How to Tell If You Need a New Host

Published Categorized as SEO

Choosing a web hosting service provider is like buying a car: Ask ten people about the best host, and you’ll get thirty opinions, each contradicting the other.

The fact that the highest-rated hosts also happen to have the most generous affiliate programs doesn’t help either. Many of the reviews and roundups recommend the service providers that pay the highest commissions—and not those that give the best service.

I’ve been in this business for a while and I’ve worked with almost every host there is. In my experience, 99.9% uptime is a myth, and a hosting service provider is as good as their least knowledgeable support rep (who, as Murphy’s law dictates, you will also have to talk to).

Instead of talking about selecting a hosting service provider, today, you and I are going to do something different. Let’s talk about the signs that you need to change your host.

Monitor Your Website for Downtime

Even if you host your website on Amazon Web Services (AWS) or Microsoft Azure, you’re not fully immune to occasional downtime from a datacenter failure that takes your site, along with half of the World Wide Web, down.

(Believe it or not, it can happen.)

But if you host your website elsewhere, be it on a shared hosting plan, managed hosting service, or a virtual private server (VPS), you need to pay special attention to the downtime of your website.

Frequent and long downtime will cause users to bounce and search engine crawlers’ requests to fail—hurting your revenue and affecting your SEO.

Sign up for a service like ManageWP or Pingdom and start monitoring your site for downtime today. If you see less than 98-99% downtime after a week or two, that should make you raise eyebrows and move elsewhere.

Check for Crawl Issues in Google Search Console

Not everyone knows that Google Search Console has detailed statistics about the failure rate of Googlebot when crawling your website.

A quick look at these statistics can tell you plenty about the technical health of your site and the reliability of your host (especially if the site has hundreds of pages).

Step 1: Open the Google Search Console property for the website.

Step 2: Scroll down to the bottom of the left sidebar and go to the “Settings” tab.

Settings in the left sidebar

Step 3: Look for “Crawl stats” under “Crawling” and click on “Open Report.”

Crawl stats in the “Settings” tab

Step 4: See “Status” under “Hosts.”

Crawl statistics in Google Search Console

If your host had problems in the past, you will see a green status icon that says, “No problems”.

In case your host did have problems in the past, you will see a hollow status icon with a green border that says, “Problems in the past.”

Click on it; Google Search Console will tell you if those problems were related to the robots.txt file, the DNS resolution, or the Server connectivity.

Host had problems in the past

Server connectivity issues are a tell-tale sign that your host (and their server) is experiencing failure whenever Googlebot tries to crawl your website.

Consider Giving Your Host the Last Chance

Now, if you have a good relationship with your host, consider contacting them, telling them the statistics about downtime and crawl errors, and asking them if and how they can help you eliminate both.

Depending on how they react, they will either amend the matter, recommend a higher plan, or miss this last chance rather quickly by denying that they have anything to do with what you are showing them and claiming that it’s “normal.”