Don’t Upgrade Your Hosting Plan Before You Read This

Mar 31, 2021 | Performance

If you are running out of storage, your site is slowing down, or you keep getting bullied by your host about overages 🤑, it’s time for a hosting plan upgrade, right?

Not necessarily!

Before running off and paying extra for a plan you don’t need here are 3 simple steps you can take to free up space, use less bandwidth, and improve site performance without jumping to the next plan.

The variety of hosting options available can be overwhelming for a new user, but when you’re just starting out, the plan you choose depends on what you value most.

  • Cost – Is it affordable?
  • Scalability – Will it work if I add lots of content or have a sudden traffic spike?
  • Quality – Is it fast and powerful?

Low cost shared hosting plans and boutique hosting with limited storage capacity is an attractive option when you’re starting. A traffic increases and the amount of content you are creating changes so does the need for more space and delivery bandwidth.

But even jumping a single plan can dramatically increase the cost of your hosting service. Most hosting services come bundled, so even if you just need a little more storage you are forced to pay for extra services you don’t need.

In this post, I am going to look at the most common reasons you may start looking to upgrade to the next plan and provide simple low and no-cost solutions that will keep your site performing at top speed while you scale. Whether you’re scaling a non-profit to reach more people or working to keep costs low while selling products online, these tricks make your site incredibly scalable and allow you to share more content faster without switching to a more expensive hosting plan.

Your WordPress Site Is Suddenly Very Slow

If your website speed is inconsistent or suddenly slows down and pages just don’t seem to load the way they did when you first launched, improperly formatted or large media may be bringing your site performance down.

Stats show, when pages are loading slowly you lose transactions and traffic. Not only do you lose the trust of your visitors but performance is also a ranking factor for search engines.

Optimize Your Media

Properly formatting and optimizing images, audio files and video content for the web can keep your pages running fast and smooth without upgrading your servers.

Before jumping to a new hosting plan, try optimizing your media content. You can test this by running a page speed test with a free tool like Google PageSpeed Insights. A page speed test will tell you what is slowing down the page and provide recommendations for improving performance. Look to see if you are getting recommendations for improving the images or videos on the page.

Pro tip: It is a page speed test and is not making recommendations for the full website. Check each of the pages you want to optimize separately.

If your performance issue is being caused by heavy media content, it doesn’t matter if you upgrade to a new hosting plan. Your pages will still run slow and you will be paying more for server resources you don’t need.

If you already have a large media library, it can be daunting to try and sift through your media content applying the appropriate settings. Fortunately, there are tools built for automating the process of image optimization.

For image optimization, we recommend WP Smush. With over a million users, the free version is perfect for most sites and it does a great job cleaning up bulky image files. An image optimization plugin is essential if you have a lot of images or allow visitors or writers to add image files to your website.

It automatically strips unused data while preserving quality, makes the files smaller without a visible drop in quality and helps you score higher on your page speed test. If you have a big site, we recommend upgrading to a pro service plan. Even with the additional cost, it will save you huge on hosting costs as it will cut back on storage and bandwidth costs.

Serve Media From a CDN

If you’re self-hosting your video content, be sure it is being served from a cloud delivery platform away from your hosting. Videos served alongside your code files are incredibly resource-intensive. Using Infinite Uploads or another cloud delivery service to offload your video content moves the files to our dedicated storage and CDN allowing your website files to transfer faster.

The same applies to audio files like podcast episodes, sermons, or your band’s album. Even a long compressed mp3 file can be 40MB to 75MB and slow down service. Proper optimization techniques go a long way to keeping your site performing at top speed and moving these files to dedicated storage keeps your site moving fast.

Infinite Uploads member dashboard

Your Website Is Running Out Of Storage

It is crazy how quickly the amount of storage your site is using can grow. Whether you give your users a way to contribute and upload files to your blog, run a Multisite network, or have an e-commerce site with thousands of product images or are selling digital downloads, storage usage multiplies fast.

If all you need is more storage, upgrading to a bigger plan is not ideal. Most hosts don’t allow users to upgrade their storage and if they do it comes at a high price. There are many reasons for this but the biggest is website hosts are not designed as media archives or storage providers.

Delete Duplicate and Unused Media

The longer your site has been around the more likely it is you have files on your site that are no longer being used. Files stored in your library that are not linked anywhere take up valuable space and could end up forcing you to purchase more storage or pay for overages. Cleaning out your library can be just the thing you need to keep the cost down and avoid unnecessary storage costs.

A plugin like Media Cleaner can help clean your Media Library of the media files that aren’t being used or are broken.

Note: Before using a plugin like this be sure to do your research and make a backup. You don’t want to accidentally delete files you will need later. 

Cloud Storage For Media Library

After a good clean-up, if you want to keep your files without upgrading your Hosting plan, you should move the WordPress upload directory to cloud storage. This may sound incredibly complicated but Infinite Uploads will do all the work for you. Install the Infinite Uploads plugin and you can offload all your media files with a click. After the files are moved to the Infinite Uploads cloud you can delete them from your hosting servers and free up space.

Delete files with Infinite Uploads

Not only is cloud storage way more cost-effective than your hosting storage, but it also makes your website infinitely scalable. It takes the limits off how large your media library can grow and has virtually no impact on your website’s core file performance. If you are interested in seeing just how much you can save using Infinite Uploads, check out the cloud plugin comparison.

Hosting Bandwidth Metering And Overages

We all want our websites to go viral and traffic to increase, but bandwidth usage can be an expensive part of hosting your website and most hosting providers have a limit for delivery bandwidth. If you have more traffic than what your plan provides, your performance might suffer, your host will force you into upgrading your plan, or you might get unexpected bills with runaway overage fees – or worse – your site will crash.

Media files runup bandwidth usage. Serving your files from a content delivery network will lower the load on your hosting servers and can dramatically reduce the bandwidth usage on your web host.

Something as simple as serving a video background on your site from the Infinite Uploads CDN can protect you from having to upgrade to the next plan with your hosting provider. Moving your files to a cloud with a built-in CDN means fewer calls to your hosting server and puts virtually no load on your server bandwidth.

Pool Your Resources Across All Sites

Often your WordPress sites are hosted on multiple hosts or plans. This means that for each site that is exceeding storage or bandwidth limits you would need to upgrade it’s plan, even if you still have unused resources on another plan. This is inefficient and can multiply your hosting costs exponentially!

But what if you could have all your sites across hosts and plans share the same pool of storage and bandwidth? Offloading your media to the Infinite Uploads cloud allows you to do just this, as it’s cloud storage plans can be used on an unlimited number of WordPress sites and scale to infinite amounts of storage and bandwidth! This can provide even more substantial cost savings when you maintain multiple sites.

When Should I Upgrade My Hosting Plan? 

If you are making money with your site, have a high traffic educational site, or even just have a small volume e-commerce website and are running on a shared hosting environment, you should upgrade to a plan with dedicated resources. You should also consider upgrading your plan if you have optimized your media files and moved them to the cloud and are still experiencing slower than expected load times.

Pro tip: Optimize the media on your server and offload it to the cloud even when upgrading to a new service or plan. It not only makes it faster and easier to migrate your site (as you don’t need to migrate your uploads), it will allow you to use fewer but more powerful resources for your core WordPress and code files. For example, one of our customers recently migrated their WordPress multisite install with 25GB of media uploads to a new host on a plan with only 10GB of storage. They saved money and only had to sync their codebase as all their media was in the Infinite Uploads cloud.

In Conclusion

Using free optimization plugins and dedicated media cloud storage both removes unnecessary usage and allows your site to scale at a lower cost without upgrading your hosting plan. Until recently, it was difficult and expensive to optimize your media, and configuring a cloud storage provider with a CDN required a specialist.

Thankfully, with Infinite Uploads, moving your files to the cloud is as simple as a click, it works out of the box with your favorite optimization tools, and because the cloud and CDN come preconfigured, you don’t have to worry about security, storage or bandwidth limits, and can share storage and bandwidth resources across all your sites and hosts.

Before you upgrade your hosting plan when running out of space on your server or bandwidth overages, automate media optimization and give your sites infinitely scalable storage. Try Infinite Uploads free for 7-days.

Have a question, suggestion, tip or recommendation? We would ❤️ to hear it. Drop your thoughts in the comments.

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