Whether you run an ecommerce store or website, or you regularly post marketing material on social networking profiles and blogs, it is important your host offers a high-speed internet connection. Otherwise, you will waste time and effort trying to keep everything up to date while battling with slow page loads.

Of course, there is a wide range of internet service providers and hosting companies to choose from, but there are several standout features you should look out for if you are about to launch online operations, or if you are on the hunt for a more reliable network.

First and foremost, a hosting company that owns its own fibre-optic network – therefore resulting in dedicated internet access with low latency and zero downtime, with no sharing – should be high up your agenda, if not at the top.

After all, the whole point of having an ecommerce platform or online operations in general is so consumers and clients can access products, services and any information they need whenever they require it. If they come to your site and find it has crashed or is running slow, their attention will soon wane.

Previous KISSmetrics infographics revealed it’s a costly mistake to let functionality, additional web content and attractive site design push page loading times to one side. Conversion can plummet by seven per cent due to a one-second page response delay, while 47 per cent of online shoppers expect pages to load in no more than two seconds. In addition, 40 per cent of consumers promptly leave a website if it takes more than three seconds to load.

An eye-catching and well-designed website (and even a huge selection of affordable products and services) cannot make up for a site that does not properly work and people are often willing to pay a little bit more at a rival’s store if it means the shopping experience goes a lot smoother. So, alongside picking a hosting company that owns its own network, you also need to look for one that provides the lowest possible network latency.

A smoother online experience is not only attractive to the customer, but they are more likely to recommend the website to their friends, family and other shoppers, whether by word of mouth, on social media or in forums.

This often goes hand in hand with owning a dedicated network, as fewer hops between point of presence and data centres means faster-loading pages, and reduced Google AdWords expenses (as the search engine giant penalises firms for slow pages).

Google AdWords allows you to choose keywords that are related to your business. When people search for these in the search engine, your ad could appear above or next to the search results. This may then lead to individuals clicking through to your site. You only pay if your advert is clicked on, meaning it is a cost-effective tool. However, Google needs to ensure the companies it advertises have a quality website, which is why it charges more for this service if your pages do not load in a sufficient timeframe.

Another feature to look out for when searching for speedy internet services is a hosting provider that enjoys a direct path through its peers, bypassing traffic bottlenecks. This improves the performance of your website when accessed from a broadband line as your connection will hop from the host’s peer to its network. This means faster page loads, which in turn leads to your ecommerce site being more attractive to use.

Finally, while a speedy network is of paramount importance for online operations, so too is a secure one. Choosing a provider that owns its network means it is well placed to quickly and efficiently deal with attacks, such as denial of service ones. Traffic surges can be distributed at speed, helping to keep your website running and giving you peace of mind that the network is secure.