Although it isn’t brought up often, a website’s hosting plan plays a pivotal role in its SEO performance. A bad plan can be a detriment to any efforts towards ranking high on Google. A good plan, however, can be the linchpin to landing on the first page of search engines.
Before settling on a plan, it’s important to choose a provider that has a solid reputation for supplying efficient customer support, consistent uptime, and fast website speeds. Because it doesn’t matter if you pick the most expensive plan on the market, if the provider delivers a substandard service, it will kill off any serious SEO efforts.
Once the provider is in place, it is about deciding on a plan. The three main plans available are shared hosting, VPS hosting and a dedicated server. When it comes to maximizing SEO, forget about shared hosting. It is generally the cheapest choice and, although a fine starting point for a new webmaster on a budget, one should not forget the saying: you get what you pay for. That leaves VPS hosting or a dedicated server. Now that we have our two contenders, let’s see which one comes out on top in the SEO war.
The battle for reliability
Nobody likes going on a website and getting hit with an error page or a ‘site is not available’ message. It doesn’t just turn visitors and potential customers away in droves. It also hurts your website’s reputation with Google. In fact, if your site constantly suffers downtime, it will sink down the search pages on Google like lead.
With that in mind, you will want to select the most reliable hosting plan. Thankfully, both VPS hosting and dedicated servers are among the best in terms of uptime. However, a dedicated server typically edges out its VPS counterpart in this particular battle. Dedicated servers are often configured with superior hardware, which engenders maximum reliability. The greater amount of CPU cores, memory, bandwidth, and storage space, the greater chance a website has of staying online at all times. This leads into the next subject…
The race for speed
Any website that loads fast will receive the benefit of an SEO boost. Google particularly shows fondness towards sites that their crawler can zip around without any slowdown. Due to this, it is vital to avoid a sluggish website that takes multiple seconds to load each page.
As already mentioned, the server’s hardware will determine which hosting plan works best. Globally, this means a dedicated server is often better than VPS hosting. After all, a dedicated server delivers a full selection of resources, whereas VPS hosting – despite having its own separate space on a server – shares its hardware with other sites. With that said, it’s all about the hardware configuration. It’s not completely uncommon to see a VPS plan that completely outshines a dedicated server in terms of performance. Keep this in mind when analyzing the finer details between the two hosting options.
Security and support
It might not seem obvious, but the security and customer support offered with the two options can play an integral part in SEO. Because they’re completely separate from any other site and have added customizability, dedicated servers have a slight advantage in terms of security. However, it is only a slight advantage; VPS is still tops when it comes to protection against malicious activity.
Let’s quickly look at uptime once again. If your site is struck with an unfortunate circumstance and is now on the sidelines, you need to get back online ASAP. Now, the clock starts ticking. Fixing the problem will come down to the support you receive, which is the responsibility of the host provider. Due to both plans being on the higher end of the cost scale, you should expect top-notch service for either VPS hosting or a dedicated server.
Conclusion: dedicated server is the winner, but…
A dedicated server is, ultimately, the best choice for SEO purposes. It usually possesses the greater hardware components, better customizability, and stronger security. However, it is also typically more expensive than VPS hosting. Depending on the dedicated server plan, the advantages in terms of performance can also be negligible, and not reflective in the price difference between the two options.
Also, remember that settling on a hosting option is only the first step in the journey to SEO glory. You have to develop and optimize your content. As such, if you have the funds, it is strongly advised to hire an SEO agency to really take things to the next level.