The purpose of this article is to help you make an informed decision on whether you should switch web hosts or not.
Does your website load quickly? Do you get the level of customer support you had hoped for? or do you feel let down and frustrated?
The world of web hosting is a bit of a minefield. With thousands of companies out there offering similar-looking services with lots of jargon-filled comparison tables, it’s easy to feel overwhelmed and feel like the best option is to just get it over with.
Unfortunately, most people who are new to running a website or blog, sign up for either the first host they hear about without much research or a host their friend is using.
I can’t stress enough, the importance of researching and comparing web hosting solutions. It can really stunt your progress.
It’s easy to want to save money and pay for the cheapest budget $5 per month host but what you are getting in terms of performance, technology, and support is often lacking.
It’s simple math, the cheaper your hosting is, the more websites you are sharing the server with. So instead of sharing the server with say 500/1000 other accounts, you might be sharing it with 2000+.
Your website is your digital shopfront and it deserves to be running on the latest technology with close to zero downtime and loading quickly to ensure you can capitalize on your traffic potential and convert visitors into customers.
In this article, I am going to break down the key areas to look at when deciding if now might be a good time to switch your WordPress web host.
Loading Times / Website Speed
If your website is sluggish and taking more than 2 seconds to load it might be and often is a result of your hosting.
The best way to gain some insight here is to use GTMetrix, Pingdom and Google Speed Insights to scan your website and see what is causing it to load slowly.
On GTMetrix, for example, you want to look at the Server Response Time as this is the time it takes to connect to your server and receive a response before anything actually loads.
If this time period is long and the majority of the time it takes for the page to load you know where the bottleneck is.
We have created a guide on speeding up WordPress websites that is worth reading through if your site is slow.
Do you ever find your website is up and down and when you go to access it you get a 500 error page? Maybe your website loads quickly one day and then hangs the next if so your server performance might be letting you down.
One of the best things you can do is install uptime monitoring with UptimeRobot and set it to check your website every 5 minutes and allow it to send you email notifications if it sees your website is down.
This way not only will you know pretty much straight away if there is a critical issue with your website but you can monitor how frequently it happens and decide if you need to switch hosts or explore your error logs to see if there’s an issue with your website causing it.
Poor customer support
Some hosting companies don’t offer live chat support or if they do the people who are there to help aren’t trained to properly advise on your problems or don’t speak your language very well and this can be a nightmare to deal with.
Personally I find GoDaddy to be a pretty poor experience, a domain company that also sells hosting services and they aren’t particularly helpful.
On the other hand Siteground and WPEngine I have found to be extremely helpful and willing to go the extra mile to help you if you get stuck.
When you work with small and local IT companies for your hosting where they are essentially just resellers they can quickly become a support bottleneck as they might only be available to help during working hours.
You should accept nothing less than 247 support for your web hosting as you never know when you are going to run into trouble.
Not all hosting companies take security as seriously as the next and many shared hosting services with thousands of websites per server are routinely hacked or injected with malware that can spread.
Does your host offer a free SSL certificate? or an easy way to use one? Do they take security seriously? Are there reports online of people getting hacked and having a bad experience using their services?
Some hosting companies will even charge a cleanup fee if your website has been infected.
Does your host have automatic backups every 24 hours so you can always restore if anything goes wrong?
Are they using the latest versions of PHP on the server?
These are the questions you need to ask when deciding if your hosting company is taking security seriously.
If you use WordPress then you should also review this WordPress security guide.
Shady Sales Tactics
Some hosting companies look like a bargain when you sign up, but then you find out that lots of features are an additional cost.
When you sign up for a good hosting company with CPanel you should have the ability to create emails and use a free SSL certificate but some hosting companies are still charging extra for these services.
Are they constantly trying to sell you new packages that will magically improve your SEO or other services you don’t need?
Are they just a small company reselling hosting services? You could probably get a better deal going direct or finding an alternative.
In my opinion while GoDaddy are a fine company for buying domains from, their hosting has always been one of the worst to deal with. Their system is nebulous and their customer support is poor, they also often try and upsell you on things you really don’t need.
Hosting companies owned by EIG are also not the best and worth avoiding as this company has gradually gone around and swallowed up 83 different established hosting companies and generally the quality of service has dropped after they have been acquired.
As you can see from this Wiki link the list of brands they own is rediculous, Bluehost, HostGator, iPage and dozens of others.
So if you were to switch hosts, and decided you were done with Bluehost and you were going to move to HostGator, your boy has news for you, they are really just one company wearing two masks.
If or when you switch hosts, find out who owns them and make sure they aren’t owned by the same company if you are hoping for a better service.
If your customers are all in Texas and you don’t care about customers from other parts of the world you want to be sure your server is located in that region. It doesn’t need to be in the exact same place but the closer it is the faster it will load for your target audience.
Think about it, when the computer loading the website is closer to the actual server the data only has to travel a short distance.
If you use a speed test tool like Pingdom that allows you to check the speed from different locations around the world you will likely see a considerable difference between the loading time of page.
If you serve a local market or region ask your hosting company what server locations they have available. You can check your server location by going to WhosHostingThis.com.
It shows my current server location is Chicago which gives slight preference the US market but being on the east coast it’s still not too far from the UK and Europe.
Lack of Experience
You might be satisfied with your hosting but you also might lack the experience of using lots of other hosts to know what’s out there and what good actually is.
After 15 years of building websites, I have tried and tested dozens of hosting companies and I see so many people using poor options with outdated technology and slow loading times while thinking they are getting good value for money.
I often login to hosts and find they are still running PHP5.x which is years old and no longer receiving any security patches or bug fixes. These days lots of WordPress plugins and themes aren’t even designed to work with PHP versions below 7.x and so lots of website issues people face when updating plugins are a result of outdated PHP version running on their server.
How to decide how much to spend.
As you can see there are lots of different reasons to consider switching to a different WordPress hosting provider.
Spending more on hosting is one of the cheapest ways to increase web conversions and rankings.
Siteground is great for smaller sites that aren’t profitable yet but if you have a website making even just a few hundred dollars per month and you are spending $5-10 on hosting it’s going to be beneficial to upgrade the hosting to one of the popular premium WordPress hosting packages from WPEngine or Kinsta where you will spend about $30 per month.
If it means your website loads faster, gets more traffic and converts better because people aren’t getting impatient and bouncing, spending 3-6 times more on your hosting is a small price to pay.
Conclusion – Are you doing to switch web hosts?
Now you have the criteria to use when deciding if you should switch web hosts since your website speed plays a bit part in modern SEO and your search rankings, not to mention conversions often investing more in your hosting is the easiest and most cost-effective way to improve your rankings and make more money.
Of course, you can keep your domain the same and move your email over, you will just need to learn how to change web hosts and how to migrate WordPress to your new server.
Some hosts like Siteground offer a free migration for new customers where they will take the details of your existing hosting account and migrate your website for you.