When should you upgrade your hosting plan?
Whether you’re a web designer or a plumber, your website is your ‘front of house’ and it plays a vital role in making a good first impression on clients.
Just like a blood and bone front of house wouldn’t introduce themselves to potential customers in a suit they’d outgrown, you don’t want to greet visitors to your website with an online offering that relies on a hosting package it has outgrown.
So here’s everything you need to know about assessing your site to see if you need to switch up your hosting plan, and how to identify a hosting plan that’s better suited to your needs.
Why you might need to upgrade your hosting plan
Website growth is what every business owner wants. If more people are visiting and converting, you’re clearly doing something right and the future will look rosy. However, being unprepared for your new-found popularity can have knock-on effects down the line.
If you’re a new business, it’s likely that you run your sites using shared hosting. This kind of plan is often considered to be a ‘basic’ package, although it will do everything a start-up small business requires. It can handle the levels of site traffic that are commonly associated with new businesses with ease and will generally run smoothly. It’s also much more budget-friendly than alternative plans.
Shared hosting is suitable for many applications. However, it’s unlikely to remain suitable as your website starts to grow. For example, shared plans are not equipped to deal with high levels of site traffic, nor do they provide access to some of the resources you’ll need in the future.
So let’s discuss the tell-tale signs of needing to switch your plan.
3 signs that it’s time for a hosting upgrade
1. You’re concerned about your site’s security
When you’re using a reputable hosting company, you can rest easy knowing that your site is well protected. However, for extra peace of mind, some people choose to move to a less populated server.
On a shared hosting plan, your website is sharing the same server and IP address as many other websites. This means if they experience a security breach, it could potentially affect your site too. This is especially true of information-based breaches, such as DDoS attacks. A less populated server will mean there’s less risk of any such issues arising.
2. Your site is sluggish
The time it takes your page to load is vitally important. 47 per cent of users expect a website to load in under two seconds and if you cross this line, your bounce rate could rise.
There are numerous site aspects that can cause slow loading times, although an insufficient hosting plan can be a major contributor. As we said, a shared hosting plan deals with multiple requests at the same time. As a result, a website on this plan will take longer to load which could affect your visitors’ experiences.
Fortunately, you can test your current loading speed by using the Google PageSpeed Insights tool. A good result is generally between 50 and 100. If your site dips below this, it may be time for an upgrade.
3. Your site’s growth requires further resources or features
A higher-tier hosting plan will also grant you access to more advanced features and functionality. These can vary between plans, though they will nearly always include full access to your server. This means you won’t have to share it with as many users – or any in some cases – freeing up the available resources.
Full access to your server will also enable you to tweak the settings as you see fit. This is especially important for those working under the hood of a website.
Many hosting providers will also include regular site backups as part of their service, though this may vary depending on your chosen plan. Backing up your site on a regular basis is incredibly important, not to mention a basic concern. It can also help you right the ship on more serious issues, such as malicious attacks, and if your current site is compromised, a recent backup will be a godsend.
What your hosting plan upgrade options are
Fortunately, there are numerous hosting packages available, making it easy to find a better-equipped option for your needs.
Let’s quickly look at some of the upgrade options at your disposal:
- VPS hosting. This is considered a ‘step up’ from shared hosting as it offers improved performance and greater control. A VPS hosting environment mimics a dedicated server within a shared hosting environment, so you have greater access to available resources at a lower cost. This makes it an ideal fit for businesses who are just beginning to grow in size.
- Dedicated hosting. Having your own server is a great option for well-established businesses that bring in a high volume of traffic. All of the available resources are yours to use – meaning your site will be highly responsive and powerful.
- Cloud hosting. This draws on resources from multiple servers to keep your website running smoothly. This means it can be faster and more flexible than shared hosting. Cloud hosting best suits those who operate smaller blogs or businesses with the intention of expanding in size in the near future.
Regardless of the plan you opt for, it’s important to make sure you always select a reputable host. Using a high-quality hosting provider will mean you’re always receiving the best level of service.
Though your first hosting plan will have served you well, it’s unlikely to be a good fit for the entirety of your site’s existence. Taking the time to assess any issues, and researching alternate options, will enable you to preserve the user experience of your site – no matter its eventual size.
In this post, we’ve discussed some of the signs that it might be time for an upgrade:
- You’re becoming increasingly concerned about site security
- You’re experiencing slow loading times
- You now require further resource or additional features