How’s your web hosting plan treating you these days? Hopefully, it’s doing what it’s supposed to do, but if you see yourself (or your website) in any of these signs, it may be time to trade up.
Here are eight telltale signs it’s time to upgrade your web hosting.
1. Your site’s slowing down.
Slow sites are frustrating. Visitors are more likely to bounce if your site doesn’t load in a couple of seconds. And search engines will display your site lower in search results if your site takes a long time to load.
That means fewer people get to see what your site offers. If you’ve already checked and optimized your core web vitals, you may need a new hosting plan—one that has faster server response times or a content delivery network to optimize your site speed.
2. You need to add images and videos—a lot of them—to your website.
Everyone loves graphics, photos and videos, and everyone wants them to load, like, now. Optimizing your media content with lazy load, compression and proper formatting can go a long way toward speeding up your site, but at some point, you may have more media than your current hosting plan can handle.
If that sounds like you, it may be time to move from shared hosting to a cloud hosting plan that delivers faster performance.
3. You’re expecting a big surge in traffic soon.
Planning a product launch? Opening your membership site to new people? Got a marketing campaign in the works that you’re pretty sure is going to kill it?
Make sure your site is ready for more traffic than you usually get. When new shoppers, members, and social media followers pop over to your place, the last thing you want them to see is an error message—or a site that takes more than a couple of seconds to load.
Before your big drop, check to make sure your site gives you enough bandwidth to serve more traffic, and find out if that bandwidth is metered. If you’re expecting a temporary surge of traffic, a metered-bandwidth plan that scales up in real time—or a plan with more bandwidth—may be what you need.
4. You’re growing fast and will have consistently higher traffic soon.
What if you’re not expecting a traffic spike but a permanent increase in visitor volume? In that case, rather than rely on your host to scale you up when you need it, it probably makes more financial and technical sense to go ahead and get a plan with more resources.
If you’re growing fast, have a dedicated webmaster, and have the budget, a dedicated server plan with unmetered disk space and bandwidth may be the best option. These plans also come with DDoS protection, a choice of hard drives, and firewalls. They also give you complete control over how you allocate your server resources. And you can opt for managed hosting by tech pros or semi-managed for a more DIY approach.
5. You want the built-in security features and upgrades that come with managed hosting.
Even if you have a small one-product ecommerce store, a portfolio site or a simple site for your local business, security matters. While your site may not seem like a prime target for malicious activity, the fact is that there are plenty of bad bots out there trying to automatically generate mayhem.
So, if your site is on a basic hosting plan, it might be worth upgrading to managed hosting. For example, managed WordPress hosting takes care of known WordPress vulnerabilities as they’re discovered. This kind of plan also automatically backs up customers’ websites so they can be restored if there’s ever a crash or a malware attack. Managed WordPress plans also include automated scans for malware and removal if it’s found on your site, to stop problems before they start.
6. You need a sandbox or demo sites for your clients.
When you’re playing around with new ideas, especially for your clients’ websites, you need a workspace with enough resources to try things out and enough customizability to do what you want. A virtual private server (VPS) plan is ideal for setting up this kind of sandbox environment, where you can experiment before making any changes to your site—or to your clients’.
And if you want a place to set up demo sites for your clients, a VPS can be handy if you have a small number of simple sites to demo. For more sites—especially for resource intensive sites with lots of media—a reseller plan may be what you need. Speaking of reseller plans…
7. You’re running multiple websites for different clients.
If you’re a fledgling web designer or developer, you may have started out by adding your client’s domains to your shared hosting plan. That can work OK, until it doesn’t.
If you’re managing multiple clients’ domains from one cPanel, you might want to go ahead and upgrade your hosting plan for a few important reasons:
A reseller plan makes your sites and your clients’ sites more secure. That’s because on a reseller plan, each of your clients can have their own cPanel. That means when they log in to make updates, the only domains they can access are theirs.
You can allocate server resources more precisely. On a reseller plan, you get to choose the amount of bandwidth and disk space that each client can use. That allows you to fine-tune what you offer your customers, and it can let you price your services accordingly.
When one of your clients exceeds their resource limit, only their site will face restrictions if you’re on a reseller plan. If your clients are all on your shared cPanel, excess resource usage by one of them can affect all of them.
8. The holiday sales season is coming.
It happens every year: Retailers pour tons of time and creative energy into planning deals and ordering merchandise to bring in holiday shoppers—and then a few of them suffer major site slowdowns or crashes when the shoppers show up.
Holiday-season site outages are frustrating for customers and expensive for merchants. They’re also avoidable in most cases.
Because Black Friday and Cyber Monday can be a stress test for your website and your hosting plan, it’s smart to plan now to make sure you pass that exam.
- Do your site pages load fast, even on mobile, and even when those pages include high-resolution images and videos?
- Does your hosting plan allow you to scale up your capacity quickly in case of a surge of site visitors?
- Is your customer base and social media audience larger now than it was before last year’s holiday season?
- Has your web hosting provider kept your site up consistently now? If there’s been any downtime, was it resolved fast?
- Does your hosting plan include web security to keep malicious code and scammers out of your site?
If you answered “no” to any of these questions, it may be time to do some homework and upgrade to a new hosting plan before the holiday sales season hits.
See yourself in any of the other signs? Ready to consider your upgrade options? Compare our hosting plans to find the best one for you.
Casey is the Senior Director of Marketing for Hosting and has been in the web hosting space for 7 years. He loves the slopes and hanging out with his kids.