There are many times throughout the life of your website that you may need to look at hosting options. When you first began on the web, you probably just picked a nice cheap option. But as your traffic or client base grows, you may run into problems with your website crashing. Not only is this annoying for potential visitors or customers but if you rely on online sales, you are losing money each time your server is down. Often, it is easiest to just upgrade whatever package you have at your current web host. Some web hosts may not be equipped to manage heavy traffic if your site receives a lot of visitors or they are lacking in expertise dealing with sophisticated hacking attempts. Here are some important tips and factors to consider when shopping around for your first web host or your fiftieth web host.
First, you must run a complete back up of all the data contained in your website. You should copy every file and folder so it can be transitioned to your new host as easily as possible. This can also be a good opportunity to make some improvements in your sites structure without bringing the site down or worrying about broken links, folders, etc. If your website is growing enough to warrant a web hosting change, this may also be a good change to revamp your site with a good professional redesign.
Before signing up with a new web host, you need to check a few technical specifications out. First of all, you need to know what operating system they use on their servers. Different settings and features you have set up on your website may or may not be compatible with a different operating system on a new web host. Secondly, you will want to determine how much storage the server allows. One of the main reasons you may be leaving your old web host is because you are running out of room. Make sure you have sufficient room for your current files but also plenty of room for future growth. The third option you may want to look at are the extra little features. You may have taken advantage of email forwarding and auto-responders at your last web host and you would not want to forget these small features that you have grown accustomed to.
The next step is to make sure your web host supports whatever program or script you may use to design and edit your site. Not all web hosts support Microsoft Frontpage so if you are using one of these programs, it is critical to know. Another possible reason you left your last web host was because they could not handle your traffic peaks and your site went down. What is the point in having a popular site if it crashes every time you get a big crowd? Many web hosts have a wonderful feature that allows your site additional bandwidth if you get traffic spikes. This is essential if your site jumps around from time to time and does not have consistent traffic.
Depending on the size of your site, you may be on a shared server. Having your own dedicated server is ideal but if your site is not big enough, you may not have the financial resources or need to have your own dedicated server. Most websites are on shared servers which is fine. You will want to ask about the other websites hosted on your server though. If there are questionable sites like adult content or gambling, they may take up a lot of resources and possible get the server you are on blacklisted which would be deadly for your site.