What should you look for in a hosting provider? Part 1.

By Alex J | Friday, 25 November 2016

In this series of articles, we will be tackling the qualities that you should look for and how to gauge their efficiency.

The hosting reliability measurement method.

Response time

Although social media is proving to be a viable online marketing tool, it is still not a good enough replacement for a website. So if you are about to open up your own business, might as well invest in a good hosting service and create your own website.

This leads to the question: what are the qualities of a good hosting provider? First time customers usually look for tight security, considerable memory, sufficient support, and swift loading time. But out of all those qualities, the last one would probably help reduce bounce rate.

Why should sites load faster?

Well, the most crucial time to make a lasting impression is the first time users view a page. How long it takes for the website to load will most likely determine if a user would stick around or not. This period is called the time to first byte (TTFB). What happens during this period is the user (or at least his/her computer) sends a request to the server, the server processes the request, and then sends a response to the user. As mentioned earlier, how quickly the TTFB takes place could determine whether a user stays our bounces.

How does a good hosting provider minimise TTFB?

How long or short the TTFB is could be determined by how effective their servers are. Ideally, the closer the servers are to the user, then the faster the sites would load. This is the reason most established hosting providers set up multiple servers in strategic locations around the world. But it's not enough that they are evenly spread out. The servers themselves should run efficiently on their own.

These days, cloud server is considered the most reliable because of its flexibility, cost-efficiency, security, and eco-friendliness. But how do they minimise down time? Unlike regular servers, cloud servers implement failover system.

Here's how it works: when one or several servers don't work or aren't performing as well, the system then switches the functions of the defective servers to an alternate one. This substitution method ensures that processes still go smoothly despite one or two servers going down. This may not guarantee that sites remain live all the time but it does significantly shorten down time and TTFB (depending on how fast the wonky server gets substituted) and theoretically reduce bounce rate. We, at Crazy Domains, happen to rely on Next Generation Cloud Hosting.

The point is knowing which server providers use could help you take your pick. And one way of measuring server reliability is to conduct TTFB checks. Luckily, there are several testing sites that could measure the TTFB for you, such as bytecheck.com and pingdom.com. If you are thinking about signing up with us, here's one of the results of our TTFB test: