I'm currently on a shared host and see an average bounce rate of 60-63% on about 100kUVs per month. I would like to cut this in half. What sort of benefit would I receive, if any, from upgrading to a dedicated server? Would my site load time even decrease at all?
I'm thinking about going with the basic dedicated plan:
As a separate question, I am thinking about having the site rebuilt in Ruby in order to improve user experience. I've heard that Ruby is a much slower language - would I just be taking step backwards?
I appreciate any advice you fellas can give me.
When looking for a new webhoster offering dedicated solutions, I recommend to ask for a test drive first. So you can see whether or not their services are meeting your requirements.
Regarding your question about Ruby: No language is "slower" than an other. It all depends upon the programming skills of the developer as well as the technical environment, the software later runs on. What parts of your website do you want to rewrite in Ruby ?
Welcome to SitePoint!
I'm sure you're aware of the three general classes of hosting accounts (four if you consider "free hosting" where you're advertising the host): Shared, VPS and dedicated. Each has its own pros and cons with cost being a major determining factor.
Shared: Generally a use as much as you can (within limits imposed by the host for usage constraints), blacklisting for the SPAM sent by others on the shared e-mail system and lack of the ability to alter the Apache or PHP services (because they're affect others on the same server). Lowest cost.
WebHostingBuzz offers what I believe is an unique feature ("Specialized Hosting") in that they tailor some shared accounts to specific CMS packages (which are generally so memory intensive that they fail on shared servers). Check this out if you have problems with a CMS on another host.
VPS: Partitioned to allow changed to your Apache and PHP but the downside is that the dedicated RAM and CPU usage is limited because it's shared by the other VPS accounts on the same server. Moderate cost (adjustable UP depending on the dedicated RAM).
Dedicated: You "own" the server and are free to make any alterations you want. Obviously, the RAM and storage are fixed (but adjustable) on the server but there is no "burst" capability as there is with a VPS (when the shared accounts are relatively inactive). Expensive.
That's a simplistic run-down for you which I trust will help. From your limited information, I'd guess that you're in the nether world of a CMS overstepping your host's imposed limits (to allow other shared accounts to run, too). If that is the case, a look at WHB's Specialized Accounts may be in order. The alternative to that is a CMS with ample resources (far more than the minimum accounts out there) or a reasonably sized (remember, you're running the account management programs, control panel, Apache & PHP, etc., and storage must be monitored else your log files will quickly exceed storage), dedicated server.
I've posted my checklist for selecting a new host (a search of this board should find it - otherwise, ask for it to be repeated ... again) but, with three WebHostingBuzz accounts, I can heartily recommend them for their great hardware, excellent and knowledgeable support staff and very reasonable prices.
I would also echo Tobias' comments above. :tup:
Bounce rate might be improved by a hosting upgrade if your page loads are really slow. Often though, a high bounce rate is caused by unengaging content, traffic source and destination not matched in expectation, and presentation, usability and the sales pitch.
What does e.g google pagespeed, yahoo yslow have to say about your speed? There are often technical tweaks that you can make before upgrading hosting. A dedicated server can help by providing uncontended processing and bandwidth.
The backend language has absolutely nothing to do with user experience. The same front end could be made in a dozen different languages, it's all got to display as html after all. What the backend language does affect is development cost, available expertise and range of rates, and to a certain extent hosting costs. Personally, I feel ruby doesn't score well in ROI or breadth of resources compared to other languages.
A high bounce rate can also be the result of people finding exactly what they were looking for. When you find the information you need, you don't have to go through multiple pages of a site. I don't. I find what I need then I am done with the site and move on. A bounce rate can be very misleading.
At the very least, the original poster should test his load speed using Pingdom and see if the load speed is reasonable or not. A slow load speed can reduce page views. But that isn't the only factor contributing to a high bounce rate.
I have hosted websites on both dedicated and shared hosting. What I can tell you is that the difference is quite considerable.
I calculated that the difference is website load times improved by 6 times better. Also, you don't have other users using the server that might slow you down at peak times.
But a switching to a dedicated server is expensive so check the prices well before you make the leap. Also it depends, if you have a large amount of traffic it makes sense, otherwise, if you are not happy with your shared hosting service, try another one.
As this thread is ten months old, I imagine the OP has long since found a solution, so there's no point in reviving it now.