Last week I moved StevePavlina.com to a new cloud-based web server. The migration went smoothly, and the site has been up and running on the new server for the past few days.
I wasn’t planning to do this move right now. It was actually on my agenda to look into a new web host during the first quarter of next year since it was becoming obvious that my old host, ServInt, was dropping the ball this year in terms of service and support. This change became urgent once my ServInt server began suffering major periods of outage last month. Despite repeated requests to them to fix the critical problems, they never did, and in fact some of their attempted fixes only made things worse. I was really surprised by the extreme negligence on their part. After a week of dealing with a server that I couldn’t even log into much of the time and the realization that ServInt was only making it worse, I’d had enough.
I’m especially grateful for the readers who sent me recommendations for new web hosts. After researching those leads, I settled on a cloud-based hosting account with SiteGround, which had some really positive reviews, especially for their reliability and support. I have to say that they’ve been delightful to work with, not just on a technical level but on a human level too. In addition to reading numerous SiteGround reviews, I did about 100 minutes of live chatting with their pre-sales people to get all of my questions answered and to make sure they’d be a good fit.
SiteGround’s support people efficiently migrated StevePavlina.com and ImaginaryMen.com to the new server and helped me get everything configured. I’ve been especially impressed by the speediness of their support. Dealing with ServInt’s disappointing standards and laissez-faire attitude left me feeling a bit jaded. I was developing an aversion to dealing with tech support after repeatedly having to wait half a day for a response to a critical outage-related problem, even after making a live request to speed it along… and then only getting a half-assed reply each time that didn’t fix anything and occasionally broke something else. By contrast, SiteGround’s typical response times of 10-20 minutes (and as low as 6 minutes for my requests) made the migration go faster than I expected. They’ve also been more proactive than I expected. Last night I submitted a request asking them to diagnose a small issue I was having, so I could add a feature to my site. They not only diagnosed it, but they added the feature for me.
I’ve never used a cloud-based hosting environment before. I had looked into cloud-based solutions like AWS a few years ago, but I ruled them out because they all seemed annoying complicated to set up and maintain. They also seemed like black holes of endless jargon and acronym hell. I really don’t want to have to get a degree in cloud hosting just to host a couple websites. All the reviews I’d read about using cloud hosting for WordPress came with lengthy caveats and warnings about the complexity of doing so, and people warned of higher costs as well. But today’s situation is different than it was a few years ago. Now there are much customer-centered cloud hosting services that don’t require you to do your own server maintenance or go through a lengthy installation process via the Unix command line. They’re really not much more complicated than cheap shared hosting accounts in terms of setup and maintenance.
With cloud hosting I like that I can easily scale up the server if it ever needs more resources. I can see, for instance, that most of the time it’s only using about 15-25% of its current CPU capacity, with occasional surges to around 60%. I can add more CPUs, RAM, or SSD storage to the site in a matter of seconds.
This switch is actually saving me money too. I estimate that the new setup will reduce my annual web hosting costs by about 75%, saving me thousands of dollars per year, so that’s almost like adding a new passive income stream. And given how cloud hosting it continuing to evolve, these costs may continue to come down even if traffic grows. Time will tell.
All of the errors and problems that were occurring on the ServInt server have magically disappeared on the new SiteGround server. I still have some further optimizations to do to make the sites a little speedier, but otherwise the new server seems very stable responsive. This is a big website though, so if you encounter any issues, error messages, or odd behavior, please drop me a message via the contact form to let me know. I’ll also continue to monitor the site to make sure it keeps running smoothly. So far, so good.
By the way, yesterday, October 1st, was StevePavlina.com’s 12-year anniversary. 🙂
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