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by John Eberhard

My last couple articles have been about website loading speed, and how since May of 2021 this has become a major criteria used by Google in ranking your website.

Specifically there are two metrics which I think are the most important to pay attention to in terms of your site speed:

Largest Contentful Paint (LCP) is the amount of time from when someone types in your URL and hits return, or when someone clicks on a link to your site, and when all the content loads that displays above the fold. This should be less than 2.5 seconds. If it’s more than that, it hurts your search engine ranking.

Time To First Byte (TTFB). This is the amount of time from when a user requests a page, and the server – the computer where the files of your website are stored – responds and starts loading content. The TTFB should ideally be less than 200 ms. If it’s more than 600 ms, your site will be penalized in the search engine rankings.

You can measure your LCP and TTFB score here:

https://gtmetrix.com/largest-contentful-paint.html

Especially if your Time to First Byte is over 600 milliseconds (and I would test it several times over a couple day period) I would consider moving your site to a new hosting company. Amazingly, some of the most popular hosting companies have terrible server speeds. I tested one client website several times and the TTFB varied from 400 ms to 3.7 seconds. 400 ms isn’t bad but 3.7 seconds is terrible.

There are all kind of things you can do to your page to make it load faster. But unfortunately none of that is going to matter if your hosting company has slow servers. You need to have a fast loading page AND it has to be hosted on a fast hosting server.

Most companies have their website hosted on what’s called shared hosting. That means that a computer sitting at your hosting company has your website stored on it, as well as sites from their other clients.

There is also a type of hosting called dedicated hosting, where your website sits on a computer which is assigned only to you and has no other company’s sites on it. Dedicated hosting is quite a bit more expensive than shared hosting, but if your company is bigger and you get a lot of traffic to your site it is worth it.

But let’s say you have a shared hosting account, and you test your site on the link above and it is consistently showing a TTFB of over 600 ms. What should you do? I would advise you at that point to move the site to a faster hosting company.

I have moved a lot of sites to a hosting company called Siteground.com. They are one of the fastest shared hosting companies I have found. Their rates are competitive. I make no commission from them.

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