Your website is your moneymaker, whether you’re involved directly in an ecommerce business or you have an online portfolio for your writing clips or design work. Every website has a purpose, and is built to inform, ignite interest and, ultimately, generate revenue. When it comes to your website, there’s just about as much as you can do right that you can do wrong, and unfortunately, no matter how much time and effort you put into your site, some things are out of your control.
Without a reliable hosting provider, you run the risk of getting slammed with problems that are no fault of your own. And no matter how cheap or expensive your hosting is, after too many issues, it’s time to pack up your digital property and move elsewhere. Switching hosting providers can seem daunting, but it doesn’t have to be complicated. But before you make the switch, it’s important to understand what you’re looking for:
What To Look For Before You Buy Hosting
It’s important to know what you need before you make any hosting decisions. If your website needs special hosting, you’ll need a hosting provider that can support you. Some websites needs a specific version of software, like PHP, and others need a simple WordPress site. If you’re running an ecommerce site, you’ll need shopping cart functions and credit card processing capabilities. Most people new to building a website start off with shared hosting, as they don’t need many resources and likely want to stay cost-effective.
Another thing you can do before making a purchase is check the server reliability and uptime. There are a few online tools that allow you to do this. What you’re looking for is a host with a reliable network uptime of at least 99.5%. That might seem high, but anything less is unacceptable. A few seconds of downtime can be catastrophic for many businesses, and you shouldn’t accept anything less. Lastly, make sure you know how much you’re paying upfront versus the cost of contract renewal.
When It’s Time To Switch Hosting Providers
1) You Experience An Outage
A server outage is the first sign you get that your hosting provider doesn’t have the proper capabilities to keep your site running smoothly. Let’s say you sell office supplies online and have a Cyber Monday sale. Suddenly, you experience a huge spike in traffic and your site crashes. You can’t afford to lose out on those customers.
One Inc. article refered to store downtime as the “ecommerce kiss of death” — and for good reason. Roughly 22% of sales can be lost due to outages, but the holistic damage is much more off-putting. When you experience an outage (whether you’re a business, service, or personal brand), you take a hit to your reputation and brand image, loss of productivity, and cost of determining the failure and restoring it via technical support.
2) Your Hosting Provider Can’t Scale With Your Business
When your website starts to grow, you expect your hosting provider to be able to support that growth, but this isn’t always the case. Scalability is crucial for businesses, and you have to be prepared for growth, even when you aren’t expecting it (like these 12 brands that went viral unexpectedly). A great hosting provider is usually quick on their trail when they notice a website is experiences traffic spikes and might need an additional server and new hosting plan. Other times, you’ll have to reach out on your own.
Unfortunately, there are some hosting horror stories on the Web that show even when you warn some providers about spikes in traffic, you still experience slow loading pages and outages during crucial times. It also shouldn’t be your responsibility to constantly call your provider to fix issues related to server performance and web traffic.
3) Your Information Isn’t Secure
It’s very important that you feel secure with your website and its information when working with a hosting provider. There are a few security questions you can ask your hosting provider before you finalize the deal to help increase your confidence. This is especially true when you handle sensitive data and process credit card transactions. You want your information and that of your customers to be safe. The year 2015 saw a major spike in data breaches and ransomware attacks (particularly in the healthcare industry), and without a reliable host, you make it easy for hacker’s to penetrate your firewalls and steal valuable information. If just one breach occurs, it’s time to move on to the next best option.