How Your Web Host Affects Core Vitals - main image

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July 30, 2021

Agency Resources, Cloud Computing 3 min read

How Your Web Host Affects Core Web Vitals

For many, the choice of web host is an afterthought. Significant time and effort go into designing the website and figuring out its layout, style, and content. Choosing the web host is just who you pay to keep the site live, right? 

Truth is, all your hard work will go to waste if you hand it over to web hosts who aren’t doing it justice. Choosing your web host defines how well your site performs. This means how fast it loads, its stability, and whether or not it is safe and secure from cybercriminals.  

And this doesn’t only affect the site users’ experience (knowing that a slow website is not something anyone wants to spend much time on), it also affects how many people make it onto your site in the first place. 

That’s because Google uses site performance in determining its search rankings. Last year, they announced three core web vitals to help site owners better understand the importance of a good user experience.  

What are Core Web Vitals?

What are Core Web Vitals_

Google’s page experience is one of many factors they use for ranking, and core web vitals are just some of the factors that make it up. Other page experience factors include: 

  • Mobile-friendliness
  • HTTPS or SSL-equipped
  • Secure browsing (Not exposing users to harmful software like malware) 

But core web vitals are a new and important metric to take into account. You can access your site’s core web vitals data from the enhancements section of your Google search console account, and there are plenty of other tools available to measure core web vitals. 

Each of the three core web vitals measures a different aspect of what Google deems to be the most important to a site’s performance. 

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) 

LCP measures loading performance. It determines how long the largest piece of content on the page takes to load from the user's perspective. Measured in seconds, LCP is the delay between you clicking a link and most of the page appearing on the screen. 

Google provides guidelines related to LCP speed, breaking down the performance for a given page into three categories: good, needs improvement, and poor. Getting a good LCP score from Google means the web page loads in less than 2.5 seconds. For content-heavy sites (high-resolution images etc.), this is not simple to achieve. 

Here are tips to improve your LCP: 

  • Reduce third-party scripts 
  • Utilise lazy loading
  • Remove big elements on your web pages 

First Input Delay (FID) 

FID measures responsiveness.How long does it take for users to be able to interact with your page? This could be clicking a link, choosing options from a menu, or typing into a field, anyway in which a user can interact with your site. 

Like LCP, it is another speed score metric. But FID determines how long it takes until you can do something on the page. 

Again, a method for reducing your FID speeds is taking out unimportant third-party scripts. You can also minimise your use of JavaScript or set up a browser cache to help users interact faster. 

Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS) 

CLS measures visual stability. You know the feeling, the site is loading you see where you want to click, but as the rest of the page loads in, it shifts to a new location. This is incredibly frustrating for users and often leads them to an unwanted page. 

Google ranks higher for pages with relatively stable page elements during loading. 

When designing your website, you can minimise your CLS score by: 

  • Reserving dedicated fixed space for ad elements
  • Applying set size dimensions for media elements
  • Putting any new UI elements below the fold

READ: How Google's Core Vitals Update Affects Your Ranking

How Your Choice of Web Host Defines Your Core Web Vitals

How Your Choice of Web Host Defines Your Core Web Vitals_

There are lots of techniques to improve your sites core web vitals. The simplest is choosing the right web hosting provider that offers the right hosting plan for your web needs.

The web hosting factors that affect site speed are hard drive storage and the resources (bandwidth and RAM) the hosting service uses to get your data to users. Web hosts offer plans with a range of values for these parameters. However, the headline figure they advertise is typically a combination of several speed metrics such as DNS response time, connect response time, and SSL. 

Important web hosting resources to consider to improve your core web vitals are: 

  • Bandwidth. This is the amount of data you can transfer to your users from your website, typically measured in gigabytes (GB). 
  • Type of hard drive. Where your website’s data is stored is important. Solid State Drives (SSDs) offer much faster access than standard hard drives giving you quicker load times. 
  • RAM. Your site’s RAM holds all of its temporary data while it is running multiple processes. If you have a complex site with lots of processes or expect a high volume of traffic, it is crucial to invest in bigger RAM. Otherwise, it may crash, and visitors will get the dreaded “500 internal server error.”
  • Server Type.  There are three main options available: shared, dedicated, or Virtual Private Server (VPS). And most website owners who are looking to upgrade from shared hosting turn to VPS hosting. It offers higher server specs than shared hosting but costs lesser than dedicated hosting. 

READ: Why Use VPS Hosting for Your Large-Scale Website

Choose the right hosting for your SEO needs

There is a lot to think about when trying to launch a successful website. Your web host, for one, is the most crucial element you should consider. It doesn’t only impact your SEO performance, but can also affect your brand reputation. 

With the launching of the core vitals, for example, it’s all about catering to a better page experience that directly deals with your users’ impression. And your choice of web host plays a big role. While doing so, make sure you keep in mind the web hosting factors mentioned above. 

 

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