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I know that the title sounds more like an FAQ but hey, I haven’t found out one specific resource here that approaches to answer this question in an SEO perspective. It’s a very interesting topic because not everyone could afford to maintain a dedicated server.
The Need for Speed
Let’s get one thing straight: Site speed is very important. Not just for SEO and rankings, but for people who are visiting your site. A slow loading site can mean a huge bounce rate and no real value added to your User Activity profile, social shares, links, etc.
It can be devastating.
In the long run, one or two seconds of delay can be a huge ranking factor.
The Big Question
I was one to wonder if there would be significant site speed increase when you switch on to a Dedicated server. When I looked into the prices of a managed dedicated server, I was taken aback. I didn’t have the money then.
So I went ahead and pooled some funds to be able to test out my website’s load speed if it ran on a dedicated server. After purchasing a dedicated server, I started migrating my sites there. And you know what I found?
It does have a significant increase.
In fact, I never went back.
How Does a Dedicated Server Increase Site speed?
Look at it this way, if you buy hosting space for just one website, you’re typically renting that specific space (usually 1 gigabyte worth) from a server that’s hosting perhaps hundreds or thousands of other websites.
All of these other websites eat up processing memory, bandwidth, disk space, etc. Of course, the owner of the server would need to make sure that all of the websites are running so he would allocate limits to each site in order for his business to be maximized and profitable.
What happens is, you get an unseen sanction from the server. You are given a limited disk space, processing memory and bandwidth. While this is completely fine when you are starting out, it is not at all okay as you grow.
There came a point when SEO Hacker needed to run more than a handful of plugins for performance, functionality, and a lot of other stuffs I wanted it to be able to do. We also added SEO School, SEO Services, Growth Hacks and a lot of other stuffs on top of it.
These other sites ran on their own separate instances of WordPress and plugins I wanted to integrate.
We needed more space, more bandwidth and more processing memory. It made a lot of sense for me to go and get a dedicated server to make sure my websites were running at optimum speed.
2 New questions entered my mind:
- What if I just didn’t have enough funds to buy a dedicated server ahead of my competitors?
- Why doesn’t Google just simply tell us that this is one great way of increasing site speed (hence, ranking)?
After digging through site speed and dedicated servers, here’s the nearest answers I can think about:
1) You don’t need a dedicated server for competition if you do well with other SEO factors such as off-site SEO. Yes, site speed is an SEO factor but it may not be enough of a factor to compete with a good, quality, juicy link (although it may have a bigger effect in the long-run).
2) Because you can increase your site speed in a lot of other cheaper ways than buying a dedicated server such as:
- Caching – Must-Have Site Speed Plugin for WordPress
- Implementing a Self-Hosted CDN
- Lazy Loading your Images
However, all else being equal, the one with the dedicated server will always have an ace over the one without.
I won’t keep it from you, SEO Hacker and some of my most important websites are now hosted in a dedicated server somewhere out there. It was a big decision for me to get one just for testing. I want you to know that it pays – for me and for some of my clients who have decided to allow us to host their websites.
If you are obsessed with your SEO and want to completely maximize your site’s performance, get a dedicated server now.