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When should you upgrade from shared hosting to managed hosting?

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It’s not an exaggeration to say that your choice of hosting is a key decision when setting up a WooCommerce store. If you get this wrong, your site – and more importantly your customers – will experience timeouts, slow loading times, and much more. Every lost customer here means less income for you.

Given this, upgrading your shared hosting package to a managed solution is a sound strategy. However, WooCommerce sites have some specific needs. You’ll want to weigh up your hosting options to make sure the one you choose meets your requirements.

In this post, we’ll lay out when you should upgrade from shared hosting to a managed solution. We’ll also discuss why your hosting choice is crucial, and talk about the differences between both types. Before this, let’s chat about what a WooCommerce site needs to run effectively. 

What Does Your WooCommerce Site Need In a Web Host?

While both run on the same platform, a standard WordPress business site has different needs than a WooCommerce site. Of course, both will need to serve potentially high traffic numbers. However, from there the requirements diverge.

Rather than compare business and WooCommerce sites, it’s more straightforward to consider what the latter needs from its web host. Here are just a few elements:

  • High, scalable bandwidth to protect against an unexpected traffic surge.
  • Plenty of storage, to contain all of the products and media on the site.
  • A server architecture that protects users from malicious intent.
  • High server uptime, so you can maximize the number of purchases made on site.
  • Hosting compliance, which is important for performance and your legal standing (with regard to e-commerce).

There are other aspects that aren’t directly related to the server specifications too. For example, you’ll want to know whether you’re able to install a Secure Sockets Layer (SSL) certificate on your server. This will help encrypt user data from ‘leaking’ into the hands of hackers and other malicious actors.

Nexcess’ ‘compliant hosting’ declaration

What’s more, user-friendly features and functionality (such as great support and a slick back end admin panel) can be worth their weight in gold. While you may not realize it, how a host takes care of you can impact your profits too.

What Are the Differences Between Shared and Managed Hosting?

Before we get to the question of when you should upgrade your hosting, let’s outline some of the differences.

For the uninitiated, shared hosting stores hundreds of sites on the same server. Consider it a cost-effective, ‘battery-farmed’ version of hosting your website. In contrast, managed WooCommerce hosting sees the provider take a more hands-on approach to server maintenance.

Nexcess’ server specifications and technology

There are some key aspects you’ll notice when comparing shared and managed hosting too, such as:

  • Price. The big difference is with how much a shared host costs compared to a managed package. While you’ll pay more for managed hosting, the benefits will be greater.
  • Server power and speed. Shared hosting often uses a lower class of server to host sites. This impacts how quickly your site loads, and may even see some necessary features out of your reach.
  • Overall features and functionality. Shared hosts offer less out of the box than managed hosts. With the latter, you’ll find that the all-around package is more robust and feature-rich.

If you have a developer onboard, or you otherwise outsource aspects of your site’s maintenance, managed hosting often includes functionality to help. For example, you’ll be able to ‘stage’ sites to develop them away from the live version. This is vital for your uptime and the smooth running of your server. Working on a live site is considered a ‘no-no’.

Also, consider that because you’re sharing your IP address with others on a shared server, their actions could potentially impact your site. For example, if a user is a known spammer who is blacklisted, this could take your site offline in areas such as email. Of course, this is something you’ll want to avoid.

What Should You Look For In a Managed Hosting Provider?

Given what we’ve talked about so far, it’s clear that there are plenty of aspects you need to consider when choosing the right managed WooCommerce host. At this point, you’ll want to do some investigative work, and find out the answers to the following:

  • Does the web host offer good support, at a level you need?
  • Are there opportunities to scale your provision as your WooCommerce store grows?
  • Are the features and functionality relevant to your needs as an e-commerce store?
  • How well does the host help protect your customers from hacks, data leakage, and other malicious intent?

Once a host has ticked these boxes, you can then look at whether your potential plan is strong enough to meet your current requirements.

When it comes to support, having a number of ways to contact your host around the clock is vital. This is especially important if you’re not tech-savvy. What’s more, having an overall architecture that supports what you want to achieve in the future is just as crucial.

Nexcess is one of the only hosts we’ve come across that show managed WooCommerce plans according to how many orders you clear per hour:

The Nexcess pricing page, showing the ‘Max Orders Per Hour’ metric.

This is a great signal of how a host pays attention to what users need. What’s more, practically all of the included features are focused on making a WooCommerce store a success.

When Should You Upgrade From Shared Hosting to Managed Hosting?

Once you’ve done your research, you’ll want to consider when to upgrade from shared hosting. Moving to a managed hosting provider doesn’t have to be a hassle, and many hosts offer a painless migration service to help ease the burden.

In a nutshell, you could consider an upgrade when any of the following are true:

  • Page loading speeds become longer, and impact sales as a result.
  • Your current SSL certificate isn’t fit for the level of business you’re turning over.
  • The line of products you sell has increased.
  • Other users have impacted your experience with your host.
  • You’re simply not happy with the service you’re getting.

We’d even argue that WooCommerce sites should skip shared hosting altogether. Managed hosting is affordable, and if you’re turning over a good number of sales, it will practically pay for itself. This is especially true if you’re hoping to reach a global customer base.

In Summary

WooCommerce sites are a different beast to standard WordPress setups. Given that your income and livelihood depends on how well your site runs, choosing a solid, dependable host is vital.

This post has looked at when you should consider moving on from shared hosting. In short, if your traffic has increased and there are more demands being placed on your server, managed hosting is the way to go.

Of course, localization is just as vital as a managed web host. Check out a 10-day free trial of Weglot, and create a multilingual WooCommerce site with a global reach!

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