Search engine optimization (SEO) encompasses more than just creating content and building links.
If you choose the wrong web hosting service, it may impede your website's ability to rank high in several ways.
If your website's hosting server is constantly down, search engines may lower its rankings.
Search engines want their users to have a positive experience so that they'll continue using their ad-supported online searching services.
Therefore, they analyze uptime as a ranking signal. The higher your website's uptime, the more likely it is to rank high in the search results.
Frequent server outages also raise your website's bounce rate, which in turn can lower its search rankings.
Whether it's for regular maintenance or because of a technical error, a server outage will prevent your website from displaying.
When a user tries to visit your site during an outage, a 404 error page will load instead of the actual content.
Each of these 404-triggered visits are counted as a bounce, and as your website's bounce rate increases, its search rankings may decrease.
Like uptime, search engines analyze speed as a ranking signal because it affects user experience. Google introduced speed as a ranking signal for desktop searches nearly a decade ago.
In 2018, Google began using it for mobile searches. Bing has followed this same path by scrutinizing load times as well. Faster websites offer a better experience for users than slower websites, so they are prioritized in the search results.
Several factors can affect how long it takes your website to load, though few are as important as its web hosting service.
If you choose a bottom-tier web hosting service with a low amount of CPU, memory and other hosting resources, your website will slow down.
Some users may be willing to wait for your website to load, but others will likely abandon it. Regardless, search engines may bump it down in the search results in favor of faster websites.
If your website is hosted on the same server as spam websites, its search rankings may suffer.
It's not uncommon for a single server to host multiple websites. A shared web hosting service, for instance, may place your website on the same server as 500 or more other websites.
If a large number of these websites are spam, search engines may wrongfully identify your site as spam as well.
Search engines have been known to penalize websites for the actions of other sites hosted on their servers.
With your website and the spam sites sharing the same Internet Protocol (IP) address, search engines may assume they are all operated by the person or entity.
Another way web hosting affects SEO involves cybersecurity. Search engines have a responsibility to protect their users from cyber attacks.
If your website has been hacked, it may steal users' personal information or deploy malware onto their computers and devices. To protect their users from cyber attacks such as these, search engines de-list hacked websites.
Your website's first line of defense against hacking is a secure server.
If the server runs outdated software, such as an old version of Apache, a hacker may take advantage of this weakness. And once hacked, your website could be removed from the search results until the breach has been addressed.
Loss of Data
There's also the potential for hosting-related data loss to affect your website's SEO strategy.
If some or all of your website's content is deleted, it will probably rank for fewer search terms, which means less organic traffic.
Even if you don't delete any content on your website, though, a data loss event experienced by your site's server could have the same consequences.
Servers can experience data loss events due to hardware or software. If your website's storage drive fails, you may lose your site's content.
Conversely, if there's a failure or error with the server's software, it could affect your site's content. Data loss events aren't particularly common, but they do occur.
To minimize your website's risk of data loss, you need to choose a reputable and reliable web hosting service.
Depending on the type of web hosting service you choose, server location could affect your website's rankings.
When you subscribe to a traditional web hosting service, such as shared hosting, your website will be assigned an IP address that reflects the geographic location of its server.
If the server is housed in a California-based data center, your website's IP address will reflect its location in The Golden State.
Search engines may check your website's location to determine the region or regions for which it's most relevant.
If Google can't decide whether your website is trying to reach users in the United Kingdom or the United States, for example, it may analyze your site's IP address.
If the IP address shows a U.K. location, your website may rank higher for users in the United Kingdom but lower for users in the United States.
How to Choose an SEO-Friendly Web Hosting Service
For higher rankings and more traffic, you must choose an SEO-friendly web hosting service.
There are several types of hosting services, some of which include shared, virtual private server (VPS) and dedicated.
The cheapest is shared web hosting, which is available for as little as $3 per month. VPS and dedicated web hosting services are more expensive, but they offer better SEO performance.
With a VPS web hosting service, your website will have exclusive access to a specific amount of server resources.
Other websites may be hosted on your site's server as well, but they won't be able to access or use your allocated resources.
With a dedicated web hosting service, no other websites will be hosted on your site's server. Your website will have complete and exclusive access to the server and all its resources.
Don't let your website's rankings suffer because of a poor web hosting service.
Rather than cutting corners by subscribing to a cheap shared web hosting service, choose a higher-tiered hosting service, such as VPS or dedicated.