A client recently contacted me because their site was loading REALLY slow and generating script errors. After a little digging it was clear that they were in serious need of a hosting upgrade.
The client had no idea that there were options out there. Did you?
The cheapest hosting plans around are shared server plans – typically $5-$30 a month plan. If you are currently paying for hosting, chances are this is the plan you are on.
Shared hosting means that your website’s files reside on a server with several other people’s website’s files.
There are disadvantages to this setup, which is why it’s usually your cheapest option. You don’t have much control over the other sites you share a server with. If the other sites have lax security, your files could be hacked due to a security breach in their files. Also, if their site gets a spike in traffic, or has other issues that cause their site to take a lot of the server load, your site’s performance could be affected.
Next up we have a virtual private server. This is a step up from a shared server and the cost associated is higher. You can get a “VPS” for about $50-100 a month.
A VPS has some similarities to the Shared Server plans in that you will be sharing hardware with other websites, but you will each have your very own operating system.
Think of it like this…If you have 3 fish tanks in your house, the tanks are on their own, but they are still inside one environment (the house). So if the temperature drops to below freezing inside the house, all of the fish tanks will be affected, but if a fish gets a contagious disease, he’s not going to affect the fish in the other tanks.
In other words, if there are performance issues on another site on the physical server, it can still affect the performance of your own website, but you are a slightly more protected.
Finally at the top of the paid hosting platforms is a dedicated server. A server like this runs about $150-400 a month.
The definite advantage here is that you have a physical piece of hardware at the host facility completely dedicated to you. You have complete control over the resources on the computer and will not be at the mercy of your virtual neighbors.
The downside of a Dedicated Server is that you typically have a whole lot more to set up for yourself. If you are going to move to a dedicated server, make sure you have someone who knows about these things to hold your hand and help you get everything set up right.
So, when is the right time to upgrade?
You should consider an upgrade to a VPS as soon as you start making some money with your blog or website. If you regularly make about $30o a month on your blog, it would be a good idea to get a VPS. It is now becoming essential to your income that your website stays up majority of the day.
You should upgrade to a Virtual Private Server or a Dedicated Server if you have hit some of these items…
1) Your traffic has recently increased more than 30% and you already crossed 5000 Page Views (PVs) daily
2) If you already have over 8,000 Page Views every day
3) You started making $400 to $500 monthly
4) Your site is becoming slow in loading with several plugins
5) Your site is down very frequently because it is overloaded
6) Comments are loading very slowly and posting new comments is not working the first time or returning 404 not found error
Any one of these point to an immediate need for an upgrade. Evaluate your finances and ask yourself how much money you will lose if your site crashes even for a small period of time.
*If you are on Blogger and you expect to make money on your blog, I would DEFINITELY upgrade. Blogger is a free service. Your data (posts, pictures, etc) BELONG to Google. They could be taken down and you could be locked out at anytime. Don’t put your income and your hard work in the hands of someone who can take it away just as fast as you signed up for it.
Sarah is a diehard Microsoft and Dell fangirl and former IT Manager, who now spends her busy days taking care of two small children, consulting with technology companies and sparring with Apple fans.