All it takes is one second for a website visitor to decide to leave your page and visit your competitors. In fact, as web page load time goes from one second to five seconds, the probability of a bounce increases by 90%.
How to Tell If Your Website Host Will Slow Down Your Holiday Website Success
With the holidays just around the corner, ensuring your advertising plans aren’t writing checks your website can’t cash needs to be at the top of your list. Here are the three load speed factors that deserve your attention before you spend any holiday advertising dollars to drive traffic to your site.
1. Slow Web Hosting
In plain English, paying for website hosting simply means you’re paying a company to “host” the files (HTML, CSS, stylesheets, images, etc.) that make up your website on a computer that is constantly connected to the Internet. This type of computer is usually called a server because it “serves” up your website when Internet users visit it. This company is your website host because it maintains the server your website lives on.
Because your host is responsible for serving up your website every time a user requests to visit it, either by clicking a link to your site or typing it in directly to their address bar, they play a large role in its load speed.
Choosing a fast website host is the foundation for a fast loading website. While there are many factors that contribute to a slow loading website, one big indicator your host is the culprit of your slow load speeds is whether or not your website is being hosted on a shared server. With shared hosting, the amount of disk space and bandwidth allocated to your website is limited because there are other websites on the server with yours. While there are pros and cons to shared versus dedicated hosting, shared hosting environments can easily lead to load lag. This is especially true during the holidays when you’re driving more traffic to your website through paid advertising campaigns.
On a shared server, unexpected bursts of website traffic, such as the droves of traffic your paid holiday campaigns drive to your site, drain the host server’s limited bandwidth resources. Leading to slow response times and slow load times, which ultimately frustrate your customers and only encourage them to abandon your website and switch to your competitors’.
How to Move to a Fast Web Host Service
Don’t let your holiday campaign success be dimmed by your host’s inefficiency and overburden. There are better options ensuring your website’s load speed is never slowed down because your advertising campaigns are too successful in driving traffic to your website.
If you suspect your host is the cause of your slow website load speeds, look into the following alternatives:
- Dedicated Hosting
- Running a VPS
- Other Semi-Dedicated Hosting Options
You can also explore this list of the fastest web hosting companies of 2018. Keep in mind, the further away your hosting provider is from your users, the farther your website’s information has to travel. Data over the Internet is fast, but it’s not magic.
2. Slow DNS Lookups
Before diving into why your DNS lookups are slow, first let’s review what a DNS lookup is and how it works. The DNS (domain name system) is the backbone of the Internet. The world wide web simply would not be easy for people to use without it. Acting almost like the Internet’s phone book, which assigns names to numbers, each and every website (which has a domain name) you visit are all mapped to an IP address (which is a sequence of numbers). The DNS is the system that allows you to type in a domain name into your browser’s address bar instead of a number.
To illustrate, when you type “www.Google.com” into your browser’s address bar, a DNS query is performed by your Internet Service Provider (such as Comcast or At&T) to request the nameservers associated with the domain. What is a nameserver? Nameservers “point” the domain name you typed in to the company that controls its DNS settings. Then, the server maps your browser to the IP address associated with that domain name, which allows you to see the website on your browser. Without DNS, you would have to type something like 162.76.840.947 to get to the Google website. Yikes!
Now that you understand how DNS works, consider the journey your website visitors make when navigating to your business’s website. For each DNS “lookup” that has to be made in order to download all the files that make up your website to the user’s browser, that user is waiting. The longer your domain lookup time, the longer your users have to wait and the more likely they will want to abandon ship altogether.
How to Move to a Fast DNS Provider
Just like your hosting provider, there are faster and slower DNS providers available to you. Free DNS services provided by domain registrars like GoDaddy are very slow. This should be one of the first things you fix. Some of DNS providers, are also only comparatively faster in certain locations and are slower in others. so it is important to review the lookup speeds of DNS providers before you sign on with a new one. Tools like DNSPerf provide DNS speed comparisons so you can make a more informed decision when choosing your provider.
3. Too Many Server Requests
Server requests are those sent by a user’s browser to the server on which your website “lives” on whenever they’re trying to visit your website. Too many server requests can slow the load up speed of your website because each request contains a variety of information for the server to process.
To illustrate, consider one part of a server request: the URL. When requested by a user, your server will attempt to return a valid response, which are the files needed to complete the request. These requests occur in series, meaning one group of server requests needs to be finished before the next group is sent.
As you can see, web pages with excessive amounts of external files will suffer from longer server requests, which slows loading times and makes your website aggravatingly slow.
How to Reduce Server Requests
There are many ways to reduce the amount of server requests, but most boil down to simplifying your website so less requests have to happen.
- Reduce the number of files overall
- Optimize your images
Plenty of techniques are available to you to help decrease the amount of server requests and thus the overall loading time of your website. But by limiting the number of files that load, your user’s browser won’t need to send separate HTTP requests to your server.
Fewer files. Fewer requests. Faster website.
Ensuring your website loads quickly and is equipped to efficiently handle the influx of online shoppers this holiday season is key to your digital marketing holiday success.
Want expert help with your digital strategy and online assets before the holiday season really starts to amp up? Let’s start a conversation about how we can augment your online ROI today.