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Aug 25, 2016

The importance of download speed for your website

  • Posted by Tim McLarty
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Speed matters with websites

The CBC reported that Canada currently ranks 28th in the world in internet download speed.  This is certainly a concern considering Canada has been looked at as a digital world leader for sometime. Our mini silicon valley pockets in places like Kitchener, Ontario have given Canada a stellar reputation among tech-heads around the world.  The article does go on to say that Canada is catching up fast.   But what are the repercussions of slow download speed, besides carpal tunnel as you tap your fingers waiting for that video to load?  Given it’s only a difference of milliseconds, only your patience is challenged.  But what about the other side of the equation; what if you choose a slow webhost?

Hosting your company site on a slow web host can have significant impact to your bottom line.   First, it goes without saying that a website is probably your primary selling tool today.  It acts as a brochure, price guide, testimonial and so much more.  If a potential customer is comparing you with several other companies, that second or two of hang time could be the difference between their going with you, or getting impatient and clicking on the next link in their search.

Google penalizes slow sites

Google penalizes slow sites

But speaking of search, Google also is very sensitive to slow sites.   If your site’s slow to load, you’ll lose your visitors. There are numerous factors that affect hosting speeds, so this is not a quick fix to resolve. One possibility is to move your site to a data center closer to your most frequent visitors.Like anything else, you get what you pay for and if you are on a shared hosting plan, you’re sharing your speed with countless other businesses and individuals.

Dedicated hosting gives you the best shot at lightning download speeds.  But the costs accompany the speed.  If you’re a larger company, or do the majority of your business through online purchasing, it’s probably a good investment.  I made the mistake of trying to host my own server several years ago.  That comes with driving your car a little too quickly through rush hour traffic to reboot or rectify an issue so you can get back on line.  Today we currently have a dedicated server through a respected company in California, Media Temple.  A good hosting company will provide redundancies and notifications of server software upgrades; so all you have to do is pay a fee and read the update emails.   Let companies do what they do best, while you do the same with your business.   If you’re a natural tech head, by all means have your own server.  But have cloud redundancies in place.  Your business files, or your client’s files are far too important to take a chance with.

It’s still debatable whether size matters.  But in the internet world, speed definitely does.


Tim McLarty owns video & web boutique Ontrack Communications, helping companies tell their stories through broadcast, social media & responsive web. In his spare time he makes short films and dreams of the day when there will be play-off hockey in Toronto.