When is it time to upgrade?
Shared website hosting packages are far and away the most popular option among those looking for the best web hosting service for their needs. Shared hosting can be affordable, feature rich, easy to set up and will likely offer more space and bandwidth than most personal or small business websites will ever need.
Yet there may come a time when shared website hosting just isn't enough. You may outgrow your original hosting plan, whether because your site is receiving more traffic than you expected, sales have increased, your e-store has grown exponentially or any of a number of other reasons.
It's important for you to recognize this point: if you don't act fast and upgrade to the best web hosting package for your needs, you could lose business, disappoint clients, and in the end, lose some of the momentum you obviously have established.
How do you know when it's time to upgrade?
The most obvious sign is that your site has become slow or you receive frequent error messages such as "too many connections." (Now, there are a whole lot of reasons for error messages, so don't assume that booming business is the cause of yours... but it could be). Your website hosting company may send you a message saying you're reaching your max disk space or bandwidth allowance.
You should be monitoring your bandwidth and disk space usage regularly. If you see your bandwidth spike, it means your traffic has increased dramatically. If it stays at a nice high level, it looks like you've got yourself a successful site. Your SEO must be working! Time to reinvest in a higher-level hosting package because you no longer have the best web hosting service for your needs.
But what's next?
Again, there are a few options here. Many shared website hosting companies have more than one shared plan - if this is the case, you may be able to easily upgrade for minimal investment and see if your business levels stay high. (That said, many shared hosting plans offer unlimited space and bandwidth - you can't do much better than that!)
You should investigate signing on with a Virtual Private Server website hosting service. There's quite a bit of information on VPS hosting in our article on the benefits of VPS hosting. A VPS is a great stepping stone between shared hosting and a dedicated server, in terms of cost and responsibility.
If a VPS doesn't meet your needs, it may be time to look at a dedicated server. Whew! This is a big step and requires some investment - but nothing like having to own and maintain your own server and server room. Managed or unmanaged, there are many choices when it comes to dedicated servers - one is bound to be the right web hosting plan for you.