Small to medium sized business owners can usually relax when it comes to utilizing shared-server hosting plans. In general, normal web traffic is usually not enough to make a dent in the limitations hosting companies place on their bandwidth policies.
But there are times when a small or medium sized business makes significant leaps and bounds with the popularity of their website. And there comes a time when a website simply outgrows the resources provided in shared plans. At that time it may be time to move on up to the big leagues with a VPS or dedicated hosting plan.
But what is that precise moment? Is there a defined traffic number that indicates the necessity for a dedicated server? Let’s take a look at how you may know when your small or medium sized business website needs additional resources.
Use a reliable website statistics monitor
The first thing you should always do is utilize a website statistics program. Oftentimes these are provided free with most hosting plans. And there are other reliable statistics indicators on 3rd-party websites as well.
The main thing is to use what works for you. Find a stats program that gives you the information you need to make wise choices based on your website goals. Want to know traffic numbers? Do you wish to know where in the country (or world) your visitors are coming from? How about a breakdown of the web traffic patterns during all hours of the day? All these and more can be gleaned from a good stats analyzer.
Take note of PPC results indicators
Do you use PPC and other web marketing strategies to try and attract visitors? Use your metrics program to discover and analyze the results. These types of online marketing campaigns can be a good indicator of your growing traffic and potential web server needs.
Chart traffic growth
Using the metrics program for normal and PPC traffic patterns, use the graphing capabilities of your stats program, or use your own spreadsheet, to chart the progress of traffic growth. Visualizing your traffic on graphs and charts can give you a better picture of an eminent dedicated server need.
Know your shared-hosting limitations
Before you can know when it’s time to switch to a dedicated hosting plan, you need to know when you are reaching the limits of the resources allotted to you through a shared plan. Some hosts will spell it out clearly with limits like 50GB or 100GB per month. Others will have “unlimited” bandwidth, however do realize that bandwidth is never unlimited.
Unlimited usually just means that a hosting company will allow you to exceed certain limits on occasion, as long as you stay within normal usage patterns. However, be assured that when your growing website consistently sucks bandwidth and affects other website owners on the same server, you’ll be getting a call. Your job is to ask your host when that will happen.
When to make the jump to Dedicated Hosting
If you are consistent with your tracking, monitoring, and charting of your growing web traffic, and your growth strategies are working to your satisfaction, you will find that certain number when it’s time to upgrade your hosting plan. You will clearly see when your bandwidth needs meet your hosting limits. Be assured that it is a happy day when you find that your little business website is now in the league with larger companies and corporations.