So you’ve gathered all of your content, designed a beautiful website, optimized it for search, and you’re ready to go live. Now the question is: What should I look for in my web hosting service? And how can I compare the range of web hosting options available?
The answers vary based on the specific needs of your website, including where your audience is, how much traffic you expect, and a bunch of other factors.
But at the end of the day, the four most important components for evaluating a hosting service are:
So let’s take a closer look at each of those dimensions.
Evaluating a hosting service’s speed means measuring how quickly your content loads in your site visitors’ browsers, no matter where they are. If your site files are hosted on just one server, in one place, then visitors will see slower and slower page loads the further they are from your server.
The solution is to set up your files in a content distribution network (CDN). A CDN distributes your files throughout data centers worldwide, then delivers them to visitors via the data center that’s closest to them. This means snappy page loads for all your visitors, worldwide.
Of course, we wanted to take that a step further, by using not one, but two CDNs, so your website loads as fast as possible for people across the globe.
Our second CDN, Amazon Web Services (AWS) Cloudfront, delivers your site’s assets to you from even more locations (or, PoPs, for “Points of Presence”). This ensures that images and videos will also load extremely quickly.
Our Business hosting plan takes that even further, giving you access to three times the number of PoPs as our other hosting plans.
Will your site be able to handle tons of traffic? Or will your server fall over when it gets too many requests? This is the core question for scalability: What happens when your site traffic increases?
The best services handle this by automatically spinning up servers as your traffic ebbs and flows, so you can handle any amount of traffic. Which is exactly what Webflow hosting does, with a little help from Fastly and Amazon EC2.
Webflow hosts several sites that get over a million pageviews a month without a hitch!
A website that fails to load is useless. So look for a service that guarantees 99.99% reliability, because outages are a pain (and damage your brand).
“Cheap” hosting can often be highly unreliable — and ironically expensive to your brand — since your files are often stored in shared hosting space, which can go offline if your server neighbors see unexpected spikes in traffic.
We pride ourselves on our uptime. Last year we only had 15 minutes of total downtime, which translates to 99.997% uptime. Check out status.webflow.com to see our historical performance.
Ever notice the difference between sites with a URL that starts with http:// and those that start with https://? That S stands for “secure,” and indicates that all communications between your browser and the website are encrypted with an SSL certificate.
This is especially important for websites that collect data in forms, ecommerce sites, or really any website where personal information is exchanged. SSL matters for search, too. Google revealed in 2014 that sites without an SSL certificate will be subject to ranking penalties, making SSL a must-have for any serious website today.
As we recently announced, Webflow provides SSL certificates for all sites hosted in Webflow, so your site visitors can feel comfortable sharing their information with you — and you can rank higher in search.
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While speed, reliability, scalability, and security should be your chief concerns, Webflow offers a host (pun sheepishly intended) of other features that have a significant impact on SEO and performance, and may not be offered by most hosting services.
Last year saw the release of the first new Hypertext Transfer Protocol since 1999: HTTP/2.
This new standard promises faster websites across the web — but not all hosting platforms support it yet. Because Google has always cared about page speed, HTTP/2 will likely become a component of their ranking algorithm soon.
Here are some benefits of HTTP/2 support/compatibility:
Webflow’s hosting has been HTTP/2 compliant for months now, unlike services such as WordPress, GoDaddy, Dreamhost, Media Temple, Squarespace, Weebly, and most others. (And even hosts who do offer it typically only do so on higher-tier packages.)
Everything above is more or less essential, but there are many other features that can make managing your website a lot easier and more convenient. These include:
On top of these features, Webflow hosting includes the following, right out of the box:
Webflow combines all these elements in a first-tier global hosting infrastructure that’s available at the click of a button. This means that when you publish with Webflow, your site’s files and assets are published across the globe and immediately ready for any amount of traffic, from any location.
We use it for our own websites, which see hundreds of thousands of visitors from around the globe every day, and have seen nearly perfect performance over the last year.
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