosting for better performance as VPS allows limited server memory and allocated limited resources on a server in one package. For more space or memory, choose other packages.
2. Website Speed and Page Loading
The Page loading speed of your website depends on your server speed. A server should be able to handle any load of traffic 24×7 so that whenever a visitor lands on your web pages, the pages load within standard time i.e. 20 to 30 milliseconds.
Free resource allocation provided by web hosting services like shared hosting increase website downtime and decrease page loading speed. In the Linux VPS web hosting, 1GB RAM is a standard package to maintain traffic load of 2000 visitors a day. If your website receives more visitors a day, then you may choose advanced and premium packages.
The advantage of choosing VPS over shared server is that a VPS is cost-effective and it never reduces the speed of your web pages.
As explained earlier, Google ranks websites according to the security they provide to the visitors. A website can individually be secured, but hackers may attack it if your server is not secure. Linux VPS secures its server with Internet Security Protocol. On shared hosting, there is a free resource allocation which makes other websites vulnerable to hackers’ attacks if one website is spammed. Linux does not provide ‘Administrator’ authority like Windows, which make it safer. It also provides you C-Panel security.
VPS hosting is better than shared hosting in the sense that VPS gives more managerial control and administrative authority to website owners. In shared hosting, more control and authority are given to the visitors. If a visitor makes unfavorable changes in the system, you can simply reboot the administrative control in VPS web hosting.
The secure server helps you improve your online reputation. Not only does this mean that Google increases your search engine rank, but customers also trust you more.
Also, make sure that the server has certified protection for MySQL. Ensuring that the service provides 100% data backup and data recovery is also important.
4. Customer Service
24×7 technical support is a promise made by free web hosting services as well, but it is a claim fulfilled by only a few. Due to free resource allocation in shared hosting, the server and website are often down. A common complaint about shared hosting is of inefficient and often unavailable technical support and customer service.
If you want to choose the best VPS hosting then make sure that the service fulfills the promise of 24×7 technical support so that your visitors never leave your web pages due to technical errors.
5. Framework Control and Easy Installation
Web developers prefer to operate e-stores from a Linux operating system. It is not only lighter in weight, but it also allows easy installation of applications and software. But a poor web hosting service may interfere with software installation. For example, shared hosting restricts software and app download and installation because the server may go down due to loading content.
Linux VPS, on the other hand allows free and easy software and app downloading and installation without interfering with the speed or performance of your website. If you need to install more software or apps and your website resources are exceeding than the resources provided by the server then you may choose a premium package for more resources.
It also allows you to use multimedia techniques for content optimization, i.e. text content, photos, videos and audio files, which helps in optimizing social engagement across social media.
Top Indicators You Should Change Your Web Hosting Service
2014 was the year of hackers, but 2015 started with improved strategies against hackers. In January 2015, cybercrime rate dropped from 72.6% to 67.4%. Out of all the attacks made by hacktivists, 33.7% attacks were made in MySQL. August 2015 trends show that MySQL is still the most vulnerable entity against foreign invaders.
Here are the top indicators that it is time to change your web hosting service.
- Frequent website downtime – Check website downtime and uptime with the help of free software like Site Uptime, Internet Seer, HyperSpin, HostTracker, SiteProbe, Uptrends, and Website Pulse or with the help of Google Webmaster tools. When the website is down, it shows Error 404 to the visitors.
- Failure in Database Connection – Technical web hosting service support is required to establish the data connection. If the data connection fails to establish often there is a need to move your web hosting service.
- Internal Server Error – When your web hosting server is down, it shows Error 500 on the screen to the visitors of your website.
- Poor Customer Service – Webhosting service should be available 24×7 for your technical support, if it is promised in the package.
- Slow Page Speed – When the server gets overloaded with traffic, it reduces the speed of web pages. There are many website speed tests to check the speed of your web pages. You may also use Google Webmaster tools or free speed test tools like GTMetrix, Pingdom, YSlow, WebpageTest, Web Page Analyzer, Load Impact, OctaGate Site Timer and Google Page Speed.
- Outgrown Website – If you have chosen a limited service web host then you may need to change it if your website outgrows its services. If your web hosting service is satisfactory, then you may purchase a higher or premium package.
Choosing an efficient web hosting service not only increases your online sales by optimizing your SERP, but it also grows customer trust in your brand. Word-of-mouth marketing, lead generation and adding value and quality to your business are more potential benefits of choosing an efficient web hosting service. Web hosting services like VPS and dedicated server hosting help you improve your return on investment, but VPS is a more affordable option especially for small and medium sized businesses.