After nearly 3 days of being offline I’ve finally managed to get my blog up and running in the same state that it was before. My previous webhost Doteasy took my website offline without consulting me and that, in my book, is just very bad practise. They said that my blog was causing their server to crash because the SQL queries were tying up the server resources.
I spoke to quite a few people who are very knowledgeable about WordPress and they all agreed that nothing was wrong with my blog or database but it just appeared that the servers at doteasy couldn’t handle hosting a simple blog. Also because they took it down without notifying me it meant that I didn’t even get a chance to put my blog into maintenance mode.
At first I moved over to IXWebhosting but unfortunately they are running an older version of phpmyadmin which only allowed a maximum SQL database import of 2mb. My database is only 5mb and after waiting 48hours for them to act I decided I needed to try another host. So I tried Bluehost and I chose them for the simple reason that they had good reviews but most important have a live webchat facility that works pretty well and you get more or less an instant response.
The other problem with Doteasy was that they were only open during office hours at US PST. Because they took my blog down on Friday it would meant that I would have to wait for a whole weekend before getting any support. They have been quite reliable in the past but in today’s world having a 24/7 support IMHO is essential.
So far Bluehost have been fantastic and have provided excellent, friendly and helpful support and I would definitely recommend them. The control panel is simply laid out and easy to navigate. They have a live chat facility which gives you instant access to a support person who can usually answer or help with your query on the spot.
Through this whole experience I’ve learned loads. Even the process of moving my blog over from one host to another was a bit of a challenge. Through the whole life of this blog I’ve had several technical challenges and each time I’ve learned a bit more about how to manage it better. I didn’t follow the method explained on the WordPress website but I just used common sense and so far it all seems to have worked fine; with the exception of a few missing pictures – but I know why that happened! 😉
All in all though I’ve learned a great deal about the responsibility of hosting your own website and the work that takes in keeping it up to date and fully maintained. If you’re in the process of setting up your website or blog and are debating on whether to set up your own one or want to know what options you have here are my tips to help you choose.
1. You don’t have to get your own host and host your blog. Remember that if you do then you become responsible for maintaining it including backing it up regularly. If you’re not very technical and web savvy, then I recommend getting a blogspot or wordpress hosted site and just buy a domain and do a URL Redirect.
2. If you do go for say a blogspot blog remember that you will not have to worry about keeping it up to date and less time will be spent fixing it as there is a lot less that can go wrong. Again if you’re not technical or comfortable with stuff like that I’d say that this is a better option for you.
3. If you’re going to get a host and maintain your own blog remember that things can go wrong. A slight alteration of code, a dodgy plugin, and poor theme can all mean extra hassle and workload for you. There’s definitely benefit in doing it this way in that if you know what you’re doing you can truly customise the blog to suit you!
4. If you go for the latter option then keep your blog up to date! From WordPress 2.7 onwards keeping your blog up to date is easy with the automatic update feature. I remember when I had version 1.5 running on my blog for a very long time and it got completely hacked to bits. Don’t let that happen! Keep it up to date and the wordpress forums are a great place to get assistance if you get stuck!
5. If you’re going for the former option then remember that there are many hosted blogs that you can check out. The two I’ve tried are blogspot and wordpress and I’d recommend either but in order to assist in building your identity I would recommend buying a domain that you want and setting up a URL Redirect.
Whichever method you choose keep a log of what you learn along the way. That way if similar problems crop up in the future you might already have a log of what you did in the past to fix it. There will be countless help forums online that you can get assistance from so don’t feel silly about asking what you might think is an obvious thing!