This should go without saying but… if you find that the host is having frequent problems (or worse, the same problem over and over again) when you’re investigating their support arrangement – bump them off the list.
It may seem harsh, but if hosting is their business and they aren’t doing it well, why should you let that affect your business? I can’t think of a single logical reason why you would do that.
Beyond this, assessing how reliable a particular infrastructure is can be an extremely complex task. The biggest hosts, such as Amazon, offer such a plethora of hosting options and, whilst each has a solid underpinning from Amazon themselves, the way in which these are configured and connected together can have a huge impact on how reliable your website actually is.
In short – working out if a particular configuration is reliable or not is a topic for a whole other book.
If you’re working with a web development agency then they may have a preferred hosting platform
Most web developers will have a relationship with a hosting provider and will either want to put you in touch with them or resell their services.
This is completely normal – but beware of a developer who sells “hosting” but won’t tell you where they get it from. Either their markup is astronomical, they are selling you short in terms of capacity, they’ve got multiple customers packed on the same server like bees in a hive, or there’s something else fishy about this arrangement. Find out who they use and then check them out.
Hosting is not an area to cut corners. The guys at Trotters Independent Hosting (Data Centres in New York, Paris, and Peckham) are not your friend.
Leave the cheap hosting to the bloggers – we need servers ready to do business.
Use a fast server
“I feel the need… the need for speed”Maverick, Top Gun
Website speed matters. An increase in page load time of 1 sec can impact your conversion rates by up to 90%. People are lazy, in a hurry, and don’t have time to wait for your website.
In 2020, Gary Illyes from Google confirmed that a server upgrade can change how frequently and rapidly Google scans your site for new content:
“Fun fact: changing a site’s underlaying infrastructure like servers, IPs, you name it, can change how fast and often Googlebot crawls from said site. That’s because it actually detects that something changed which prompts it to relearn how fast and often it can crawl.”Gary Illyes
The Bottom Line
The quickest and easiest way to improve the performance of a website is to increase the specification of the hardware it is running on. More processing power, more memory, faster discs, and more (or faster) bandwidth are the order of the day – all of these things affect the speed at which your site will load. However, they are not the whole story…