Should You Move Your Website to a Different Server?

I first started hosting my website way back in 2008. It was on Bluehost, and I’ve learned a lot since then. I never thought I’d need to switch to another host. But then I learned from one experience after another. I hope to spare you that pain and share the knowledge I’ve gained over the years! If it’s getting close to the renewal date, you might be wondering if you should move your website to a new server.

Most hosting companies offer free migrations for a single site, so it shouldn’t be too much of a hassle to make the switch. Here are signs that it’s time to move to a new web host.

Move your Website to a Different Server IF:

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Renewal Prices are Too High

I remember the first time I renewed my web hosting. My response to the price was “WHAT”? It was nowhere close to the amount I had paid the first time. Turns out, I didn’t read the fine print. Since then, I’ve found that web hosting prices are misleading. Here’s what you need to know:

Most web hosts offer a substantial discount on the first billing cycle. Sometimes, the discounts can net you deals as low as $1/month – like from GoDaddy (but that comes with a whole bunch of restrictions). But when the first billing cycle ends, you can experience sticker shock as the discount vanishes and you’re asked to pay the full hosting cost!

This might be a good time to shop around and search for another hosting provider with great discounts. Here’s the list of the cheapest web hosting “per year” prices on the homepage. This list will help you move your server to a new website in the most affordable manner.

504 Errors or Database Disconnections

One day while accessing my site, I encountered sudden “Database Connection” errors as shown here:

WordPress Database Errors

After my first shock at seeing my site down had passed, I realized that it couldn’t be a problem on my end. Because the error was intermittent. Sometimes the site would load perfectly, and at other times it would throw an error. So it wasn’t a configuration problem. After much headache and calls to Bluehost’s customer service, I was told that I was getting more visitors than my plan could handle.

If your visitors start seeing random timeouts and disconnections, it’s a sign that you should transfer your website to a new host. It means that your site is getting suffocated without enough resources to handle its load. It’s time to move your website onto a server with a different web host.

All shared hosting providers oversell their servers. It’s only a question of how much it’s oversold. But some hosts oversell more than others. SiteGround is the only web host that has clear limits on their shared hosting. Their “hive” technology ensures that each website on their server is isolated from the others.

Poor Page Load Times

Sometimes, a lack of resources will simply cause your website to slow down. It might not fail with catastrophic errors. You can track your page load speed in Google Analytics:

Track Page Load Speed - Should you Move your Website to a New Server?

But before you jump to the conclusion that you need a new web host, there is a lot you can do to improve your site load speed. For example, even though it’s free, Cloudflare is still the best CDN around. This isn’t the place where I give you in-depth advice on how to improve your page load times. But if you’re using WordPress, I suggest you get started with the Autoptimize plugin and go from there.

Some web hosts have server level page caching built into their hosting service. SiteGround is one such example. If you move your website to a new server on SiteGround will dramatically speed up your page load speeds. And if you’re really serious about WordPress, then Kinsta is an excellent choice – they’re pricey, but you’re unlikely to get better WordPress hosting anywhere else.

But despite all this, your page load times might be too long. Particularly check your server response times. If it’s high, it means that your server is taking too long to process your pages. If despite good page caching, you still can’t bring those numbers down, it’s probably time for you to change your web host.

Still Paying for SSL?

Earlier in this article, I’d mentioned that you can get GoDaddy hosting for as low as $1/month. But that doesn’t include free SSL. In today’s world, there’s no excuse for not providing free SSL. All the major providers like Hostgator and Bluehost now have it. Others like SiteGround and DreamHost have had free SSL for years.

Having SSL gives your site the “green padlock” as shown here:

SSL Gives your Site the "Green Padlock"

If your hosting provider asks you to pay for this, it means you need to move your website to a new server ASAP!

Poor Customer Service

Unfortunately, one of the consequences of web hosts overselling their shared hosting servers is the decrease in the quality of customer service. Your site can run smoothly for years, and yet a single bad experience can leave you crying for something better.

This is particularly bad because you typically need customer service when your site has to be available and you’re expecting a lot of traffic. During the holidays for example, with Black Friday sales etc. If your hosting provider doesn’t step up to the plate during this critical time, they might as well not provide customer service at all.

Unfortunately, good customer service isn’t cheap. The web host needs to invest in high-quality customer reps and make them available 24 hrs a day. They need to try and source them locally and provide the infrastructure and systems to give them an efficient workflow.

Out of all the shared hosting providers, I would recommend SiteGround as the best option. I’ve often referred to them as the Apple of shared hosting. If you want to move away from shared hosting, then Liquid Web and Kinsta are excellent choices as well (see the navigation menu for their best deals).

Bottom Line

In this article, I’ve tried to share some of the lessons I’ve learned in my many years of web hosting. It’s not always about which hosting provider has the lowest price. You also need to look at the long-term and find one who will be there for you when the chips are down, and one who properly isolates your site from others on their server.

I hope these signs have helped you come to a decision about moving your website to a new server. Happy shopping!

About Bhagwad Park

I've been writing about web hosting and WordPress tutorials since 2008. I also create tutorials on Linux server administration, and have a ton of experience with web hosting products. Contact me via e-mail!