Easy Japanese Recipes

Web Hosting – Many Lesson Learned

We didn’t know anything about hosting, but we were aware of GoDaddy since their ads are everywhere.  Without knowing which company to work with, we decided to go with shared hosting on Network Solutions.  I believe they were one of the higher paid search results when we searched for “web hosting”.  It was a hobby so we didn’t want to spend too much money each month; for us, we budgeted $10-$15 dollars per month to host the site.

Creating a Domain with Network Solution

Nami created the domain JustOneCookbook.com and started sharing the recipes.  It’s fairly straight forward once you get a domain with a hosting provider, usually WordPress are 1-click installs.  One tip here, if you are ready  to select a domain, pick a name that is fairly easy to remember.

About 2 to 3 months after, friends told us that our posts are taking forever to load. Sometimes the page wouldn’t even finish loading after 40-50 seconds!  I contacted Network Solutions customer support many times and they told me the following:

  1. It’s a result of our many plugins.
  2. We should cache our site.
  3. Our site was not optimized; the slow loading time was not due to their service.

It was actually a good lesson because we finally started to understand the relationship between the plugins and server load, how to use Super Cache and W3 Total Cache, and how to minimize the data transfer.

Even after all the optimization, unfortunately the site performance was still horrible.  I then found out that when using a shared hosting service, you’re sharing the resources with many, many sites.  For example, our test site, which is a shared hosting service on Network Solutions, shares the web server with 312 other domains!  If you are using shared hosting, you can do reverse domain hosting and look up how many sites you share the server with here.  Not all shared hosting is bad, we just didn’t have a good experience with Network Solutions.

Yahoo Small Business

We started to look for another web hosting provider and decided on Yahoo Small Business since our friend was using them and was quite happy.  We immediately saw a huge performance boost after the switch to Yahoo. Yahoo’s pricing was around $12 a month, so we were quite happy.  Here are the pros and cons of using Yahoo Small Business hosting:

Pros of Using Yahoo Small Business Hosting for WordPress

  1. 24/7 support – you can also request them to call you at a number.  They are really good about following up to make sure the issue is resolved.
  2. They manage the server and systems for you.
  3. Unlimited bandwidth and storage (the plan we were on included this).
  4. Perfect for blogging newbie who doesn’t want to manage all the complicated systems.
  5. Easy to understand account dashboard.
  6. Fairly fast if you have a small site and not too much traffic.

Cons of Using Yahoo Small Business Hosting for WordPress

  1. They don’t provide access to .htaccess file (read more about this here).
  2. It’s not a standard WordPress install – it’s Yahoo’s version.  They use a separate plugin to manage permalinks. They also don’t upgrade their infrastructure very often so there are a lot of compatibility issues with WordPress upgrades and plugins.
  3. The support person we spoke with would often say, “I am not familiar with WordPress – it’s not something we can solve.  Can we help you with anything else?”  However, there were 3 or 4 times when we were really lucky and spoke with a rock star support person who knew WordPress really well and helped us resolved our issues.
  4. It’s still shared hosting, so it’s not capable of handling more than 3-4k visitors a day with an image heavy site.

We were with Yahoo for 1.5 years. Even though it was sometimes frustrating, we were satisfied with their service.  Just One Cookbook simply outgrew what they could offer.

Host Gator

While talking to blogger friends Kita and Charles about our hosting problem, they told us they were using Host Gator and both of them were pretty happy.  We made the switch in October 2011 and we’re extremely satisfied with the service and the professionalism of the Host Gator staff.

Key Differences Between Host Gator and Yahoo Small Business Hosting

1) Free Migration

They migrated my site from Yahoo to Host Gator for FREE.  When we switched from Network Solutions to Yahoo, I did it myself, and it was quite a scary process since I didn’t know much about database and WordPress migration (even after reading many articles).  Part of the issue was that Yahoo did not have a standard WordPress installation.  Host Gator completed the migration for me in less than 48 hours and it was a huge relief.

2) Live Customer Service

When you call Host Gator 1866 number, someone always picks up the phone.  It’s not a phone tree that sends you around and around.  All the support staff is extremely knowledgeable.  When necessary, they always escalate the issue until the issue was resolved, while you are still on the call.

3) No Upselling

They have not tried to upsell me additional services that I don’t need.  So far every time there is an issue, they’ve always tried to figure out the root cause.  I’ve asked several times if an upgrade is necessary and they often tell me no.  I like working with an honest company.

What is challenging for us is they offer WHM and CPanel dashboard for the VPS service.  We are not familiar with managing our own system, so it’s a bit overwhelming and we’re still learning.


 

We are happy with Host Gator hosting service compared to Network Solution or Yahoo Small Business.

 




Blue host

Other hosting services which we’ve heard good reviews about include Blue Host.  Blue Host would have been our second choice after Host Gator.

 


 

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7 comments

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  • Kimby February 15, 2013, 5:47 am

    I appreciate your candid evaluations and links for further follow up. So much to learn… but you two sure make it easier to absorb. Many thanks!

    Reply
  • Terris @ Free Eats February 15, 2013, 7:44 am

    I just made the transfer over to self-hosted wordpress and although it has been a bit intimidating, I’m quickly seeing the benefits. Thank you for sharing your expertise here Shen and Nami!

    Reply
  • Gomo February 16, 2013, 9:02 am

    This is very informative! So are you guys no longer on a shared server? If so, is there a considerable difference? This is something I never really thought about. Thanks!

    Reply
    • Shen February 21, 2013, 6:56 pm

      Hi Gomo! On Yahoo shared hosting, the site couldn’t handle more than 4000 visitors a day. We were also not using a CDN to help serve the imagery. After the upgrade from shared hosting to level 3 VPS the site was much faster. It all depends on how much imagery you have on you site as well as visitors and plugins.

      Reply
  • Balvinder February 16, 2013, 4:02 pm

    When I thought of moving I did not think much about hosting service because my husband has his website on I Page and I got my free hosting from them.

    Reply
  • mjskit February 17, 2013, 7:26 pm

    It good to read the comparison between host gator and the other hosts that you tried. Bobby did a lot of research before we got started and so we actually started with Host Gator and have been extremely happy! Glad you haven’t had any problems either.

    Reply
  • host-shark.com September 21, 2014, 7:53 am

    Great article, I have found all the info I have been looking for!
    Thanks for your great help and hope you will keep hosting informative article like this one!!
    I am surely going to book this page right now!!

    Reply