In the SEO and web performance industries, it’s been a question that’s been asked many times: if we move to dedicated or VPS hosting, will our pages load faster and rankings increase?
Now, that question, the way it’s worded, has an assumption built into it that may not always be true: that dedicated or VPS hosting is necessarily faster than, say, shared hosting.
That may not always be the case.
With that in mind, I’d like to turn your attention to the latest Q&A session that Google frequently holds with webmasters and SEOs.
At roughly 31 minutes and 8 seconds into the recorded session, Google Search Advocate John Mueller read a submitted question:
“Does my hosting with…shared hosting, VPS, etc, affect crawling efficiency?”
John’s response was, “No, by default, the type of hosting you have does not affect the efficiency or the amount of crawling that we can do.”
That’s one part of the question answered. Notice that it begins to address the assumption I mentioned earlier.
John continued, “However, you can have bad hosting or slow hosting and all kinds of hosting can be slow, so that’s something where it’s not a kind of an attribute of a specific kind of hosting…”
So, that ends the assumption that a certain type of hosting is necessarily faster or slower than another.
“If It’s Slow, It’s Slow; If It’s Fast, It’s Fast.”
John continued, “…but rather, it’s like, well, your hosting is slow and you happen to be using shared hosting or you happen to be using a VPS or you happen to be hosting on…a separate infrastructure in some data center. If it’s slow, it’s slow; if it’s fast, it’s fast. It’s not an attribute of the kind of hosting that you have.”
Correlation Does Equal Causation
Now, while we’ve set aside the assumption that one type of hosting is necessarily faster than another (for example, that all dedicated hosting is necessarily faster than all shared hosting), there is a correlation.
That is, dedicated hosting tends to be faster than shared hosting. For example, sites hosted on dedicated servers tend to load faster than those on shared hosting. (That’s a correlation, not necessarily a causation.)
But that’s the case because for most hosting companies that offer dedicated servers, usually, on that server, there’s only one site (or the sites of a single account holder).
(That is, basically, the definition of a dedicated hosting plan: the server is ‘dedicated’ exclusively to your site, or the sites in your account.)
That means that the processing power of a dedicated server is for the exclusive use of the site, or sites, of a single account holder.
That’s a sharp contrast to shared hosting, where a hosting company can place many sites (and likely, the sites of many account holders) on a single server. This single server has to spread its processing power across many sites, and hence, it’s usually slower than a dedicated server.
If You’re Looking for Hosting…
So, if you’re looking for hosting, don’t just go for a certain type of hosting solely because you hear it’s better. Yes, throughout the industry, the consensus is that dedicated hosting is preferred to shared hosting, but you should also consider other variables, such as Secure Sockets Layer (HTTPS), uptime, and the processor’s power.