A great number of small business websites nowadays are powered by WordPress. It is undoubtedly the most popular and versatile content management system that comes with numerous sought-after features.
But there are also some disadvantageous aspects of WordPress you should be aware of before you decide to use it for your small business website. One of the most notable of those is that WordPress tends to consume a lot of server resources, especially when working with complex plugins such as those used for e-commerce.
That’s why the web hosting service you pick for your website can play a major role in how fast (or slow) it performs. Speed is one of the key metrics that separate good WordPress hosts from bad ones.
So, how do you find a fast web hosting service for your small business WordPress site?
The following are four of the most important things to keep on your checklist:
1. Make Sure You Get Enough Computing Resources
Each time a user visits your website, it needs to execute code on the server to process the request and return the requested page back to the user. This processing is done by the two main computing resources of the server: CPU and RAM (memory).
The more dynamic your website is, and the more visitors it receives, the more CPU and RAM it needs to run as fast and smooth as possible.
Cheap shared web hosting usually comes with a very limited amount of resources, which makes this option only suitable for a small or a static website, such as a personal blog.
For a large and/or highly dynamic website, such as an e-commerce store, you will need a lot more computing resources than what most shared hosting plans offer.
You should consider using a premium managed WordPress hosting service if you have a fairly large or resource-intensive website. This type of hosting usually comes with higher amounts of resources that can be scaled to meet your website’s growing requirements.
Takeaway: Choose a hosting plan that provides enough CPU and RAM for your website to run smooth and fast, both during normal load periods and during peak traffic periods.
2. Look For NVMe SSD Storage
WordPress is a database-driven content management system where the main content (text) of the website is kept in a MySQL database. This database alongside all the website’s files are stored on the server’s storage device where data constantly flows in and out depending on the site’s activity.
The performance of the storage device can dramatically impact the performance of the website, and that’s why it is important to opt for a hosting provider that utilizes fast storage drives.
You won’t find many hosts that still use HDD-powered servers anymore because they are too slow for today’s fast-paced web. Solid-state drives (SSDs) have become the standard storage devices used by most providers nowadays.
You get better performance and higher read/write rates with SSD storage, which translates to faster loading of your WordPress website.
If you want even faster drives than standard SSD, NVMe SSDs have the best performance metrics. The cost of NVMe storage is higher than regular SSD, but many would argue that the better performance totally justifies it.
You should also pay attention to the disk I/O (input/output) limit set by the provider for the plan you intend on using. The I/O limit determines the maximum speed at which data can move in and out of the disk. The ideal I/O limit for your website depends on the type of content it has and the amount of traffic it receives.
Takeaway: Choose a web host that offers NVMe SSD storage with a generous I/O limit so that your website can transfer data and serve users more quickly.
3. Take Advantage of Caching and CDN Solutions
Caching significantly improves the speed of your website by storing static copies of its pages in a temporary location. These can then be quickly retrieved and served to visitors without the need to do time- and resource-consuming code execution.
There are different types of caching systems and tools that deal with static content (e.g. HTML pages) as well as dynamic content (e.g. PHP code and database queries).
A lot of the web hosting companies that target small business owners provide optimized server-level caching as a standard feature in their plans.
Another thing that can help speed up your website is a content delivery network (CDN). It basically works as an offsite cache with the added benefit of utilizing a wide network of servers in different local and/or global locations. This reduces the distance the data has to travel to reach the visitor’s device, and thus improves page loading speed.
Takeaway: Choose a WordPress hosting service that comes with static and dynamic server-level caching. A preinstalled CDN can also boost your site’s speed regardless of the geographic location of its visitors.
4. Don’t Overlook Security Measures
The utilization of comprehensive server and website security measures should be of utmost importance for any small business that operates online. Not only to protect the security of the data, but also to ensure proper and optimal performance of the website.
Some types of malware that target WordPress websites can sneakingly eat up the server’s resources leading to performance degradation. Spam bots and various forms of bad traffic can also waste a lot of resources and make your website slow for legitimate users.
A secure web hosting service should include a properly configured firewall, real-time malware protection, DDoS protection, as well as other measures to combat malicious and resource-wasting traffic.
Takeaway: Choose a provider that implements thorough security measures to protect your small business website from performance-degrading malware and spam attacks.