Shared hosting is, by far, the most popular hosting solution around. For many website owners, it provides all the resources they need while being very inexpensive. There may come a time, however, when there are clear signals that it is necessary to find a more powerful solution, like VPS, dedicated server or cloud. Here, we’ll look at the five signs that indicate its time to upgrade your web hosting.
1. Your website is growing in popularity
The goal of most businesses is to have a website that becomes very popular with lots of new and regular visitors. It’s these visitors that will bring in the income your company needs to survive and prosper. While growing popularity is great news, it should also be a time to closely monitor how your website performs when it’s busy. Every time a visitor lands on your site, clicks on a link or interacts with features on the page, your server will have more work to do. If you have so many visitors that it begins to perform sluggishly it’s a sign that you need to upgrade.
The reason is that over-busy servers slow down the loading times and performance of your site. This can give a poor impression to visitors and even force them to abandon your site completely, potentially losing you sales. This is most likely to happen on shared hosting where the server’s resources are shared out among many different users. Indeed, the performance of your own site could be impacted by someone else’s website being very busy.
2. You are running out of disk space
Most websites don’t need a lot of disk space and there’s usually ample storage on a shared hosting plan for the site’s platform (WordPress, Magento, etc.), themes, plugins and content. However, some sites do need to upgrade in order to expand their storage capacity.
Sites can need more storage for a variety of reasons, for example, when they add lots of content, such as a blog; publishing lots of user-generated content, as with a forum; sell a wide range of products; collect significant amounts of user data or have lots of large files, like videos and images.
If you get a warning from your web host that you are approaching your storage capacity limit, then it is time to upgrade to a solution that has plenty of growing room for your future needs. Without extra space, your site will perform less well and won’t be able to grow.
3. Your website regularly goes offline
If you have a website, the expectancy is that it is always online. Such reliability ensures you don’t lose business and that your online reputation remains intact. Most web hosts guarantee a minimum 99.9% uptime, with the 0.1% downtime being used to carry out important maintenance, such as updating the operating system or installing security patches.
Unfortunately, continual availability isn’t always a reality. Busy neighbours on shared hosting plans might use so many of the server’s resources that your site crashes completely from time to time. Alternatively, your host might be using old hardware that is prone to breaking down and needs regular server maintenance. HDD drives, for example, with their mechanically spinning disks, are much more likely to fail than a solid-state drive (SSD) that has no moving parts.
If you monitor your site’s availability and find there are regular periods when it goes offline, then it is time to upgrade.
4. You want to host additional websites
Although not everyone needs or wants to host multiple websites, lots of companies do. They may want sites in different languages with domains targeting different countries, e.g. mybusiness.co.uk, mybusiness.fr, mybusiness.de, or your company could evolve and need specialised websites for its different products or services.
Most shared hosting solutions limit how many websites you can host and if you reach your maximum, you will need to upgrade. Perhaps a more important reason to upgrade, however, is that every website you launch will increase the resources your hosting plan uses: storage, CPU, RAM and bandwidth. So, even if you are under the limit in terms of the number of websites you are allowed, you may be affecting the performance of them all if you run too many on a small package.
5. You cannot use your plan to do the things you want
The very nature of shared hosting means web hosts need to put some restrictions in place to ensure that all users on the server enjoy good service. For the vast majority of users, this isn’t a problem as the restrictions apply to the use of resource-hungry applications or workloads and over how the server is configured.
If you need a configuration that is different to how the shared server is set up or wish to use your server to run resource-heavy applications, e.g. running a streaming website, game server or ad server, it is likely you will not be allowed to do so on shared hosting as it could negatively impact other users on the server. In which case, you’ll need to upgrade.
What are the options?
If you need to upgrade your hosting plan, there are four options you can choose from. The most basic and not the solution for all circumstances, is simply to upgrade to a larger shared hosting plan that offers you more resources and the option to run more websites. You may even benefit from upgrading to a shared hosting plan that is specialised for your platform, like WordPress hosting.
For most companies, the next step up is VPS hosting. Still relatively inexpensive, it gives you all the power and resources of a mini-dedicated server, plus the freedom to configure the server and run the software that you wish. For those with even greater needs, there are high-performance, large storage dedicated servers or 100% uptime, scalable and cost-effective cloud hosting solutions.
For more information about the different options, visit our homepage.