Type website hosting into any search engine and you’re soon knee-deep in ‘special offers’, ‘all-inclusive packages’ and ‘best buys’. Even for seasoned website developers; it’s difficult knowing which way to turn.

Does web hosting affect SEO?

The right hosting can make a very real difference to your SEO campaign, so make sure you know which questions to ask:

  • Speed Trap Human beings are impatient and so are search engine spiders. If you expect visitors to wait while a page loads they are likely to go elsewhere. Not only will you lose customers, but you may also loose rankings.
  • Down Time A website that is frequently down is as good as dead. If customers can’t readily find you the first time; the chances are they won’t return in a hurry. The same is true for spiders.
  • Complete Control In order to track traffic on your site you’ll need access to the server. FTP access is a must. Create a site using a ready-made template and you won’t get access to the tools you need to monitor and evaluate your site.
  • Location, Location, Location Google’s hot on geo-targeting and it pays to host your site on a server that’s in the country it is targeting.
  • Neighbourhood Watch If you share hosting space with spam or morally questionable sites you may be penalised for being in a ‘bad neighbourhood’. It’s difficult to gauge exactly how clean a shared server will be, but you can start by asking the hosting company for a list of sites on your server. And if you’re in any doubt… look elsewhere.

What are the different types of web hosting plan?

Your budget will almost certainly determine which type of hosting you choose, but it’s worth spending as much as you can. As with most things in life: you get what you pay for.

If money is no object dedicated hosting is the best option, giving you full access and control to your own personal server. A solid and reliable alternative is virtual private hosting which offers you a dedicated space on a shared server. It’s the closest thing to dedicated hosting but at a fraction of the cost.

A third cheaper, but still reliable, option is semi-dedicated hosting which puts your site on a server with a handful other websites. Shared hosting is the least appealing alternative with up to 200 sites slowing the server down and little (or no) control.

How do I choose the most SEO friendly host?

Hosting is a lucrative and fiercely competitive marketplace. As a result hosting companies come and go with alarming frequency. Hence, it makes sense to choose one of the tried and tested market leaders. Before making a decision take a little time to read some online reviews and see who the current favourites are.

If you already have a site that’s ranking; don’t rock the boat by changing hosting company. As the old adage says if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.