Indeed, there comes a point where your hosting solution is not adequate, and you begin your search for a better plan. It is not that the provider has done anything wrong, it is just that your site and business has outgrown the type of hosting you presently use. Good examples of this are in the cases of free website hosting and cheap hosting on shared servers.
Having to start out on a shoestring limited your options initially, but now you find yourself in a situation where you can choose something different that meets your budget and you can afford the website hosting cost. Whether you are moving from shared hosting or a program such as Google free website hosting, you’ll undoubtedly find there are many opportunities from which to choose. In this segment, we are going to discuss ways of finding and upgrading to the best website hosting.
What Is Involved In Upgrading To Better Hosting?
First, we are going to look at several different scenarios and explain what you need to do to migrate your site to another provider. And in case you are not sure, migration is simply the act of taking your website from one host to another and getting it live again.
Unfortunately, with many free hosting accounts, it is hard to migrate a site in its entirety, simply because the host uses proprietary software that doesn’t allow compatibility elsewhere. The good news with Blogger is that you can switch from having your website shown at blogspot.com to a custom domain on your hosting account built through wordpress.
Additionally, if your site has been around for a while and you have grown a fan or client base, you want to make sure that you continue to benefit from organic traffic. Basically, this is the free traffic that you get from search engines for doing such a good job at writing content and making sure you stick to white hat optimization techniques. So, as well as having the capability of moving your site to another program, you want to keep your rankings in place, too.
In brief, you will export your site from Blogger by looking in the Settings. Once you have the file on your hard drive, you will import into WordPress by logging in to the dashboard and finding Tools. Then, set your Permalinks, which are the descriptive URLs you see in the browser, instead of numbers and letters derived from the database, and which mean nothing to the user or bots. And don’t forget to export your images into the Media Library, and any other specialized media such as slide presentations, videos you made, and logo or header.
Lastly, you will redirect all the pages to the new site through the Blogger interface, and ultimately to the same page users would have seen while on Blogger. By setting up the template, you tell the search engines that the site has a new home and name, and it starts to index the custom domain, and remove the old files from the search engines that show the old blogspot URL. By doing this last step, you ensure your users stay happy by keeping them on your new site, and you keep your established rankings.
WP Beginner does a good job of explaining things to do with WP, so here is their video on the subject. They also have a text tutorial with screenshots, so whichever way is easiest for you to learn should work out. Of course, at this point, we do want to make a disclaimer here. We do NOT encourage or discourage the use of the host shown in the video. We know nothing about their services and we do NOT make any commissions by showing this tutorial. Please use it for educational purposes only.
#2 Website Builder and Hosting
In situations where you have used a company that allows you to create a website with the business’ own tools, and subsequently, host it for free, you will need to check their FAQ on exporting your files. Bundled services are not always that easy to move, but still, you must find a way to get your data over to another platform. You may have to use the RSS feed or find a utility such as a WP plugin that can get the data over for you.
When using the RSS, look for the file called “feed.xml”. Save that to your hard drive and log into your WP dashboard. Look for Tools and then Import, then RSS. WP will ask if you want to run the Importer, which you do, and then you can click the link provided. The larger the old site, the longer this will take to finish, but when it is done, you will receive a success message. Head over to the posts section and verify that they are all there.
But be careful not to get confused and forget your images, as they will still be hosted on your old serer. Copy and paste them over to your hard drive, then upload to the WP Media Library. Go back into each post and change the source of the image links from the old system to the links provided in the library. If you don’t want to do that manually, or the site is very big, just grab one of the automated plugins to do the conversion for you.
You’ll probably have to revise and finesse other facets of the site, such as making a new navigation bar, creating menus for the sidebars and other areas, and checking all links either manually or with a plugin to ensure there are no broken links which cause a user to receive a 404 Not Found page.
Lastly, if the old system allows, add redirects to the interface, so that users and search engines know where your site went.
We should also mention that WP is quite intuitive nowadays. If you check out the dashboard and look under Tools – Import, you will find a long list of platforms that can be transferred over to WP including Blogger, Blogroll, LiveJournal, Movable Type, TypePad, Tumblr and WordPress.
Of course, if you cannot find the relevant importer for your site, then they suggest you check the plugin directory. It is amazing how many people will develop a script to do exactly what you require!
If migrating your site from cheap website hosting to a plan that has more features, if you are already hosting with cPanel, then it will be very easy to make the move. In fact, some providers even offer the task of migrating the site to their services for free, if your old host used cPanel. Either way, whether you get your files over or the best website hosting does it for you, it will not be difficult and the only downtime will be the DNS propagation. Presumably, you are keeping the same domain name, so there is no need to redirect anything.
There are many plugins available for WP specifically to get the files saved and installed on another hosting provider. Likewise, other CMS will have tools or addons available to achieve the same purpose. Basically, activate the plugin of choice, and follow the instructions to get your site seamlessly moved over.
#5 Copy And Paste
As a last resort, for whatever reason a site cannot be moved by using any of the above options, there is no choice but to knuckle down and start copying and pasting. It is a lot of work, but it does need to be done in some cases. We have had to do it several times over the years, when files became contaminated or infected and we just couldn’t get the site to load properly when using traditional methods. Finally, we made the decision to copy and paste all posts and pages. We had to save all the graphics and upload them to the new site.
Usually, when you have to copy and paste, you might not want to keep the old domain in case it has received warnings about problems, but in most cases, you will just add the same domain to your new hosting account.
The other most common reason for copying and pasting is you have built your site with one of the locked systems, which is basically, a proprietary platform that the company does not allow any way to export your work. As we have said earlier, this happens with bundled services, known better as website design and hosting.
How To Find and Upgrade To The Best Website Hosting Providers?
Without doubt, there are many great hosts out there. But, where do you find them? Quite simply, look for website hosting reviews with the understanding that not all reviews are created equal.
There are three types of sites when comparing hosting companies and packages.
While you may have to take member responses and comments with a grain of salt, the nice part about using hosting or webmaster forums to get information, is you do tend to find unbiased information if you sift through the site as a whole. Since you are not asking for recommendations from anyone, you are just reviewing what you read, you can usually find that others will say things in passing. This can help you to find patterns that are positive or negative about a specific provider. Then you can make your own decision. As the users have no vested interest in selling you anything, their comments may be a little more honest and accurate.
#2 Review Sites
As we have said in other posts, we are not against how an individual or company makes their money. Many business models are quite successful and if they feed their families, then so be it.
You should be aware, however, that review sites are there solely for the purpose of making sales and commissions. The reviews are not necessarily accurate or unbiased.
We say they are not accurate because in most instances, the site owners have not even tested the companies they are reviewing. They are comparing packages only.
When you do a search for a specific company, you are bound to find plenty of results and listings. Amongst all the review sites and forums, you will find individuals that have actually used certain services and compared them to others. When someone hosts with a company and has to migrate to better services, often, they will document their journey. This is good because you can readily see the real problems that exist and that might impact your own website.
Should You Upgrade To Elastic Hosting Or A Virtual Private Server?
Before we discuss the advantages of either hosting method, we are going to assume two points here:
that you are upgrading from free website hosting services or a shared hosting environment
that you cannot afford or do not need a dedicated server.
So basically, you are looking for a solution that fits in between resource-wise and cost-wise. For many website owners, either elastic hosting or VPS can be the most effective and optimal way to host their business. We’ll now look at the pros and cons of each type of website host.
Virtual Private Server
A VPS is a shared environment, but not the same as when you host with many customers on the same server, because each VPS client is partitioned. That means that all sections run their own operating system, their own programs, and have their own bandwidth and space allocations. Technically, the other customers on the server cannot impact websites outside of their ownership. So regardless of how others operate, their practices should not cause your site to crash or stall out. To conclude, a VPS is a dedicated server within a shared environment.
Advantages of VPS
#1 Pro – Expense
VPS hosting is inexpensive compared to other methods. In the case of single shared hosting accounts, you are generally limited to one domain. Take that price and multiply it by several sites and it is quite costly. The VPS provides a solution that is easy to use with many domains or websites and is cost effective, at the same time.
#2 Pro – Expandable
Because VPS is partitioned out for each client, it is quickly expandable, meaning that if you need more space, bandwidth or services, the host can add your requirements within a couple hours. There is no need to change servers or DNS. Upgrading usually only requires a support ticket to let them know what you need.
#3 Pro – Increased Performance
Typically, when you want something more powerful, it is going to cost you dearly. The beauty of the VPS is you get plenty of positives for a lot less.
Take for example, if you choose a dedicated server. There is a lot of waste for most website owners because they simply don’t need it. The VPS, on the other hand, reaps the rewards of better performance because everyone is sharing.
#4 Pro – Stability
Generally speaking, a VPS will be more reliable and stable than other types of shared hosting. Bad players will not affect you like reseller situations or shared hosting.
#5 Pro – Control
With shared hosting, you are limited in what you can do. You do not have root access to the server, you cannot request specific programs be added to the server, and you cannot install certain functions to your own website if it is felt that it would be a security risk. With a virtual private server, you have few restrictions. Since each partition runs its own system, you are in control of your own server. You’ll most likely have root access which means you can go ahead and do what you need to do without permission.
#6 Pro – Customizable
Because the VPS is its own server within a server, you are able to request what you need when you set up the account. Most companies allow you to pick and choose, thereby choosing what you want to pay for and saving on what you don’t need. Aside from the cost reduction, the main benefit of being able to cherry pick features is that you don’t get bogged down learning things you don’t need. Plus, they always say that the more things technology or electronics have to offer, the more that can go wrong.
#7 Pro – Support
Despite the fact that you can do many things on your own with VPS hosting, you still get great support from the best hosting website providers. Like other accounts, you will still be permitted to send in support tickets when you have problems, and in most cases, they will help you out and/or fix the problem. With some companies, you can even choose to have managed services where the host will ensure that everything is updated and maintained on a regular schedule.
#8 Pro – Mass Email
For website owners that have large lists and need to regularly send out bulk emails to everyone, the VPS will be more conducive to this activity for several reasons. First, you are not going to affect anyone else in a virtual or cloud environment. Second, the hosting company will most likely not restrict the account to a few emails, as they do in shared hosting. Third, you can set up customization for the emails. Fourth, you can purchase what you need in resources to accomplish your goals.
#9 Pro – Changeable
Usually with a VPS, you are permitted to switch out both hardware and software. In the case of software, you will most likely do it yourself, while when requesting hardware, you will have to ask the support department directly. And you might have to pay for licenses, but still your costs are going to be minimal.
#10 Pro – Added Security
If you feel that you need a different type of security than found with shared hosting, you can set up yours accordingly. Sometimes, you want to be able to do a certain function, while at the same time, need specific security features. This can be achieved on a VPS. For example, you may use traffic blockers, bot blockers, intrusion detection systems, username and password authentication, virus and malware detectors, and even apply user permissions to ensure protection.
Disadvantages of VPS
#1 Con – Work Involved
There is plenty to learn when using a VPS. You must be prepared to do a certain amount of work yourself, or hire a management company that do it for you. The added costs may not make sense.
#2 Con – Limited RAM
Even though, technically speaking, the VPS should provide whatever resources you need, there are instances where the memory and disk space are limited due to other clients on the server. There is only a maximum resource and when that is reached, it means you don’t have access to all of it.
#3 Con – Uptime
It has been suggested that because all the clients on a VPS are using different platforms that there may be a problem on the part of the hosting provider to ensure stable uptimes for the server.
#4 Con – Increased Traffic
Although traffic spikes tend to be okay with a dedicated server, in the case of virtual private server hosting, this is not always true. Because you have a base amount of allocated resources at your disposal, when you receive unexpected amounts of traffic, the server may not be able to handle it.
#5 Con – Same IPS
By rights, the host should provide each customer with its own IP address, but in reality, as IPs become more scarce, many on the same server are issued the identical IP which does not help you to avoid bad neighborhoods.
Everyone knows what an elastic band is. It expands and contracts as is needed to hold an object or group of items. It doesn’t have one size. Elastic hosting is much the same and is considered the next generation in hosting. Each client has an isolated environment, yet there are no restrictions on resources. The system is easier to manage and maintain, and doesn’t require a long learning curve.
Advantages of Elastic Hosting
#1 Pro – Very Cheap
Elastic hosting is now said to be the most cost effective method to host a website. In fact, for everything it does, it is considered to be cheap website hosting.
#2 Pro – Limited Knowledge
Unlike a VPS or dedicated server, elastic hosting lets you get on with business and avoid the headaches of learning how to maintain a server. You have the benefits available of shared hosting such as support, yet at the same time, you reduce the negatives.
#3 Pro – Mix and Match
Choose whatever you need in disk space, CPU and RAM. Ideally, this option should help keep costs low, but at the same time, it makes it easier to manage, since there aren’t a lot of unnecessary features to worry about.
#4 Pro – Hard Drive Flexibility
Because the elastic hosting system is virtual and not a physical server, hard drives can be placed wherever needed. That means they can be stored on different virtual servers or all on the same one for optimum access.
Instead of paying for a dedicated server where resources are going to be wasted while your business grows into them, elastic hosting, on the other hand, allows you to expand naturally. As you need more features or resources, you order them and grow your server as your business grows.
#7 Pro – Unmetered Traffic
Some of the best elastic hosting providers do offer unmetered traffic. In other words, regardless of how many users you receive at any given time, you will not pay extra, as you often do with a VPS. Additionally, there will be no restrictions on how many MySQL databases you want to create and use.
Despite the fact that you will have root access, and will be permitted to customize your elastic hosting server accordingly, unlike a VPS or dedicated server, there are no fees for software licensing. The host bears the cost of the license and distributes it in the same way as a single shared hosting account.
#10 Pro – Environmentally Friendly
Elastic Hosting is being referred to as green technology because there are not so many physical servers drawing upon the electricity or being thrown into landfills. Also, servers are said to emit carbons, which are dangerous, since data centers create carbon impacts or footprints. We have even read that the Environmental Protection Agency completed studies showing that it is now becoming worse than the aviation industry. You’ll find plenty of links on the subject in this article.
Disadvantages of Elastic Hosting
#1 Con – Unmetered Traffic
Although we did say this was an advantage of elastic hosting, it can be a disadvantage depending on the host itself. Because elastic hosting mimics a shared environment, the host may take steps to ensure that one customer or website does not use up all the resources, causing problems for other sites on the same configuration. For this reason, unmetered traffic can be a detriment to your business in the case where you don’t really get the feature. The host actually throttles the service at a certain point to ensure that other sites don’t crash.
Conversely, there are many elastic hosts that limit the resources and stipulate this fact right in their terms and conditions. Each plan will offer a varied set of resources and you stick to the allocation. You know upfront what you are paying for.
#2 Con – Security Breaches
Because elastic hosting relies on cloud hosting, no-one really knows where that is and how secure data truly is.
Questions still remain as to whether or not there is privacy, and how vulnerable the systems are to attack by malicious forces?
#3 Con – Fewer Hosts
Due to the fact that elastic hosting is a newer concept, it is not readily available everywhere. Now, on one side, that is a good thing, because you don’t have such a long list from which to choose. But, on the other side of the coin, it can be a deterrent because it may not be that easy to migrate your data over to a new company in the event that you have an irreconcilable dispute.
#4 Con – OverSelling
We all know that that many industries over sell their services. Airplane flights over book to increase their productivity and profits. Doctors book patients at the same time to keep the process moving and see more people in the same day. And hosting follows the same business model. Sometimes, elastic hosts go too far in over subscribing services and resources.
#5 Longer Reboot Time
In the case of a physical server, rebooting is a matter of turning the machine on and off. Things are not this easy with cloud or elastic hosting. And you might ask why a server needs rebooting in the first place? One of the main reasons is hardware failure. Downtime will certainly be longer with a virtual cloud hosting scenario, since more steps are required to get it back up and running again.
Finding and upgrading to the best website hosting shouldn’t be such a problem today with all the available solutions. Previously, it was difficult to make the leap between a single or reseller account to a dedicated server, both because of the exorbitant costs, and the gigantic learning curve.
Hosts realize that they need to find better ways to attract customers, and sometimes, that means doing things in an easier fashion. Virtual private servers and elastic hosting seem to be the intermediary solutions that allow website owners to operate more profitability and still not have to understand everything there is to know about a traditional server.
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