It seems to be a universal truth that good, or even great, web hosts go bad.
Are you prepared for that? Do you have a disaster plan in place so that you can easily move to a new host? What happens if they stop replying to emails or tickets or worse still disappear from the net.
Don't put all your eggs in one basket.
There are many possible reasons that a web host can go bad:
- overselling - too many sites on the same server
- outdated hardware and no investment in new equipment
- support staff leave and their replacements are less knowledgeable
- the economy and competition force cutbacks and cost saving
- even a lack of interest in the business as new opportunities take all the management's time
So what should you be doing right now?
The first thing you should always do is to ensure that the control of your domain is not with your web hosts. You must have control of the domain name and DNS so that you can move it whenever you need to without any intervention from the web host
Secondly you need to ensure that you are taking regular backups and storing them off-site.
If you need to move your site to a new host then you must be able to do so with the least downtime possible. If you have backups, preferably made with akeeba backup, and control of the domain then you do can be up and running on a new web host very quickly. The last thing you want to happen is to rely on the current web host to transfer the domain and give you access to your own data so that you can move it.
Can you really afford for your site not to be 100% under your own control?
Obviously a web host will never be happy that you want to leave and so anything that you want them to do will not be a priority. And if your leaving because their support is slow then its going to be even slower just when you need it to be faster than ever. In the worse case scenario where the web host goes out of business and the servers go offline then if you don't have the domain under your control and the site data then your business will go offline too.
Don't delay - Act now!
As soon as you start to see a degradation in the service that you've experienced with your web host or you hear about it from trusted friends then it's time to act. Don't wait to see if things will get better. In my experience it rarely does and usually just gets worse. Watch out for the signs and act quickly.
But ABC hosts with them so they must be ok
That's the biggest mistake anyone can make. It is very unlikely that monster client ABC is hosted on the same equipment that you are and they might even be in full control of the server, managing it themselves, and only relying on the web host for bandwidth. If your own experience of the host is no longer as good as it was then it is time to move NOW.
[update] this blog post is not in response to any specific web host