Hosting is a foundational component of your site. A good hosting team can help guide and support you through big changes, such as Google’s upcoming algorithm change incorporating Core Web Vitals. Your host can make optimizations where needed, provide advice and support on themes and plugins, and much more.
A good host is not the only decision you’ll make on your Core Web Vitals improvement journey, but it is certainly an important step. And it’s certainly one that can support you through that entire process.– Scott Stapley, CEO & Co-Founder of BigScoots
Hosting & Core Web Vitals: quality hosting can reduce loading time and increase site responsiveness
Better hosting can mean faster load times, which can boost your Core Web Vitals scores.
Updating your hosting service isn’t a cure-all, but it’s a great first step to take when addressing Core Web Vitals, so make sure your current host is meeting your needs (here’s how).
Hosting & Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)
Largest Contentful Paint is a very important metric for user experience. LCP measures how long a site takes to load the largest piece of content within the page’s viewport. It’s a great indicator of how long the page takes to load from a reader’s perspective.
To get a good score as measured by Google, you need to get LCP time to 2.5 seconds or less.
LCP is the only Core Web Vital that involves your web host and fetching info from the server, while the other metrics are measured inside the Chrome browser. Sites suffering from poor LCP should investigate hosting as a possible cause and solution.
A good host helps with LCP by:
- Allowing your content to load quicker for the reader meaning you have a happy reader and a happy Google
- Helping you identify potential issues with plugins or themes that may negatively impact your LCP scores
- Getting you up and running with a CDN
- Providing some image optimization support
Hosting & Time to First Byte (TTFB)
While a good TTFB doesn’t guarantee a fast website, a poor TTFB is a great predictor of a slow one.– Harry Roberts, CSS Wizardry
Time to First Byte may not be one of the three Core Web Vitals, but it’s another metric to keep an eye on, as it can impact your overall site speed and Core Web Vitals scores, specifically LCP.
TTFB measures how long the browser must wait before receiving the first byte of data from the server. A “good” TTFB score is under 500 milliseconds.
According to Kinsta, making the switch to a faster host could decrease your site’s TTFB by up to 200%!
A good host helps with TTFB by:
- Helping you implement a CDN to boost performance
- Optimizing your DNS to reduce latency
- Setting up page caching on your site
Hosting & First Input Delay (FID) + Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)
First Input Delay measures how quickly a site becomes responsive to the reader — a good FID score means a site is responsive in 100 milliseconds or less. Cumulative Layout Shift measures how much your page shifts around as it renders. Your goal there is to have a CLS score under 0.1. Strong scores for both of these metrics help you give your readers a good user experience.
These two signals are less likely to be impacted by your host as they are only measured inside the browser — they’re not measuring anything related to your server. You can be on the best host in the world and still have a poor FID score.
That said, an attentive host may provide guidance or general insight into what they see across their network of sites.
For example, they may have insights on reducing render-blocking issues or identifying plugins that are causing loading troubles. And good hosting will provide things like proper page caching to help speed up your overall site performance.
10 optimizations your host should perform to boost page speed and Core Web Vitals scores
You want your hosting server to deliver your content as fast as possible. The checklist below is a great starting point — ask your host these questions to make sure your site is optimized for speed:
Checklist to send to your host:
- Am I on the right plan for my site?
- Is caching enabled? Is it functioning properly?
- Is HTTP/2 turned on?
- Is my CDN set up and working properly for my site?
- Is my DNS query speed optimized?
- Are we running TLS 1.3?
- Can you defragment my database and optimize my server settings?
- Can you disable resource-intensive services?
- Is Brotli compression enabled on my site (vs Gzip)?
- Should I be using a premium DNS provider?
Your Core Web Vitals roadmap
Knowledge is power! Start here:
Dig deeper to understand each metric and why it’s important for user experience:
- What is Largest Contentful Paint (LCP)?
- What is First Input Delay (FID)?
- What is Cumulative Layout Shift (CLS)?
Benchmark your site’s Core Web Vitals, so you understand your starting position:
Make a step-by-step plan to improve Core Web Vitals:
- Your four-step playbook for diagnosing and improving Core Web Vitals + a handy one-sheet to go over with your developer or host
Tackle low-hanging fruit:
- How to choose the right hosting service for a speedy site
- 5 tell-tale signs you’ve outgrown your hosting service
- How a good host can help boost page speed and improve Core Web Vitals [You are here!]
- How switching to a high-quality host can improve Core Web Vitals [Case Study]
- Use a CDN to help speed up your site
- 23 optimizations to improve your page speed and Core Web Vitals scores