A few years ago my website speed was lousy. I repeatedly received error messages about too many connections and time outs. At times, I would wait twelve seconds or more for a page to load.
When the page finally loaded some of the images would be missing. Big red X’s replaced the images on the screen. It drained my inspiration to write. Rather than being creative, I waisted my time battling the demons of an ill-chosen hosting provider.
Cheap website hosting has its pitfalls
Aside from frequent connection issues, other small technical issues wedged their way under my nerves, including:
- The security software quarantined Installatron scripting files daily triggering the firewall alert system,
- Resources appeared to reach their maximum limits quickly, even though technical support said “that shouldn’t be happening”,
- Frequent internal server errors, and
- Communicating with the website host’s support felt like trying to carve a rock with a tooth pick.
Cost and space drove my decision to use Crazy Domains. When it came to raising support concerns, I didn’t feel as if could ask for too much help. At the time, I paid less than $10 a month.
Crazy Domains has been my worst choice for a web host to date. While their sales service answered my questions perfectly, when it came to delivering on service my experience with their support team was lousy.
On one occasion, I waited over a week for a reply to a support ticket. Frustrated, I called to get an answer. The designated support person had no insight into my issue and needed to look into it further. The issue remained unsolved despite receiving an email to say it was “closed” a few weeks later.
Within six months of moving to Crazy Domains, I regretted my decision.
Eleven things to consider when choosing a website host
One of the things that I did wrong when seeking out a website host was to base my decision on just a few factors. Instead, I should have considered:
- Number of domains,
- Support, and
- Customer reviews.
Managing the security, backups, updates, design, installation and everyday administration of my domains gives me control of my end product. And it’s:
- Broadens my knowledge, and
- Cost effective.
Learn how to migrate your website to a new host
You can learn how to migrate your existing website to a new host by watching online instructions. Some web hosts offer migration services to entice new customers. When migrating, ask your new host about their process for migrating sites from a previous host. This will help to reduce errors later.
Also, check if any website apps have special instructions before migrating your website.
Three web hosts reviewed
SmartArtist – Australia
SmartArtist hosted my first website. Chosen for their locality, SmartArtist in Sydney appealed as I felt the web package (a decade and a half ago) seemed reasonable. The salesperson seemed friendly and helpful. When I compared the price with other web hosting packages in Australia, $45 a month back in 2001 felt like a fabulous deal.
I began with one domain. Back then, I dabbled with website coding and design as a hobby. I enjoyed creating my own html files, as well as customizing and hacking content management systems and other source code.
My sales contact at SmartArtist doubled as my support contact. I often played about with my website late at night. An email response for support tickets returned within the hour. I felt the support went well beyond expectations.
A few years later, with two more domains and still paying about the same price per domain, the cost became a real struggle, especially for a pastime. I decided to seek out a cheaper web host.
Had I known that my package provided for add-on domains, this would have alleviated some of the financial burden and I may have stayed with SmartArtist a bit longer. An add-on domain means multiple domains can use the same, shared hosting account.
If you don’t get the right hosting package, your website could suffer problems that limits access.
Certified Hosting Solutions, USA
Certified Hosting Solutions was not my next supplier, but their service stands out as one of the best. Their annual shared hosting package and support was reasonable. I particularly enjoyed their migration service from my previous host.
After a couple of years, their web hosting package prices increased. The price rise and exchange rate forced me to shop around again, although I still use them for domain services. A recent review shows their packages are competitive, once again.
A web developer’s forum recommended Site5. While Site5’s price for basic shared web hosting compares to Crazy Domains, my first interactions left me impressed with the service and support.
Like Certified Hosting Solutions, Site5 provides a free migration service which makes changing web hosts easy. I had a small communication challenge at the start to do with a technical issue. After speaking to a couple of support people, the issue was still resolved within two to three hours.
My second anniversary with Site5 approaches. Unfortunately, in more recent months Site5 ownership has changed. While my websites seem to run okay, over the past few months I have noticed a couple of periods where the server has had downtime.
Contacting support has also become more difficult. A recent support ticket for a new addon domain took over a month to receive a reply.
Why having a reliable website host is important for a writer
Writers need reliable website hosting. A writer’s website:
- Promotes the writer’s services and products to their readers, and
- Provides writing examples to potential publishers and readers.
Writers who blog need a dependable website host. One with a guaranteed uptime and a support service that responds to technical issues in a timely manner. Knowing your website is in good hands, allows a blogger to focus on their website content.
Part of this assurance comes from sourcing the best website host for your needs. Understanding what the limitations of your website package entail can give a level of satisfaction that promotes creativity.
A reliable website host gives the writer the space to do what they do best.