Server error

The web server is like the engine in a car. It gives you control, manoeuvrability and stability, and ensures your visitors get to their destination quickly and safely. The choices you make about your web server can have a big impact on the usability and traffic of your website - and ultimately on your bottom line. In this post, we give you 11 tips on your web server to avoid it doing damage to your SEO.

blog seo checklist

Reasons why your server can hurt your SEO

Few people think about the importance of the web server when working with SEO, because "the web server is just an invisible machine far away that works quite automatically and does not require any attention". Unfortunately, this is an assumption we encounter all too often, and it's completely wrong! If you do not actively and critically engage with your web server, you are making a number of SEO mistakes.

11 tips for your web server

1. Webhotel

A web space is a server space you rent for your website so that others can access it via the internet. The cost of a web space starts at around €10 per month for a simple solution with limited space and bandwidth. At the other end of the scale, prices can run into thousands of dollars a month, but then again, you're not skimping on resources or features.

When choosing a web space, it's important to know your needs. Otherwise, you risk paying for something you don't use, and in the worst case, you risk your web server not being able to handle all the visitor traffic. You therefore need to be clear in advance about how much space you need, how much traffic you expect on your website, what technical features your website requires and how much help and technical support you need. Also be aware of any charges if you exceed the space or bandwidth you have available.

2. Support

Most people need technical support from time to time, so it's obviously important that your hosting company has a good support team that's easy to reach. A support team should be available around the clock via both email and phone and should be able to deal with urgent issues immediately, for example if your website goes down due to a problem with the hosting company's web server.

Before choosing a hosting company, it's a good idea to call their support and check how long they'll let you wait before answering the phone. And when the phone is answered, take the opportunity to ask about any outstanding issues relating to the following points in this guide.

3. Uptime

Web server uptime is one of the most important parameters when choosing a hosting company. If the web server is down, your website will not work and this will not only affect your customers, but also make it impossible for search engines to index your website. Most hosting companies have a page that shows their server status on an ongoing basis, and of course your hosting company should too. Your hosting company should also inform you directly of any planned downtime.

Some hosting companies claim to have 100% uptime, but it's not possible! There will always be short periods of downtime, for example if the web server needs upgrading, the operating system needs updating, or the machines need rebooting. Most hosting companies have an uptime of around 99.95%.

There are a number of online services that offer to monitor your website for any problems, including server downtime. Among the main services are www.pingdom.com, www.port-monitor.com and www.smartbear.com. If you're worried about downtime, use one of these services.

4. Load time

The load time (loading speed) of your website plays a big role, not only for your conversion rates and bounce rates, but also for your rankings in search results. Google has stated that load time is valued in their sorting algorithms, so it's vital that you don't make your visitors wait unnecessarily when they visit your website.

The way your website is built has a big impact on load time, but the web server also plays a role. You therefore need to make sure that your web server can handle your traffic - even at peak times during busy periods - so that the web server is not overloaded. You also need to make sure that you don't share a web server with too many other customers, so that other customers don't cause the web server to become overloaded.

Read more about speed optimization.

5. Physical location

The physical location of the web server affects both the load time and the indexing of your website. The closer the web server is located to your visitors, the faster the load time will generally be. Therefore, the web server should be located in the same country or region as your target audience, if possible. For example, if your website is aimed at customers in Australia, you may want to choose a hosting company that has servers in Australia.

By choosing a web server located in the same area as your target audience, you also give Google a hint about who your audience is and which geographic searches your website is relevant for. For example, if you have a multinational website, you could create a sub-domain for each language and place the sub-domains on servers in the relevant geographical areas.

6. Security

In recent years, there have been increasing problems with malware (malicious code) infecting websites. In the vast majority of cases, the infection is caused by the applications (CMS systems, plugins, etc.) you have installed on your website, but it can also be caused by vulnerabilities on the web server. We therefore recommend that you choose a hosting company that has a high level of security on their web servers.

However, security must not be so high that you are excluded from installing the necessary applications (including CMS systems) on your web server. You must therefore be sure that the web server is compatible with the applications you intend to install. You should also make sure that the hosting company backs up your website regularly and that they can easily and quickly restore the backup in case of an accident.

7. Operating system

Most hosting companies offer two different operating systems on your web server:

  • Linux. The obvious choice for most small and medium-sized businesses. Costs are low, usability is high and the operating system works with virtually all open source software (including WordPress and a wide range of other CMS systems).
  • Windows. Primarily suitable for larger companies that use Windows-specific technologies (e.g. ASP, .NET and Microsoft Access) on their website. In the vast majority of cases you will not need these technologies.

Please note that the operating system on your computer has no bearing on the operating system you choose for your web server.

8. Shared or dedicated server

A shared web server is a web server you share with other customers. A dedicated web server is a web server that is 100% dedicated to you as a customer - you do not share the capacity with other customers.

Most small and medium-sized websites can do fine with a shared server, but the more people you share the server with, the greater the risk of server overload. This is especially true if you have peak traffic on your website that the web server is not designed to handle. Dedicated servers are typically very expensive, and unless you have a large website with a lot of traffic, it's not a solution we recommend.

9. SSL certificate

If you handle personal information about your customers on your website, your website should have an SSL certificate - not only for the security of your customers, but also because Google favours websites that value security. Find out what options your hosting company gives you for setting up SSL certificates on your web server and what the costs are. Read more about HTTPS.

10. Subdomains

A subdomain is an additional name added to your domain (for example blog.example.dk). Subdomains allow you to create sub-sections of your website and can be useful, for example, if you have a very complex and extensive website or if you have a multinational website in different languages (see point 5).

Check how many subdomains your hosting company allows you to create and what the costs are. In addition, if you need to place your subdomains on servers in other countries, check whether your hosting provider allows you to point the subdomain to another IP address (using a DNS record).

Read more about subdomains.

11. Canonization

Canonicalization is about making sure that each subpage on the website cannot be accessed via several different urls. If a subpage has multiple urls, it can have a number of negative consequences for your SEO and you risk losing valuable visitors.

You therefore need to decide whether your domain should be written with or without www (http://www.eksempel.dk or http://eksempel.dk), and once you have made a decision, you need to create a 301 redirect on your web server. On Linux servers this is easily done via an htaccess file. On Microsoft servers, this can be more difficult, in which case you should contact your hosting provider and make sure they can resolve the canonicalisation for you.

Read more about redirects.

Field compressed

Mark Molgaard

Partner & Senior SEO Specialist

Se forfatter

Get help with SEO

Do you need help with search engine optimisation (SEO), or are you considering whether it makes sense for your business to focus on SEO? Contact Henning Madsen for a no-obligation discussion about your SEO project.

Vi har modtaget din forespørgsel

Tak for din forespørgsel. Vi sætter pris på muligheden for at drøfte dit projekt. Du hører fra os inden for 1-2 hverdage

På gensyn

Step 1 / 3

close icon

    Step 1 / 3 - Select project type

    Get a dialogue about your project

    Send us an inquiry and have a dialogue about how we can help you with your project and your objectives.

    SEOGoogle AdsSocial MediaMarketing automationData & InsightsOther things

    Step 2 / 3 - Project information

    Describe your project as best you can

    Step 3 / 3 - Your information

    Please enter your information below

    Download our new SEO book
    Gain new knowledge about technical SEO