Should You Be Thinking About Changing Hosts?

When you’re searching for a host, one of the most important decisions you have to make is whether to go with shared or dedicated hosting. Each has its own set of advantages and drawbacks, so let’s take a look at what each option offers and how they stack up against each other. This way you can make an educated decision that will help you reach your goals with your online presence, no matter what they may be.

The pros and cons of staying put

Moving to a new host is never easy, but it’s not always necessary either. Whether you should change hosts depends on what’s going on with your current host and where you see your site in five years. If you have a history of server instability, frequent downtimes, or slow page loading time, it might be worth looking into switching.

Move if it doesn’t solve your problems

If you’re experiencing pain, it’s often tempting to seek a quick fix that doesn’t require you to change your daily routine. After all, moving can be stressful and time-consuming. But if you aren’t improving despite frequent trips to massage or chiropractic appointments, consider hiring a new web host. There may not be anything wrong with your current provider—you may just need a change of scenery.

Understand where your site is hosted now

Before you even think about changing hosts, take a look at where your site is hosted now. Find out what kind of space and bandwidth it has, how much traffic it receives (if there’s no dedicated server), and whether or not your host allows SSH access or FTP for file transfers. All these factors will play into how easy it is to move your site if you decide to make a switch in host. Chances are, you’ll want a bit more security than shared hosting can offer.

Know what you need from a host

This is probably one of your first questions if you’re thinking about switching from your existing host. It’s a fair question, too—there are some pretty significant differences between hosting services out there. If you want to make sure your next host will be able to handle everything you need it to, use our checklist here as a guide.

Check out the new place before moving in

Moving is a pain. Moving is expensive. Moving with pets can be especially stressful, and moving with children can result in meltdowns (and who wants to deal with that?). To make sure you pick a host that’s right for you, it makes sense to check out all of your options before signing up—you might find another great place where your kids will love their new schools and you’ll love their freshly-painted walls. Good luck!

Test everything

Before you make any changes to your website, be sure to test everything. This means that when you’re ready to switch hosts, test all of your existing links and make sure they’re still working properly. If there are problems with your site, don’t wait! Get in touch with your new host right away and figure out how best to get back on track. Keep a copy of all your old files just in case.

Test different browsers/devices

Before you start optimizing, it’s important to make sure your website works on a range of different browsers and devices. Using tools like Google Chrome’s PageSpeed or WebPageTest can help you benchmark your site’s performance across multiple devices, so that when you do begin optimizing, you know what areas to target. And make sure to test both on desktop computers and smartphones!

Don’t forget about speed

Even if you aren’t planning to switch hosts anytime soon, it’s still a good idea to keep an eye on your hosting provider. Many web hosts periodically increase their server speeds, for example—and even if you don’t need more speed now, it’ll be nice to know that you can get more when and if you do decide to move.

Back up everything

Before you migrate to a new host, it’s a good idea to ensure that your data is up-to-date and ready to go. Additionally, you should make sure that all of your files are stored on at least two different storage devices; if one fails, then you still have a backup available. Depending on how much data you’re moving, using an external hard drive could be an easy way to do so.