Do I Need a New Web Host? How to Know When It’s Time to Migrate Your Site

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When it comes to running a website, choosing the right hosting company is one of the most critical decisions you have to make. It can also be overwhelming — there are dozens of providers, tons of acronyms you might not understand, and pricing that isn’t always transparent, as many hosts offer deep discounts for the first contract terms. In addition, the needs of your website might change over time. A shared hosting plan might be just fine when your site is small without much traffiс. But you may experience slow load times once your site grows. Or limited storage might prevent you from uploading content like videos or large image files.  Migrating hosts might seem like an overwhelming process. However, moving to a more suitable host can save you money and open the door for continued growth. How do you know it is time to throw in the towel and move the site to a new host? Here are seven signs the time is now. 

1. Too Much Down Time 

Downtime refers to any time your site is unavailable to users. This can occur for a number of reasons, including server upgrades, unreliable hosting equipment, and hacking or malware issues. It is one of the main factors most site owners consider when examining web hosting reviews.1

Even if your site is only down for a few seconds at a time, it can cause major issues. Users can start to think your site is unreliable and may not return. Search engines may lower your site’s ranking, resulting in less traffic. E-commerce sites, in particular, need reliable hosts with high uptimes. Every time your site is down, you could be losing out on thousands of dollars in sales. 

If your host does not offer an uptime guarantee, or if they continuously fail to meet their guarantee, it is time to look for a more reliable web host option. 

Keep in mind there is a huge difference in actual uptime. For example, 99% uptime means your site could be down for over seven hours a month, while a 99.99% uptime means your site would be down for less than five minutes. That 0.99% can have a huge impact on your business! 

2. Performance Is Lacking 

Successful websites tend to start small and grow over time. As you add more content to your site, optimize it for SEO, or run ads, your traffic and storage requirements are likely to grow. Unfortunately, your old hosting plan may not be up to your current needs.

Cheaper hosting plans, in particular, tend to place lower limits on storage or traffic, which can restrict your site’s potential. This is true whether your hosting plan is “unlimited” or not.

If your site is running slowly or if your traffic is hitting the limits of your plan, it may be time to look at upgrading. In some cases, you may be able to upgrade from, for example, a shared hosting plan to a VPS (virtual private server) or even a dedicated server. 

However, if your current host specializes in shared hosting, they may not be the best choice for these more advanced hosting plans. Don’t let your host hold back your site’s growth. If your current host cannot support your site traffic, it is time to move on. 

3. Security Doesn’t Meet Your Needs

As the digital world has grown, internet security has become a bigger issue for site owners. This kind of problem can include hacking, viruses, spyware, phishing schemes, and code injection attacks. When you are running a small site, security might not seem like a major concern. 

As your site grows or if you begin to sell products, website security becomes an ever more important issue. Consistent security issues can result in higher site downtime or leave your customer’s sensitive data vulnerable, which is bad for business. 3

If your host does not offer SSL certificates, malware protection, network monitoring, or a firewall, it may be time to move to a more secure host. In addition, sites in fields like e-commerce or healthcare should look for hosts that offer the security features required to protect the sensitive data they handle. 

4. Costs Are Too High 

Web hosting fees are a recurring cost, usually renewing either monthly or annually. For some site owners, it is the most expensive part of running a website. If you feel like you are paying too much or if you are now paying more for the same service, it might be time to migrate your site. 

For example, you might not need a high-end host if your site is smaller and does not require a ton of resources. Or if you are paying overage bandwidth charges, it might be cheaper to upgrade your plan — and maybe your host.

In addition, many hosting companies offer a discount on the first term of hosting (usually up to three years), but those costs can double or triple upon renewal. (Which is why it is important to compare hosting costs based on both their introductory and renewal rates.) 

Other hosts nickel-and-dime their customers. Sure, the hosting plan might be cheap, but features like SSL certificates, customer support, domina names, and backups might cost extra. Those features can add up. 

If your hosting fees are more than your site is making, it might be time to look at how many of the features you are paying for are really necessary. Consider moving to a less expensive hosting plan or a less expensive host. Over time, this could save you hundreds of dollars. 

5. Customer Service Is Sub-Par 

In a perfect world, your site will always be up, and everything will work just fine. The truth is, you may need to contact customer service to revert to a backup file, billing issues, install new software, or navigate an issue with your email service. 

Most hosts allow customers to contact customer service through online chat, email, and phone. If you are constantly having issues reaching the support team or if they are unable to help you, it might be time to move to a more reliable hosting provider. 

For example, if the host is in another time zone, they might not be available when you are working. This can cause major issues if you have to wait to have an issue resolved. Or, if they take too long to respond to online tickets, you could lose business. 

Technical issues are not just a hassle; they can cost you money, so don’t settle for a host with sub-par customer service. Switch to a host that respects your time and is able to resolve issues quickly. 

6. They Don’t Offer Backups (Or Charge Too Much for Them)

If you have a website, you should always, always have a backup of your site’s files. This can save your site if, for example, the servers crash, you adjust a critical setting by mistake, or a hacker breaks in. All customer data, design, customizations, and coding could be wiped out in seconds. 

With a site backup, you can revert to those files and get back to business. Otherwise, you risk having to rebuild your site from scratch. 

Ideally, your hosting company would take care of this for you by creating daily backup files. If they do not offer this feature, or if they charge you an exorbitant fee to do so, it might be time to migrate hosts. Not having a backup can leave you at risk of losing your entire site. This is not something to be taken lightly. 

7. You Need More Features Than They Offer 

As your business or site grows, so do your needs. For example, you might want to start selling products or decide you need more security features. Or, if you run a graphic design company, you might want a host that offers a reseller hosting option. 

There is any number of features you might need as you grow. Many sites start with a small, shared hosting company. When just getting started, these budget-friendly hosts can be a great option. 

As you grow, though? You may need a more powerful host with features like a CDN, domain parking, e-commerce software, or even a whole new content management system. Don’t let your host hold you back. If they can’t grow with you, it is time to move on to a host that is capable of providing the features you need. 

Final Thoughts on Migrating Your Website to a New Web Host 

If you have experienced any of the issues above, it may be time to consider either moving to a higher-level plan with your current host or migrating to a new hosting provider entirely. While the site migration process might feel overwhelming, it can make a huge difference in your business. 

By choosing a hosting provider that fits your site’s needs, you could save money and better serve your customers or site visitors. 

And, site migration doesn’t have to be a huge headache! Many hosts offer site migration services for low or no cost. Besides, it won’t get easier over time. The longer you stay with your current host, the more challenging moving will be.

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Toni Allen

Toni Allen is the General Manager of Quality Nonsense LTD and editor for WhoIsHostingThis.com, a leading publisher of web hosting reviews and buyer's guides. When she isn't working on websites for people who make websites she likes to escape to the forest and study mushrooms.
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