Over the past six months or so, very good friends of ours have struggled with their blogs. The first was Helene from MasalaHerb.com who was hosted by a company in Salzburg, Austria and could never seem to get her site to load anywhere near fast enough. The webhosting company gave all sorts of excuses and very few answers. Every request for assistance ended up with them telling her there was nothing wrong and it was all her problem with her blog.
Helene has been very kind to me and I asked John if he’d mind moving her to a new server. He did (he’s a terrific man and I’m not just saying that because he turns SIXTY today) and Helene was finally able to get into her blog and make some much needed upgrades. Her speed now is closer to what she wants. Because WordPress is written the way it is, it’s always going to be slower than other platforms or straight HTML but it’s still the best thing out there, I think.
Then we met Julie from Gourmet Getaways at a picnic who was having a real mess of a time on a blogging service where everyone shared the server and the same IP address. There was no facility for adding plugins (even though it was a WordPress platform) and her blog was suffering. She talked to John and he said he’d see what he could do. Then we had major family issues which ended up with John’s dad moving up here and John trying to sort out his mother and her ever increasing dementia.
It took way longer to get Julie moved and much back and forth with the hosting company. John was beside himself at times saying things like, “Service like this is outrageous, especially when they sell their product based upon their promise of quick service.” Finally she did get moved and her site looked just like it did before and she wrote to John and said how thrilled she was that *finally* Mister Google could find her again and her traffic was ever increasing. He felt terrific.
We all know what it’s like to wait and wait and wait for a site to load. It’s frustrating and I’ll be honest and admit that if a site doesn’t load quickly, I move to another window. If your site is slow and I leave comments, it’s because I truly love you because I can’t bear to stare at a blank screen. Sometimes it’s the webhost, sometimes it’s the software you’re running and sometimes it’s a combination of a lot of things and you have to keep tweaking your site until it runs like a top. We’re still tweaking. 🙂
This brings us to Charlie Louie of HotlySpiced.com. Several months ago, almost immediately after she’d received an invoice and paid for her next year’s webhosting, her website crashed and she was down for a day. There was a problem reinstalling her blog and finally after it was up and running, Charlie received an invoice for the webhost’s time to fix her blog. The woman said it was the fault of some American party and not her fault and she shouldn’t be out of pocket for fixing it.
Uhh, keeping backups are one of the features that she was paying the webhost for and top dollar too, I might add. Charlie refused to pay the extra and then the webhost wrote to her and told her that her site was getting too many hits for the server and she really needed to consider moving to another hosting company.
Then Charlie had to move house, she had a job, she had 3 very busy children and a husband and a house AND a very popular blog – and what to do if you are slightly technically challenged? One day we were casually chatting on the phone and I said John would be happy to help her move whenever she was ready. At the time he had no idea that by the time she was ready there would be no room at all on her server to do a backup. In fact, her webhost who was paid to keep backups hadn’t done one since last June when Charlie was asked to move. If her site had crashed again, she would have lost everything from June to November. I can’t imagine how demoralizing that would be after all the effort that goes into creating even one blog post.
To add the icing on the proverbial cake, lately her webhost has been putting this sign up frequently – which means that the machine capacity isn’t big enough for the amount of sites which are hosted on it. That’s why they wanted Charlie gone. Hotly Spiced is a great blog and I love Charlie’s writing but let’s be honest, her blog is not the size of Facebook, is it? That server shouldn’t have had problems with her blog. John rolled his eyes and mumbled something about Mickey Mouse.
So, my advice (okay John’s advice since I’m similarly technically challenged) is to go with a well respected major webhosting company. We don’t have any to recommend as we have our own dedicated servers for our online businesses so we have no personal experience. If you have a company you’d like to recommend, please let us know in the comments. Your blog is your business so look at spending at least $100 a year for your hosting. Make sure you have a backup plugin or something like blogvault or backup buddy and take regular backups.
When you take backups, consider placing a backup on a cloud server somewhere. If you keep your backups on your server and your webhost gets cranky, or your server crashes or like happened to us one year – the webhost caught fire and ALL their servers melted or burned, you’ll thank me for having a backup for your backup. (We were back up and running in 4 hours because we had reliable backups in 3 locations. Overkill? Perhaps)
While I’m on the subject, do you back up your laptop or desktop regularly? What would happen to your life if you lost your computer? We use JustCloud and back up our computers every hour – only the files that have changed in the previous hour. Now my computer isn’t that big a worry and a once a week backup would probably be fine but John’s programming is something we don’t want to lose.
One point I should make is that we do not offer a service of moving websites. These were all done for love and my sweet husband looked at me today and said, “I’m not moving another site for one of your friends file by file again, k?” Then we fell in a heap laughing. He likes Charlie Louie as much as I do.
Do you have any horror stories about webhosting?