It can be frustrating to deal with an under-performing website. You may try a number of things to improve the site’s performance, but your response times may still be sluggish. If this is the case, you may be trying to address the wrong issues.
Many issues with a website’s speed are connected to errors on the front end. They may be connected to poorly optimized images, broken page elements, chunky code, etc. However, it does not matter how elegant your code is or how well you have compressed and optimized files, if your hosting server is not performing well, you will never be able to fix your speed problem.
If you are looking for help in finding a better hosting service, you can search the internet or look at independent hosting reviews that track performance over multiple months. Nathan Finch of Aussie Hosting tracked Australian web hosts over 12 months to gather average performance metrics and uptime/downtimes.
Why Your Server Affects Your Website
Your hosting server is the heart and the brain of your digital activities. In a human, if the heart or the brain is not healthy, everything else in the body is negatively impacted. This is why it is important that you take the time to carefully select a web hosting provider. That being said, even the best hosting provider is going to face issues from time to time. This is why you, as a website owner, need to check your hosting server speed from time to time.
You should be interested in the stats pertaining to the health of your server. You also want to make sure that your hosting company is giving you the features that they have promised. If you are not getting these, you should look for a refund or upgrade your hosting options. Just because the hosting company guarantees unlimited bandwidth does not mean that this is what you are getting. You need to monitor the performance of your web hosting service. Testing web hosting performance isn’t just for new businesses either. If you are looking to start a blog, it’s important to know which one will perform the best before making your choice.
How Do You Know That Your Web Hosting Server Is Slow?
It can be a challenge to pinpoint every component that leads to a slow web hosting server. There are three primary factors that can serve as a guide and help you determine the level of server functionality and performance you are receiving. There are other factors to take into consideration, but if you account for these three factors, you will get a good overall view of how your server is working.
Server Performance Test #1: Time to First Byte
This test helps you to identify how long it takes for the end-user browser that sends a HTTP/HTTPS request to get its first byte from the requested data package. Some people may define this metric as the time it takes after a browser performs its DNS lookup and connects. Others do not feel that the DNS lookup or connection should be included within the time to first byte test.
There are a number of factors that may come into play, such as the speed of the internet connection. However, after you factor in internet connection speed, the time to first byte should be no more than 0.5 seconds. In fact, more modern web hosting server configurations along with back end infrastructure design make it possible for you to obtain a time to first byte of around 0.1 seconds.
Server Performance Test #2: Distribution of Web Page Components
When trying to evaluate your web hosting performance and server speed, you should look closely at the distribution of website components in relation to how long they take to load. If your issue is caused by a server, you will see that non-cache website features offer a relatively even distribution when it comes to component load times. This might give an inaccurate picture of what’s going on, unless you are dealing with an exceptionally low time to first byte.
When a website has severe server issues, they become apparent when trying to access a website that the end-user has already cached. This is where you are going to see that the time to first byte duration takes a lot longer than it really should. In a number of instances, time to first byte is the primary component that leads to overall website latency. Of course, the best way for you to get a clear picture of everything that is going on is by doing an in-depth web hosting server speed test.
Server Performance Test #3: Page Speed Test/Uptime Test
When you are performing a page speed test, you are interested in the first page load. You are not looking to see how fast the page loads after it has already been cached. WebPageTest or other sites like it are a good tool to use. We recommend that you run each test five times and get the median result. You will look for metrics such as time to first byte, speed index, and fully loaded time.
Pingdom can be used to evaluate your website’s uptime. This tool can be configured to make HTTP requests every minute. If the host is unreachable, it will create a report. It will also create an error if it takes more than 30 seconds to respond. Although a 30 second response time does not mean that your site is down, it usually means that a hosting issue is so severe that your site is virtually unusable. The nice thing about using Pingdom is that it tests your site from three different servers around the world. If two out of three servers do not respond, it gives you a report. This is important if you are concerned about your website and your web host being reliable.
The performance of your hosting company is key to the success of your website. Do not leave questions related to your hosting company and your hosting performance for unanswered. The life of your website depends on it. As always, we love to hear from our readers. What tips do you have on testing the performance of your hosting company? Please let us know in the comments section below.