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[NO] Speed Kills… Your Google Ranking

Search Engine Optimization gurus — the people that get your site to come up on the top of Google results — are saying that how quickly your web pages display is an increasingly important factor in determing where you show up in the list of relevant sites that Google returns to your potential customers.

If your site is slow, Google will drop it down low on the results because Google thinks that its users are impatient. So, if you have useful information that takes 10 seconds to display to a visitor, your site may be down the list of competing sites with inferior data if they show up in less than a second.

Google’s focus on speed impacts your choice of the technical platform of your site, its hosting service, and additional support.

To ensure a quick site, you may:

  • Use simple HTML for your pages instead of pages built with scripts such as those used by WordPress.
  • Purchase third-party services designed to improve the availablity of your site throughout the Internet.
  • Sign-up for a beefy hosting plan that is designed to serve up WordPress pages.

Third-party services that cache the site and deliver the pages from different servers around the contry/world by can greatly improve the responsiveness of static, HTML site.  We use one called Cloudflare.

Check out two of our simple HTML websites that use Cloudflare:

Fast, huh?!

But, Cloudflare cannot improve the speed of dynamic sites so dramatically.  If you have a site built on WordPress where some of the page content is created each time a visitor clicks to see it, Cloudflare won’t help.  And, even WordPress pages without content that is obviously changing come back more slowly than sites using only HTML.

The two sites above are basic HTML sites.  Their corresponding WordPress blogs are also on Cloudflare.  But, they are not nearly as quick.  See:

Pages on these WordPress sites — even sites using Cloudflare — take longer to show up on your screen than the HTML sites.

To improve the speed of WordPress sites, you can purchase high-powered hosting plans. But, those beefy services cost many times the typical $125/year charge most of our clients pay for hosting. (See  Synthesis‘s pricing. They are a service that is focused on supporting the needs of WordPress sites, and their “starter” plan is $324/year.)

WordPress offers a lot of advantages for business owners and their designers.  But, WordPress comes with a handicap.  It’ll be slower unless you spend extra money on hosting and also use care in turning on add-on functionality that require CPU cycles to produce a page.

Let’s talk about your need to be high in Google rankings, your need to do updates to pages yourself, and your budget for hosting services!

By |2014-03-04T07:24:26-08:00February 18th, 2014|Search Engine Optimization, Wordpress|0 Comments

We’ve Moved from Bluehost. If You Use WordPress, You Should Move, Too.

Going to this blog’s home page resulted in at least 10 seconds of wait time until yesterday. That’s the day we moved it from Bluehost hosting service to One World Hosting.

CPA Throttling bar chart

We recommend that anyone — make that everyone — who uses WordPress blogging software for their site move ASAP from Bluehost.  They are just too damn slow!

WordPress blogs and sites take more CPU power to deliver than simple HTML-based sites.  Every time someone asks for a page, WordPress rebuilds the page you see with a script.  There is some remembering (caching) of recently delivered pages, but, basically, the hosting servers have to do more work for a WordPress site than they do for a vanilla HTML site.

But, Bluehost compounds the need for CPU resources by penalizing sites that need more computer power by denying them even average access to the CPU. Bluehost has server software that “throttles”  sites that use more power than an arbitrary amount of CPU time Bluehost has decided is reasonable.  This means that your visitors have to wait extra seconds for your WordPress-created pages to be shown to them because your site is consciously denied CPU time by Bluehost.

Bluehost says they “throttle” sites that use too much CPU power so that other sites on the same shared server do not suffer.

The concept is fair in theory.  Someone could code scripts that run in a loop or otherwise hog the computer. But, Bluehost is catching vanilla WordPress sites in its resource rationing.  This blog — and another client blog I hosted at Bluehost — use standard WordPress themes and plug-ins.  There’s no custom code or exotic functionality that requires an abnormal or unfair amount of computer power. They shouldn’t be penalized for using too much of the computer.

When I wrote Bluehost support about the site’s slowness, they explained their company’s throttling was automatic and said that debugging my WordPress site to discover which plug-in or function was causing the excessive resource demand was beyond their free service to clients.  They sent me links so I could buy consulting services to discover why and where I was using more CPU time than Bluehost thought I should.

No thanks.

Casual WordPress users, using pretty standard functionality, should not have to analyze — or pay to have someone else analyze — their use of a hosting service’s resources.

Thus far I have moved WordPress sites to One World Hosting and Webmasters.com.  The speed of the copies on these two hosting services was much, much better than it was on Bluehost.

Since site speed affects Google’s ranking of your pages, WordPress sites really need to migrate away from Bluehost and its throttling.

By |2014-02-07T08:30:26-08:00February 7th, 2014|Product Recommendations, Wordpress|1 Comment