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How to change your web host without hindering your SEO

What is your web host? It’s basically the company responsible for maintaining the server — a type of physical computer — where all of your website’s data is stored. When someone loads your website, the server will transfer as much of this data as necessary to bring up the website on the screen.

However, web hosts can differ meaningfully in what they offer. As your website grows (in content, popularity or both), your existing web host could increasingly struggle to accommodate it. This shortfall could subsequently be manifested in slower load times. So, should you look for a new host?

When might you need to switch to a new web host?

Your relationship with your web host can be a lot like that you have with a supplier or corporate partner; there can just come a time when it feels right to move on. This begs the obvious question: how can you tell when you should start seeking a replacement web host?

You have good reason to be concerned if many people report struggling to access your website. Keep in mind that many other people might have had this same experience but simply opted to stop trying — without even relaying their frustrations to you. 

A website that garners a high ‘bounce rate’ could soon start taking a pummelling from Google on the SEO front. You could obviously find it frustrating if you have previously done all the right things SEO-wise but your website’s online prominence is now being undermined by the web host.

Tread carefully before moving to a new web host 

You don’t want to leave yourself lumbered with a ‘bad’ web host for too long lest those problems with your website linger — and lead you to miss out on potential customers. After all, if they do have difficulty loading your website, they are likely to put the blame on your brand first and foremost.

Still, when looking for a new web host, it’s crucial that you do your research. Otherwise, you could end up in an ‘out of the frying pan, into the fire’ situation, where the new host is just as bad (or perhaps even worse) for your website.

Naturally, this wouldn’t bode well for its SEO, but you could also fear that even just the process of moving your website from one host to another would have adverse SEO effects.

Some reassuring words from Google 

In the April edition of Google’s regular online Q&A sessions under the ‘SEO Office Hours’ banner, one question focused on whether switching web hosts would have a “negative and lasting effect” on SEO.

Gary Illyes, an Analyst on the Google Search team, said no — as long as the change happens “by the book, meaning the website keeps being resolvable and the actual downtime is minimal”.

To make the transition even easier, you could turn to a company offering SEO-friendly web hosting. We can provide exactly that, including as part of an even wider-reaching SEO package. To find out more about these solutions, please ring 01325 582112.

How to change your web host without hindering your SEO
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