Does Your Host Make You Feel Welcome?
You have a website that’s lovely and interesting, but what good is it if the pages load slowly, there are low security protocols which leave you vulnerable to hacks or worst of all, frequent downtime where your site isn’t even visible to your clients?
When it first starts to happen you may ask yourself, “Is this just a normal thing, and does it happen to everyone?” If the instances of service interruption are few and far between then the answer is yes. The truth is no hosting company can guarantee you won’t ever have a single issue. If, however, these issues happen frequently then you need to rethink your hosting platform.
There are lots of choices from inexpensive to extremely costly with features you may or may not need. There are lots of criteria to consider, one of which is how easy it will be to migrate your data to a new home.
(This blog has been revised to meet 2020 web hosting standards and Roundpeg recommendations. All editor’s notes are bolded)
Moving your hosting to GoDaddy.
For small business websites there are quite a few affordable hosting packages. One of the most popular is GoDaddy. If you have a simple website and blog it is hard to beat their pricing (hosting packages start at $6,99.month), their unlimited bandwidth and one click installation for WordPress. They have good security, helpful customer service and high up time. All in all a great solution, unless you have more than a simple website. In 2020, there are many, many more services to choose from that provide you with much better hosting on-the-cheap than GoDaddy (who we call “NoDaddy” at Roundpeg). Web hosting standards have evolved so much – even over the past four years. Things that used to be extra features like SSL Certificates and Backups are now required and included in many hosting packages. GoDaddy does not include these things baked-in to their pricing and nickel-and-dime you for things considered standard across the web hosting world nowadays. In addition to this, GoDaddy does not make an effort to keep their servers up-to-date and you may find yourself on an older server that is unable to keep up with the evolution of your site and your business.
While we like GoDaddy for many of our smaller sites, we recently regretted the decision to migrate a collection of old sites to GoDaddy.
In this instance, we had more than one WordPress installation to migrate. GoDaddy does have an option for multiple WordPress installations but it is significantly more expensive and our client wanted to go the more affordable route.
Given the amount of time we spent (and had to bill for) to migrate everything manually, I am not sure that was the best choice. To do this we downloaded all their files, folders and even their databases via FTP and save them to our server. Then we had to turn around and upload everything to their new server on GoDaddy. If you’re looking for an easy migration to a new server, there are many plugins which cut out the use of FTP software.
Once everything was in place we made a quick call to GoDaddy support to get the databases set correctly and repoint the domains to the new servers. Remember, I did say they had good service. GoDaddy’s service is often hit-or-miss in 2020 – and I fully recognize this may be a product of the world working remotely and the increased strain on GoDaddy’s support team. Regardless, it’s 50/50 whether you’ll get a competent support agent when you call in and I would not highlight their support as being a selling point.
When you are ready for more, WP Engine.
The Roundpeg website was launched 14 years ago this month. So much has changed since then, from the design of our site to our hosting requirements. With thousands of visitors every week, we rely heavily on our website to represent us favorably to prospective clients. Up time and page load speed are absolutely critical and our hosting provider wasn’t keeping up. We evaluated a few different platforms and decided on WP Engine. This was a step up for us in performance and in pricing. Our account now costs $29/month, but more robust programs from WP Engine are available ranging in price from $99 – $249/month.
Among the deciding factors was their server which seems to move at light-speed so photos and videos load in a flash. For image and video heavy sites (much larger than ours) they offer a CDN (content delivery network) which provides high stability and high speed when loading each page. It is nice to know the capability is there if we ever need to upgrade.
Ready for the move:
Our site seems simple on the surface, but looks are deceiving. We actually have 75 pages, almost 3400 blog posts and a media library with more than 3,000 images, downloads and audio files. That is a lot of content to move. WP Engine has detailed step by step tutorial that helped us make the transition easily. There was no messing with individual files, folders or even databases.
Of course nothing ever goes right the first time, so we had to work out the knots. (Important lesson, don’t try this first thing in the morning!) Migrations should always be done whenever your web traffic is the lowest. For us that means late afternoon. The glitches gave us a chance to test out their support team. They were definitely up to the task, walking through our issues, explaining what we needed to fix and how to make the adjustments.
So we made the move and so far we are extremely happy. Our page loads quickly and we haven’t had to call our host to report our site was down. If you’re thinking about a web redesign, take some time to think about your hosting program as well.
While expensive, WP Engine is still one of the leading hosting providers for WordPress sites. In 2020, Roundpeg still uses WP Engine to host a variety of our sites.
Blog revised by Simon Efroymson on September 30, 2020
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