Switching website hosts is always a scary proposition. You never really know how good a new host is going to be until you start using their services. There are limitations to every host, and these conditions are often very difficult to uncover until you’ve started to use the services. When things are running great with your website, you’ll likely be the happiest customer around. However, when things go wrong, that’s when your host really shows how dedicated it is to serving your needs.
1. The Web Hosting Speed
You may find that you have unlimited bandwidth, no limits on maximum concurrent connections, thousands of databases and unlimited disk space with a new host. All of this sounds great until you realize that your hosting company has extremely slow servers. The result is that your website is too slow to load and customers leave your site in droves. Web hosting speed is important to the success of your website. Search engines may downgrade your website based on how fast it runs. A slower website provides a less beneficial user experience. People have switched hosts only to find that their website suddenly plummets in the search engine rankings. If your site takes too long to load, your visitors aren’t going to wait around.
2. Support Tickets Go Unresolved
Some hosting companies offer you exceptional response times during your guarantee period, but help is nowhere to be found as soon as the period lapses. It’s important to test out the response time of a new host before switching website hosts. Ask questions about the server, even if the information is already available on the website. Judge the quality of their service by the detail and helpfulness of their responses. If you don’t get a response for a few days when you’re not a customer, don’t expect the host to suddenly start providing better service after you’ve paid them. Hosts that are dedicated to their customers have the resources and staff to respond to inquiries and questions at all stages of customer retention.
3. Hidden Costs Associated With Switching
If you get a host that offers extremely low fees, they are making up for that cost somewhere. It’s possible they don’t have reliable uptime, they may sell ads on your website, or they may charge and arm and a leg for extra services. Charging for each domain name on a website is pretty standard among lower-priced services. Determine the entire cost before you sign up so you’re not surprised by your first bill. Some hosts may charge you for going over your resource limits and not tell you or give you an option to opt-out. You may also find that certain tasks required to get your website up and running will require a separate fee. A good hosting company should clearly outline what their technical support can help you with, and they should only charge you extra for premium services like a professional website design.
4. Incompatible Server Software
After carefully making all of your backups for your website, you’re about to upload it to the new server and you get an error message. This could be because the new server doesn’t offer the same software as the old one. Perhaps you can use the same database names as the old server, and you have to manually configure several PHP files to correct the issue. There may even be restrictions you were unaware of that only become apparent after moving. Talk with your host ahead of time and tell them exactly what you want to do. This way you can ensure there are no compatibility issues.
5. The Truth About Unlimited Plans
You’ll see hosts continually promote their unlimited hosting plans, and it seems like a good deal until you look at the fine print. Even if you do scour the hosting FAQs and service terms for information, you may not know how exactly the host maintains the reliability of their servers. The host is planning on you not getting a lot of traffic. The fact is, most websites out there rarely get visited at all. They will pack thousands of websites on a single server, and put restrictions on things like CPU usage, memory, and database connections. These are all subtle ways to limit your bandwidth and usage.
6. Free Automatic Backups
Some hosts offer automatic backups of your site and promise to give you unlimited disk space. The backups go smoothly for a while and you think everything is great. You stop making your own backups of the website, and then the entire server goes down. You think to yourself that it’s no problem, your host was making daily automatic backups. Then, you learn that the host only backs up sites that have less than a certain number of nodes. Generally speaking, this means that if your disk usage exceeds some hidden size, you won’t be getting any more backups. You’re now out a website and have to rebuild the entire site from scratch.
7. The Lie of Unlimited Applications
If you’re a heavy CMS or LMS user, you may find out after you’ve built your site that you can’t run it on the host’s server. These sites often require large amounts of RAM. If you exceed the maximum available for the server, your site will either start returning error messages or slow to a complete crawl. This can be a death knell for your business. When you contact your host, they will tell you that you need to have a VPS to host your website. This amounts to a largely inflated cost, and you may just break down and upgrade so that you don’t have to move to a new server.
Sometimes the devil you know is definitely better than the devil you don’t know. However, if you research your options, you can make the process of switching website hosts a simple and relatively painless process. It’s important to evaluate your current and potential hosts, so you know what you’re really getting from the service.