I’ve burned through a lot of website hosts in recent years. It was getting to a point where I thought one was just as bad as the other. I wondered how any company managed to do business online with such unreliable web hosting in Canada. After doing some research, I learned the signs of a bad website host and how to choose a good one.
The fact of the matter is, bad website hosts are so common these days it’s almost typical. That doesn’t mean you have to settle for substandard services, you just have to know how to find the select few that do it right. It doesn’t have to cost more and the money you save from not losing visitors will more than cover it if it does. Usually, it will end up costing less even without that consideration.
Many people who are new to online business may not realize the hosting service they’re getting isn’t the best. I’ve put together this quick list to help you decide if it’s time to switch.
9 Signs You Should Switch Website Hosts
1. They charge extra for features that are free from good hosts, such as email, backups, security scans or SSL certificates.
2. They take your website offline over dubious ‘security threats’. Usually that’s followed by a recommendation for some security service that charges a fee.
3. They constantly nag you about the disk space or resources you’re using, usually in an attempt to make you upgrade, only to start nagging again shortly after you do. When you switch, try to find a host that offers unlimited disk storage.
4. Numerous studies have concluded we have mere seconds for our site to load or risk losing that visitor forever. Slow load time can be due to various things, from image sizes to the number of plugins used. If you’ve tried everything you can reasonably think of but the site is still slow, it’s probably your host.
You can test your website speed free with Pingdom.
“The test is designed to help make your site faster by identifying what about a webpage is fast, slow, too big, and so on,” states Pingdom.
5. Frequent down-time is a sure sign it’s time to find a new host. The host’s guaranteed “uptime” (the amount of time your website will be available without going offline) should be 99%+. If not, the consequences will seriously damage your business. Obviously you’ll miss out on potential visitors, but there’s also the risk of search engines trying to ‘spider’ your site and finding it down. Errors like that can impact your website ranking.
6. It’s critical that your website host have fast, reliable customer support. Many website issues cost you money for every second they remain unresolved. You have to be able to trust them to offer good advice without trying to ‘upsell’ additional services or placing the blame on you. They must have the expertise to quickly resolve any issues and answer related questions. If not, it’s time to move.
7. Adequate ecommerce functionality is an absolute must for online retailers. If selling through their platform or shopping cart software is difficult, insufficient, or doesn’t easily facilitate Canadian transactions, the sooner you move to an ecommerce platform, the better.
8. If the brand is actually owned by a disreputable parent company, you’re going to experience the same problems with one as you do with another. These companies aren’t huge because they’re better, they grow by acquisition.
9. Not having a Canadian data centre doesn’t necessarily mean they’re a bad host, but it can make things more complicated. If they don’t have a data center or server on Canadian soil, you could unknowingly violate Canadian privacy laws. Data sovereignty is required by the Canadian Privacy Act and PIPEDA. For more information, please read Canadian Website Hosts and the Legal Reasons to Use Them.
To avoid making the same mistake, follow this checklist for choosing a website host. It includes questions to ask each candidate based on everything from law to your specific needs.
Moving to a new website host doesn’t have to be difficult. The better companies will move it for you at no charge. The last time we changed hosts, GreenGeeks moved all of our sites for us in record time. We’ve been happy with their service and our hosting nightmares appear to be over. Make the move and clear some stress off your plate!
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Marie has an M.Sc. in Marketing and a certificate from the Ryerson Digital Media program. She's enrolled in one course or another most of the time and is always in the middle of a new business book (or three). Marie enjoys writing, traveling and volunteering at local events & trade shows.