Back in 2013 I was operating a mid-sized website that, at it’s peak, was pushing almost 100,000 visitors to the site every month. But it wasn’t always that way..
When I launched the site in the beginning of the year, it took 6 months before we crossed the threshold of 100 visitors in a day. A month later, we hit 200… then 300.. then 500.. and so on.
I think most people who have had a successful site would attest that once you hit a growth point, things start happening FAST (let that be a lesson for me to persevere through the tough times more!).
Up until that point, the site was hosted on HostGator (one of the many shared hosts that are great for starting up), but it became clear that we had outgrown it.
We were taking up way too much of the server resources, and the site started acting AS SLOW AS A SLOTH. So now, our new site that is JUST starting to gain traction is taking almost 5 seconds for every new visitors to load.
We were losing customers fast because the site was just taking WAY too long to load..
On a whim, I ended up switching from HostGator to WP Engine on a buddy’s recommendation. In one night, I set up my account, transferred the name-servers of the domain, and transferred my WordPress database over to WP Engine.
I’ve got to admit, switching hosting providers is scary when you have an active site. You never know what can happen. But I did it, went to sleep, and here is what I woke up to the next morning…
The site, which previously took 5 seconds to load, now loaded in under a second:
My PageSpeed score from Google went up over 15 points for both mobile and desktop:
Across the board, my SEO rankings went up by a minimum of 5 spots.. and the traffic started to increase!
Here is the picture of the traffic growth after setting up on WP Engine.
I am not advocating that switching to WP Engine is a hot SEO trick. There is a very obvious reason this happened. My old host could not handle the traffic so they were slowing my site down. Once my site speed picked back up, my rankings were given a favorable boost.
Pretty easy answer here.. ALWAYS start on a shared hosting plan when launching a new site. It’s going to be significantly cheaper and give you some extra capital to grow your site. Wait to switch to WP Engine until you have built up your traffic and it’s obvious that you are maxing out the shared hosting server you are on (I’ll answer how you can tell below).
Another pretty simple, straight forward answer… Site speed. I usually just use my best judgement when it comes to this, but if you are extremely analytical you can observe how your site performs over time using Google’s PageSpeed tool. Once your score drops lower than a 70, I’d consider switching.
But if you are like me, just wait until it gets annoying to edit your site because the pages take so freaking long to load :)
If you want to look more into WP Engine, you can visit www.WPEngine.com