After my previous post about whether to choose local or international hosting, I received a question, “Can the location where my website is hosted affect the speed of my website?”
In August 2021, Google indicated certain factors that correlate with a fast-loading site would be considered in ranking of search results. These factors include Largest Contentful Paint (LCP), First Input Delay (FID), and Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS).
It should be noted that these metrics are approximations of how fast a website loads in the browser. The true metric you should consider is how fast your website loads for a typical customer on mobile in real-world practice.
According to a 2016 study by Google, 53% of users abandoned a site if it took more than three seconds to load. This same study showed that the average mobile site in 2016 took 19 seconds to load over 3G.
This shows that faster sites mean happier users. I speak for everyone if say that we don’t like waiting for pages to load when browsing the web.
So, the big questions are, does server location affect site speed? And how much does site speed influence search rankings?
Does the location of a webhost matter for SEO?
The distance of the server from your target customers affects website speed. The closer the hosting server is to your customers, the faster the website will load.
This is because files from the hosting server must move over the internet to your customers’ devices. Data centres that are near your customers will transfer files faster than servers thousands of miles away. When it comes to website speed, every second counts.
Obviously, the location of a webhost is not the only factor that affects the speed of your website. Here are some other things to consider with page speed. Below are the factors that affect the speed of a website
Factors that affect the speed of a website
There are many other factors that affect the speed of a website apart from just the location of the hosting server.
Good hosting can make a world of difference in site speed. If site speed is on top of your priorities consider using premium hosts with good server infrastructure, other than shared hosting providers.
Images usually contribute the most weight to any web page on a website. Always be sure to reduce the size of images to the dimensions you require in order to reduce the overall size of a page and therefore reduce the time it takes to load. You can use next-generation image types like WebP or image optimisation plugins to help reduce the page size.
Plugins and Widgets
WordPress websites are easy to customise with plugins and widgets. Unfortunately, plugins can reduce the loading speed of your website. Every Plugin activated on your website comes with files containing code to implement its functionality. That means that the more plugins you use on your website, the more files it has to load, therefore more time taken to load them. So, first, make sure you are only using the plugins that you truly need. Second, only use plugins created by reputable sources that have been recently updated and are well maintained.
In conclusion, the location of a webhost definitely affects the speed of a website, but it is only one of the factors that are responsible for the overall speed of a website. Other factors include image size, plugins and widgets used and many others.