Search engines such as Google use website load times as a key factor in determining which websites have greater appeal than others. Naturally, faster websites provide greater appeal to customers and therefore higher search-engine results.
... It is significant.
We get the odd customer mentioning that they could find hosting at lower prices, $100 per year, asking why we charge more. Our response is always that you get what you pay for and that we only place our customers' websites on host accounts that perform.
The issue was, we never had any figures to support our statements, so we decided to run our own tests to illustrate some differences. Following is a discussion of a case study that investigates the differences between our hosting and cheaper international hosting.
To test the website load speed we selected Melbournes Pingdom web speed test service.
There is a delay between sending information back and forwards between New Zealand and Australia so using a test suite based in Australia would (when comparing) give an advantage to the Australian (International) based budget host provider, and a disadvantage to our New Zealand based servers.
To demonstrate our view that budget hosting was a false economy we decided to purchased a Crazy Domains web host account.
Crazy Domains was chosen because it is a well-known budget host provider and their servers were based in Australia.
The test results show the website was well constructed and configured with a performance grade of 90, and a load time of 2.76 seconds, 57% faster than other websites tested on the test suite.
Not bad I guess, however it is common knowledge that websites must load in around 2 second, and if the load time is over 3 seconds then your potential customer will leave your website - not so good...
We use our own host servers that are only stocked with Net Builders customers. The servers are not crammed packed with websites and all accounts are fully managed by Net Builders - meaning there are no rogue accounts causing issues.
We knew our host servers were fast however the results demonstrate a huge difference between our New Zealand based hosting and International budget hosting.
It must be remembered that our servers are based in New Zealand so have an intrinsic delay when measuring website load speeds from Australia. Where the measuring system was in New Zealand the results would be even greater.
The test website loads in 0.865 seconds using our NZ servers, compared to 2.76 seconds on International host server - almost 320% faster and more importantly, loading in well under the golden 2 seconds time frame.
91% faster than other websites tested on the test suite.