As a WordPress user you should never be complacent about your web hosting; choosing a poor host or the wrong package can adversely affect the quality of service you provide to your visitors and result in lower search engine rankings. It can also make the management of your website very frustrating.
In this article, we’ll look at six different signs that indicate whether it’s time to upgrade to a different package or a move to a different web host.
Does your website go down?
If your site goes down on a regular basis, even for short periods, it’s bad news; you lose business, your customers get annoyed, your reputation suffers and search engines down rank you. It’s a clear signal that your host is not providing you with the level of service you should be able to take for granted.
Unfortunately, too many WordPress users assume that because they’ve never seen their site offline, there isn’t a problem. But you shouldn’t take this for granted. To help you discover if your site is regularly unavailable there are a number of free plugins you can install, such as Sitestillup, which will monitor your site’s uptime performance for you and notify you if a problem occurs.
If you discover there is an availability issue, ideally, you want to move to a web host that can provide you with +99% uptime.
Do you get PHP limit related Internal Server Errors?
500 internal server errors are another reason why your site can go offline. They can be caused by a wide range of issues, e.g., when you install plugins or themes which are incompatible with your WordPress version or with each other. However, they can also be caused by the PHP memory limit being surpassed. If this is the case, you will often see an error message such as ‘Fatal Error: Memory size of ??? bytes exhausted’.
The usual way to rectify this is to change the memory limit on your wp-config.php file. However, if you are using shared hosting, this may not be an available option with some hosts. In which case, you need to find a host that configures their servers differently or, alternatively, upgrade to VPS or dedicated hosting that has greater memory capacity built in.
Has your host suspended your website?
Web hosts do have the right to take your site off the internet and suspend your account in certain circumstances; usually, this is because your site has been infected, there is illegal activity on your site or because you have failed to pay your hosting bill.
However, some hosts will also suspend accounts or take websites offline for exceeding their usage limits. So, for example, if you have had a busy month online and have reached your maximum bandwidth allocation, you may find yourself without a working website until the next accounting period commences.
Obviously, this is not something you would want to happen. The last thing you need is to be penalised just as your site starts to generate increased traffic. A better host would at least inform you that you were approaching any limit and offer you a solution before a crisis occurred. If this does happen, you need to move your website to a bigger package or find a host that offers flexibility, a degree of scaling or unlimited bandwidth.
Do you have a slow website?
Site speed has become increasingly important over the last few years as Google and other search engines have begun using loading times to help rank their results. The faster the website, the more it is perceived as offering a better user experience and thus it has an improved chance of ranking higher.
Slow site speed can be caused by a number of factors; these include the way you have set up your WordPress site, the number of visitors you have at any one time and problems with other websites on a shared- hosting server.
If your site is slow because you don’t have the capacity to handle all your visitors, it’s a clear sign you need to upgrade to a hosting package with greater resources. However, if you have speed issues because another site on your shared server is hogging resources, then this is an issue with your web host which is likely to be hosting too many websites on a single server. If this is the case, you should seek an alternative host.
Have you become too big for your hosting package?
Over time, the hope is that your website will grow. You may have lots more visitors and a website that uses far more resources and needs much larger storage. Lacking capacity to deal with demand may slow your website down, even to the point where it cannot function. If this is the case, then it is obvious that you need to upgrade to a superior form of hosting such as VPS or dedicated WordPress hosting. However, just as you would with your energy provider and car insurance, you should take the time to see if there are alternative web hosts that can provide you with a better hosting service.
Is your host’s customer support not up to scratch?
In one sense, WordPress is a relatively easy platform to use because it is a front end Content Management System (CMS). This means, for the majority of users, they can do everything they need from the admin panel without the need to understand the more technical aspects of the program.
However, it is precisely this lack of experience with the back end that can cause WordPress users so much frustration when problems arise. For this reason, it is essential that they choose a web host that can provide less technically minded users with clear and specific support to help them solve their hosting problems.
Users should look for two things in particular: firstly, they should choose a host that offers dedicated WordPress hosting, this way they are assured the company has the expertise to deal with WordPress issues and provides hosting that specifically caters for the platform; and secondly, they should look for a host that provides 24/7 support – if you accidentally delete your database on Friday night, you don’t want to wait until Monday morning for help.
If you are considering upgrading your WordPress package or moving to a new host, check out our WordPress Hosting page. Our affordable packages are packed with helpful features and backed up with expert WordPress support and first-class security.
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