Hosting plans vary in size and capability. As many site owners opt to use the most basic of services to get started, they can quickly find themselves restricted. Over time, those shared basic plans become limiting.
How do you know when you’re ready to upgrade a hosting plan?
Actually, it all depends on what you’re trying to build and what you need. The purpose of most websites is to engage visitors. And once you grow to a certain level, those lesser hosting plans are less effective.
Why Upgrade Your Hosting Plan?
For the most part, a lot of people will start off with the most cost-effective solution for their needs. These “lite” accounts may provide what you need in the beginning, but what about a year from now?
After all, it’s doubtful you think to yourself, “Gee, I hope no one visits the website today.”
Most of you want to grow and develop a website that receives thousands of visits per day. Unfortunately, not all hosting plans are capable of sustaining such growth.
In some situations, you may have to pay extra to expand things like drive space or extra bandwidth to accommodate more visitors. This will become quite expensive over time, especially if you don’t take action.
When you start to outgrow your web hosting plan, problems will begin to develop.
Your website doesn’t need to permanently remain at a web hosting provider. In fact, it’s often easier to move the site as it is to move your office or into a new home.
Today, I’ll share with you 11 signs which demonstrate when to upgrade the hosting plan.
1. Site Becomes Slow
A slow website can lead to lost income and even hurt your online reputation. In fact, Google uses site speed as part of its metric for determining visibility in search. Which means faster websites are given a higher priority.
When your website is slow, you’re essentially giving traffic directly to your competitors.
Now there are plenty of things you can do to speed up a website. However, there’s only so much you can do to increase its performance. After a while, it may simply boil down to becoming too popular for your current hosting capabilities.
Sometimes the last course of action you can take is to upgrade the hosting plan.
2. You’re Receiving Lots of Traffic
Traffic plays a big role in the performance of any website. Whether people are coming to read blog posts or downloading free eBooks, this activity affects your allowed bandwidth.
If you’re surpassing a certain level of data, some hosts will tack on a surcharge or even throttle connections to make the site slower. In either instance, it can cost you money.
Imagine bandwidth as being a freeway leading to your content. The more traffic on this piece of road, the worse conditions become. Expanding the lanes would ease the tension, but not every host will do so without charging you extra.
3. Noticeable Frequent Downtime
In one second of downtime, major outlets like Amazon could lose more than $3,300 in sales. In the time it takes you to read this sentence, the company could lose more than $23,000.
Of course not all website will generate this kind of income, but it goes to show how a single second of downtime can affect the bottom line.
Also, keep in mind how downtime will affect trust in the brand. How often do you return to an online source if the site seems to be down every time you visit?
This says nothing about the affects downtime has on search engine optimization.
4. Inadequate Security Practices
The best web hosting providers will deliver as much security as possible. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. And you might find your site being bombarded by various attacks with little protection.
Part of delivering good security also includes easy methods to keep backups of your data. In the event of a disaster, whether it’s a hack or not, a backup can quickly help you restore the site before you lose too much in sales and visitor engagement.
Be vigilant when it comes to the safety and security of the website. Don’t assume you’re too small to get the attention of a hacker or a bot looking to attack any exploit.
5. Your Website Needs More Space to Grow
A common issue some people run into is not having enough drive space to store files. Videos, images and other downloadable files take up quite a bit of space. The longer you maintain your website, the more space you’ll need.
By themselves, web pages really don’t take up a lot of room on a server hard drive. It’s all the extras that wind up taking the most space.
In some cases, a web hosting provider may charge you for that extra space if you go beyond your set limit.
6. You Need Bandwidth for Apps and Data
Visitors viewing your content or downloading files isn’t the only thing that can eat up website bandwidth. Today, a lot of organizations will build and promote web-based apps and other online programs.
This transfer of data from the server to a user will take up some of the allotted bandwidth. If you develop a popular app, that bandwidth will be quickly exhausted.
What about creating mobile apps? Some will connect those programs to a website’s database to expand features and stored user information. In other words, a lot of those mobile apps will also tap the website’s bandwidth.
7. Hosting Starts to Get too Expensive
Like I mentioned earlier, some hosting providers will charge extra for additional drive space and bandwidth. But that’s not all. Some will lock tools, features and additions you’ll need for success behind additional charges.
When you start paying for all these add-ons, the hosting experience can start getting quite expensive. In some cases, it’s cheaper and easier to simply upgrade the hosting plan to something that gives you all available features.
These expenses can include everything from server space to third-party software because you need heightened security.
Calculate all the things you pay for your hosting and see if it’s worth upgrading.
8. Not Enough Options Available for Growth
A lot of people don’t consider some of the additions they’ll need as the website begins to take shape. What if you’re limited on the number of email accounts you can have? How many concurrent FTP users are possible?
When you’re lacking in options, you’re not being as efficient or productive.
Being able to change PHP versions, having access to updated software and having access to auto-installers are only a few things that make managing a website easier. And you might not have access to any of them.
Again, this is one of those points that really depend on what you’re building. But what if you have a personal blog that you want to expand to sell some homemade products? Do you have options and tools available to do so?
9. You Want to Expand and Add New Domains and Features
Many hosting plans out there will only support a single domain and a limited number of subdomains. This works great for something small, but it limits expanding into other niches and ideas.
For instance, my hosting account supports unlimited domains, subdomains, and email. I can literally build as large as I’d like into as many websites as I want.
In fact, I have three websites on a single account each focusing on a completely different industry.
My point is some hosting plans don’t let you expand in such a manner. Now, this is OK if you plan on building something simple without the potential for major growth.
However, you should never settle on merely having a mediocre site. Always aim for the stars and explore your online potential; sometimes this means expanding into new topics and services.
10. When Cost Becomes Less of an Issue
Perhaps the biggest reason why a lot of people start off with shared hosting plans or lack-luster services is because of cost. What they don’t often consider is how much these developers restrict their own growth.
At a certain point, however, you’ll need to consider how much more effective the site would be by upgrading the hosting plan.
Speed, security, space, and bandwidth affect how visitors engage your content. If the site isn’t as effective as it could be, you’ll easily lose more money than what an upgrade would cost.
In reality, upgrading the hosting plan has great potential to pay for itself in a relatively short amount of time.
11. When You Need Root Access for Certain Configurations
Many web hosts out there do not provide access to root functions or directories for the website. This means you’re unable to make modifications and configuration changes to improve the use of the website.
Now, root access does come with a lot of functionality. However, it’s not always necessary.
For example, many users want root access to improve performance of a website. In many instances, a scalable system can solve a lot of the same performance issues without requiring in-depth server knowledge or setting control.
Another issue is how much damage you can cause to a website with root access. Unless you have a firm grasp of what you’re doing, it’s very possible to hinder performance rather than improve it with root access.
Things to Look for When Upgrading a Hosting Plan
What makes a great web hosting plan? That entirely depends on your goals for growth. However, there are several aspects you should keep in mind when you decide to upgrade the hosting plan.
- Unlimited Growth Potential
You want a hosting plan that will expand with you. From visitor traffic to the use of images and videos, you need enough space and bandwidth to build your dream site.
- Solid Security Methods
Cybersecurity is a growing concern in today’s world. And you want a plan that has your best interests in mind to face threats of all kinds.
- Uses a Content Delivery Network
Hosting plans which give you access to a content delivery network, such as CloudFlare, boost performance of the site. This is essentially because copies of your site are shared with servers around the world.
- Cost-Effective Method for Scaling
When it is time to scale up to something bigger, you don’t want it to break the bank. You want a hosting plan that doesn’t feel like your being penalized simply because you’re getting more popular.
- Hosting Account Isolation
Some hosting plans offer Hosting Account Isolation. This means you have access to specific resources at all times regardless of any other sites on the same server. In other words, you’ll remain efficient even if a shared hosting account is generating a ton of traffic.
These are only a few of the elements you may want to keep an eye out for when upgrading. Not all web hosts are created equal, and many will skimp out on some features to keep costs low.
Be vigilant about what you want out of a hosting plan. Don’t settle for something simply because it might save you money in the here-and-now. It might save a bit of cash today, but the overall effects to traffic and online engagement might cost you more in the long run.
Should You Consider VPS Hosting?
A Virtual Private Server, or VPS, has great potential for vastly improving website performance. Instead of utilizing shared resources, you have access to greater processing power.
Keep in mind that if your pages take longer than four seconds to load, about 75% of people are more likely to abandon the site. This means you want the site as fast as possible.
However, a VPS isn’t always the best option depending on the situation.
For one thing, the Virtual Private Server requires far more overhead control and management. Sometimes this means hiring additional staff to maintain the VPS.
Many users would rather not use a VPS simply because it requires far more micro-management. Too many things can go drastically wrong if you don’t know what you’re doing.
Don’t get me wrong, the VPS is a great option. Just keep in mind how much more effort it will take to keep your website and email managed.
It’s All About Efficiency and Flexibility
A web hosting plan needs to be efficient and flexible enough for growth. While a cheaper solution may sound attractive to keep costs down, also keep in mind these platforms might also keep down the overall functionality of the site.
At GreenGeeks, we invest heavily into providing solutions to meet those requirements. From Lightspeed and Powercacher for speed to real-time scanning for security, it’s all about delivering the best services we can.
Upgrading a hosting plan is usually worth the investment just in visitor experience alone. Take a look at your current hosting and decide if it’s helping you growth or holding you back.