Every business needs a
website fast website. If you’re like most small business website CEOs, you have outsourced the decision on how your website is hosted. “Ah, the tech guys at the agency I hired to build the website decide that, I don’t really spend time on stuff like that”. Oh, but you should. The infrastructure behind your website – i.e., the data center, power, computers, software, and people that make it possible for your website to run – can make your business hum online, or jitter uncontrollably.
The Web host – a company whose job it is to run your website software – provides a “hosting” service to you. Hosting is like dialtone – when you purchased phones for yourself and your employees, you probably had some say in whether it was AT&T or Verizon. You made the decision based on reliability, price and options like making conference calls. This article is about choosing a host that ensures that your website is F-A-S-T! According to Econsultancy, a market research firm that looks at digital marketing, 67% of consumers cite slow websites as the reason they abandon those sites. According to a New York Times article on website speed, “Remember when you were willing to wait a few seconds for a computer to respond to a click on a Web site or a tap on a keyboard? These days, even 400 milliseconds — literally the blink of an eye — is too long, as Google engineers have discovered. That barely perceptible delay causes people to search less.”
This was all the proof we needed to know that Linode was a much better choice for a small business website (one where you want to spend less than $100-200/mo in hosting costs) than Bluehost. Note, however, that Bluehost takes on much of the technical configuration issues, and their customer service is superb, which means that you will spend less on having your outsourced IT staffer debug technical problems. Linode essentially gives you an empty box, and you have to, as their tech support person said to me, “configure every little thing to make it work”. And if there’s a technical problem, you will need to get an IT person involved. For instance, this website’s order cart refused to function, and it took an entire day of tinkering and then posting on Linode’s community forum, before we were able to discover and fix the problem. Time is money, so be prepared to have a top technical person on your team, or available on call, if you host with Linode.
At the end of the day, though, you should make the decision based on who is the most reliable and fast Web hosting company, because your customers who visit your website are the ones that matter. Having a fast website makes a real difference to your business, as it improves the perception of your brand, makes visitors breeze through the pages, and causes them to do business with you, online or offline. Choose the Web hosting company with the fastest site speed characteristics – this is dialtone for the Internet age. In a later update to this post, I hope to be able to compare many different hosting companies and give you some guidance on which one is the fastest Web host of them all. That’s for another time, but for now, Linode is a winner.