As some of you may have noticed, I didn’t publish a post here yesterday. That’s because I’ve just had this blog moved from it’s former hosting, to what’s known as a dedicated server. In other words, this blog now lives on it’s own hardware with only my sites on it. The new server is extremely high spec and will hopefully allow me to continue to grow the blog, without the need to keep upgrading. I outgrew my “old” server, in just over 4 months!
2 lessons from my experience
You get what you pay for: This is the first time that this blog has been hosted on a dedicated managed server (rather than a shared server, VPS or cloud). Not only is the hardware massively better, the service level is too. Of course, all this comes with an increased price tag, but that cost meant that this was a 100% hassle free exercise for me. I didn’t need to do a thing and the whole exercise had a dedicated project manager handling it, who kept me updated throughout. I have full, 24/7 direct telephone access to the server engineers for the lifetime of my contract and these engineers are located in the same building as my hardware. It’s total peace-of-mind.
The time to upgrade is before you are forced to: The new service agreement and hardware specifications are massively more than I needed even 12-months ago, and to have upgraded to something as comprehensive as this, back then, would have made little commercial sense. However, I have always believed that when it comes to web hosting, you should upgrade before your site becomes slow or unreliable, too often.
I started out 2 years ago on a wordpress.com hosted blog, which was free. I then graduated through $10 a month hosting providers, to $50 a month providers, to Virtual Private Servers and cloud providers – Right through to dedicated hosting with my current provider. Because of the costs involved, and the fact that many small business bloggers operate with a pretty low budget, it makes sense to upgrade carefully. If your current provider is working well for you and you are happy with the service you have, stay where you are. Upgrade only when you know you should.
Of course, if you are seeing a significant increase in visitors to your blog, it’s worth thinking ahead and figuring out your next step. There are some very good offers out there, but also some shockingly unreliable providers too. Do your research and find who is offering the best deals – NOT the lowest price, but the best match of hardware, service and price.
For example, if your site is a key part of your business, you won’t want to have to raise a support ticket, with a 24-hour response time, if you notice your site has a serious problem! That’s what many providers at the lower end of the market offer. In that scenario, you will want a dedicated, tech support phone number, that actually gets answered by someone who can help. Conversely, if you are building up a new blog and getting a moderate volume of visitors, there’s little point spending hundreds each month on hosting. It’s all about balance.
If all goes according to plan, you won’t notice much of a difference with my sites; as I moved them before they were under too great a load, too often. However, the move should now allow me to focus on developing content for you, without too many hosting-related distractions.
Most importantly – THANK YOU for your support over the past 2 years!