First, maintaining wordpress was taking a lot of time, this included the usual backups and updates and that was eating into time I could have spent researching other stuff or just plain blogging. Secondly, the site had grown both in size and visits, previously I received my first notch up the Google Page Rank, and now I’m a Page Rank 1 site (woo hoo!!). The additional traffic and storage cost were increasing to the point where it made more sense to have a fixed cost monthly payment than worry about the topping up my account (that being said, it would have still been cheaper to host on Nearlyfreespeech).
My first choice was dreamhost, but I’ve tried them before, and while they were good, they weren’t exactly out of this world. So I decided to look for a WordPress specific hosting service, these are web host that specialize in WordPress. They cover stuff like daily backups and offer free wordpress themes etc. Unfortunately, most WordPress host cost quite a bit, but with some google searches, I manage to come across a WordPress host that was well recommended, was at the right price point, and best of all–based in Malaysia.
WPWebHost Introduction (Web Hosting in Malaysia)
WPWebHost is a local WordPress hosting solution from Exabytes. Exabytes is pretty well established in Malaysia, so there is some recognition that this isn’t a small reseller, but rather part of a larger organization–and that’s quite important.
They offer 3 distinct packages that cater to different customers. For a personal blog, their freedom plan comes in at just USD4.95/mo (they may be Malaysian, but they still charge in US Dollars), that’s quite reasonable, particularly since they offer WordPress support. For a more traffic heavy bloggers out there, their Rockstar plan comes in at over 40 dollars a month, that’s pretty high for me, but you could have far better traffic than me, so you might want that.
The freedom plan I chose, comes with free migration (absolutely free), a free domain (keithrozario.net), 50GB diskspace and 500GB data transfer. Now that might not sound like a lot, but it’s more than enough for me–and for most bloggers as well.
Just so you have some context, my current WordPress Installation is just under 200MB (more than 2 years worth of post) and has about 250MB of bandwidth per day. So I’m well under the freedom plan limits. If you’re transferring more than 500GB a month, or have more than 50GB in your wordpress directory, either you’re very successful or doing things wrong. So watch out for that.
All in all, the offer was quite tempting. It gets even more interesting because I bought this on a promotion and paid just USD3.95/mo for the first year…sweet!
Migrating to WPWebHost
Migrating WordPress is no walk in the park, I must confess I actually bought the package in May, but only begun seriously thinking about migrating in August. The thought of going through the hassle of migrating always put me off, but I knew at some point I would have to bite the bullet and actually do it.
While we’re confessing, I must also admit, that while I’m a tech blogger my wordpress installation was just loaded with crap, and had a whole load of plugins–some of which I didn’t use anymore–and some of which I don’t remember installing. That really slowed down my site, but more importantly made my migration much much harder.
Worst, since I was a tech blogger–I became a bit of an insufferable know-it-all. Under normal circumstances, you provide the WPWebHost guys the access credentials to your host and wordpress and they’ll do the rest, but I insisted on backing up the files myself. However, I forgot to de-activate the plugins before backing up my wordpress, and that caused serious issues when it came to migrating.
Fortunately, the guys from WPWebHost were patient enough with my know-it-all attitude, and were quite familiar with WordPress. The service response times were a bit slow (couple of hours between emails), but to be honest, I’m only paying USD4.95/mo, you don’t expect immediate response at those rates. In fact for less than USD5/mo, any response time of less than a day is good enough :).
So after about 44 emails being swashed around, we finally managed to migrate my wordpress across, this is after 2-3 retries. I have absolutely no doubt that if I let them access my webhost and wordpress directly it would have been done with far less issues.
So with that I must say THANK YOU to the guys at WPWebHost–they did an excellent job.
There was the additional bit of having to add some add-ons domains, because I insisted on keeping my old domain over at Nearlyfreespeech–once again I was being insufferable. So now my domain is on Nearlyfreespeech, but the site itself is hosted on WPWebHost. This isn’t ideal from a performance point of view (since it’s a CNAME entry and hence 2 lookups before an IP address is obtained), but it is ideal from a control perspective. Plus it saved me the hassle of migrating my DNS entries.
So even with all these odd request, my WordPress Migration was long, but not entirely difficult, I was quite pleased.
Running on WPWebHost
I have to say my site feels a lot faster, and is a lot snappier. However, I’m not sure if that’s because I installed a new theme (FastBlog) or because it’s running on WPWebHost.
I’ll have more to say, once I keep running on WPWebHost for a while, but for now, I’m happy with their service and recommend them to anyone hoping to blog.
What if I don’t use WordPress
Technically WPWebHost isn’t a ‘pure’ WordPress operation. They do provide you a cPanel and you can host HTML files as well. So it’s a nice balance, and you can still host other platforms I’m sure. However, it is optimized for WordPress and wouldn’t recommend you use it for anything else.
More importantly–WORDPRESS is the best blogging platform out there, why the hell are you using anything else?
WPWebHost has really good service, and they’re a pretty decent hosting provider. The have a great price point and they’re based in Malaysia–so it’s all plus points for me. I’m liking my experience so far, and recommend you try them out (they do offer a 30 day money back guarantee if you’re hesitant).