Moving to a New Web Host: Part 1 – Choosing the Right Web Host

Recently, I helped a client move their website from Canada to the US and wanted to share the experience.

The client’s business is dependent on their website being up and running so the ultimate goal was finding a web host with a good history of uptime who also provided top notch customer support. Downtime was an issue and so was customer support at the old web host, hence the decision to move. Coupled with the fact that the majority of the client’s users were from the United States, it only made sense to move to a web host located in the US.

It has been a while since I have looked into web hosting options so it took a few weeks of researching before I was able to recommend the right web host. It was indeed a daunting task visiting various forums and digging through an endless number of reviews. Here were the Top 4 determining factors for choosing the new web host for the client.

Top 4 Things to Consider When Choosing a Web Host

    1. Historical Uptime & Customer Satisfaction
    Reviews and feedback at forums like helped tremendously in my reserach. Not only were users willing to give current reviews about a particular web host, but the forum archives also included historical customer feedback. This was a good indicator of customer staisfaction in the longer term.
    2. Customer Support
    The web host must be able to provide friendly, professional and knowledgeable support staff members who are willing to help 24/7 and can do it via telephone or email in a timely manner.
    3. Website & Server Speed
    Maximum download speed, website loading time, ping times and traceroute times should all be considered. Many good web hosting companies will post large files for you to download & test the speed of their servers. Test throughout the day. It’s important to know how the server behaves during peak and off hours.
    4. Server Location & Connection
    Preferably, the web hosting company should own & operate their own data center and is connected to the internet through multiple Tier 1 bandwidth providers. It’s also best to choose a web host located in the same country as the majority of your users.

It was during my search that I discovered something called a virtual private server (VPS). In short, it is a single computer setup to run 1 or more virtualized servers. Although many VPS accounts may be hosted on the same machine, the virtualized environment minimizes your neighbor’s website from affecting yours since processor power, RAM and disk space are pre-allocated and isolated for each user. VPS hosting is meant as a stepping stone for users who have out grown shared web hosting but is not ready to take on the full responsibilities & costs of running a dedicated server.

After a lengthy period of reviewing, researching & auditing, I am happy to share that the client has successfully moved to a Liquid Web VPS hosting account.

Ian Lee
Work from home dad, marketer and photographer. Fallen in love with basketball all over again as I coach my daughter's team.

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