The best digital marketing strategies direct users to a well-designed website that is pleasing to look at, easy to navigate—and crucially, fast. Indeed, page speed is one of the first things to audit if your website is seeing a high bounce rate. But no matter how thorough your website speed optimization is, sometimes pages can load slowly anyway. How can this be?
At Elevation Marketing, we often have clients ask why their website speed optimization efforts were still producing mediocre results. In many of these cases, it comes down to a question of hosting, and the relationship between shared hosting, VPS hosting, and site speed. So today, we’re going to talk about two of the most common web hosting methods—VPS (Virtual Private Servers) and shared hosting—to explain why sometimes optimizing your site for speed simply isn’t enough.
Websites are stored on specialized computers called servers. When a user wants to access your website, their computer connects to that server and the site is displayed via a web browser.
Methods of hosting vary, but two of the most common are VPS hosting and shared hosting. With shared hosting, one server hosts many sites at once. The total amount of bandwidth available is shared among many different websites at once. If one website starts demanding a lot of bandwidth, it can cause other sites on the server to slow down. VPS hosting eliminates the site speed problem by partitioning the server into different chunks. While other websites will still be hosted on the same server, each site receives a dedicated portion of computing power. This gives growing websites room to operate without negatively impacting others on the server.
From the above description, it might seem that a VPS is always the best option for hosting a website. However, each method of hosting carries distinct advantages and disadvantages, and sometimes shared hosting simply makes the most sense due to a combination of factors.
For instance, one of the clearest advantages of shared hosting is that it costs less. The larger number of websites on a shared server divides the cost of running that server into smaller portions. This makes shared hosting the more affordable option pretty much every time. Another advantage is simplicity. Shared hosting plans are typically much easier to get up and running. Further, providers often have an easier time maintaining these servers, with many processes even being automated. Overall, for those with smaller websites, shared hosting will more than suffice.
Of course, VPS hosting does provide more benefits to justify its higher price tag. As we mentioned at the very beginning, VPS hosting and site speed go hand-in-hand, as you don’t have to worry about bandwidth-hogging neighbors canceling out your optimization efforts. VPS hosting generally provides better load times and improved overall performance compared to shared hosting. VPS hosting also tends to be more secure. More websites on a shared server means more potential breach points for attackers. Meanwhile, VPS hosting services offer fewer opportunities for breaches and often (though not always) invest more resources in security measures.
The right hosting method for your website comes down to the needs of your business, now and in the future. If your website performs well on a shared server, and you aren’t likely to scale it up anytime soon, you might want to stick with shared hosting for the foreseeable future. However, your web design should account for the fact that you only have a few seconds to grab a visitor’s attention. If performance issues are becoming more common, it could be time to consider migrating to a VPS hosting platform to boost your site speed. This is especially true if your business is in a highly competitive niche—a few extra milliseconds of load time could make or break a lead or sale.
At Elevation Marketing, we focus our digital strategies on optimizing your business’s online presence in every facet. From the quality of your content to speed optimization for your website, we work with you to develop a tailored lead-generation plan that suits your business—a plan that will grow and expand as you do. If you’re wondering whether it could be time to switch to a VPS, or if you’re looking to improve your marketing strategy in general, we can help you make the right decisions for your budget and growth strategy. Contact us today!