Why a good hosting company saved Cabin Goddess. Thanks @WritersHost
Before I officially start posting and I announce my A to Z Challenge theme (yes, I know I was late), I probably should finally write up a post which exclusively talks about my new theme, my experiences with hosting companies and self-hosted WordPress blogs and all my hosting experience, the amazing (currently), the ugly and evil (inMotion Hosting – Satan’s hosting company), and the not-so-bad-but-still-am-glad-I-am-gone. Let’s talk about it all.
First, here I am *looking around my pretty new home* hosted by Hosting for Writers whose servers are owned, maintained and kept secure by D. Kai Wilson. I can truthfully say it was the best thing I ever did and if it was not for Kai I probably would have deleted it all and never worked a website again. But, before I get to the good though, let’s talk about how I ended up with an independently maintained group of servers instead of going with a HUGE company, and to do that I need to start from the beginning.
When I first started creating websites AOL was barely out of diapers (mid-nineties) and when you went to go find a domain name there was very little chance you would be told someone else owned it, unless it was a band name or something for a porn site. Why is it that rock-n-roll and porn always seems to jump on anything new first? *shaking head* a subject for another time. I had already been online for over 4 years and at the time I lived in TX. A start-up hosting company was being created by a local gal and was run by all women, I jumped on it. It no longer exists but it was called drak.NET. I was with them over 10 years but back about 5 years ago it was bought by A Small Orange and when I realized I needed more bandwidth I also realized I would reamed price wise for what I thought I needed So when I finally got internet here at the house, I started shopping for a big hosting company because bigger is better right?. I should have really taken a look at what I was getting from the smaller companies, hindsight is 20x/20 right?
Here is your lesson in this, ask around (I did), go through all the reviews (I thought I had), do not think because they have good customer service they are a good company… wait do I have you scratching your head? Do what I did and triple it. Because here is why you never should decide on your conversation with them. They train their people fantastic, they are the best customer service ever and yes that is across the board. inMotion, GoDaddy, HostMonster, Bluehost…
Ask questions from everyone, even the weird kid at Taco Bell who has a gamer blog!
I didn’t know what to expect because I was taken care of so well by drak.NET (the start-up company) and being one of their first clients they always make sure things were fixed. I had years sunk into one website and when I wanted to purchase another it would be to expensive with the new company. I didn’t know what questions to ask but being old-school I thought I knew better. I asked all my new friends who was the best and more than a few said inMotion. I know now you must make sure you are asking the right questions before signing up for the OMG deal. Questions regarding what their shared hosting is, what they consider too much traffic, how they are monitoring it, what their server software and OS on said severs is. AND YES if you don’t know what this is? Go research it! Call all of them, look on CNET but don’t stop there, keep asking and look for real customer forums. Also what do you want? Doyou want to host a forum website with lots of users? A simple recipe blog which can handle images? Just a simple crazy book blog? What are you wanting to do? Each of these hosting companies have pros and cons which work with the type of online presence you want, even the Evil Ones (aka inMotion)
I really thought I was being smart only checking them out on the professional sites and man their customer service was amazing. But, I made a huge mistake because if this I got sucked in and ended up with inMotion Hosting. I was happy at first but then things starting going downhill. Without making a story longer than it already is, after months of harassment about a blog which was barely getting any traffic and being told I needed VSP hosting (Bull&^%$), phone calls at 2AM, turning my blog off etc and not even having my links correct I switched to Hostmonster and when my blog got there it was corrupted (turns out it was an actual file set to corrupt when I installed my database on a different server and they would help me fix it for $200.. ummm NO!) Come to find out I was not the only one with this problem – read YELP’s reviews!
Why is this important?
Because corruption is something that is not only something that happens a lot but too many of you without you even realizing it especially with huge hosting companies who are not very safe-net orientated. Like many big companies, inMotion has older server banks and even older OS and bad security. HostMonster? I have nothing bad to say about them, they were fine but they were shared hosting and if I wanted to have each domain on it’s own I would have to have multiple accounts. They stacked my domains under another one and it messed up all of my paths, so be very very careful. But why again is this relevant, because Cabin Goddess showed up limping on Hosting for Writers website so broken and such a mess it took hundreds of manpower hours and up till just this February was still corrupted. 18 months after showing up.
Would I do it again?
YES! Was all the heartache and crap worth it? YES! During these 18 months I have cried, kicked, thrown temper tantrums, shut the blog down a few times and most important of all? I managed to find a company and someone who cared and who would deal with me. I learned so much I am comfortable hosting as a re-seller and heck! Just look around, click on the links, look at my home page, what do you see? Absolute gorgeous landscape huh? Thanks to Kai and her patience I have an amazing blog.
It probably could have been worked out before these 18 months were up but I was busy building a new business, learning more about the marketing of books, touring authors (happy customer Dionne Lister to the right) and becoming a publicist on top of starting a graphics business and working on my own books. *wiping brow* So it was never top priority and both Kai and I knew it needed a lot of work so we would poke it here and there and when she moved to a more secure and amazingly fast server back early 2014, we decided it was time (that and the database was so fubar we had too).
Here is some of what we did it:
First we moved the site to cabingoddess.co.uk so it would have a fresh home. Off the old trailer-trash lot of a database with all the crumbs and broken lawn chairs from past hosting episodes and corruption and onto a CLEAN one fresh with a green lawn, bran new built house. We started with just the info, without plugins and slowly added images and checked a little at a time. Then Kai waved her magic wand and dug in.. or perhaps that was her magic shovel because she had to clean a database up and man oh man what a pain. She repaired errors we could see right off the bat, ran functions to clean out the rest. Oh and duplicate images, there were ummm over ummm … let’s just say thousands and keep it at that, shall we?
Once it was pristine we tested the plugins one at a time, tweaked the ones we needed too and I picked a pretty new theme and from there the customization started. Between the two of us it emerged. But I could not have had the platform without her, period. And the security of Hosting for Writers? Well let’s just say considering I get e-mails when someone tries to get onto the account and hack it and it is very very secure, no one is getting in unless they are meant to be there. That is due to Kai being such an expert and knowing how to safe-net all her customers. Bluehost, one of the countries largest hosting companies just today was again caught having accounts hacked and having their customers abuse their system by hacking into Yahoo, so again, this speaks for the smaller companies who take the time to treat each customer with care.
Over all, if it was not for Kai no one would be here reading this blog. It is absolutely spectacular and all that I have learned, we have learned because of the corruption was amazing. I wish it could have been because we had the opportunity to learn for another reason and not because my blog was such a mess, but it was well worth it. After we it worked beautifully on the co.uk site we did one more import to grab all my new posts and bam!
So am I still a patriot? Well ummm sort of. Let’s just say if you click on cabingoddess.com you get cabingoddess.com and that is what matters right? (Though I like the idea that truthfully this is an ex-pat blog. Afterall, I was awarded one of the top ex-pat blogs from UK .. ya someone thought I was from the UK for a while hahaha) We did squeal like loons a lot. To quote Kai:
“Basically, I went bippity-boppity-boo and fixed the database, we picked a theme, moved the site, chose a theme, customized and moved the domain”
So, thinking of getting a new host? You really should look into them but before you do anything or move to anyone? Do your homework. Don’t end up like I did and get abused by the big brothers in this industry!
So what do you think? Are you glad I am back, like the pretties, any other questions? Ask away! Till Friday guys, when I announce my theme!