Improve Site Speed with Better Hosting

by Matthew Diehl on May 24, 2011

Cheap Hosting ≠ Speed

So, over the past couple years I have been putting up with some less than stellar hosting service. I picked it about 4 years ago because it was super cheap and gave me 8 unique IPs. However,in the past couple years it has just gone down hill. I would consistently get page load fails while editing posts and trying to develop on my other sites & tools. My patience was being tested on a daily basis and I just had enough.

So, I switched this past weekend. I put out some feelers looking for options last week, weighed the options and pulled the trigger based on a recommendation from a guy who I know for a fact gets significant amounts of traffic to his site and has exceptional performance from my perspective.

Yes, my motivation behind the move was performance based. I made my initial choice based on price but this time I decided to go with a company that has proven itself to be one of the best. It was a little more expensive but, even though it has been only two days, I am extremely pleased with what I have seen happening already.

The Final Straw

The final straw that really broke the hosting service’s back was when I enabled Site Speed tracking in Google Analytics. In Google’s blog post they waive a very nice avg. page load time of 3.45 seconds across 2,200+ samples. I may have put up with my old hosting’s bits of downtime if my site was fast, but it wasn’t even f’in close. Now, I have no where near the sampling that Google was able to produce but my avg. page load time was a whopping 11.45 seconds on the old host. Just check out this screenshot:

Site Speed with Bad Hosting

My highest traffic post had an average load time of 16.46 seconds, what a terrible experience for my visitors.

Since the Switch

The results of the switch were unbelievable. Honestly, I didn’t have a number expectation in my head that I was hoping or shooting for but what I saw happen was completely shocking! Also, it has only been one day with only 3 samples but here is what happened, my new average page load time was 2.24 seconds! Here is the screenshot (only my homepage has been sampled so far):

Site Speed for Good Hosting

Holy shit, right?! Could have never guessed that would have been the results.

Who’d I Switch To?

Now for the big reveal… the company that I switched to for my new hosting was none other than HostGator (non-aff). For anyone who has ever shopped around for hosting or is in general aware of hosting companies, HostGator is one of the big dawgs of the marketplace. Even though they ended up being only marginally more expensive than my previous host I think it was well worth the slight increase in doe.

So, now I am officially a HostGator fanboy.

What I am Recommending

Now, I am not saying run out and switch all your sites to HostGator right now. But, what I am hoping you take away from this is that, if you have done the work on-site (e.g. you have done as many of the recommendations by Google & Yahoo! speed tools) and your site is still slow, it isn’t your fault. It is likely your hosting company is the one that is dragging you down and then it may be time to consider a switch.

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