Back to basics: How your hosting provider affects SEO ranking


Of all the ways your business can increase its exposure online and encourage customers to visit the company website, SEO (Search Engine Optimisation) is bound to be a top priority. This process attempts to boost your website’s search engine results page position, so it appears above similar pages targeting the same keywords, through various techniques.


The algorithms of search engines will look at various signals when ranking sites, such as high-quality content and whether the user is receiving a beneficial experience or not. However, they will also assess a site’s performance, which often comes down to your choice of web host. Aspects of your web host that search engines look out for include accessibility, speed, security, and location.



The vast majority of web hosts, like, guarantee an uptime percentage of 99.9 per cent. This is somewhat crucial when it comes to SEO, as websites that are constantly unavailable or suffer from prolonged periods of downtime can be hit with considerable penalties if problems go unfixed.


But in addition to an impressive uptime percentage, it is also a good idea to check through the terms of service of web hosts for precise guarantees about support and remuneration if they don’t live up to their promises and your site receives a ranking penalty.


Although uncommon, some hosts have even adopted search-killing practices, which include asking resource-intensive sites to drop plugins.



Websites that are slow and unresponsive lead to a poor user experience, which is exactly what search engines don’t want to promote or publicise with a prominent ranking position.


Although you can try to speed up loading times by reducing the size of photos and streamlining HTML code, these measures might not work if you picked the wrong host to begin with.


“As a (very general) rule, the more allocated RAM and bandwidth, plus the greater server’s processing capabilities, the faster it is likely to be,” says Tom Roberts, CEO and Head of Digital Marketing at So What? Media.



Despite the fact security is only an SEO issue if your website gets hacked, as you will slip down the rankings and find it hard to recover, this should still be given precedence when choosing or switching web host.


Setting aside SEO for a moment, incidents of cybercrime continue to increase and show no sign of slowing down either. In the event of a data breach, your search engine reputation will pale into insignificance when compared with consumer opinion of the brand.


Therefore, make sure your choice of web host is utilising the latest security measures to protect confidential and sensitive information.



Last but not least, location can also have an impact on SEO. For example, if you are trying to rank in a specific country, choosing a web host in the same location could result in a better position.


Having said that, Roberts believes this is only marginal and a much more important consideration is the location of the server and where typical users are based in the world.


“The closer your users are to your server’s datacentre, the faster the server response is likely to be,” he notes. “Faster websites are happy websites.”