Fast WordPress Hosting

Why Fast WordPress Hosting is Important
and How You Can Improve Page Load Speed.

When looking for WordPress hosting, there are several things you need to look out for. One of the most important however, is that the server is fast. Ideally, your website should load in the blink of an eye no matter what device it is on, with all images already loaded.

Of course, this is something that every hosting company claims to offer, but that only a few really manage to get right—you can test your website speed easily. It’s important to use a premium hosting provider that you can rely on, and that offers the very best service for even large sites. 

Why Page Load Speed Matters

But why does page load speed matter?

The first and most obvious reason is that a site that loads quickly provides a better experience for the user. Do you remember the days of dial-up internet? When a website could take minutes to load? Browsing wasn’t a fun experience, especially if the page didn’t turn out to be worth the wait!

Today we’re spoiled, though, and we expect our websites to appear almost instantly. Nine out of ten times they do! But that means that when they don’t, it stands out like a sore thumb. We presume that the site is poorly designed, or that the company is having technical difficulties—which isn’t a great look.

What’s more though, is that when a website takes too long to load, we will normally simply give up and go somewhere else. There are likely a hundred other sites that can provide the same answers or sell the same products—and we don’t have all day!

Psychologists have demonstrated that the internet is actually shortening our already short attention spans, to the point where we find it hard to concentrate on anything for long. This is most true on the web, where we constantly flit from one site to the next, glance down the page, and then move on. In short, if two seconds pass and your visitor hasn’t seen your page yet… you just lost a potential customer.

Moreover, Google also knows this—which is why it is now penalizing sites that take too long to load by moving them down the search engine results pages.

If you use a hosting service that has a bottleneck on its speed, then this is also going to serve as a bottleneck on the potential success of your business as a whole.

What Influences Page Speed?

When you look at the features offered by various web hosting companies, it can be difficult to know what it is you are actually looking at. If you don't know what the statistics mean, for instance, then it can be very difficult to know which web hosting package to pick and how each one can benefit your site, or how it might impact on something like speed. There are several factors that relate to speeding up your website, including: 


Bandwidth, for instance, is a term that not everyone intuitively understands but that has an important bearing on the performance of your website. Basically, bandwidth refers to how much data can be transferred between your server and the computers of your visitors before the system collapses. You can visualize this literally as a cable that water has to travel through (water being the data) – the thicker the cable, the more water can go through at once, and that means that you have higher bandwidth. The goal of any website is of course to get lots of visitors, but if you exceed your bandwidth allowance, then your site will go down and not be available for a while, while the servers instead prioritize one of the other sites they're storing.

Cloud hosting is an excellent option because it gives you limitless bandwidth. The reason for this is that cloud hosting uses multiple cloud servers and this means that your site is stored on more than one server at a time. Thus, when someone looks it up, they will see it on any one of those cloud servers. When the bandwidth is getting pushed on that server, the company will simply recruit more cloud servers to do the job for a percentage of that traffic. The greater the demands, the more servers the system will use meaning that the site never goes down. This way you effectively get limitless bandwidth on your cloud hosting and you aren't sharing one server with lots of other clients. The same goes for dedicated or managed hosting.

Bandwidth won’t limit your page speed then as long as you don’t have too many people accessing your pages at once, or accessing other pages on the same server. But if your site grows, or you have 20 other sites all sharing your lanes, then things are going to slow down.

Server Response Time

Server response time is the amount of time that it takes for a HTML document to load on a website. After this point, the server can begin rendering the page. No matter how well optimized your site is, if the server response time is slow, then your site will load slowly too.

This metric is measured as the Time to First Byte (or TTFB); how long it takes for a single byte to load.

Various factors can influence the server response time other than bandwidth and traffic. For instance, a poor web host might use slow, legacy software. Remember: servers are just computers and bad software as always will slow things down.

At Pantheon, our elastic cloud hosting is the fastest in the business. No matter what, you know that we aren’t going to be limiting the speed or success of your site and your brand.

Things You Can Do

Choosing the right hosting service is just one thing you can do to improve your page load speeds. Once you have the best server, the next job is to ensure your site is well built and that you aren’t inadvertently doing anything else to cause it to slow down.

A few other things to consider…

1. Grading Tools

The first tools you should use when you want to improve your page speed are those that test just how bad the problem is. Tools such as GTMetrix, Pingdom, or Google's own Google PageSpeed Insights give pages a score based on their speed and thus let you know whether you need to do more work.

2. Diagnostic Tools

Diagnostic tools are a useful next step as they show you which elements, in particular, are slowing your site down. This is very handy if you think a specific plugin might be causing your site's snail-pace and can help you to formulate an action plan to deal with the problem effectively.

3. Caching Tools

Caching plugins are useful if you have a lot of images, CSS, and JavaScript on your pages that don't often change. Caching essentially means that some of your elements will be stored on visitor's computers so they don't need to be loaded again on subsequent visits. This makes things much quicker for return visitors, but won't affect first-timers. If your site runs on WordPress, then there are a ton of plugins available that will only take a couple of minutes to implement. Good options include the global cdn/Pantheon Advanced Page Cache or WP Redis.

4. Compression Tools

Image compression tools allow you to shrink the file sizes of your images without affecting the physical dimensions or quality. “TinyPNG,” for instance, works by removing unused colors from images meaning more speed with no noticeable difference aesthetically. For WordPress sites, WP is a very useful plugin.

You can also compress the size of your CSS, resulting in smaller files and faster rendering once again. CSS Drive is a service that lets you do this manually.

Want to go one step further? Use Gzip and you can compress your entire website into ZIP files!

5. Database Optimization Tools

Database optimization speeds up the response time your site by cleaning your database – removing unnecessary or erroneous entries in order to make it more efficient. This is a little like defragging

your hard drive and it pays to do it every now and then just to keep everything chugging along nicely. There are many tools and plugins such as WP-Optimize you can do this with, so there's no excuse for neglecting to do it.

6. AMP

Google’s “Accelerated Mobile Pages,” or AMP, initiative is designed to decrease page load times while also introducing a universally mobile-friendly design that looks great on a smartphone screen. It actually loads an alternative version of your site from Google searches when someone is browsing using a phone. And because you’re using Google’s own mandated method, you know that you’ll be given extra points in the search ranking algorithms.

7. Web Design

Of course, the real speed boosts come from getting your hands dirty being smarter with the way you build your site generally. From moving around your CSS and JavaScript elements, to removing white space, to reducing the number of files, to writing fancy scripts in Ajax… countless small changes can speed you up making the editor that came with your hosting package one of the most powerful tools of all for speeding up your site when in the hands of a web developer who knows what they're doing!

But remember that all of this hinges on having that great server speed to begin with. If you are building a new site and you want the very best performance, or if you’re unhappy with your current page speed, the consider opening a blazing-fast account with Pantheon.

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