Webmasters fear a change of their web server because there is always the underlying fear that it is going to send their search ranking spiraling down the drain. Truth be told, if all the other things remain the same, changing your web host will not affect your search engine ranking – end of myth. However, there are number of other factors that can lead to changes and which must be considered before you change your service provider. Consider them all seriously before you make a change and you will have no surprises pop up to hurt you.
Your web server’s uptime is crucial for your site’s ranking and there is no way around that. If you have an unreliable host, then your website’s uptime will be poor which is a major issue. If your website is down too often or if it times out too often before the pages load, it will frustrate your website’s visitors and search engine bots doing the indexing, affecting your traffic rate as well your indexing. If Googlebot, or any search engine bot for that matter, and your server is down, you are going to pay a price for it. If it happens more than once the price you pay for that gets increasingly steeper. If this is a strong possibility then the change will likely hurt you to some degree.
You also need to know your server. There is a blacklist of servers and you need to check that out. Blacklisted servers were healthy once but have been used for sending spam mails and for spreading malicious software and viruses. They got abused and paid the price for not having regulated their use better. Servers will be blacklisted by the search engines and this will create what is called a bad hosting space.
When that happens, all the websites hosted in such servers looked at with suspicion even if they have done nothing wrong. Don’t go for hosting services just because they are cheap, because there is often a reason they are cheap.
Consider the case of many hosting packages on eBay that are priced at unbelievably low rates. They can offer service at such low prices because the blacklisted hosting service providers are trying to salvage whatever is possible. Service from blacklisted servers can be had for almost nothing. A similar service costs you 20 to 30 times more elsewhere. This is like paying cut rates to rent an apartment in a neighborhood filled with drug dens just because you got a great deal. Believe us on this – you get what you pay for. Being identified with a bad neighborhood is one of the worst things that can happen to your brand new website or a website with a good reputation and decent online visibility achieved after years of hard work. In this case, a change can definitely hurt you.
Before you think that is all you need to watch for, there is something else to be aware of. A common problem associated with changing your hosting service is the proper transfer of the website to the new host. Small websites with only a few pages will not have any problem. If, however, you own websites that are massive with thousands of pages, moving them can be a pretty complicated task. Extra care and attention is required to ensure a fully functional website without any 404 errors. Plan your migration carefully and have a backup in place so that your files are safe in case of any mishaps while transferring your website. After migration have your SEO professional do a complete scan of your website to ensure that all is performing correctly. It also doesn’t hurt to have a professional oversee the whole transfer. The bigger and more complex your site is the more problems you may encounter.