So you started from the bottom and now you’re here. Your tiny kernel of a dream has grown into a thriving business – or at least it’s on the verge of being something amazing – and you’ve started looking at your web host with a question in your eyes. Are you really in this together? Are your goals still aligned? Or is he dedicating more time with his friends than he’s spending with you?

No one likes a breakup, but sometimes moving forward means letting go of the people that are holding you back. Here are six signs that you may want to dump your host and cozy up to something new.

Your Downtime is Happening All the Time

Site maintenance is a necessary evil, but if your server is taking a break more often than you get to, that’s a problem. If you’re using a shared host, their servers might not be capable of handling the combined traffic of its users, or maybe the iffy infrastructure of the site is an unintentional exercise in self-sabotage. Whatever the reason, it spells potential disaster for you. Your website is your first impression, and an “under maintenance” sign doesn’t exactly inspire confidence.

Security is Asleep on the Job

Whether you’re doing business as a four-wall enterprise or solely on the web, you have a responsibility to your customers to keep their information safe. That includes protecting everything from credit card numbers to patient records not only while it’s in your hands but also whenever it passes through to your vendors – or, in the case of a host, your sort-of landlord. Partnering up with a managed host that has a stellar reputation for security puts several layers of protection between your clients and the people who’d love to access their details. Plus, a big-name managed host is likely to have security experts on staff whose sole job is to keep on top of new security concerns and regulations. Hackers are always evolving, and trust us, you don’t have time to battle ransomware or combat data breaches.

Add-Ons Are Breaking Your Budget

Slowly but surely, the deal you snagged when you first signed on with your current host has become less and less attractive. First you upped your bandwidth, then you needed an extra subdomain or two, and before you knew it your profit margins had acquired a serious dent. Moving on to greener pastures is an opportunity to reevaluate your hosting needs, see what new deals and technology is out there, and find your site the home it deserves.

You’ve Decided to Change Focus

Not all web hosts are created the same. You don’t go to the grocery store to shop for a car and you wouldn’t necessarily use a host specializing in e-commerce to run your personal blog and host without video hosting services will be fairly useless to someone who uses demonstration videos to drive business. Whenever you make significant changes to your business model, it’s time to take a look at what peripheral services you’re going to need.

Business is Picking Up Speed

When you first started your web-based business, free hosting probably looked pretty good. Not paying a monthly hosting fee meant you had extra money for more pressing things, like paying rent, advertising your new business, and buying ramen in bulk. Now, though, you’re converting like crazy and it’s hard to look like a legit, trustworthy brand when your host has random ads (many of which could be from companies at odds with your own values) plastered all over your site. Even worse, free hosting is almost always shared hosting, meaning you’re splitting resources like space and bandwidth with other up-and-comers. Upgrading to a dedicated host will give you more freedom, faster load times, and more control – at a cost.

When You Call, Nobody’s Home

Few things are more frustrating than having a problem with your business, needing someone else’s help to solve, and not being able to get that person’s attention. When your web host offers sub-par customer service, they’re telling you in no uncertain terms that your needs just aren’t important to them. Take them at their word and find a host that offers the support you need whenever – and however – you need it.

Leaving your web host for a new one can be a scary proposition. Even if you’re not happy where you are, the fear of investing in an unknown host can easily prevent you from taking risks and making your business what it deserves to be. Remember, it’s not you, it’s them, and it might be time to take a deep breath and say, “we need to talk…”

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