If you plan to create a website, the first step you need to take is to select your server. From the very outset, it’s worth pointing out that this decision will have a significant impact on numerous factors such as your page loading time. So what exactly are servers? Do they affect the SEO process? What should you focus on when making the decision? Keep reading to learn the answers to these questions.
A server is a physical device in the form of a special computer that is constantly connected to the Internet and has high computing power.
The machine is used, among others, to store the data of websites which are made available to users on request. When it comes to the most popular server types, it’s possible to distinguish:
Shared servers are definitely the most popular and affordable type of hosting services. In a nutshell, their operation is based on sharing the resources of a given machine, therefore, it means that different websites are located on the same server simultaneously.
Shared servers are perfect ready-made solutions for companies with small online stores or people wishing to run an uncomplicated website or blog. The greatest merit of this solution is its low price and the possibility to use it even without profound technical expertise - the server configuration is simple and intuitive. After purchasing a shared server package, the user gets access to the administration panel where it's possible to create email accounts or databases and to connect domains.
However, it’s worth mentioning that people using this type of server also share their IP addresses which may have a negative impact on the SEO process. Monthly costs of maintaining the shared server vary from a dozen to several dozen USD.
Dedicated servers are the most expensive hosting services. They’re recommended for demanding people with broad technical knowledge. Getting a dedicated server means that the user receives an exclusive machine adapted to their needs. This guarantees full control of the server and its resources.
Thanks to numerous possibilities provided by this server type, the solution is ideal for companies running complex websites or online stores with heavy traffic. Dedicated servers have large transfer limits, low failure rates, and the stored data is protected very well. The prices start from 75 USD a month and are determined by the number of resources chosen by the user.
VPS servers are online private servers offering similar functionalities to dedicated hosting services. Choosing this solution means that the user gets a part of the physical server and shares it with others. VPS servers are a cheaper option than the dedicated ones. They employ technology that makes it possible to create numerous online machines within one physical machine. However, contrary to shared servers, these machines aren’t interconnected which means that users can benefit from the promised computing power.
The possibility to access the operating system where users can install any software is the characteristic feature of VPS servers. However, it’s necessary to have the appropriate knowledge to be able to configure this server. As far as security issues are concerned - VPS provides separation of the processes and guarantees full and independent access to hardware resources. The prices of VPS servers start from 30 USD per month.
[caption id="attachment_15218" align="aligncenter" width="764"] Source: https://www.woocommerce.pl/wp-content/uploads/2017/10/difference-between-shared-hosting-vps-dedicated-server.jpg[/caption]
Cloud servers are a modern solution ideal for all users who want to ensure reliable operation of the website. The main advantages of this server type include fast data processing, flexibility, and scalability.
Cloud servers enable tailoring server requirements to the website owner’s business needs, moreover, they also offer easy cloning, allocation of resources, and high computing power. Clouds help to save both money and time. The company doesn’t need to buy any devices or software, it’s full enough to make a recurring payment for the server lease. The costs are determined by the used resources.
What to pay attention to when selecting a server?
If you’ve already decided which server type is the most appropriate for storing your data, now it’s time to determine your business needs. Finding the best-suited offer will allow you to avoid excessive expenditures.
Below you can see a shortlist of the most important aspects that should be taken into account when browsing through host providers’ offers.
Possibility to create backups / automatic backups
This point is especially significant due to the fact that in case of any website breakdown or hacking, you won’t have to create it from scratch. Instead, it’ll be possible to simply restore the data from the last saved backup version. When browsing through the offers of server companies, choose only the ones that give you the possibility to create backups as frequently as possible. Automatic backups are even a more useful solution.
Accessibility and reliability
Without a shadow of a doubt, Internet users expect websites and online stores to be available 24/7. The accessibility is determined by the proper operation of the server and external website services. Before making your final decision concerning the selected server type, it’s worth going through the reviews of people who actually use it. If you want to ensure great reliability of the chosen solution, think about cloud servers which help to eliminate the risk of website inaccessibility caused by any physical hardware breakdowns.
Server disc and other parameters
Similar to desktop devices, the most popular server discs are HDD or SSD. SDDs are characterized by data write and read speeds 100 times faster than HDDs. The speed at which the server delivers data to users' computers translates into the time needed to load and display the website.
The RAM and processor are additional server parameters that also affect the speed of data processing and should be taken into consideration when selecting the server. The values and specific characteristics of given server parameters ought to be determined by the predefined business needs.
Server location is an important element mainly due to the fact that many hosting companies build external server rooms. Locating the server outside the country may have an impact on pings which increase the response time of the server - which, in turn, affects the page loading time. It’s also worth mentioning that some of your potential customers or clients may not want their personal data to be stored abroad.
Efficiency and redundancy
The efficiency of the server is manifested when increased traffic to the site doesn't affect its loading time. On the other hand, redundancy means that the server always offers slightly more capabilities than expected by users, therefore, in case of unpredictable interest in the website, it’s able to operate properly, without any breakdowns or long loading time. When choosing a server, make sure you pay attention to these two features.
This aspect can be easily verified by checking online reviews concerning a given hosting company. Very often service providers offer 24-hour technical support, however, later it turns out that its scope is quite limited. Check online reviews and select a company that will be willing to quickly help you solve any potential problems.
How does the server selection affect the SEO process?
The selection of an appropriate server may undoubtedly have an impact on the website position in the search results. It's basically your first step into the technical SEO strategy labyrinth. As it’s been mentioned above, the chosen hosting service determines the server response time which, in turn, affects the page loading speed. You probably know that the latter one is a Google ranking factor, therefore, it’s better not to invest in poor quality servers.
SEO-wise, website accessibility is another important element. If your website isn’t displayed properly when the robots want to access it, then you need to reckon with the fact that it may hinder its correct indexing process.
In the case of shared servers, you also need to take into account potential problems with network reputation. As you know, this server type is based on sharing both the machine and IP address. Consequently, if one of the users takes inappropriate steps such as sending spam, it may have a negative impact on the remaining websites that share the IP and hardware resources.
Server location or, to be more precise, IP address location is another relevant factor that affects website positions in the organic search results. The distance from the server to the user has an impact on TTFB, meaning the time counted from the moment users send the query to the server to the moment they receive the first byte of data.
[caption id="attachment_15220" align="aligncenter" width="700"] Source: https://www.cloudways.com/blog/does-hosting-affect-seo/[/caption]
The take-home message
As you can see, the list of elements that should be taken into account when selecting a website server is pretty long, especially if you want to be ranked high on Google. It doesn’t really matter if you run a small information portal or an enormous online store - the process of choosing an appropriate server should begin from determining your business needs and verifying the offers of hosting providers to select a solution that will meet your expectations.
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