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How Fast is Your Web Hosting?

How Fast is Your Web Hosting?

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Unless you are living under a rock you have probably heard by now how important it is for a website to load fast. Search engines like Google and Bing have adjusted their search algorithms to include load speed of a website into the decision of how a website ranks. But a fast loading website is not only important for search engine rankings, it is also important to provide the best possible user experience.

My website (thehostbay.com) is fairly busy each day and has a lot of visitors. To accommodate the need for speed I am running it on a VPS web hosting account at CyberHour. CyberHour is known for providing super-fast offshore web hosting to its customers. The reason why I like them a lot is the fact that the VPS is fast. Their web hosting also comes as a unmanaged package and so I have full access on my VPS .

In addition to really fast web hosting I am also using WordPress as my content management system WordPress has lots of options to customize a website and it is fairly optimized for search engine optimization right out of the box. But a standard installation of WordPress still needs some tweaking. I am using Thesis as the framework to run my website on. Thesis is one of the most optimized WordPress frameworks out there. It avoids all the fluff and simply works. But Thesis does not only work, it also comes with a ton of features for customization and is very user friendly. WordPress websites optimized with Thesis are some of the fastest loading websites on the Internet.

But there is more that can be done to speed up a website. TheHostBay.com also uses the WordPress Plugin “W3 Total Cache” which helps improving server performance and provides website caching. By caching certain parts of a website into memory, a website visitor can see much improved load times when accessing a web page. By having website content loaded into memory, the web server does not have to access the disk or the database to load a specific page. It’s pretty cool technology.

And then last but not least I am using a so-called content delivery network (CDN) to accelerate my website. A content delivery network is a 3rd party network with Internet access hubs across the country and across the globe. It will load the web page at the physically closest hub to the customer and present the website from there. This dramatically reduces the time for a web page to load and eliminates high latency across long distances. I am using a service called CloudFlare for this. CloudFlare provides several options to its customers and so you can choose a package that suits your website best. They also offer a free CDN package which works great and would be a good option for many websites out there. The setup is really easy and I have seen dramatic decreases in load times of several of my websites. CloudFlare also hooks seamlessly into W3 Total Cache, too.

The attached screenshot shows the performance change of my website over the last few months. During that time shown here I changed web hosting providers to CyberHour and then started experimenting with the different options available to better optimize my website for fast load times. The screenshot then shows how the website speed dramatically increased towards the end and I am very happy with the results. If you register your website with Google Webmaster tools you can access the same kind of information for your website.

My winning combination of fast web hosting (CyberHour), superior foundation (WordPress + Thesis), and optimization for speed (W3 Total Cache + CloudFlare) is responsible for the dramatic decrease in load times. I am extremely satisfied with those results and I can definitely recommend this combination for you, too.

Legal Disclaimer: Optimizing a website is not necessarily an easy task. Besides the items I mentioned here, one would need to optimize HTML code and images as an example. So, your results might look a little different, but overall I think my recommendations will lead you into the right direction. Also, I am linking to external websites here. I am not responsible for content on those websites. I am also using a so-called affiliate link for CyberHour and for Thesis. I am an actual customer and are happy with their service and products. If you decide to try them and go through my link, I will eventually earn a small commission for sending you over there. These type of commissions will allow me to keep my website running and to provide helpful articles like this one. Thank you.

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