Bryan Caplan  

The Joy of the Switch

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My website has had non-stop problems for the last month. Now, at last, it's fully operational. I've lamented my evil web hosting company - name withheld to protect the guilty - for years. I've often dreamed of taking my business elsewhere. But until now, the expected switching costs were always high enough to deter me.

So how hard is it to switch your web hosting company? A lot easier than I thought. I had the feeling that my new host would need some cooperation from my old host, but that turned out to be completely false. Ten hours after I told my new host that I wanted to switch, my website was once again working on their server. It's taken a bit longer to get my cgi scripts to run on the new server, but after a few hours, I worked out the kinks.

Was I suffering from status quo bias? I really don't think so. I would have fired my old company years ago if I knew how easy it would be. My problem wasn't preferring the status quo, but assuming that switching costs would be a lot higher. But perhaps I just got lucky. Maybe the median switcher has no problems, but the average switcher endures great torment. Anyone care weigh in on this?

The most striking lesson of the whole experience, though, is how different willingness to pay and subjective happiness are. I've never lost sleep about the stock market, but the frustration of dealing with my old incompetent company kept me up nights. Hopefully the world will appreciate my sacrifice. :-)

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COMMENTS (8 to date)
Gabriel M. writes:

I weant to switch too but I'm concerned about the domain name... huh. Your story makes me want to look into that ;-)

Jeff writes:

The red and yellow lettering on the neon green back ground is painful to look at. Otherwise I am happy to see that the transaction costs were not unbearable and that you've successfully "voted with your feet."

Steve Sailer writes:

Please tell us who your new host is.

Julia writes:

this post made me think about opportunity cost. i was wondering if it made any since that oppurtunity cost couldnt really be determined because you dont really ever know. for example: mr caplan thought that if he switched hosts his oppurtunity cost would be having problems between the current host and the old host but in reality the oppurtunity was much less than he had thought originally.

Julia writes:

this blog made me think about opportunity cost. i was wondering if it made any since that you never really know what an oppurtunity cost will be, you can only speculate. for example: mr caplan thought that the oppurtunity cost of switching hosts would be to high for him to want to switch. in reality they were very low and he wished he had done it earlier.

Ivan writes:

Jesus, Bryan, PLEASE get someone to work on your website. Just make it simple pastels and lots of white. That you can probably do yourself.

Here is my site. MS Word gives you wysiwyg editing of websites, so it would take you 10 minutes to insert the content from your page into my look-and-feel. My point isn't that you should necessarily emulate me; rather, that it is very easy to make a website usable.

I use
I'm told dreamHost and TextDrive are both good hosts.

Bryan Caplan writes:

In answer to Steve Sailer: My new host is I chose them because they were already my name registrar, which means that (a) They can't blame problems on the name registrar, and (b) They were always helpful with registration issues.

In answer to people who find my website unbearably ugly: I've thought about changing it, but in the end I decided that I like it the way it is. :-)

Simun writes:

As a big Civilization II fan, I applaud that you have made scenarios for it.

It signals that you're a man of taste when it comes to entertainment =)

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