One of the greatest challenges that accompanies running a website is answering the question of whether you have sufficient hosting. Not only does your host have to be able to handle the current load that your site takes, it needs to hold up to future growth. The simple fact is that choosing the wrong host can wreck havoc on your website. When that proves to be the case, the only option is to switch web host. If you already have a host, it’s important to watch out for the signs that it’s time to make a change. If you’re currently looking, here are a few things to keep in mind.
The biggest problem that faces the average website is capacity. Is the current hosting option sufficient in terms of storage and available bandwidth? If you don’t have enough storage, the site will begin to experience failures as the system struggles to make do with what little space it has left. If your hosting provider isn’t allocating enough bandwidth, the site will slow down or even become unavailable to visitors.
Both represent major problems. In the age of high-speed Internet access, visitors just don’t wait very long for sites to load. Long wait times lead to growing quit rates. Once visitors start quitting, advertising, subscription and sales revenues drop too. That leads to an ugly feedback loop. You can’t afford the extra capacity upgrades you need because you don’t have revenue, but you need extra capacity just to sustain your current revenues.
If a site struggles with load times for too many days in a row, the major search engines will begin to deprioritize it. What was a bad problem is about to become worse, since revenues will now drop even more. The server may actually settle down into a stable state once enough visitors have disappeared and stopped burdening it. From a functionality standpoint, that’s great. But a less savvy website own may not even detect why the drop in visitors happened, leading to misdirected efforts to fix the problem.
Lack of Alternative Hosting Options
Web hosting service providers are slowly beginning to realize that solving capacity issues is a bigger part of the job than they ever knew. In many cases, the solution isn’t to switch web host, but to offload the burden of hosting. This means storing stuff like images and large video files on the cloud or in a content delivery network.
Where this gets tricky is if your web hosting company is behind the times. CDN and cloud hosting options are growing, but many smaller or older hosting firms simply lack the capability or will to offer them. While a third-party solution is one way to go, generally you want to keep all of your hosting with one company and on one bill, if possible. In many cases, if your site has grown to the point that you’re thinking about using a CDN or cloud-based solution, it may be wise to search for a provider tat can deliver that as a single package along with the main web server.
Uptime matters; it’s a pure and simple fact. The entire point of building a website is to make information available and options accessible. If your web hosting firm is having trouble keeping its network live, there’s little hope for them keeping your site live.
These types of outages can occur for a variety of reasons. A company may have an outdated infrastructure that can’t keep up. The servers it uses to route traffic may have security vulnerabilities that are creating traffic problems. It may simply have run out IP addresses or equipment and can no longer keep up with growth.
It doesn’t matter why they’re having that problem. What matters is that you need to start looking for a new hosting provider.
Insufficient New Technologies
The face of the Internet is changing rapidly these days. Mobile applications have become a big deal, and the hosting software stack needed to handle them is different. If you’re looking to support the underlying feed for a mobile, you don’t want to be doing that work with something like PHP 5 from a five-year-old server installation. You want to start looking for a way to run something like Node.JS. If you’re hosting provider hasn’t stayed current with mobile trends, it may be hard to implement a Node.JS server on your existing system. There comes a point where the simplest solution is to move on.
Even if you’re an extremely self-reliant programmer who knows how to admin a larger set of servers, customer support matters. There’s no way to avoid the eventuality of contacting customer service at your web hosting provider. Even if you have the capacity to handle everything yourself, at some stage you’re going to need a support professional to turn something on or off for you on an account. If the support team isn’t up to the task, take that as a sign to go looking elsewhere.
The decision to switch web host can feel painful, but it’s often the best choice available. As painful as the process can seem, the relief that comes from making a change is worth it if you can find the right company to do the job. The increased responsiveness of your website will grow your audience and revenues while also attracting greater interest from search engines. You’ll be able to implement more modern solutions too, such as adding a CDN to handle load or creating a feed to support a mobile app.
It’s a lot of work to make the switch, and you definitely want to do your research before pulling the trigger. Fortunately, you can take the list of things that might prompt a switch and convert it quickly into a list of things to look for in a new hosting provider. With a small investment of time and research, you can find a website hosting company that can deliver the consistent results that you desire.