Changing Hosting Service
Should I Change My Hosting Service
I’m not unhappy with my current hosting service – just the opposite in fact. They provide a good service, are quick to respond to support requests and my sites work great. The hosting service is not the problem.
The problem is our internet network – connecting to my sites admin panels, editing content and so on has become a nightmare of frustration over the past several months. Latency and ping rates are so bad that often it’s impossible to save content or undertake backend admin.
But at the same time, I can work on offshore hosted sites with few problems – this blog is one of them. It’s crazy to think that the distance from my computer to the data-centre hosting my websites is only about 40km, but the routing takes my connection through more jumps, often switching all over the country, than a connection to servers hosted in North America!
I was Hoping For Change
When the problems with South African internet connectivity began in January this year, I was confident it was only a short-term bug that would soon be fixed. However, things have got progressively worse since then.
Often when updating or saving a new item of content lately, the connection hangs – my 3G connection seems to drop from HSPA+ to WCDMA at that moment – and WCDMA doesn’t work at all for some unknown reason (well, the reason is obvious – the network configuration is messed-up). Usually I can get it back up to full HSPA by refreshing this blog’s admin or stats page, or another one of the offshore hosted sites I work on. But even then the local route to my websites doesn’t respond.
Can you imaging the frustration of trying to add around 300 products to an online store when it can take 10 minutes just to save each small change and view the result? (I’m not joking – two days ago I had to try the same save at least twenty times before the connection held up long enough to send the data!) Even the WordPress auto-save feature doesn’t work all the time, and of course if the save is interrupted when working on Drupal content – it can get lost. So I have to save the HTML in a text file or another HTML file locally before saving anything.
There Are Benefits To Offshore Hosting
Moving my sites offshore will have several benefits for visitors and me
- Visitors coming from the civilised world will get faster page loads; however visitors from South Africa will find slower page load speed. Not a problem to me – most of the visitors to my sites are from Europe and North America anyway’ For the most part, local residents are on slow internet connections anyway – the average (non-business) ADSL speed is only 356kbs, so won’t see the difference. In any case, every site I work on hosted offshore loads faster than my local hosted sites even over the 3G service…
- Then there’s Google. Google is also struggling with local sites lately – the time it takes their crawler to read pages has more than doubled in the last six months, with frequent failures as well. Read times for my sites have gone from 1500ms in December 2011 to 3200ms since then, and getting worse. Not good for my site ranking. Not good at all…
- Cost: Moving the sites to offshore hosting has a financial benefit too. I can get more MySQL databases and more data usage than my current limit – If I take more databases and data locally, then the cost goes up. No such thing in South Africa as unlimited databases or unlimited data use…
- Re-seller packages: And then there’s the very attractive re-seller packages available from offshore hosting services. For a small company active in the web industry (like me) these are something worthy of consideration.
Changing my Hosting Service – A Big Decision
Changing my sites to an offshore hosting service needs careful thought. Before jumping in where angels fear to tread, I need to think really carefully. Decisions made in haste and under duress are not always good decisions.
Right now I am only doing the research. Finding recommendations for hosting for Drupal, WordPress and Joomla. Finding out what the recommended service offer , and customer reviews of their service. Then sending off e-mails for more information to a shortlist of possible hosts. Once I get more details about their services I can make an informed decision.