Hosting everywhere but who do you trust? Many years ago I had all of my eggs in one basket. There weren’t a lot of choices and I didn’t know anything about hosting, domains or anything else. I was looking at websites from industry providers but wasn’t sure if I wanted to be tied to them. I had heard, read somewhere or maybe made up the idea that it isn’t good to send your traffic to a place where you have no control. We’re talking late 1990’s before there were so many available options.
I didn’t know too much about webdesign so I found a host to supply a simple drag and drop interface. I won’t name them here because things have changed and I’m sure they are better now at what they do and at that time their practice was common. They provided me with an address which I know now is a sub-domain using their domain. I had no idea how to register my own domain or had no knowledge of HTML or anything else to do with web site design.
Eventually I found a new service with a national reputation. I could get my domain with them and it would point to my existing site. I was able to link to the industry website with a click yet have my own content.
My next choice for hosting wasn’t much better. The hosting was good but domain registration was expensive and I hadn’t learned enough to know that I didn’t have to host and register my domains at the same place. This host charged $119.95 per year for each domain/website. I could share the main email account with all of my domains but had to pay separately for putting up a site. And, it was also shared hosting. Domain registration without hosting was $35.00 per year. I was again using the design templates controlled by the hosting company and their software.
Don’t misunderstand. The templates systems are great for setting up one business, especially if you want a short learning curve and a static website. They are becoming more flexible but when you need a hosting solution for multiple websites, this isn’t a good option. I needed to learn webdesign using a tool I could buy commercially and have control to take it with me wherever I went.
Front Page, Net Objects Fusion, Coffee Cup or Dreamweaver?
I jump in! Let’s just say I tried all of them. I maintain a current version of Dreamweaver (for existing clients) and use some pieces of Coffee Cup software, especially their FTP. When I decided I was ready to leave my original service I ran into more problems than I could have imagined and basically built a new site before terminating the old service. They didn’t make it easy to move the site and I didn’t have the necessary skills to figure it out.
I was very frustrated with the learning curve for all four but little by little muddled through until I was finally able to create a basic website for upload. I used training videos to get the basics.
I began asking questions of people in the business and doing internet searches to find additional information. I soon realized I needed shared hosting with unlimited domains, unlimited email, unlimited sites and whatever else unlimited I could get. I found Dreamhost. I’ve had ups and downs with them but overall it’s been a good experience.
Then I discovered WordPress!
Over the years I’ve stayed in touch with former colleagues. One day I stumbled upon David North’s blog, North Ideas. David was discussing the virtues of WordPress and Artisteer for creating WordPress templates. I’ve always trusted David’s recommendations and respect his knowledge so I began using WordPress and Artisteer to create my website. Before long I had created my primary website using WordPress and Artisteer. I had several domains with no websites. WordPress was so easy, I got busy and created sites for several of my domains. I setup WordPress using the Dreamhost auto installer. I’ve since learned that I shouldn’t use an auto installer and I will write more about that in a future post. Let’s just say I now know how to install WordPress from “scratch” and take care of a few housekeeping details.
I continue to use Dreamhost but I recently learned about reseller hosting and I’m currently using Site5. I was using another provider but they were objecting to the use of Backup Buddy for WordPress sites and I changed on my terms. The sites were migrated last week and I’ll update my experience with them as time passes.
Once again, I’ve acted on a recommendation from a trusted source. Site5 is now the hosting company recommended by iThemes. I am an iThemes supporter and use Builder on most of my sites. The sites not running Builder just haven’t been changed but will in time.
Most hosting services are offering the same thing. It really boils down to up time, price and support. Shared hosting has the same issues everywhere. That’s why they call it “shared” but it’s important to be able to get answers when you need them.