When Should You Upgrade to VPS Hosting?
There will generally come a time for many small, expanding businesses when they need to reassess their web hosting needs. It could be that you have started to spend more money on marketing and this is resulting in higher volumes of traffic on your website. Or it could be that you want to start selling products online or add better features to your website that your current host is able to support.
There could be all kinds of reasons for considering a switch to a new web host – a greater concern for security or even just having more time to be able to improve your digital strategy. Maybe you just started out with a really basic business website and now you have got into the swing of all the digital power that is available, you are ready for the next step towards a better website and higher conversion rates.
If you are debating whether to make that step then you have come to the right place! Here we look at the signs to look out for that indicate that it is a good time for you to make that switch to VPS hosting but before that, let’s look at what VPS hosting actually is.
What is VPS Hosting?
VPS stands for virtual private server and it is one of many available hosting solutions for websites. Many small businesses will start off with a shared hosting package when they first set up a website but as their business grows, their web hosting demands also grow. One option is a dedicated server but that can be quite expensive for smaller businesses with limited marketing budgets. So the choice that combines the affordability of shared hosting with the improved features and benefits of dedicated hosting is VPS.
A VPS essentially provides the same set up of a dedicated server but within a shared hosting environment. It is a virtual machine that gives users the same features of a separate actual computer. You can have a number of virtual private servers on one physical server and it is possible to have different operating systems for each VPS.
The key signs that you need to switch to VPS:
There are plenty of reasons that you might be considering switching over from one hosting solution to another but one of the most common upgrades that smaller businesses make is moving from shared hosting to VPS hosting, as their business expands.
Here are some signs that you are ready to move onto VPS hosting:
1. Your website page loading has slowed down
If you started your website out with either a free hosting solution or a shared hosting option then there is nothing wrong with that for small businesses with a limited budget. However, you may find that as you attract more traffic to your website, or add more content to your website, it becomes slower and slower.
You can actually use a website performance tool for free to see how fast your website is and there may be some small changes that you can introduce that will speed up your website. If that is not having much success then it is probably time to upgrade to VPS hosting instead.
Free hosting gives you very limited amounts of storage and the performance is generally not great because you are using the same server as loads of other websites. The same goes for shared hosting, your website will be sharing a server with other websites, so what is happening with their sites will inevitably slow your website down. Nothing irritates website users quite as much as a slow loading page!
2. You want to add new features onto your website
If you want your website to really impress visitors then you will want some nice features that help to boost your sales. If you use WordPress, you might want to install some cool plugins that do fancy things like a rotating photo gallery or another stunning add-on to make your website really stand out from your competitors.
A VPS (Virtual Private Server) gives almost the same service as a dedicated server, therefore it enables you to do a lot more with your website.
With VPS hosting, you are provided with more RAM, disk space and CPU than you would get with shared hosting, so your website can handle more resource hungry features and more traffic. The more features you add to your website, the more demand you are putting on your hosting service, so it is inevitable that a growing website will need to get upgraded if started with the basic hosting package.
Popular website design trends right now include particle backgrounds and custom illustrations to bring your website to life and get the attention of your potential customers. Having design elements that include images, videos, Flash files, databases etc. will require more storage space from your hosted server.
3. You need to enhance your security
The need for better online security has become more prevalent than ever before. With the different scams and new types of complex cyber crime emerging on a regular basis, as a website owner, you have a responsibility to protect your website users.
If you are collecting any data using online forms then you want to make sure that the data you collect is as safe as possible. If you are taking card payments through your website then you must comply with the minimum requirements of the PCI and you are obliged to maintain a secure environment for website users.
Shared hosting solutions are less secure than VPS, partly because the VPS hosting company will acquire better security solutions and also because sharing a server can cause security problems. For example, your website could pick up a virus from one of the other websites that are hosted on the server you are sharing.
4. Increased traffic to your website
It only takes one really good marketing campaign or a really good run of online customer ratings to cause an unprecedented surge in traffic to your website. If you have started out with the very basic features offered from a UK VPS then your website might not handle the uplift in traffic. It can cause your website to completely crash if your hosting solution is inadequate for your new demand from eager website visitors that are interested in your products or services.
If your website doesn’t crash, it may suffer from slowing down because your hosting solution simply isn’t geared up to handle the volumes of traffic that you have attracted. So if your business awareness is growing and you’re finding increasing numbers of visitors are heading to your website, it is probably a good time to upgrade to VPS.
If you can time it before you start to suffer any performance issues then that is much better than when the problems start to emerge. If people come to your website looking for the solution to their needs and then the website isn’t available or it loads really slowly then they will be unhappy and will move across to one of your competitor’s websites. The majority of online consumers want a website to load within seconds, or they will leave your website. It really is as simple as that and it can drastically impact your ability to generate online business.
Research shows that 40% of website users will abandon a site that takes more than three seconds to load.
5. If you want an E-commerce website
If you previously set up a simple website just to get your business online but you now want to step up to be able to sell your products from your website then your old hosting solution may not do the job. So take a look at the VPS hosting UK options that are better equipped to support e-commerce websites and the higher demands that come with that.
Your e-commerce website will require more sophisticated security features as you will be taking online payments and your product pages are going to take up significant amounts of space that a shared hosting solution probably won’t be able to handle.
6. Your website keeps going offline
One thing that can really harm your business reputation is when you have problems with your website going offline. There can be numerous reasons it happens, such as running out of space or reaching visitor limits but often hosts will take their servers down for maintenance.
If you are finding that this is happening on a frequent basis then you are potentially losing customers each time it happens. Not only will you lose that initial interaction with the visitors, there is a large chance that they will not return because they have a bad impression of your website when they are presented with an error message. So when you are looking at UK VPS hosting solutions, take a look to see if there is a guaranteed amount of Uptime. The better the amount of Uptime, the more amount of time your website will be available to your visitors.
7. Approaching the end of your contract
If you signed up with a contract that is coming to an end, it is always worth looking at the other hosting options available. Technology can move on a long way in just a year and what might have been the best deal 12 months ago is no longer what you need. People are often put off changing web hosts because they think it will take up time and will be complicated but it really isn’t difficult. In the same way that you might change your mobile phone network or your Sky/cable TV provider, your web hosting can quickly be moved from one provider to another. If your new VPS hosting provider has a good support team then they will make sure that the transition goes as smoothly as possible for you.
If you have been experiencing performance issues, or your host puts their prices up then you should definitely see what else is available to deliver your hosting requirements. If you have future plans to make some changes to your website, then it is the ideal time to start planning your website developments and select a VPS host that will deliver everything that you want.
Having a good, well-planned out digital marketing plan will help you to choose the most appropriate web hosting solution, so it is always a good idea to do this before the end of your contract. Develop your plans for in one year’s time or even further ahead if you can, so that you can get started with the best UK VPS hosting solution that suits your needs.
8. You need administrative access to the server
With shared hosting packages, you do not have full administrative access to the server, which you might need if you want to install software that needs access to the program files. You will only really need this level of access if you are planning to manage the server yourself.
The best time to look at switching your hosting provider is before performance or any other issues begin to impact your business. A broken website or a slow running website can do severe damage to the reputation of your business, so as soon as you are seeing any signs of performance problems, you should act quickly.
When visitors get frustrated with your website, they will not do business with you and they will not come back to your website a second time if they could not get what they wanted the first time. You really cannot afford to let those opportunities slip through your fingers, so if you have the budget to move from shared hosting to VPS then it is the best solution for an expanding business that cannot afford the expense of a dedicated server.
Like all the different types of hosting packages, there are various UK VPS hosting providers available that you can choose from. The important thing is to avoid rushing into a selection without understanding your own business’ requirements for now and in the future. Understanding what you will want from your hosting package in a year or even a few years’ time will be very useful in choosing the most relevant host for your business’ need.
Feel that it’s time to make the move to VPS hosting? You’ve come to the right place.