The goal of any business owner is to reach such a point of success that there is an opportunity to grow and expand. Other than the first sale or the hiring of the first employee, this is probably the most important major milestone of a young business. You’ve outgrown your current mode of operating and need to reorganize. It’s exciting, nerve wracking, and it means more money once you’ve spent some reinvesting back into the business. Expansion is often a process and it means taking a serious look at every aspect of your current operations.
What can this look like? It can mean seeking out new office space to lease, hiring more people, buying more equipment, and broadening your marketing efforts. A lot needs to be done in order to keep up with increasing customer demand. So, you’ve gone through and taken inventory of everything you need to reconsider during the expansion process. You did remember to rethink your website hosting, right?
Expansion can mean making the leap to a dedicated server if you’ve outgrown your current VPS. Maybe you’re still on a shared hosting plan and it’s time to seriously consider switching to managed VPS hosting. No matter what your individual circumstance is with your current hosting, there’s a significant chance that you’ll soon be in a position where you need to upgrade if every other aspect of your business appears to be growing.
Unlike the other parts of your business in that you’ll focus on reinvesting in, hosting may not appear as so cut and dry. For example, when it comes to the decision to hire more employees, it’s fairly easy to see when your current headcount just can’t keep up. Everyone gets stretched thin, quality dips, things take longer. It’s time to hire. With hosting, it may not be so obvious until actual problems arise. If you’re not regularly monitoring your bandwidth usage and performing testing, you may not know your site is being overburdened until conversion metrics start to appear they’re on a negative trend. Chances are an investigation would show higher bounce rates and other indications potential customers can’t reach the finish line of making a purchase.
If your business is reaching new heights, it’s important to take a serious look at your current hosting solution and determine how you should proceed in scaling. Here are some things you should know.
Issues Surrounding Bandwidth
For a longer explanation of how bandwidth works in regards to a hosting environment, check out this explainer. The short version is, bandwidth gets used up when visitors need to download content from your server. The higher the bandwidth, the more people that can be on your site simultaneously without experiencing performance issues. Text requires less bandwidth than images. Videos would need more. But, even your CMS may lead to bandwidth issues if it has background processes that require visitors to keep downloading even if they are not aware of it. Heavy development builds of a site can be a leading cause of bandwidth issues, second only to traffic. WordPress is rather famous for this.
You know how bandwidth can get used up, but practically speaking what does that mean? Running low on bandwidth can give you performance issues. Your host will warn you if you’re running up against your limit, in which case you’ll either need to make some tweaks or upgrade your hosting plan. Visitors that come to your site, especially during high traffic periods, may be presented with two poor experiences. The first is an error and an inability to even access your site. The second is even if they are able to access the site, it will be very slow and difficult to navigate. Customers are not willing to wait all day for a site to load, so they’ll just leave.
Why Upgrading Your Hosting is Worth It
If your customers are having a poor experience, they’ll take their business elsewhere. They are far more unforgiving when it comes to their online shopping or consumption experience than many people realize. Each second of page load delay reduces conversions by 7%. 3-4 second page load time is the sweet spot for how long people are willing to wait for a page to load. 40% of shoppers will abandon a site after about 3 seconds. Your expansion can quickly deflate if customers are bumping up against the limits of your current hosting solution.
Moving on from your current host, especially if it’s shared hosting, may appear to be an additional expense but it’s one that is necessary. Looking at what you’re paying now side by side with what you could be paying doesn’t tell the entire story. If customers have a positive experience with your site, the increase in business will quickly make any upgrades worth it.
What Should You Upgrade To?
It’s hard to give a definitive answer of what kind of hosting solution you should opt for when upgrading your hardware. If you’re currently using shared hosting, anything would be a good upgrade. This is especially true if you operate an e-commerce business. The VPS vs. dedicated server debate is a bit more complicated. Dedicated servers provide the most resources, but also come at the highest price. For e-commerce, the additional security and horsepower of a dedicated server might make more sense for you. Complicated databases, complex development, and high traffic will require a hefty amount of resources. Smaller or more informational based sites with steady traffic in the thousands of visitors would probably do just fine on a VPS.
Switch to Managed Services?
It’s important to make an additional note on upgrading to a new hosting solution. While you may be on the fence about whether a VPS or dedicated server makes more sense for your individual needs, one across the board suggestion every business owner should probably take is to opt for managed hosting.
While managed hosting can cost a bit more than unmanaged hosting, the time saved from not having to worry as much about your server is worth it. Managed hosting actually cuts down on expenses overall because it lets you and your team focus on the day to day operations of your business rather than needing to wear your IT hat. As your business grows, keeping your team focused on their strengths rather than getting bogged down by investigating every server issue will be an important part of a successful expansion. Knowing that there is some level of complementary DDOS protection, automatic backups, and monitoring of performance is quite valuable. While managed hosting doesn’t absolve you of performing your own extra backups or taking security measures, the basics are covered so you’re not left establishing everything from scratch.
A successful business of any size relies on reliable, high performing web hosting. If customers can’t reach your website or they suffer through a poor experience, that can quickly add up to a significant loss in revenue. You need a hosting partner you can trust to provide great customer service and hardware that is up to the task of handling all of your needs. Contact us today. The team at KnownHost is dedicated to providing you with the hosting solutions you need for your business to be successful and to grow.