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I looked back at my ticket history and I have submitted 5 tickets (for three sites) for my site being down. The hosting is cheap - but my traffic is climbing. I am thinking it is time to move on - What do you think?
I have worked hard to get out of the sandbox and am not looking forward to the transfer of hosts. I worry that I may hurt my SERPS. Can anyone put me at ease?
Also - Should I be satisfied when shopping for a new host when a host says 99.9% uptime guarantee?
As to impacting your serps, it's doubtful, at least in my experience. I'm on host #4 since 2002 and only the changeover between host 1 and host 2 saw any impact to serp position. That impact woulda/coulda/shoulda been negated but, to say the least, I was rather clueless at the time.
In the change between h2 and h3, and later h3 and h4, I put the site up at the new host, pointed the nameservers at the new location, left the old site in place until the propagation cycle was over, and after I knew things were golden - 2-3days, I deleted the old site and wrapped up any remaining buh-bye details with the prior host.
That "99.9%" uptime guarantee, is claimed by many web hosts. Mathematically, it allows them a couple of days of downtime in any given year, so maybe these are you few days.
Either way, if your host is simply atrocious, it may be time to leave. If you're satisfied with server configurations, price, uptime (usually), etc., then it may not be worth leaving.
Anyway, you should try to get an explanation for the downtime. That will help you decide whether to stay put, change plans, or change hosts altogether. If you can't get an explanation for the downtime then that says a lot about the host in itself.
Do realize that all hosts have downtime. That is a fact. 99.9% is a great sell, but most of the time you'll never know if they go down unless you have a server monitoring script or service to notify you. All hosts have to do server maintenance, routers go out, power backups fail, and most can't honestly live up to a 99.9% guarantee. It will also be up to you to try to prove they were down if you try to get a refund.
SERPS won't be hurt for moving a host unless you totally botch the DNS transfer or delete your files from the old server before your dns is prop.
SERPS can be affected by downtime though. I had an outage for an entire saturday which is when the spider was hitting my site actively. I didn't notice until sun AM and it was all downhill from there.
My advice - move on to a host that has 24/7 techs monitoring the servers (they can see when mysql, apache, ftp, etc goes down). Don't go with a reseller that is just renting a box from EV1 or something. Go with a provider that has access to the physical box.