5 Questions to Determine If You’ve Outgrown Your Web Hosting
Web hosting can seem like a commodity these days. You just choose the amount of disk space and bandwidth you need, and you’re up and running. Whereas before there were all sorts of limitations imposed on you, nowadays you are spoiled with choices, and hosting costs have become almost inconsequential for most businesses.
But thinking that web hosting is a commodity like electricity or gas is a big mistake. The simple fact is that web hosting has a lot of moving parts, and they all need to work in harmony to deliver a high quality, uninterrupted service. Choosing a low cost host might seem like a rational choice but in fact it could be a false economy due to the harm that it can cause your business.
So let’s look at four factors you need to take into consideration to help you understand if your web hosting is in fact helping your business or holding it back.
1. What are your website load times?
Load speed is the speed at which your website loads. There are a number of sites where you can measure your PageSpeed. Load speed is important for a number of reasons. Primarily, because faster loading websites offer a better user experience than slow ones. Put simply, people hate waiting for a page to load.
But it’s not just desktop users. We have reached the tipping point where mobile browsing has overtaken desktop and laptop browsing – 51 percent over 42 percent in the US in 2015. And if there’s one thing that mobile users demand it’s fast websites.
Google understands this, and that’s why it specifically state that site speed is one of the variables that it measures as part of its overall search algorithm. It won’t tell us how much of a ranking factor load speed represents, but it doesn’t often shed light on its algorithm so when it does it’s worth taking note.
Now, without getting into too much detail about what makes up load speed, there are dozens of factors involved, many of them design related. These are the tweaks that an experienced, and usually expensive, web developer needs to make to the code of your website.
The bottom line? Speeding up your website can get expensive and takes time. But one area where you can get fast results is the type of web hosting you choose. By upgrading to either Solid State Drive (SSD) hosting or switching to a Virtual Private Server (VPS) you can dramatically improve your loadspeed at a fraction of the cost of overhauling your site’s code.
2. Do you have noisy neighbors?
Nobody likes noisy neighbors. They’re anti-social, noisy and tend to bring the tone of the neighborhood down.
The same is true in web hosting. The thing is that if your host is offering as much diskspace and bandwidth as you need for just a couple of bucks a month then guess what? You’re not alone on that server.
This is a real problem. Your host isn’t going to publicize it, but there will always be people on that type of offer who will still be pushing the envelope as far as they can. They’ll be the ones trying to eek out every last ounce of processing power from their $2 per month hosting. Maybe they’re using the server to blast out emails to their list or maybe they’re running dozens of RAM hungry scripts for their multiple affiliate sites.
Whatever they’re doing, one thing is for sure. A small minority of noisy neighbors will be hogging the server’s key resources and often having a detrimental impact on the server’s performance.
Sure, there are tools like CloudLinux, which acts as a limiter on the power that individual clients can access, but you need to know that your host has these types of mitigators in place.
3. What’s the IP reputation?
If the server you are hosted on is detected sending spam or hosting malware then the chances are that it’s IP address is going to get blacklisted. That’s bad news for you because that can affect a range of factors from email deliverability to your search ranking.
4. Do you have sluggish performance during peaks?
If you’re hosted on a shared server, and you’ve got a busy ecommerce website then maybe you’re starting to notice sluggish performance at peak times or during busy seasonal periods.
If so the chances are that your RAM hungry shopping cart application is just running out of juice. The thing is that shared hosting is intended to meet the needs of the majority. That means that key server resources, such as CPU and RAM, are shared evenly amongst all the websites on that server. As a result you just have to wait in the queue to get the power you need.