Does web hosting influence the position of a website in a search engine? Yes, what’s more, a lot depends on it. A website is actually an application consisting of many layers. One of these layers is the server hardware and software. It is through this layer that a website is in contact with the outside world and can be accessed in a few milliseconds from anywhere in the world.
How does hosting affect positions? In a nutshell, hosting is responsible for:
- availability – does it ensure continuous operation?
- performance – does it respond quickly to queries?
- reputation – is your assigned IP address free of RBL penalties?
- IP address geolocation – will the provider allow you to position yourself in your target country?
- Scalability – is the hosting able to cope with the demands of high traffic and large data set?
As you can see there’s a lot of it, so let’s go through the individual points.
Availability and reliability
Websites are required to have high availability. The availability of a web page or a web application means the amount of time a service is available without failure in relation to the total time the service should be provided. For example, 98% availability means that out of 100 units of time, the service worked correctly for 98 of those units. Assuming that there are no errors on the website, its availability depends entirely on the smooth operation of the server and external services with which it is integrated.
If search engine robots encounter a moment of failure or maintenance work, they obviously cannot index the updated site. In the case of a single such incident, the site will not receive any “penalty”, but repeated failures may over time cause worsened positions.
Remember, a search engine cares about the high-quality pages appearing in the top results because the relevance and high-quality web pages appearing in search results are the reason for its success and its dominance in the market. Maintaining high availability in the context of complex web applications may consist in using redundancy of resources and thus eliminating the so-called single points of failure, as well as striving to create mechanisms thanks to which the application will tolerate failures of certain components, e.g. temporary unavailability of external services. However, in the case of simple websites and online stores, one relies on individual hosting services, which by themselves should ensure such availability for good positioning.
It is common practice for a hosting provider to share an IP address between multiple clients. This is to save resources / reduce the cost of maintaining multiple clients. Unfortunately, in the case of neighbouring with low-quality websites, or illegal or controversial content, the positions of our website may gradually decrease.
If your emails are getting spammed to customers or you can’t run some tests in publicly available analyzers, then know that something is going on… and aggravating your site’s SEO. Check that the subnet and IP addresses of your hosting provider are reputable: http://www.anti-abuse.org/multi-rbl-check/
You can check which domains are installed on a given IP address in tools such as: https://hackertarget.com/reverse-ip-lookup/.
The search engine takes this into account too, admittedly it’s not a key issue to be concerned about, but a neighbourhood made up of pornography and spam just looks bad.
The solution to these problems may be a dedicated or own IP address.
TTFB response time
The response time that can be tested using TTFB time captures the level of performance, speed and efficiency of the client’s connection to the server. Testing TTFB, we can compare the quality of hosting providers or individual plans. TTFB also depends on the performance of the code and the architecture of the application. Either way, the same application will run faster on higher-quality hosting and will be slower on lower-quality hosting.
The lower the Time To First Byte, the better for performance, concurrency and search engine optimization. The effective use of the time that a search engine robot spends daily on our site depends, among other things, on TTFB latency. A short TTFB time makes the site more enjoyable to use and has a positive effect on search engine positioning, scalability and user experience. Some actions related to shortening the time can be done on the side of the application, but the bottleneck will always be the quality of hosting.
Efficiency and redundancy
It is very easy to maintain low TTFB times and high availability for low-volume and moderately used websites, stores and web applications. Hosting performance means that increased traffic does not cause significant performance degradation, i.e. de facto longer server responses and longer TTFB times.
Server location vs. SEO
First: the location of the server affects the page load speed and the TTFB time already mentioned. TTFB varies significantly depending on how far the server is from the client.
Check your host location at https://check-host.net/ip-info
Second: the location is easy to check. Since Google looks at WHOIS database data and renewal periods, it probably checks and takes into account the geolocation of the IP address.
Matt has made it clear on more than one occasion that IP address location has a significant impact on positions.
Where your server is located (…) can determine the rankings. Server location in terms of IP address is a factor in that.
And the next video: Yes it does because we look at the IP address of your web server.
Summing up this subsection and referring to Matt’s words: Yes the location of the server/hosting and more specifically the IP address has a significant impact on organic positions.
Completeness of the offer
Options such as SSL, and additional infrastructure layers in the form of CDN or HTTP/2 have a direct or indirect impact on the positioning of the site. It’s a good idea to make sure that the hosting provider allows trouble-free installation of SSL certificates, use of CDN or the aforementioned geolocation of the IP address.
No one changes hosting provider just because it’s inconvenient to renew SSL or because you can’t enable HTTP/2 mode. This lack is always explained away somehow and eventually myths like:
- “CDN hurts positioning”.
- “site speed doesn’t have that much of an impact on positions”,
- “the location of an IP address does not affect positions”.
Such “problems” can accumulate and discourage optimization efforts. It is better to develop the project on the hosting, which will encourage and facilitate the process of introduction of novelties, than the other way around – inhibit it. Some hosting companies go a step further and broaden the spectrum of activities to such an extent that they offer SEO actions themselves.
Will the service provider be able to provide you with resources in case your project grows to a larger scale? Find out what well-known applications use the solutions of the provider. If the provider doesn’t have any well-known portals in their portfolio, let them experiment on someone else, but not on you.