When Should You Change Web Hosts?

Are you happy with your current web host? Or is it time for a change? When asked that question, a lot of people initially say, "Um" and "Ah," before coming up with some kind of negative answer that isn’t truly well thought out. When you really stop and think about it, though, often your host is fine.

It’s just that, put on the spot, your expectations are too high or you have been hearing things from other people that make you feel uneasy about your host even though you have not experienced the same issues.

Many times, people who change hosts because of bad press or unrealistic expectations end up regretting it.

The following are some of the valid reasons to want to change hosts:

  • Cost: Some hosts charge more than others. Some hosts charge even more than that. If you find that you are paying a lot more than other people who seem to be getting the same kind of service from their hosts that you’re getting, then why stay with the more expensive host?

    Of course, you never know what you’re getting yourself into when you move to a new host, so an argument can be made for staying with a host that seems good, even if it means paying a little more to stay there. You have to consider whether you're better off with the devil you know than the one you don’t!

  • *Poor service: There is a certain level of customer service you can expect from your web host. Some do more than others and a lot of what customer service comes down to is the customer’s perception of how well he is being served.

    That being said, the service that one person may feel is adequate or even good may, to another person, not feel the same way. Many hosts are lauded by some and reviled by others simply because of personality clashes or different expectations.

  • Too much downtime: Downtime in this context is time where your website is inaccessible to the world or does not load correctly due to problems with the server that are directly the host’s fault. Downtime can also be a result of problems with the Internet connection at the data center.

    It would be unreasonable to expect your server to be online and working correctly 24 hours a day seven days a week every year. Servers are just computers being maintained by people, and, realistically, failures happen. However, failures do not need to happen often. If you are seeing frequent server downtime that's not due to your specific website, it may be time to move to a different host.

  • Features available: All kinds of things are possible with websites: different programming languages, different ways to create sites, different technologies, and different functionalities offered by the service. Some hosts restrict some features that they have the capability to provide or simply refuse to provide certain features at all, with or without extra charge.

    If you run into a situation you try to do something and your web host does not allow it, then maybe you can find another host who will allow you to do it. Be careful, though, because often the things that hosts do not allow are things that could weaken your website or create security holes.

    You may find that moving to a new host and implementing your ideas actually results in more downtime as a result of being hacked or from issues with the features you are trying to use.

  • Your designer or developer insists that you move: Depending on how much work your designer does for you, there are times when a web designer or administrator will ask you to move a website to a different company’s hosting.

    This can be for familiarity, because the designer is used to the control panel on a particular host, or it can be because the designer knows a new host provides certain things that your current host doesn’t. It is up to you whether you choose to move.

Apart from the preceding five reasons, there are not many good reasons to change your web host. If you are suffering from one of these issues, then try contacting your host to explain how you’re feeling so that your host has the opportunity to fix the problem or otherwise accommodate your needs.

It is always easier to stay where you are, if your host is willing to help. The move can sometimes be a little tricky and can sometimes result in downtime, lost data, and lost visitors. With a few guidelines and the help of hosting professionals, most of those issues can be eliminated. However, every move is different and you never quite know what can happen until it happens.

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