Moving Websites is a Pain, but the Speed Boost is Nice

This week, I’ve decided to move from my long-standing account with HostGator to a faster service. Over the past few months, the sites have been getting slower and slower. And this includes access from the backend. Boy am I surprised by the difference.

Now keep in mind that I still have a lot of work to do to optimize my blogs. I haven’t put in a lot of time making sure they are optimal. Which means I don’t use image compression, deferring Javascript and all that other goodness.

But from a basic user’s perspective, the sites just seem outright slow.

Why the Move to GreenGeeks?

I was starting to inquire about why my hosting seemed far slower today than it did a year ago. I was met with “upgrades” to HostGator’s Cloud-hosting service, which is more expensive than my current plan.

And the moment a company creates a problem and then sells people the solution, I move on.

I watched a few videos on YouTube recently from those who test hosting performance. And GreenGeeks rates far higher than my current provider, HostGator. So I decided to give it a try and run my own tests.

The worst-case scenario is that I just change the DNS back to my original host and come up with plan “B.”

And although I work closely with GreenGeeks, I still want to make sure my websites have the best possible chance of success. And this means if they cannot help with server load, I’ll find someone who can.

Big Difference in Speed!

I was worried at first. After all, I don’t want to view my client in a negative light. But after spending some time with the company, I was fairly confident the web hosting service would be at least a bit better than HostGator.

Holy cow, was I surprised.

I started by testing three of my most popular pieces of content from CrossingColorado.com. And although I am still in the process of testing and moving domains, I still wanted to share what I’ve discovered thus far.

When testing the posts using HostGator in GTMetrix, the average “Fully Loaded” times were:

  • 10.38 Seconds
  • 11.75 Seconds
  • 15.15 Seconds

Which is extremely poor in terms of SEO and visitor engagement. However, I’ve never experienced the sites taking that long to load from my perspective. Even my friends and family have accessed the content inside of a few seconds.

Still, GTMetrix does give me an idea of what these sites would look like from Vancouver, Canada. Why Vancouver? Because it was the default location and seemed like a good place to start.

Testing on GreenGeeks

After I tested each page four times at various points in the day, I moved the website from HostGator to GreenGeeks. I wanted to test it one more time, but the DNS changed before I was able to run the last scan.

So, I had to settle with four tests to base an average.

After moving CrossingColorado.com, I tested the same three posts at the same time of the day. I wanted to make sure that visitor peak times were not skewing the results.

The results from GreenGeeks for those same posts so far:

  • 4.4 Seconds
  • 5.5 Seconds
  • 5.2 Seconds

Keep in mind I still need to run one more test so I can get an accurate average. But as you can see, the speed bonus was incredible!

This is especially true in the last post. Just by moving the site from HostGator to GreenGeeks, the Fully Loaded time was one-third of what it was before.

I know that anything over three seconds is still kind of bad. And I will be putting in a lot of revamping time over the next few weeks to improve the sites. But wow, what a difference in base speed.

Even when accessing WordPress from the backend, I can already see the difference in performance. With HostGator, it was taking nearly 10 seconds just to log into the admin panel.

Now, it’s much faster and almost seamless. Especially when it comes to this blog.

What’s Next?

I am in the process of moving all of my websites. Which means I haven’t really added much content. I want to make sure the tests are accurate.

But once each domain is fully tested, I’ll move on to optimizing and getting back to writing.

And although I love my themes, it may be time to consider one that is optimized for speed. It seems a few elements of the theme are not the most efficient. But we’ll see once I start adding optimization plugins and tweaks.

I am really excited to see how WriterSanctuary.com handles the move. Already, it was about twice as fast as CrossingColorado.com while sitting on HostGator’s servers. I’m curious to see the speed enhancement after moving it to GreenGeeks.

Difficulties While Moving the Websites

It’s been a bit difficult to move the sites without a hitch of some kind. I was trying to use a free plugin in WordPress, but CrossingColorado.com was way too big for it. Finally, I just gave up trying to find an easy plugin and resorted to just using FileZilla to copy the site.

Downloading more than half a gig isn’t bad, as long as you have fiber optic Internet.

Perhaps the most difficult part of moving is making sure I get all the email addresses transferred over. Luckily, I am a lone user on most of these websites. This means I just need to grab the ones I set up for contact, guest blogging and direct questions.

Still, I hope I don’t forget anything when moving the sites.

In reality, I have until March to get everything moved over to GreenGeeks. I’ve already paid for a year of hosting from HostGator, so I have a few months to verify the transition.

Hoping for Success

Experts, and even Google, say a fast website performs better in search results. And after the June 2019 algorithm change, I need something to get my sites back to where they were.

With the speed boost just in server response from GreenGeeks, I am hoping it will help the blogs reclaim some positions. In reality, I don’t know how much of an impact this will make.

That’s because I am the type of person who has to experience things himself before forming an opinion. It’s all about facts and numbers.

But if I truly want the sites to become successful, I need to put in the effort to maintain them.

Michael Brockbank

I've been a freelance writer since January 1, 2012. I've worked with a myriad of clients and currently the Content Marketing Team Lead for GreenGeeks web hosting. My fingers are also in a lot of different industries such as gaming and fitness.

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