If you’re an e-tailer (or really any website owner who gets caught up in the bustle of the holiday season), you likely put off researching new hosts for the past couple of months. Would it have been better to change to a virtual private server/VPS package before the holiday sales came to an end? Probably, but you know what they say about hindsight. Today is always the best time to switch, because every minute that you force your website visitors to deal with the slowness and lack of security that basic shared plans offer, is another minute that they remain more vulnerable and frustrated than necessary.
For many businesses, January is a slow month. In fact, you might be starting the new year off in the red. If your site visitors are returning items, starting 2016 in debt has likely already happened. Your sales team is tired, everyone is back from vacation (and doesn’t want to be), and in many regions of the US the weather is gloomy, days are short, and there are no major holidays around the corner. It’s time for business housekeeping, and that starts with ensuring the online experience is better than ever this year.
Making the Switch
Switching web hosts is often a must when you want VPS hosting. Unfortunately, most web hosts in North America simply don’t offer this service. The good news is this makes it much easier for you to comparison shop—when you don’t have as many hosts to compare, it goes pretty quickly. However, first figure out if you want to go with a boutique, local web host, or a major one. Many website owners lean towards the former, craving that personal touch that’s so often lost with bigger hosts.
Next, you want to check where the host is located. For example, if you operate a brick and mortar bookstore in Provo, Utah, maybe you want a fellow Utahn host. At the very least, you likely want a host in the US (sticking with the same country has benefits, like both you and the host following the same legal system). You also want to make sure the host’s datacenter (where your server is held) is in a region that’s largely free of natural disasters.
Maximizing the Longest Month
In many cases, January can feel like the longest month of all—make use of it. There are many to-do items to take care of to ensure you get your business off to a fresh start. When you’ve narrowed down potential web hosts to just a handful, give them a call to test out their customer service chops. You want to be able to connect to a live person quickly in whatever manner you like (phone, live chat, etc.). This ensures you have a solid experience if and when you need to reach them in an emergency.
Finally, give yourself a deadline that isn’t January 31. If your company has a long weekend for Martin Luther King Jr. Day, that’s a fantastic and feasible deadline.