All posts by Noor B

Noor is a well-known webhosting blogger and industry analyst. Since 2006, he has tested a wide variety of web hosting services and posted the results on his popular blog, InlineHostBlogger.com. For each review, he extensively tests each web hosting company personally, or with his hand-picked team of technicians.

SiteGround Vs Bluehost (Aug 2018) : 7 Tests, 1 Winner – IHB

SiteGround Vs Bluehost

Updated: August 1, 2018

Does choosing a hosting company give you nightmares? 

Are you having trouble choosing between SiteGround and Bluehost because you haven’t found any unbiased reviews that you can actually understand?

 Choosing the right hosting service is a nerve-wracking experience because hosting can make or break your website. You have to spend hours upon hours doing research, trying to understand what sounds like gibberish and then comparing all these companies. And biased reviews more intent on selling you something than being honest don’t make things much easier.

It’s not something you can avoid, though, because poor hosting can have your traffic dwindling to nothing – that’s if you manage to get any traffic in the first place. So, you have to put in the effort or watch your website crash and burn.

 You have another option that will require less time and won’t be nearly as aggravating. I’ve done all the legwork for you and you’ll find a comprehensive SiteGround vs Bluehost hosting comparison below, along with many other hosting reviews and comparisons, including HostGator vs Bluehost and HostGator vs SiteGround.

Bluehost was founded in 2003, whereas SiteGround made its entry into hosting in 2004.

SiteGround Vs Bluehost tests

  • BlueHost Vs SiteGround – SecurityTest
  • BlueHost Vs SiteGround – Uptime Test
  • SiteGround vs Bluehost Server Response Time
  • Bluehost vs SiteGround – Website Speed Test
  • SiteGround Vs Bluehost: Customer Support

If you are too busy to read this entire review, here's an infographic that covers the main points.

Bluehost vs SiteGround – Performance, Reliability, Speed test and Security

While SiteGround web hosting developed some highly innovative approaches and ideas such as their own SuperCacher, free CDN by Cloudfare, NGINX web server technology and SSD Drives(Bluehost uses HDD drives) to beat the competition and provide maximum performance to its users, Bluehost has flagged behind everything for the last 2-3 years.

SSD drives are more expensive, but haven proven to be faster and more reliable than HDD drives. Only a few hosting companies can boast that  their servers use SSD drives and SiteGround is one of them.

Apache VS  NGINX Servers – Which are better ?

SSD vs. HDD: What’s the difference?

SiteGround has already released PHP 7.2 RC, thereby fulfilling their promise to offer their customers the latest technology in a timely fashion. The new release will bring a number of improvements to speed, efficiency and security.

A few other new features SiteGround has recently introduced include:

  • The SiteGround Migrator plugin that helps customers migrate their WordPress site quickly and easily
  • An upgrade to the SG Optimizer plugin to include multisite support.

Conversely, Bluehost has not yet provided their customers with access to PHP 7.2 and are still running PHP 7.0. They’re also much slower across the board in terms of updates and new features, which sets them pretty far behind SiteGround on the cutting-edge technology front.

Read more:- PHP 5.6 Vs PHP 7.0 Vs PHP 7.1 Vs PHP 7.2 – Performance Analysis

The most recent survey sitground conducted among its customers shows a satisfaction score of 97% in 2017.

This score has steadily increased over the past three years, proving that SiteGround constantly strives to improve the quality of the services they offer.

Siteground Customer satisfaction survey for 2018

 

Look at this video to understand how SiteGround is able to secure our websites from all hackers and other security threats.

 

SiteGround vs Bluehost – Security

SiteGround has recently developed an anti-bot AI that protects their customers from brute-force attacks.

Read more :- What is Brute-force attacks and how it can destroy your website within minutes ?

The new bot prevention system has delivered amazing results as it blocks as many as 2 million attacks across their servers. Not only does the AI system protect customer websites, but it also frees up server resources that can now be used by customers.

The AI system monitors all SiteGround’s servers simultaneously and analyzes the data. Based on the results, it takes automatic action to stop malicious bots. Some of the flags the AI watches include:

  • Failed logins
  • How many simultaneous connects are present to different URLs
  • DDoS weaknesses that are already known in different apps
  • Various request types associated DDoS attacks
  • A constantly updating list of blacklisted user agents

When the AI determines that an IP is malicious, it blocks it and issues a challenge via a Captcha page. If the “puzzle” is solved, meaning that it’s actually a human and not a malicious bot, the address is whitelisted. And the AI learns from these situations so that it can reduce the level of false positives that occur.

Thus, SiteGround’s new security system is much more efficient at protecting customer websites.

Bluehost relies on Cloudflare to protect its customers from DDoS attacks. They also offer other security features, such as spam protection, password-protected directories, and an option to blacklist certain IPs.

Winner: SiteGround wins by a long-shot because they’ve developed their own AI to thwart brute-force attacks and aren’t relying on a third party to protect their customers.

BlueHost Vs SiteGround – Uptime Test

Both Bluehost and SiteGround offer 99.99% uptime guarantees.However, practice shows that Bluehost has significant and consistent issues with downtime, leading to an average uptime of less than 98% per month.

I haven’t seen anything that shows a major downtime for SiteGround. Moreover, they were up more than 99.99% during the last year. They have pretty much the most  in the entire web hosting industry.

SiteGround, on the other hand, does not exhibit any major problems with downtime. In fact, over the past year, their average uptime exceeded 99.99%. This proves that their servers are highly reliable and some of the best in the industry.

We used Host Tracker to monitor approximately 150 Bluehost and SiteGround websites to determine a more accurate figure for their uptime.

To see different estimates for uptime percentage, you can change the variables inthe following interactive graph Continue reading

SiteGround vs FastComet [Aug 2018] – A Comprehensive Comparison

If you don’t know whether to choose SiteGround or FastComet because you contrast the reviews you found and aren’t even sure what to compare them on, then you’ve come to the right place.

A lot of factors go into choosing a web hosting company, and considering the consequences of choosing a poor host, it’s no wonder that many people find the experience less than pleasant.

After all, if you choose the wrong host, you could end up with a website that is nothing more than a fancy digital paperweight. Your traffic will dwindle, and your business will suffer for it.

The good news is that I’m going to fix all that for you. The following is a comprehensive review of SiteGround vs FastComet that uses plain English and analyzes the most important factors.

You can also be sure that this review is completely impartial and objective. I’m not trying to get you to buy anything. I’m only interested in making sure that you work with the best host for your needs. So, I’ve tested both hosting companies and you can find the results below.

Also, be sure to check out my other hosting reviews and comparisons, such as SiteGround versus BlueHost, HostGator vs SiteGround, and HostGator vs BlueHost.

SiteGround was founded in 2004, whereas FastComet was founded in 2010 but only expanded into web hosting in 2013.

SiteGround vs FastComet: Performance, Reliability and Speed Test

Siteground has taken a highly innovative approach to web hosting, and over the years has been at the forefront of offering top-quality services and hardware.

Thus, they have their own SuperCacher, they offer free CDN by Cloudfare, they use SSD drives, and NGINX web server tech, all in an effort to ensure that their customers are provided with outstanding performance. It should be noted that FastComet has similar options, including SSD-only servers.

Not many companies offer SSD-only servers due to the higher costs of these drives. However, they are certainly more reliable and faster than HDDs, which is why your best option is to go with a company that relies on SSDs.

SiteGround-hosting-customer-satisfaction-review

SiteGround vs FastComet: Uptime Test

Like most web hosting companies, SiteGround and FastComet both offer a guaranteed 99.99% uptime. However, you can’t always rely on guarantees, which is why we went ahead and tested both companies.

SiteGround’s uptime was on par with their guarantee, meaning that they achieved an uptime of 99.99% over the past year. As far as we’ve seen, they have some of the most reliable servers in the industry and rarely disappoint.SiteGround Uptime report

By comparison, FastComet achieved an uptime of 99.98% with only three outages. While this indicates FastComet’s servers are quite reliable, SiteGround still offers slightly better performance.

Fastcomet Uptime report

If you want to get a better idea of how well the two companies performed, you can enter different data points into the following graph to see the uptime of FastComet vs SiteGround in different situations.

SiteGround vs FastComet: Server Response Time

We test server response time because it will provide us with an indication of how good the servers are, but also to see how quickly your website will load. The latter is an essential metric in choosing a good host.

The test was conducted using identical websites to ensure it was fair. Thus, the sites featured WordPress installations and used the same themes, the same number of images, as well as identical page sizes, content, and requests. All plugins and caching systems were disabled.

In the graphs below, the blue line represents the number of individual users, while the green line represents server response time.

SiteGround definitely impressed us with their average response time of 515 ms, which was relatively stable all the way up to 99 concurrent users.

SiteGround-cloud-speed-test

On the other hand, FastComet’s results were less than impressive. Up to about 25 concurrent users, their servers had an impressive response time of 471 ms.

Fastcomet load impact server response time

Subsequently, though, the response time slowed down until it got to 36 seconds, and that was at only 40 concurrent users. We didn’t bother throwing more users at them because we were worried we’d end up waiting the whole day for a page to load.Fastcomet load impact response time at 40VUS

Clearly, in terms of server response time, SiteGround wins hands down. FastComet clearly needs to have a good look at their servers because something is very wrong. A response time of over 30 seconds for a measly 40 concurrent users is unacceptable in today’s competitive environment.

★ Winner SiteGround.

Prices, Plan, and Features

SiteGround offers a number of plans for every budget. Whether you’re looking to host a single, small website or require space for a larger website with heavy traffic, SiteGround has a plan for you.

The StartUp plan available at $3.95, for example, is designed for a basic website or average-sized blog with less than 10,000 unique visits per month. It includes a free website builder, 24/7 technical support, SSD storage, a free CMS install, free auto daily backups, unlimited emails accounts, free Cloudflare CDN and more.

The GrowBig plan, available at $6.45 per month allows you to host unlimited websites. It’s designed to provide the best performance for either a single website with slightly heavier traffic or multiple sites with average levels of traffic.

The GoGeek plan features separate instances so that customers can share fewer resources on the same server, ensuring better performance. It’s a plan that’s designed for larger websites or average-sized ecommerce sites.

FastComet’s plans appear to be slightly cheaper than SiteGround’s offer but, like the latter, they also offer a range of plans that meet any needs.

The StartSmart plan is the smallest of the bunch and comes with a free domain for life, 15GB of SSD space and unmetered traffic. You can only host one website. Other services and features seem to be on par with SiteGround, except that it’s $2.95 per month.

ScaleRight allows for multiple websites and features 25GB of SSD space, while also including all the features of the StartSmart plan. It also comes with 3 free website transfers, a free private DNS, 1-Click Restore Manager, double the CPU and RAM, unlimited addon domains and more. This is all available at $5.95.

The SpeedUp plan offers 35GB of SSD space plus all the features provided by the other plans. It also comes with 3 times the CPU power and RAM, 3 times fewer clients per server, APC and Opcode cache and much more. This plan is available at $9.95 per month.

For more details on the plans on offer from FastComet and SiteGround, please see the table below:

FeaturesSiteGround StartupSiteGround GrowBigFastcomet StartSmartFastcomet SpeedUp
Disk Space1020 GB15 GB35 GB
Traffic Allowed10000 Visits25000UnmeteredUnmetered
Email AccountsUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimitedUnlimited
Domains Allowed1Unlimited1Unlimited
Control PanelcPanelcPanelcPanelcPanel
1 Month$3.95$6.45$5.95+$19.95 Setup$12.95+$19.95 Setup
12 Month$3.95$6.45$4.95$11.95
3 Year Term$3.95$5.95$2.95$9.95
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★ Winner Fastcomet.

SiteGround vs FastComet: Customer Support

Quality customer support is vital so we took the time to test both companies. Thus, the results of our FastComet vs SiteGround customer support test are as follows:

SiteGround clearly cares about their customers because they offer a number of ways for you to get the support that you need.

Thus, they offer a 24/7/365-day live chat, the ticking things system, as well as a toll number.

The wait time for their live chat is less than 5 seconds, whereas you can expect a response within 10 minutes on the ticketing system. As a reference point, I’ve waited as long as 5 minutes on other live chat systems.SiteGround-support-waiting-time-min

They also have a feature that allows you to see the bio of every support rep, which includes user ratings, work experience, and skill set.

FastComet also boasts 24/7 support but they only offer live chat and a ticketing system. Their live chat system is effective and their representatives are knowledgeable and eager to help. It only took three minutes for them to solve a problem for me.

Fastcomet live chat started time

Fastcomet live chat ended time

The ticketing system also delivered excellent results as it took them only 9 minutes to answer my question. For a ticketing system, that is quite impressive.Fastcomet support ticket reliability

Based on customer support, FastComet wins in terms of response time, but only by a slight margin. However, it’s worth remembering that SiteGround offers a toll number, which FastComet does not, and they also provide some unique features, which means that in terms of quality, SiteGround wins hands down.

★ Winner SiteGround.

SiteGround vs FastComet: User Interface

Both SiteGround and FastComet offer cPanel, but FastComet also includes Softaculous. As cPanel is the most popular user interface around – and the easiest to use – it’s a great option for newbies and veterans alike.

SiteGround cPanel: Try Demo

Fastcomet UA InterfaceFastcomet control panel

Both companies offer a wide range of one-click installers for some of the most popular scripts, including Joomla, WordPress, and Weebly.

★ Winner Tie.

FastComet vs SiteGround: User Reviews

Based on their Tweets, SiteGround users are extremely happy with the company. Not only are they more than pleased with the quality of the service, but people are extremely ecstatic with the customer support team. Users repeatedly call the service fantastic and state that their support is unparalleled.

Of course, there are some displeased customers, but that tends to be the exception rather than the rule. After all, no service can be absolutely perfect and it certainly can’t make everyone happy.

For more opinions, check out the live tweets below:


FastComet also seems to have quite a few positive user reviews, especially in terms of the service they offer. However, there were some disgruntled users in terms of the effectiveness of their customer support.

For more user opinions, please check out the twitter feed below:

Fastcomet user review

FastComet vs SiteGround: Free Website Migration

Both companies offer free website migration, but it’s not enough to offer it as a service. They also have to know what they’re doing. And if it takes them a month to get around to it, it’s pretty much a waste of time.

I tested SiteGround’s migration service. Their team was able to transfer my website with absolutely no issues within 24 hours, despite the fact that it was a weekend. That is truly impressive service.SiteGround-Migration-feature

Well, we thought so until I initiated a transfer request with FastComet. They did it in approximately 45 minutes, despite the fact that I initiated the request at 11 PM on a Friday night. And it only took them two minutes to reply to my request, which is even more impressive.

Fastcomet website transfer

In this situation, FastComet wins hands down because the speed of migration was ridiculously fast.

★ Winner Tie.

SiteGround vs FastComet: Renewal

We all know that some companies practice higher renewal charges, which can often come as a surprise. Unfortuantely, SiteGround is in the habit of charging a higher rate when you renew your plan with them.

SiteGround renewal price

Conversely, FastComet’s prices remain unchanged, so you won’t be paying extra when you renew.

Siteground VS Fastcomet price

 

★ Winner Fastcomet.

SiteGround vs FastComet: Final Analysis

In terms of support, uptime, and the interface on offer, FastComet and SiteGround are on equal footing. However, SiteGround offers better speed and reliability, whereas FastComet’s renewal price and site migration service is better.

Overall, though, SiteGround is a better choice simply because we cannot stress enough the importance of speed and reliability. After all, you could put up with a lot of things, but the one thing you should never put up with is less than stellar reliability and speed because, otherwise, your traffic will suffer, which means your business will suffer too.

Differences Between Customer And User Experience And How To Improve Them ?

Do you want to get more traffic for your website?

Are you looking for a way to keep your visitors coming back to your website for more?

Do you want to make more sales through your website?

Of course you do. There isn’t an entrepreneur out there who would answer no to that question, no matter how much traffic they already have or how much money they’re making. More is always better.

Now, you might have tried all sorts of things already, and though you’ve seen some improvement, it’s not quite the improvement you expected. The problem might be quite a simple one – you might be focusing on the wrong thing.

Many entrepreneurs believe that the only area they need to focus on is the user experience. While offering a great UX is certainly vital, it’s not enough. The overall customer experience has to be just as delightful.

But… wait. Aren’t user experience and customer experience the same thing?

No, they aren’t. It’s true that one without the other won’t deliver truly great results, but they are distinct. Read on to discover how they differ, why you need to focus on improving both and what you can do to maximize traffic, increase visitor return rates and improve your sales.

Discover the Difference Between Customer Experience and User Experience

Customer experience and user experience

Customer experience (CX) and user experience (UX) might sound similar but they are different. User experience focuses on how someone interacts with products, sites or apps. The metrics used include bounce rates, click-through rates, errors and abandonment rates. In other words, if someone has a hard time navigating your site or your product is hard to use, the result is a bad user experience.

Customer experience, though, covers every interaction someone has with your company, whether digital, in person or over the phone. NPS, customer satisfaction, customer retention rates, and customer loyalty are just some of the metrics used to measure the customer experience.

The customer experience is just as important as the user experience and while you might be mainly focused on the user experience at the moment, the fact is that you won’t see great results without giving customer experience the same level of attention.

For example, if you create an app with a poor layout and that’s difficult to navigate, customers will have a hard time finding what they need, which can lead to frustration. If the app can’t be easily accessed via the email you send out, then customers will be unlikely to purchase the product. Furthermore, an awkward layout will ensure that your customers won’t be recommending the app to their friends, regardless of how amazing it might be otherwise. Thus, user experience is clearly an essential component of the customer experience and can’t be ignored.

So, while the two are different, for the best results, you need to understand that they go hand in hand and both need to be delightful. For this reason, everyone needs to work together, from the product engineer to the web designer, to make sure that everything meshes well and provides an excellent experience. The easiest way to achieve this is to ensure that everyone goes through the whole customer journey; in other words, everyone needs to walk a mile in the customer’s shoes, which will allow them to see how every interaction develops and how it impacts the satisfaction of the customer.

The goal is to have a website that smoothly combines the necessary navigation elements with ease of use and all the additional bells and whistles that will set your brand about.

Thus, your overarching strategy should focus on the customer experience but also the user experience to ensure that your brand is one customers will come to love and will be loyal to.

Also Read: Bluehost Vs SiteGround Web Hosting Comparison 2017

15 Ways to Improve the User Experience

According to Cost-Justifying Usability: An Update for an Internet Age TK, improving the user experience can lead to an increase in sales of up to 225 percent.

Interestingly enough, 63 percent of software projects developed by large corporations go over budget mainly because they spend more money than expected on improving said experience.

This goes to show that large corporations are fully aware of the value of the user experience, and are willing to spend money to ensure it’s great. Since these corporations rarely spend any money without knowing they will see a return from it in some shape or form, it’s clear that investing in UX is definitely worth it.

So, let’s take a look at 15 ways in which you too can improve the user experience.

Mobile Is Non-Negotiable

Way to improve user experience by mobile optimisation

Offering visitors a mobile version of your website is non-negotiable. And we’re not just talking smartphones here. You have to ensure that people using tablets, wearable tech and any other mobile devices can access your site too.

Not only are more people accessing the internet using mobile devices nowadays than desktops – a fact that has been true since 2014 – an ever increasing number of people are using those mobile devices to perform essential tasks, like banking, shopping and more. So, if you don’t have a mobile responsive website, you are burning money.

Most companies have seen significant improvement in their conversion rates and sales after implementing a mobile responsive design, with some reporting increases of 50 percent or more. That’s an impressive figure and one you can’t afford to ignore.

So, if you’re still waiting around and haven’t taken the plunge, it’s time to get into gear and get yourself a website that users can easily access via their mobile devices.

Colors Do Matter

The colors on your website might not seem all that important. You might think that as long as the colors don’t clash and the website is easy on the eyes, you don’t have to worry any further. Well, the fact is that everyone is different and just because you like a certain color combination doesn’t mean it will do you any favors with your visitors.

Large corporations have pumped money hand over fist into doing research on how color impacts buying behavior. Furthermore, studies have proven repeatedly that different demographics like different colors, depending on the situation. For example, a Kissmetrics study revealed that women prefer blue, with orange being the least liked color.

Clearly, the colors you choose can have a significant impact on your visitors, which is why you shouldn’t rely solely on these studies. Instead, take advantage of your website’s data analytics and conduct user tests to see how you can optimize the colors on your website to maximize conversions.

You Need Calls-To-Action… And Make Them Visible

call to action importance for user experience

First of all, it’s important to understand that your calls-to-action shouldn’t be the equivalent of a hammer. In other words, don’t just state a bunch of facts about your company and then hit your customers over the head with a demand that they buy from you. No, you have to be a little more subtle. Think guide, not drill sergeant.

In other words, draw your customers in and guide them down the path, at the end of which is a prominent call-to-action button, which will prod them into making the buying decision.

Keep in mind that while you don’t want the CTA button to be like a hammer over the head, you need to ensure it is notable. A prominent CTA has been shown to increase conversion rates, so you need to take advantage of this fact.

Use Multivariate Testing to Make the Most of Your Website

Getting every webpage right so it not only attracts traffic but gets people coming back and offers the highest possible level of conversions isn’t easy. It’s even harder if you try to do everything by ear. Instead, you should use multivariate testing to see which options have the most impact and offer the best results.

For example, the Weather Channel saw a 225 percent increase in trial subscriptions after conducting multivariate testing and landing on the most effective combination of elements.

Keep in mind when doing multivariate testing that you shouldn’t make more than one change to each variant or you won’t know what worked and what didn’t.

Every Image Should Make a Point

A website without images is like a Reuben sandwich without the sauerkraut or dressing, i.e. you can eat it, but it won’t be amazing. People are very visual and images help to spice things up on your website. It’s also been proven that images can be used to great effect to improve conversion rates.

Like with any other element on your website, though, you need to test to find out what works best. Of course, to save yourself time and aggravation, make sure to start off with relevant images. To get even better results, try a little personalization, which is an essential element in providing a great customer and user experience.

Don’t Expect Something for Nothing

It’s already a well-known fact that if you want your website to succeed, you have to offer your audience value before asking for something. And the more value you offer, the stronger the relationship you build with your audience will be and the more willing they will be to part with their money.

However, you can take things a step further and offer something more, which will improve the user experience, while also nudging your audience in the right direction for them to actually make a purchase.

A good example of this is how the Sims 3 gaming website handled the situation. The site wanted to increase the number of subscribers so they changed their call-to-action from “Sign Up Now” to “Register Your Game and Get a Free Town Now!” The result was that the number of subscriptions increased by 128 percent, which is impressive but also shows what a small incentive can do.

Don’t Forget About Reviews

importance of reviews for user experience

Reviews have become vital to consumers’ shopping process. Everyone goes online to research the product or service they are interested in, and the first thing most do is to read reviews. Many consumers admit that reviews help them make their mind up regarding whether or not they should make a purchase.

And it’s understandable. Consumers have a harder time trusting the claims of a company, in other words their marketing materials, than they do their peers. So, reviews are akin to them asking their friends and family about their experiences with a certain product or service. In fact, according to a BrightLocal study, 88% of consumers trust online reviews as much as they do recommendations from people they know.

This is why your website should definitely feature reviews, especially since they speed up the decision-making process. After all, everyone wants to be certain the product or service is good quality and a good fit for them, and reviews are the vital element that provide them with the peace of mind they crave.

One interesting example of how effective reviews are is a FigLeaves experiment. The company included product reviews on their website and they saw their conversion rate increase by a significant 35 percent without taking any other action.

Make Sure Your Customer Testimonials Are Highly Visible

customer-testimonials importance for user experienceCustomer testimonials are an essential content element as they represent the unbiased opinions of people who have worked with your business and they have proven to be effective at convincing visitors to make a purchase.

Testimonials help to establish credibility and are so effective because they don’t make people feel as if they are being sold to. They establish trust and appear to be unbiased, and, even more, real people are showing that your product or service is exactly what they needed and met or surpassed their expectations. Essentially, it’s a type of word-of-mouth marketing because testimonials, like reviews, act as a personal recommendation, and we’ve already established that almost 9 out of 10 consumers trust reviews.

Now, if you really want to take advantage of testimonials, they have to be visible. You want them front and center so people see them right away. WikiJob, for example, had a number of testimonials on their website, but they were kind of out of the way, hidden at the bottom of the home page. So, they decided to move them to a more prominent position at the top of the page to see what would happen. The result was a 34 percent increase in conversions without any other changes being made.

So, clearly, it doesn’t just pay to include testimonials from real people on your website (preferably with a photo to further establish credibility), but they also have to be highly visible for you to make the most of them.

Here’s a case study on How customer testimonials impacts our conversion ?

Your Navigation Must Be Awesome

This one is so obvious, we hesitated to include it. However, it has such a major impact that we felt obligated to mention it. If your website’s navigation is awkward and complicated, visitors will have a hard time finding what they need and will eventually leave your site, never to return, out of sheer frustration.

Your website’s navigation not only needs to be easy and smooth, it must also be intuitive. In other words, keep things simple and logical.

Zen Windows proved just how much of an impact poor navigation can have on conversion rates. The company’s website featured a navigation system that was not the easiest to work with. So, they redesigned it, creating something that was more streamlined and simpler to use. The result was that their conversion rate jumped from 0.75 percent to 2.95 percent. Basically, better navigation almost quadrupled their conversion rate.   

Safety and Security Is the Name of the Game

Computer security importance for user experienceIt feels as if we hear horror stories every day of how someone’s personal information was stolen, made public etc, and how it pretty much ruined their lives. So, in a time when identity thieves are getting increasingly creative, it’s natural for people to feel somewhat uncertain and wary of handing over their personal information to a business they haven’t worked with before. And it’s your responsibility to make them feel safe.

You want to ensure that your customers are completely aware that all their payment information and personal data is completely safe with you. One way to pull this off effectively is by displaying a security seal, which can have a massive impact.

For example, Econsultancy/Toluna conducted a survey in which 48% of consumers said the most important thing to getting them to trust a website was the presence of a security seal.

When Blue Fountain Media decided to test the impact of the Verisign seal on their sales, they conducted a split test where one page didn’t feature the sign and one did. They found that when the Verisign seal was displayed, their conversions rose by 48 percent.

Show a Little Humanity with Live ChatLive chat importance for user experience

Live chat has been shown to be one of the easiest ways to increase conversions without having to resort to multivariate testing, which makes it powerful. The only thing is that it doesn’t work right away and it has to be implemented the right way depending on the site.

So, for example, an ecommerce website might benefit from live chat but not in an area that distracts consumers from shopping. On the other hand, a service website where customers might have a lot of questions before making the final plunge would be well-suited to a proactive live chat featured prominently. Intuit proved this when they introduced live chat to their checkout system and saw a 211-percent improvement in their conversion rate.

The great thing about live chat is that it makes customers feel more comfortable because they are interacting with a real human being. And in the digital age that is characterized more human interaction than ever before, even if it is all done digitally, live chat is a truly powerful way for consumers to interact with the human face of a website.

For example, an Econsultancy study found that 63% of customers were more likely to go back to a website with live chat compared to one that doesn’t offer this feature.

So, live chat certainly has benefits, as long as it’s done right.

Don’t Hide Your Prices

One thing that makes consumers extremely suspicious of a website is when prices aren’t immediately visible. Now, this aspect is more of an issue for ecommerce sites. Websites selling customized solutions or providing customizable services are exempt to a certain degree. For example, if you are a web designer, you clearly can’t give a standard, one-size-fits-all price, but you can provide a ballpark figure. Avoiding the talk of price completely will simply put people off and definitely reduce the chances of them making a purchase significantly.

The fact is that people like to know how much money they’re going to be spending ahead of time. If they can’t see it, then there’s a good chance they will walk away rather than go through the hassle of a checkout process to see the final amount. They’ll just turn to someone else who will be more forthcoming when it comes to pricing information.

SafeSoft tested this theory. On one page, they featured the price while another mentioned nothing regarding price. The page with the pricing information generated twice the number of leads.

So, make sure your prices are front and center.

Prove the Authenticity of Your Products

One touchy area for ecommerce websites is authenticity. A lot of people aren’t all that confident purchasing from these types of sites because they don’t think the products are authentic. This holds especially true if the prices being charged are lower than what they expect, even if the real reason for this is lower costs rather than a lack of authenticity.

Ergo, it is imperative to provide proof that all the products you are selling are completely authentic. For example, a website that sold watches created two pages. One focused on the price and offering discounts on Seiko watches, while the second was focused on proving the products were authentic, which was achieved by displaying a “Seiko Certified Partner” badge on the page. The second page generate 107 percent more sales than the first. 

Don’t Go Overboard on Personal Data Collection

Collecting data is a big thing. It allows you to learn as much as possible about your customers so you can personalize offers and offer them a better experience. However, the problem is that if you try to get too much information too soon – before establishing a strong relationship – you will alienate prospects and customers. So, instead of your sign up form being akin to an interrogation, collect the minimum degree of information that is feasible.

For example, Expedia only removed the need for people to fill in their company name from their forms, and this led to an additional $12 million in revenues.

So, rather than interrogate people right off the bat, take things slow and collect more information through surveys and other tools over time, as the relationship becomes more established.

Make Your Website Attractive to Your Customers

We’re certain you’ve done everything you can for your site to look as good as possible, but are you sure your customers find it attractive? This is an important distinction because what might be attractive to you, might not be all that great for your customers.

Yes, this means getting to know your customers well and understanding their likes and dislikes, but it’s an essential step. For example, a software company redesigned their site, featuring a more modern, streamlined design, which led to a significant 33-percent rise in their conversion rate.

Also Read:  15 Mistakes That Slow Down Your Site Speed And What to Do About Them

7 Ways to Improve the Customer Experience on Your Website

Now that we’ve looked at quite a few ways in which to improve the user experience, let’s take a look at some strategies you can implement to improve the customer experience. Remember, UX and CX need to work together for the best possible results, so you can’t ignore one in favor of the other.

Offer a Personalized Experience

Personalization isn’t a fad. It’s an essential element in attracting and keeping customers. And it’s something consumers have come to expect as part of a good experience. Now, to achieve a consistent, personalized experience across the organization, you must have a customer database, which everyone can access.

It’s true that personalization can get expensive, which is why you should analyze where to implement it based on sales improvement but also on where it will lend the most long-term benefits to the customer experience and relationship.

Also Read: HostGator Vs Bluehost Comparison review

Optimize Your Omnichannel Experienceomnichannel importance for customer experience

We live through our devices, pretty much. And the more technology progresses, the more we rely on it to do practically everything, switching from one device to another without giving it a second thought. This is why companies need to make sure they are providing a consistent and seamless omnichannel experience.

The essence of the omnichannel experience is to ensure the customer can switch from one channel to another while still ensuring an integrated and seamless shopping experience. In other words, all your channels have to work together so customers can shop effortlessly, no matter how many channels they use.

Also Read:  Absolutely Essential WordPress Plugins Your Site Can’t Live Without in 2017… And a Few Extras

Provide Plenty of Self-Service Resources

While people definitely like interacting with other people, they also like being able to do some things for themselves because those things just get done quicker. So, make sure your website features comprehensive FAQ pages and instructions. This way customers can find their answers quickly and easily, which will improve the level of satisfaction.

Keep in mind that these pages should be easy to understand and provide as much information as possible. If they’re incomplete or difficult to understand, the approach will backfire and lead to irritated customers.

Emphasize Social Media Support

importance of social media for customer experience

Providing support to customers where they already hang out is an excellent way to win them over. It’s an excellent channel for you to learn a lot about your customers while also offering them the support they need.

So, you can use social media to provide great customer service and support, but you can also use it to listen in and learn more about what your customers want and need. The more you listen, the more you’ll learn and the more easily you’ll be able to improve customer satisfaction because you will know exactly what they want.

Get Customer Feedback and Act on It

customer feedback importance for user experience

Customer feedback is essential and companies have turned collecting it into an Olympic sport. Everyone’s constantly sending out surveys, asking questions and encouraging their customers to leave feedback.

The big problem is that few companies actually take it all the way. They falter at the most important step, namely acting on the feedback they’ve collected. Instead of showing their customers they care and are listening to them by implementing the changes they are being asked for, they do the exact opposite, which alienates customers.

This is why you need to not only collect customer feedback but make the most of it by implementing at least part of the changes customers are asking for. It will lead to an increasing number of loyal customers, whereas ignoring them will lead to a significant increase in attrition rates.

Keep an Eye on Customer Sentiment

Customer sentiment isn’t a new concept but measuring it is a relatively new and growing trend. Measuring the emotions of your customers and analyzing them will lead to a much higher level of understanding, which will lead to you being able to better meet their needs.

One way to use customer emotion is to create models of typical purchasing personalities that show what their individual emotional needs are. These models can then be used to train staff so they know how to deal with the different personalities when engaging with them.

Leave Nothing to Chance

The key to success, both with the customer experience and the user experience, is not to let things unfold as they will. If you want to succeed, then everything needs to be planned and designed deliberately. If you leave things to chance, there’s absolutely no way things will work out properly.

 

7 Different Types of Web Hosting Services Explained

If you want to build a website or start a blog, you’ve probably discovered by now that you’re going to need some form of hosting.

You might have even checked out a few companies to see what you can expect, at least regarding costs.

And you might be very confused. Don’t worry, though, because you’re not the only one. Even experienced developers can have a tough time figuring out hosting at times because there are so many variables involved.

In this article, we’re going to look at the various types of web hosting services available, and even give you a few pointers so you can more easily figure out what the best option is for your needs.

Understanding How Hosting Works

To better understand types of hosting, it’s essential first to understand how hosting works in general.

When you check out a website online, what you are actually looking at is a bunch of code that your computer, via the browser, translates into something visual. It’s like when someone uses sheet music to play a song. The sheet music is the code, the player is the browser, and the song is the website you actually see.

Now, all the code that makes up a website is stored in a number of different files, and those files need to be kept somewhere people can access them. That’s where hosting comes in.

Hosting, essentially, means that a website’s files are being stored on a server that is connected to the internet so people can access, download, convert, and read those files via their browser. A server is the same thing as a computer, but much more powerful, thereby allowing lots and lots of people to access the same data at the same time.

If we’re going to get really pedantic, a host is the company providing you with access to the server on which you store your website’s files. Alongside access to the hardware, they also often provide additional services such as server management, backups, website building, malware scanning, and more.

Types of Web Hosting Services

Before we take a look at the different types of hosting available, it’s important to understand how types of hosting can be categorized. One way of categorizing hosting is based on how the servers are set up and the amount of access you have to those servers. Thus, the result is the following types of hosting:

  1. Free web hosting
  2. Shared hosting
  3. VPS hosting
  4. Dedicated hosting
  5. Cloud hosting
  6. Colocation hosting
  7. Self-service hosting

Another way to categorize types of hosting is according to the level of management the hosting company provides. Like any computer, a server needs to be maintained and upgraded. Though most hosts offer managed hosting, you can find hosting companies that offer unmanaged packages. This means you’ll be doing all the maintenance and upgrading yourself, but you’ll have more flexibility. Of course, you can find packages that offer different management services, so it’s not really an either/or situation.

Hosting types can also be categorized according to the additional services provided. Some of the additional services include backups, malware scanning, SSL certificates, degree of support, site creation, and so on.

To take a very basic approach, these are three elements that make up a hosting plan. For example, you can have a shared hosting plan with full server management, SSL certificates, backups, and other additional services. Of course, the more services, the more expensive the plan will be.

So, now let’s take a look at the different web hosting options

1) Free Web Hosting

There’s no such thing as a free ride, and though you think you are getting free hosting with these services, this is not actually the case. With a free web hosting service, you are not technically creating your own website, but creating one or more pages on someone else’s website.

For example, WordPress allows you to create a free site or blog on their wordpress.com website. However, you’ll find that your website is actually a subdomain of their domain. In other words, instead of www.yourwebsite.com, the URL will be www.yourwebsite.wordpress.com. They do give you the option to drop the WordPress bit, but you have to pay for the privilege. In other words, it’s free only as long as you don’t mind having WordPress in your URL, or ads splashed across the page.

When to Use Free Web Hosting

If you’re only interested in hosting just because you want to start your own blog to express your personal thoughts, then free web hosting is probably more than enough for your needs. There are quite a few great options available, and they make things as easy as possible. They offer all the tools you need to get your site up and running quickly, including free templates, community support, and some level of customization (not too much though).

However, if you’re looking for a website for a business or for professional services, then free web hosting will make you look unprofessional. You can find hosting for as little as a few bucks per month, plus the annual cost of the domain, which is rarely much more than $10. If you opt for free web hosting, you’ll be telling everyone that your business is in such dire straits that you can’t afford to spend $100 per year to make a good impression.

2) Shared Hosting

Shared hosting

Shared hosting is the cheapest option you can find where you get your own domain. It’s generally best suited for small websites without much traffic. To understand why you need to understand how this type of hosting works.

When you sign up for a shared hosting plan, your website will be sharing space on a server with other websites. To make things more efficient and so they can offer cheap hosting options, hosting companies put multiple users on the same server. Some servers can have over 1,000 users. When you take into account that every user can have multiple sites, depending on the plan they signed up for, you’ll quickly realize that one server can have as many as 5,000 sites.

As you recall, a server is like a computer, but more powerful. Even so, it still has limited resources, such as RAM, CPU speed, and hard drive space. And in a shared hosting environment, those 5,000 sites are using the same limited resources.

Then there’s the traffic. For every visit, the server has to “work” to send all the data being requested by each visitor to the site. The amount of data varies based on how the site is set up, and whether that person is a first-time visitor or not. However, if you take an average of even just three visitors per day, that’s 15,000 requests, which then have to be multiplied by the number of files being downloaded. Yes, those available resources can get eaten up pretty quickly.

There are also other issues to consider.

For example, one site might get massive amounts of visitors, which means it will end up hogging a large portion of the server’s resources, thereby slowing your own site down.

Or one site might have problematic code, which could lead to it using up 60% to 70% of the server’s RAM, leaving the other 4,999 sites to work with only 30% to 40% of the server’s resources.

So, you might find your site is running at a snail’s pace. Worse is that you won’t even be able to tell what the problem is because you don’t have access to the server to check what’s going on.

Now, in all fairness, most hosting companies try to keep things running smoothly by identifying problematic sites, or those with high traffic, and either working with the owner to fix the issue or temporarily disabling the site. Unfortunately, though, these options rarely work over the long-term, and though it’s not the fault of the company, it still won’t help your website load properly and at a decent speed.

If you do find that your website is running slowly and have eliminated all other potential causes, you can always ask your host to move your site to another server. Some might help you, some might not. But it’s worth a try.

Remember, though, that with a shared hosting plan, you’re probably paying between $5 and $25 per month at the most, depending on the plan you chose. Do you really think it’s feasible for a company to have their customer support team spend hours fixing a problem for someone who’s only paying them $5 per month? If you said no, then you’re quite right.

When to Use Shared Hosting

While shared hosting does have problems, that doesn’t mean it isn’t a good option. If you want a website to host a personal diary, or are a business just starting out, then shared hosting is a good option until you start getting a constant stream of steady traffic. Likewise, shared hosting is also good if you want to test a website, or as a base for your website while it’s still in development.

Of course, shared hosting is also a good option if you’re on a shoestring budget. Not everyone can afford a VPS or a dedicated server, and shared hosting allows businesses to expand their client bases on a global level at an affordable cost.

Some good options for shared hosting plans are provided by SiteGround and Bluehost.

3) Virtual Private Server (VPS) Hosting

VPS Hosting

Virtual Private Server hosting is the next step up from shared hosting. It’s quite a popular option for website owners looking for an upgrade from traditional shared hosting because it is quite balanced from all points of view, including cost.

A VPS server still requires you to share space with other users on the same physical server, but the way this is achieved is entirely different to traditional shared hosting.

Firstly, with a VPS server, you are rarely going to have more than 20 users. The advantage, of course, is that there’s less overall stress on the machine from the get go. The real benefit with a VPS, though, comes in the form of a virtual machine monitor or hypervisor.

A hypervisor is a piece of software that allows you to create and operate multiple virtual machines (also known as guest machines) on a single computer (also known as the host machine). It’s like having multiple virtual computers on the same server, each with their own amount of dedicated CPU speed, RAM, and HDD space.

With VPS hosting, what happens is that a guest machine is created for every user. So, if there are 10 users on a server, that server will be split into 10 guest machines, with each machine getting an equivalent amount of RAM, CPU speed and HDD space. If the server has 32GB of RAM and 1TB of hard drive space, for example, each user will get 3.2GB of RAM and 100GB of hard drive space.

The advantage to this is that a user cannot hog more than the amount of resources they’ve been allocated, thereby ensuring the other websites don’t suffer. So, if another user’s website hits their resource limit, their site might go down, but it won’t affect yours in any way.

Virtual private servers are also much more flexible, allowing you to configure your own environment. You can’t do the same thing with traditional shared hosting because any changes you’d make to the server would change everyone else’s environment as well. However, with a VPS, you have your own virtual machine, meaning that you can configure many more things without affecting anyone else, which is something developers are sure to appreciate.

Another benefit of VPS hosting is that it’s easy to scale up. Your site is being hosted by a virtual machine, which only uses a percentage of the server’s resources. If you need more resources, it takes a few minutes, at most, for the provider to modify the settings and grant you the resources you need. This is excellent for any business owner who wants to make sure their site thrives without any embarrassing downtime that could affect their potential.

When to Use Traditional VPS Hosting

If you do a little research, you’ll find that some low-end VPS packages are as cheap as shared hosting, as they start at $10/month. However, a decent enough plan will set you back around $25 per month, whereas the average is $50 per month.

As you can imagine, the difference in price is based on additional services but mainly by the amount of resources you are allocated.

You can go as high as $150 per month, but if you need that much space and computing power, it’s likely your site is doing so well that the cost will be more than worth keeping your site running smoothly.

So, if your budget allows you to spend $15 or more per month on hosting, then it’s advisable to go with a VPS-based plan over traditional shared hosting.

Even on the other end of the scale, you might find that a high-end VPS plan will be a better option than a low-end dedicated server. However, we’ll discuss this a little more in the next section.

Some good VPS package providers include HostGator and Bluehost.

4) Dedicated Server Hosting

dedicated hosting

With a dedicated server hosting plan, any faulty coding or problematic websites are no one’s fault but your own because you are completely alone on the server. So, right off the bat, one benefit of dedicated hosting is that you don’t have to worry about other people’s sites hogging up your resources, just like with a VPS plan.

When you’re on a dedicated plan, quite a few providers are more than happy to let you customize the server to a certain degree. You might be able to choose how much and what type of RAM to equip the server with, as well as other hardware, and you could also decide on which operating system that server will run on. In other words, you’ll be able to make any changes you need, which could come in handy if you plan on running special software on the server.

If you server technology isn’t your thing and the aforementioned flexibility scares the life out of you, you can opt for a managed plan, but you’ll still have to do quite a few things on your own.

On the other end of the spectrum, there’s unmanaged dedicated hosting, where you have to do everything yourself, including installing the operating systems and all the tools necessary for the operation of a server, security, and more. While this might seem wonderful to some, for others it can be a pain.

So, if you really want to go the dedicated route, then your best bet is to hire a server admin to handle all the behind-the-scenes stuff. Even if you are proficient with server technology, hiring someone might still be a good idea because maintaining a server could take valuable time that could be better funneled into activities centered on further increasing the success of your site.

With a server admin on board, though, you’ll find that the degree of flexibility and level of control provided by a dedicated server can be quite beneficial. For example, you can set up your applications and software to run as efficiently as possible, or you can install a wide range of tools dedicated to speeding up your website.

However, there is one more aspect you need to consider, and that is hardware issues. With a Virtual Private Server, if a RAM module fails, another module will pick up the slack, or the defective hardware is quickly replaced by the hosting company automatically. However, with a dedicated server, the wait time might be longer, especially if you are completely responsible for monitoring the health of the server.

When to Use a Dedicated Server

So, the question is whether dedicated hosting is ever a good idea. To be honest, nowadays, with cloud VPS systems gaining ground, even a massive site wouldn’t really need a dedicated server. While a dedicated server can be better than traditional VPS, it still can’t beat out cloud VPS regarding scalability.

A dedicated server is only really necessary if you have extremely specialized hardware requirements, or you need to have a massive amount of control over data privacy. When you’re on a dedicated server, you are separate from everyone else, which isn’t always a good thing but is unbeatable from a security point of view.

Some good options regarding dedicated hosting plans include SiteGround and HostGator.

5) Cloud Hosting

Cloud Hosting

In essence, cloud hosting is similar to having a Virtual Private Server, but to understand how it works, we need to take a quick look at how cloud computing works.

The difference between traditional computing and cloud computing is a bit like the difference between using your laptop on battery and plugging it in. When you’re running your laptop just off the battery, you can use it until the battery runs out of power. If your laptop usage is light, say only browsing a website or two, or using the word processor, then the battery power will last longer. If you’re playing a graphics-heavy, resource-intensive game, the power will run out faster.

Once you plug it in, though, you can use your laptop as much as you like because it’s pulling power from the main grid. So, no matter how heavy your usage is, your laptop will keep on running for as long as you want it to because it’s receiving power from a huge network.

Cloud-based computing is similar in the sense that you gain access to a massive network of servers, and can use those resources based on your needs with no interruption to service. In other words, with cloud hosting, you are never going to find yourself running out of resources, regardless of how gigantic your site gets.

While a traditional Virtual Private Server can be scaled up, there is a limit. The maximum resources you can get with a VPS are the equivalent of what the server is equipped with.

So, if the server has 32GB of RAM and 4TB of hard drive space, you are never going to be able to get 64GB of RAM and 6TB of space. You won’t be able to even get 33GB of RAM (yes, we know it’s not possible, but we’re just making a point) and 4.01TB of space because it doesn’t physically exist.

However, with a cloud-based VPS, you don’t have the same restrictions. It’s a bit like the reverse of a traditional VPS system. Where the latter cuts up a physical server into multiple virtual machines, cloud-based hosting takes a bunch of servers, combines them into one massive virtual machine, and then turns it into a VPS-like system but splitting up that massive virtual machine into multiple small ones.

Besides scalability, another great advantage a cloud-based hosting system has is that it is more efficient at protecting your site against DDoS (Distributed Denial of Service) attacks. With a DDoS attack, a massive influx of requests is made to the server hosting the site, thereby overwhelming and crashing it, which means a DDoS attack is not a security issue in the strictest sense. This type of attack is used to bring a website down for various, often malicious, reasons.

At the moment, the best defense against these attacks is a combination of blocking as many requests as possible and spreading the remainder throughout a big network. With a cloud-based system, the network is at your fingertips and will be better able to face up to a large attack than a system using a single physical server.

When to Use Cloud Hosting

Cloud hosting is a great option for anyone looking for a scalable option that goes beyond traditional options.

However, it should be noted that a lot of hosts are switching their traditional VPS systems to cloud-based ones anyway because of the benefits they derive as well, including easier maintenance and less work.

So, even if you are shopping around for a regular VPS, you might still find yourself with cloud-based VPS hosting because so many companies are making the switch, with the majority imitating Google and Amazon’s cloud-based architectures.

If you’re looking for some good cloud-based hosting packages, then check out Linode, Google Cloud Platform and Amazon Web Services.

6) Colocation Hosting

With colocation hosting, you buy your own server, rent space in a data center’s rack and use their bandwidth. It requires you physically taking the server to the colocation provider and installing it, though some providers offer managed services and can handle the installation and maintenance. You then use the bandwidth, IP, and power given to you by the provider.

Colocation hosting is similar to having a dedicated server, except that you own the hardware. So, the advantages and disadvantages are similar, except that since it’s your own server, you can do whatever you like without restriction, including upgrading the hardware.

On the flip side, if hardware fails, you will be the one responsible for the replacement, at least regarding cost.

Colocation can be more expensive than other forms of web hosting, especially once you factor in the investment in hardware. It should also be noted that the cost can fluctuate wildly as it is generally connected with the amount of data traffic. So, one month you could have a reasonable bill, while another it can be sky high.

You might also have difficulty physically accessing the server, depending on where it is located. If something happens on Christmas day, for example, you’re probably going to take a little while to find someone to go to the server and fix the issue, whereas, with a regular web host, they’ll have a backup plan to ensure nothing goes wrong.

When to Use Colocation

If you want a simple blog or a relatively small website, then colocation is not worth the hassle. This is also true for any individual or business who doesn’t have the expertise to set up and maintain the server, despite the managed services available.

On the other hand, it is a good option for small to mid-size businesses who want to have a large web presence but don’t want to deal with the hassle of a regular web host.

Also, if you need a more robust solution than is available from a web host, colocation might be a good idea for you.

However, it’s still a good idea to at least look into cloud hosting before you opt for colocation, especially since the cost of a decent server can be quite high.

7) Self-Service Web Hosting

As the name implies, this is a completely DIY form of hosting. You buy the servers, install and configure all the software, ensure backups are made, provide cooling to keep the servers from melting down, and so on and so forth. Depending on your needs, you’re essentially building a mini data center, which will require space, hardware, and staff to operate.

It’s pretty much like having your own dedicated server, expect that the sky’s the limit regarding resources. Or, your bank account is at least. You can buy as many servers as you like, building your own cloud architecture, like Amazon or Google.

When to Use Self-Service Web Hosting

If you have a massive site that generates a lot of revenue and very deep pockets, then self-service web hosting is definitely an option. This is especially the case if the huge amount of revenue you generate is dependent on your site running smoothly and never having downtime. With your own network in place, there’s no one else to blame except yourself if something goes wrong.

However, it’s expensive and only really worth it for large companies, especially when you also take into account the number of things that can go wrong.

Again, consider looking into cloud-hosting if you really want to scale up your website, and come back to the idea of self-service hosting once your website is so big it rivals Amazon. At that point, it might be worth investing in your own data center.

Managed WordPress Hosting

Managed wordpress hostingManaged WordPress hosting isn’t technically a type of hosting, but more of a combination of hosting type with additional services. In essence, it’s a type of hosting package, but WordPress has become so popular that it’s worth mentioning, especially for those of you who aren’t all that technically proficient.

So, managed WordPress hosting is a service where the hosting company manages all the techy stuff related to keeping your WordPress site up and running smoothly, including handling things such as speed improvement, security, updates, scalability, and daily backups.

The idea is to make life as simple and easy as possible for you, allowing you to focus on your business, rather than tinkering with WordPress every other hour.

You also get great support with managed WordPress hosting, generally from experts who have plenty of experience with this content management system, instead of having to deal with someone who is reading to you from a manual.

Another benefit hosting is that the servers are set up specifically to run this CMS, which means they tend to be really fast, even if your site gets massive amounts of traffic.

Security is also much better because the security is very tight, and your site is constantly being scanned for malicious code, while also ensuring that all hacking attempts are blocked. So, while no system is completely hacker-proof, you are getting as close to being hacker-proof as possible when you opt for managed WordPress hosting.

Backups are made every day, and the CMS is updated automatically. In other words, you’ll never face having to restore your site from a backup that is a year old because you forgot to make regular backups. You also won’t be giving hackers a way into your site but not installing essential updates.

Like with any hosting package, there are drawbacks too.

Managed WordPress hosting is still shared hosting, in the sense that your website is sharing server space with a bunch of other websites and users, yet the price is a fair bit higher. Shared hosting can be as cheap as $1 per month if you find a good deal, but even when there aren’t sales going on, you can still get shared hosting for $3 – $4 per month. With Managed WordPress hosting, prices tend to start at $20 and go up.

You’re also pretty limited. First, the servers are set up to run WordPress-based websites, so if you want to try anything else, you’re out of luck.

Now, let’s assume that’s why you would opt for this type of package in the first place – because you want a WordPress website – so this wouldn’t be an issue. However, there is another limitation, and that is that not all plugins will work on these servers. The host will block any plugin that slows your site loading speed, which won’t necessarily be a disadvantage all the time, but it can become an issue.

Of course, you also have less control than with even shared hosting. You have very little say in what is changed and what isn’t, which can be irritating, especially if you know at least a little about WordPress.

You might say that you would go for a managed WordPress hosting package precisely because you don’t want to tinker behind the scenes, but there are times when you might not want to make certain changes.

For example, you might be using a great SEO plugin that hasn’t been updated to the new WordPress version yet, though it’s in the pipeline. With a managed package, WordPress would be updated immediately, and you’d be stuck without your valuable plugin (which you might even be paying for) until the update comes out.

When to Use Managed WordPress Hosting

If you’re creating a personal blog because you want to share your thoughts and recipes with the world, then managed WordPress hosting is definitely not for you. You can opt for free hosting or for a small shared hosting plan.

However, if you are a freelancer or own a small business and your site gets quite a bit of traffic, but you aren’t technically savvy or simply would rather not fiddle with the behind-the-scenes stuff, then managed WordPress hosting is a great option for you.

You don’t have to deal with security issues, updates, speed problems, uptime issues and so on. So, if you’re looking for a hassle-free experience with great support and don’t mind the limited flexibility or the cost, then managed WordPress hosting is definitely for you.

Conclusion

Choosing a hosting plan can be complicated, especially when you start looking at all of the additional services available. The first step is deciding on the type of hosting you require, namely the ones we’ve covered in this article, which we hope has made your decision easier.

Once you’ve decided on the type of hosting that’s best for your needs, you can start looking into what additional services you really need. There are all sorts of options, but it’s unlikely you’ll need everything, especially at first.

If you’re a beginner, we advise going with a shared hosting package. It’s the most cost-effective option, looks more professional than a free web host, and still provides what you need at the start of your journey.

When you’ve figured out what you need, research the various web hosts to find the one best suited for you. We recommend checking out our reviews and recommended hosts to find the best deal for your needs. Don’t forget to check out the resources and services they offer and not just the prices.

Once you’ve narrowed it down to a few companies, it will come down to your personal preference. One way you can determine which you prefer is to give each a bit of a trial run. It might require a small investment of money and time, but it’s the best way to see whether a host is a good fit for your needs.

How to Improve the Loading Speed of Your Website: A Step-by-Step Guide

Have your traffic numbers started to dip?

Are your sales declining?

Does it seem like no matter what you do, you can’t get your conversion rate up?

If you’ve tried everything else under the sun, have you checked your website’s loading speed?

A website’s speed will impact traffic, pages views, conversion rates, sales and much more. The slower your pages are to load, the harder it will be for you to draw in visitors and keep them on your site.

Studies reveal that 47 percent of internet users expect a site to take less than 2 seconds to load, while 40 percent of them will leave if it takes longer than 3 seconds. Furthermore, a delay of a mere second in the load time of your page can cause your conversion rate to decline by 7 percent.

In other words, you need to find out how fast (or slow) your website loads and get to optimizing its performance as quickly as possible. To that end, we’re providing a step-by-step guide for you to follow that will lead to significant improvements in your site’s loading speed.

Also Read: HostGator Vs Bluehost Web hosting comparison 2017

How to Test the Current Speed of Your Website

The first step to improving the speed of your website is knowing where it is at the moment. After all, without something to compare to, there’s no way you can tell whether you’ve made improvements or not.

Testing the loading speed of your website isn’t difficult at all. It certainly doesn’t involve you sitting there timing your pages’ load times with a stopwatch, if that’s what you were thinking. Instead, you’ll be using a number of tools that make it quite easy. Some of them will even provide recommendations on what you can do to improve.

Google has given us the PageSpeed Insights tool to measure the performance of our websites. The advantage is that it’s simple to use, seeing as you only have to enter the URL of your site and the tool will get to work. It will return a score and even provide suggestions as to what you can do to improve the speed of your site.

Test your website speed using Google PageSpeed here.

Google Page speed testing

The problem with PageSpeed Insights, though, is that it only measures the speed of the homepage of your website (or the page you entered the URL for), and it doesn’t actually tell you the precise time it takes to load the page, instead providing a score that also takes into account best practices. Another problem is that some of the recommendations simply aren’t feasible – you just need certain elements and can’t just do away with them for the sake of speed.

Better options include Pingdom and WebPagetest, which provide a breakdown of page load time, time to first byte and start render time.

Test your website speed using Pingdom.

Pingdom website speed test

Pingdom is especially useful as it allows you to test the speed of your website from different locations all over the world, which is important if you have an international audience. It also provides suggestions on what can be improved but also a breakdown of load times by content type and more. It’s certainly one of the best tools out there for measuring site speed, especially for non-techies.

Test your website speed using Gmetrix.

So, plug your website’s URL into Pingdom and save the results. Now that you have a “control” test against which you can measure the changes you make, it’s time to get started cleaning up your site.

Important! Before you make any changes to your website, make sure to back everything up just in case something goes wrong.

Also read , 15 mistakes that slow down your site speed and what to do about them?

Step #1: Change Your Host or Hosting Plan

When first creating a website, most people opt for the cheapest host and the cheapest hosting plan, which usually means they are using shared hosting. It’s only natural to do this, but the problem is that many forget hosting has a lot to do with the speed of their site, and as their site grows, it gets slower and slower because they are still using hosting that’s inadequate for their site’s needs.

If your website has outgrown your hosting, then one of the quickest and simplest ways to improve the speed of your website is to change hosts or to switch to a better hosting plan, if one is available.

So, if you’re still using shared hosting, you need to consider a dedicated server or VPS, either of which will lead to a major improvement in load time. The option you choose will depend on the needs of your business, which is why you should take the time to study both options in-depth.

However, our recommendation is to go with VPS or Virtual Private Servers hosting because multiple servers are used to distribute the content. It’s also scalable and generally the best option for small to medium businesses.

With a dedicated server, you do have a lot more control and aren’t sharing anything with anyone else, including CPU, RAM or bandwidth, but there is also less flexibility because it is usually only the one server. Also, it tends to be much more expensive than the VPS option.

If you’re reticent to switch hosts because you’re not sure what you have to do to migrate your site, there’s no need to worry. Most hosting companies will either provide you with full instructions on how to do it or will have a technician available to help you, especially if you are opting for a VPS or dedicate server hosting plan.

Here’s a comparison of server response time of low level and higher level plans of SiteGround web hosting. It can be clearly stated that being in a high level plan improves our website performance significantly.

Lower level plans

Web hosting low LEVEL PLANS Web hosting low level plans response time

Higher level plan 

web hosting top level plan response time

Step #2: Optimize Your Images

Images are the biggest elements on a webpage, after videos. The larger the image, the longer it takes to load. And when an image hasn’t been properly optimized, load times drop even more.

The problem is that if you want to draw traffic to your site, you need images. It also doesn’t help that those images have to be large and excellent quality because new screens demand it.

So, what can you do to optimize images and increase the speed of your website?

Eliminate Superfluous Images

The first thing you need to do is comb through your website and decide whether or not you really need all those images to achieve the effect you are after. Yes, images attract visitors, but you also have to remember that a simple design is often the best, both from an aesthetic viewpoint but also in terms of performance.

It is true that a good image is worth a thousand words, though, so it’s up to you to find the right balance.

Replace Images with CSS or JavaScript

Try to use CSS and JavaScript instead of images as much as possible. Code, if done properly, will always transfer faster than actual images, which is why you need to replace as many image files as possible. Effects such as gradients and shadows, as well as animations can be replaced with CSS, for example.

Eliminate Any Text Encoded as an Image

If you have any images that are nothing more than text, you should replace these with a web font. You can find all sorts of beautiful typefaces to complement your design while improving the load speed of your site as well as the user experience. Remember, when text is delivered as an image, it cannot be selected, searched, zoomed in or accessed. Thus, it’s always good practice to ensure all text is offered as a web font.

Replace Raster with Vector Where Possible

Lines, polygons and points are used to build an image in vector graphics, whereas a raster image shows a picture by encoding the value of every pixel and displaying them in a rectangular grid. Thus, when you zoom in all the way on a vector image, there will be no loss of quality, but if you do the same on a raster image, you will eventually only see a bunch of different colored rectangles.

The vector format is ideal for pictures that include lots of geometric shapes, such as logos and icons, whereas raster images are best for pictures with lots of detail.

The advantage of vector formats is that they can be converted to the SVG or Scalable Vector Graphics format, which is an XML-based type of image for 2D graphics that all modern browsers support. This image format presents as code, which is much faster than a raster format.

However, please note than when exporting to SVG, the code can contain a lot of metadata that is often not necessary and can slow things down. That is why it’s a good idea to minify your SVG files by using a tool like svgo, which can reduce the files size by as much as 58%. To further reduce the file size, GZIP compression can be used, which requires you to ensure that your server has been configured for SVG compression.

Check out this post, Difference between Vector and Raster Images.

Choose the Right Image Format

Depending on what you need, you have three image formats to choose from, namely PNG, JPEG and GIF.

GIF should only be used when you need animation because it has a limited color palette of 256 colors, which means it’s not the best choice for the majority of image.

If you need to keep the highest resolution possible and preserve fine detail at the same time, then PNG is your best bet. This is because It produces the highest quality image as lossy compression isn’t applied beyond choosing the color palette. Unfortunately, this means the file sizes can be much larger than you’d expect.

In most case, though, you can get away with using JPEG files. With JPEG, a combination of lossy and lossless compression is used, allowing for a smaller file size while still maintaining decent quality.

Check out this post, What is the difference between GIF, PNG AND JPEG image format?

Scale Your Raster Images Before Uploading

Never upload an oversize image and use html (or WordPress) to resize it. This is because the image will only appear smaller, but the browser will actually load the full-size image. In other words, if your image container is 240px wide, don’t upload an image that’s 2000px wide and set the width parameter to 240px as this is a surefire way to slow your page down. Instead, use an image editing tool to scale and/or crop the image to the right size before uploading it to your site.

Reduce the Color Depth of Raster Images

Depending on the image, you might be able to reduce its bit-depth and reduce the file size by as much as 50%. To do this, simply change the images bit depth from 8 bits per channel, which results in over 16 million colors, to a color palette consisting in 256 colors in total.

Keep in mind that this works best with images that use only a few colors. Images that are more complex and feature gradual color transitions can end up looking pixelated if you lower the bit depth too much. However, it is a matter of trial and error, so keep testing until you find the perfect balance between visual appeal and file size.

Loading time for images before optimisation

Load time before image optimisation Load time after image optimisation

Loading time for images after optimisation

Load time after image optimisation

 

As the above test results shows, having your image optimised can significantly reduce its load time.

For WordPress Sites

If you have a WordPress site, you can use either WP Smush or EWWW Image Optimizer to reduce the file size of your images without overly affecting the quality of the image.

Step #3: Clean Up Your Plugins and Add-ons

If you have too many plugins and add-ons, you might find your website slowing down to a crawl. Paying attention to these is especially important if your site is based on WordPress, Joomla or Drupal.

Some users have found that by cleaning up their plugins, they can increase the speed of their website by as much as 300%. You should also consider that it’s not just the number of plugins you have – there are plenty of sites with dozens of plugins that run fast – but also their quality. For example, a website with 80 plugins can load a lot faster than one with a mere 10 plugins if the latter is chock full of poor quality plugins.

Yes, plugins are a necessity to a certain degree as the improve the functionality of your website, but it’s also imperative to only use plugins when they are absolutely necessary.

Plugins affect the load times of your pages by issuing more requests and calls to the server than the core WordPress files already demand. What happens is this. When someone navigates to a WordPress page, the server and browser communicate, with the latter making requests that the former responds to. The core files of your site have already set out a series of actions, but plugins can change these actions by inserting additional code. The result is more calls and responses, ergo more time to load the page.

Thus, the number of plugins, having poorly configured or optimized plugins, having inefficient plugins or out-of-date ones can all significantly slow down your website.

So, how can we fix this problem?

Remove Plugins You Don’t Need

The first step is to manually go through all your plugins and delete the ones you don’t need and/or aren’t using. Simply deactivating them might work to a certain degree, but it still means there’s code hanging around that shouldn’t be there and it could still affect the speed of your site. It’s best to completely delete all these plugins. So, comb through and delete as follows:

  • Plugins you aren’t using;
  • Plugins you don’t need;
  • Plugins that haven’t been updated in a gazillion years.

You want to remove plugins that haven’t been updated because you can be sure that they don’t function as seamlessly as they should with the most updated version of your CMS. Plus, if a plugin hasn’t been updated in two years, you can be pretty sure it’s no longer supported and won’t get fixed. In some cases, these old plugins can really do a number on your site and the situation gets worse and worse until your site has a meltdown. So, get rid of these old plugins and, if absolutely necessary, replace them with an alternative that has support.

Update Your Existing Plugins

After you’ve culled the herd, you will have to update all your existing plugins. Every new update comes with improvements and security fixes, which means you could be exposing your site to major issues if you don’t update regularly. Plus, if all your plugins aren’t updated, they could be performing poorly because of it. So, when you start checking which plugins are causing the problems, you could end up eliminating a plugin that would have worked fine if it had been up to date.

Updating wordpress plugins to improve speed

It’s true that plugins should update automatically, but this doesn’t always happen and it’s best to manually check every plugin.

Discover the Plugins That Are Causing Problems

There are two ways to determine which plugins are causing problems on your site. One is slightly more time-consuming and one is simpler but we’ll present both here.

For the first method, you will need to use a site speed test tool, like Pingdom, GTmetrix or Uptrends. The first step is to take a baseline measurement of your site’s load speed with all plugins activated. Check every major top-level page, especially those pages with forms on them. Make a note of the speeds.

Now, start deactivating those plugins that you suspect are causing problems – big packages like bbPress or Jetpack can be problematic and are worth testing. Deactivate one of these plugins, then check the speed again. Deactivate another and so on and so forth. Make sure to make a note of the load time after each test.

Once you’ve gone through all your plugins, you will have a good idea of which ones are causing problems and should be replaced with faster alternatives.

The simpler alternative is to use Query Monitor. It has a bit of a learning curve but it will analyze your plugins and show you which ones are causing the most trouble.

Important Note: GoDaddy developed P3 or Plugin Performance Profiler a while ago and many sites still recommend it. It was a great tool – simple to use and gave you all the information you needed on your plugin performance – but it hasn’t been updated in 2 years. It tends to cause problems now, with some users reporting horror stories of their entire sites returning fatal errors, ergo we recommend you steer clear of this plugin.

Note that it’s a good idea to check your plugins regularly as some can start acting weird over time. If you monitor them, you can quickly change the problematic ones before they start seriously affecting your site and traffic.

Step #4: Enable Gzip Compression

If you’ve ever compressed a file on your computer, you’ve seen how much smaller in size it is after you’re done. With compression, you can turn a 60mb file into a 5mb one, which is a significant reduction in size. And that’s precisely what you want to do with your website, i.e. make it as small as possible.

Compression works on websites in a similar way, except we’ll be using a different tool known as Gzip. What it does is to compress your site’s files, turning them into zip files, which significantly reduces their size and massively increases the speed of your website.

So, how do you enable Gzip compression?

How to Use Gzip Compression to Optimize Your Site

When a visitor opens up your website, their browser sends a request to the server hosting your website, asking for the files of the page it wants to open. The server receives the request, searches around for the files and sends back a response that it’s found the files in question and starts sending the files. The browser then starts to download the files and once fully downloaded, displays the content.

While this system works, it’s not very efficient, which is where Gzip comes in. Not only will compressing the file save time, it will also save on bandwidth.

With Gzip compression, what happens is as follows: the browser sends the request to the server, telling it that it wants the compressed version of the files if available. The server once again searches for the files, sends the response to the browser when it finds them, compresses the files and sends them. The browser then downloads the files, which goes much faster because they’re a lot smaller, and then unzips them to show the user.

To enable Gzip compression, you first have to figure out whether you are running an IIS server or an Apache server. For IIS servers, you have to enable the compression feature in the settings. You can find full instructions on how to do this on this page from Microsoft.

In Apache, you will have to add some code to your .htaccess file. But don’t worry as it’s quite simple. Just copy the below and paste it into the .htaccess file:

# compress text, html, javascript, css, xml:

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/plain

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/html

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE text/css

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/xhtml+xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/rss+xml

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/javascript

AddOutputFilterByType DEFLATE application/x-javascript

# Or, compress certain file types by extension:

<files *.html>

SetOutputFilter DEFLATE

</files>

Once you’ve configured the server, it’s time to check that Gzip is actually working. You can either check online with this gzip test, or you can do so straight in your browser. In Chrome, go to Developer Tools -> Network Tab, then refresh the page and, in the network tab, click on the page. If you see a header saying “Content-encoding: gzip” that means it worked.

Load time before Gzip compression

load time impact before Gzip compression

Load time after Gzip compression

load time impact after Gzip compression

Step #5: Minify and Combine CSS and JavaScript Files

If your site has a lot of CSS and JavaScript files, the server is probably telling the browser to treat them as individual files, which means a new request and response for each one. That can really slow things down. The solution is to combine as many files as possible.

Another issue is that the code in these files is rarely as clean as it can be, with extra white spaces, comments and formatting that a computer doesn’t need but has to read. This delays things even more. So, the solution in this case is to minify the code. This basically means cleaning up the code by removing all characters that are not necessary for the code to run.

Below, you can see how minifying your javascript and CSS files can reduce your file size and therefore speeding up your website.
Minifying reducing file size

Manually Minify and Combine CSS and JavaScript Files

You can manually minify and combine these files either by hand or using special tools. We advise against doing it by hand, though. First off, you have to know what you can remove and what should stay. Secondly, when doing things by hand, it’s much easier to introduce errors than when you are using a special tool, such as the ones below.

CSS Minifier

This is a free online tool available from Dan’s Tools that will clean up your CSS code by removing spaces, indents, comments and new lines. This will help to speed up your website and ensure everything runs more smoothly. All you have to do is paste the code into the window and then click on Minify. Once it’s done, paste it back into your website.

JavaScripty Minify Tool

On the aforementioned website, you can also find the JavaScript Minify tool, which does the same thing as the CSS Minifier in the same way, except it does if for JavaScript.

Both these tools are very useful and simple to use as you don’t need to make any adjustments or fiddle with settings.

Smaller

Smaller is a paid app (though a 30-day trial is available) but it allows you to also combine more files into one. Note, though, that this one is only available for OS 10.7 and up users.

For WordPress: Use Plugins to Achieve the Same Thing

If you are using WordPress, the simplest approach is to use a plugin. This way, you won’t have to do anything manually. There are quite a few options available:

Better WordPress Minify

This is a free plugin that allows you to minify and combine your JavaScript and CSS files. It’s one of the best plugins to help you speed up your WordPress site as it offers a slew of adjustments in the control panel, uses WordPress’ enqueing system to improve compatibility, allows you to move the files that have been put in the que to any location you want, such as the footer and more.

Assets Minify

This is also a free plugin, but it comes with fewer settings, which can make it easier to use. You can even leave the settings on default without any problems. You also have the option of excluding various files and scripts if you want.

WP Super Minify

This is one of the simplest plugins available for compressing CSS, JavaScript and HTML in that it has the fewest settings. It does have a great feature where it will tell you what the size of the file was before minifying and after, allowing you to see the improvement you made.

Regardless of the approach you use, you have to be careful as you could kill the code. The easiest way around this is to have backups on hand and be careful when copying and pasting.

If you are worried about making a mistake or simply feel uncomfortable fiddling with code, you could always get a developer to do it for you.

Step #6: Improve Your JavaScript Files’ Speed

JavaScript can slow things down a lot more than CSS and it can slow things down even more as files get bigger and bigger. The problem is that these files are used to achieve seemingly simple things.

The problem with JavaScript is that most people aren’t developers, so they use various stand-alone plugins and libraries to get things done. The more things you need to get done, the more plugins you use and the heavier and slower things get. To speed things up, here’s what you should do:

Keep JavaScript in External Files

Though we’ve discussed minifying and combining files to minimize http requests, with JavaScript it pays to keep it in external files linked to HTML because external JavaScript files get cached. This means that when someone revisits your site, they don’t have to download the file again. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t combine multiple JavaScript files into one, thus reducing the loading time for both new and returning visitors.

Put JavaScript Files At the Bottom

A browser will start rendering the source code of a page from the top. The problem is that your JavaScript files can slow things down, and it stops the browser from completely rendering the HTML until those JS files are done. Typically, most JavaScript plugins and effects are used after the rest of the page has already loaded, which means that this isn’t the best situation.

Thus, you can improve the user experience and improve the page load speed by putting the link for the JavaScript external files at the bottom.

Test If Everything on Your Site Works without JavaScript

Turn JavaScript off and see if your site still operates properly. If important info disappears, or people can’t contact you or navigate around your site with JavaScript properly, you have to fix these issues because if someone doesn’t have JS enabled in their browser, your site will slow down to a crawl because part of it won’t work properly.

Step #7: Minimize Redirects

Redirects can lead to slower loading times because visitors are being taken to one page, which then sends them to another page. So, while it sometimes makes sense to have redirects, you need to remember that they can cause performance issue. Every redirect you remove will speed up your website just a little bit more.

You can find all your redirects with the redirect mapper tool. Once you’ve found them all, you can determine which ones you absolutely need and which ones you can do away with.

For example, Google recommends that you eliminate every redirect that is not mandatory and to never have more than one redirect to take users to the resources you provide.

Google page speed and redirection errors

So, the process for cleaning up your redirects should be to first find all of them, understand why each one exists, check how they impact or are impacted by other redirects, remove the ones you don’t need, and update any of the other redirects affected by the removal.

Redirection increasing the load time

As you can see from the above image, redirection create additional results which will take around 0.7S to redirect to new webpage.

Step #8: Enable Caching

Caching can really improve the speed of your website significantly, both for returning users and for new users, depending on the type of caching that you’ve enabled. Client-side caching, or browser caching, involves the browser saving certain elements of your website on the visitor’s machine so that next time they visit your site, it doesn’t have to download those same files again.

Depending on the elements in question, you can set expiry times so that the browser knows when to check if the element has changed and download the new file. For example, for your logo, you might set the maximum expiry date of a year, because you know it won’t change quickly.

Server-side caching helps with new users as well as return visitors. This is because a copy of the page will be saved in the memory temporarily ensuring that if 50 users visit your site within an hour, the server doesn’t have to go hunting for those files repeatedly.

Regardless of which caching method you use, both will help improve load times significantly.

Enabling Browser Caching

To activate browser caching, you will have to include expiry times for various types of files in your HTTP headers.

You will also have to modify the .htacess file, which can be found in the root folder. You might be unable to see this file at first, as it’s usually hidden, but an FTP client like FileZilla will allow you to access it. To modify it, simply open the file in notepad.

Insert the following code to inform the browser what files it should cash and for how long. You can modify the times as you see fit.

## EXPIRES CACHING ##

<IfModule mod_expires.c>

ExpiresActive On

ExpiresByType image/jpg “access plus 1 year”

ExpiresByType image/jpeg “access plus 1 year”

ExpiresByType image/gif “access plus 1 year”

ExpiresByType image/png “access plus 1 year”

ExpiresByType text/css “access plus 1 month”

ExpiresByType application/pdf “access plus 1 month”

ExpiresByType text/x-javascript “access plus 1 month”

ExpiresByType application/x-shockwave-flash “access plus 1 month”

ExpiresByType image/x-icon “access plus 1 year”

ExpiresDefault “access plus 2 days”

</IfModule>

## EXPIRES CACHING ##

For things like CSS files, you might want to set shorter times as they tend to be updated more frequently. When you are done, save the file with the extension it already has and not as a text file.

Load time before caching

Load time before enabling caching

Load time after caching

Load time after enabling caching

For WordPress Users

If you are using WordPress, things are a lot easier. You can install a plugin to handle all your caching needs. A great free option is W3 Total Cache, which has a lot of functionality. One of the best plugins, and the most advanced, though, is WP Rocket, but you will have to buy it. However, the wide range of features and its functionality makes it more than worth the small investment.

Step #9: Constantly Optimize Your Databases

A powerful way to improve the speed of your website is to make sure your databases are optimized all the time, which is especially important for WordPress users.

WordPress, along with the plugins you’ve installed, save their data in your database, so the more you use them, the more data will be saved in the database. The more data there is, the longer it will take WordPress to find anything in that database, which will slow down your website. This is especially true of plugins that save logs, user data and stats, as well as having post revisions, pingbacks and trackbacks enabled.

So, you can improve the speed of your website significantly by cleaning up your database on a regular schedule. You can automate this process with a plugin known as WP-Optimize, or you can do things manually if you don’t use WordPress.

To manually optimize your database, open your MySQL database in PHPMyAdmin and select the tables you want to optimize. Open the drop-down menu and select Optimize table. After the process has completed, a confirmation message will appear on-screen.

Step #10: Test Your Website’s Speed Again

Once you’ve completed all the previous steps, run another test to see how fast your website is running. You should be pleasantly surprised at the results.

Of course, this isn’t an exhaustive list of what you can do to improve the speed of your site, but we did pick the actions that would have the biggest impact.

Step #11: Repeat

Like with anything, you can’t just do all these things once and forget about it. Optimizing your images, for example, should be something you do every time you upload a new image. Likewise, many of the other steps can be repeated when new content is added, changes made or updates done, which will ensure that your site keeps going as fast as possible.

If you don’t keep things running smoothly and forget all this advice after you’ve done it once, your site will gradually slow down again and you’ll have to start all over again. So, it simply makes more sense for you to keep everything running smoothly from the get go.