Over the past several months, I have started consolidating the different web hosting plans. This will help attain a better handle on the web hosting footprint as well as efficiencies. Compared to October 2022, I now have fewer VPS, email and web hosting plans, thanks to pro active closures and providers going out of business.
- Background : Why You should consolidate multiple web hosting services
- Steps involved in consolidating web hosting services
- Different Types of Web Hosting Plans Subscribed
- Reasons for cancellation or consolidation of Web Hosting services
- Process of consolidation and service cancellations
- Putting the plan to action
- Service Closures
- New Service(s) – Black Friday 2022
For Part I
of this series, click here.
Background : Why You should consolidate multiple web hosting services
One of the main reasons to consolidate multiple Web hosting services is to simplify online presence. By having all your websites hosted in two or three places (services or hosts), you can more easily manage and monitor them. This can save you time and money in the long run. The main reason is that , as you won’t have to worry about keeping track of multiple accounts, logins, and billing cycles as well as price increases. In recent months, more and more service providers have started putting restrictions on payment via Paypal or similar services. That has added to the complexity of maintaining multiple web hosting accounts.
Consolidating your Web hosting services can also improve website performance and security. By using a fewer number of web hosts, you can ensure that all your websites are running without glitches- because monitoring the downtime, SSL certificate renewals, etc. becomes easier.
Furthermore, consolidating your Web hosting services may give you access to better customer support and resources from a smaller set of providers. Consolidation typically means upgrading to a higher tier of paid service, or extending it to a longer period of time (say one year or higher). Overall, consolidating multiple Web hosting services is a smart move for anyone looking to streamline their online presence while also improving website performance and security.
Steps involved in consolidating web hosting services
- Migrating all your websites, storage, and other services to a smaller set of hosting providers (say 2 or 3)
- Transferring domain names to a single or two registrar
- Cancelling subscriptions to redundant hosting services
- Updating DNS records to point to the new hosts
- Configuring server settings and security options
- Consolidating billing and payment information
- If you need help at any step of the way, you can consider contacting customer support for assistance with the migration process
With this background, let us take a look at the problem of plenty that I had created for myself, and how I am consolidating my web hosting services.
In January this year, I published a two part blog post series on the Low End Spirit forums, with the titled “Five Ways to Keep Your Hosting Costs Under Control”. In Part I of this series, I had posted a table that show the different Hosting plans that a person “Lata” had subscribed to. Her “hosting empire” was costing too much, it was chaotic, and demanded her attention.
No points for guessing that “Lata” was in reality yours truly. Indeed, the image below shows the number of web hosting services I had subscribed to as on End-October 2022.
As of Mid-February ’23. Nearly half of the above services have been cancelled, or set for cancellation.
Different Types of Web Hosting Plans Subscribed
i.e Break-up of the Web Hosting “Empire”
Over the years, I had accumulated four major types of web hosting services:
a. Shared hosting (including reseller hosting). They include the typical cPanel or other web hosting panel- based services for small or low traffic sites.
b. Virtual Private Servers or VPS (. This includes LXC, NAT, OVZ, storage, and KVM VPS’s). I had the biggest set of services in this category.
c. Custom/ SaaS Providers (Brick, Bookmark, etc.). They provide the web interface for the website design, as well as the web hosting.
d. Hosted email providers. We use Zoho Mail for gaathastory, and some MXRoute based email services.
Between these different categories, I had signed up for a total of 30 odd hosting services. I have no valid justification for doing so. Hanging around the low end hosting forums and looking at multiple deals (giving in to greed?) was a primary reason. Some of the deals were as low as single digit dollars for one year for web hosting. As a result, I created a monster of epic proportions, relatively speaking.
Reasons for cancellation or consolidation of Web Hosting services
Subscribing to multiple web hosting services caused quite a few issues. THe most prominent of those were:
a. Keeping track of website uptime, updates and security
I can largely say that keeping a handle on website uptime, updating the DNS or the SSL certificates for websites. As recently as today (the day I am writing this post), I discovered that one of the sites, manoharketkar.top (which is hosted on brick) was not reachable. I kept getting SSL errors on Cloudflare. A deep dive into the issue showed that the SSL certificate had expired, and the automatic renewal of SSL did not take place at Brick for some reason. As soon as I re-generated the new SSL certificate, the site was accessible again.
Unfortunately, Uptime Robot and other uptime monitors did not send me an alert. I later discovered that my email provider was not accepting messages from the website monitors. The site manoharketkar.top was offline for first two weeks of Feb ’23 and I was unaware.
b. Focus on content and content marketing
For the past several months, I was focusing more on website design layout and setup rather than content and content marketing. This had to change.
c. Limiting the footprint of web hosting plans for better data security
I wanted to limit the footprint of web hosting plans and eliminate multiple
redundancies. The reason behind this was twofold. Some providers such as Nexusbytes went out of business in recent weeks, while others like GestianDBI culled their shared hosting business due to the ongoing economic situation. While the more responsible web hosts will have strong data management practices, a provider like Nexusbytes who goes bust might not.Rather, that is the assumption I am operating on. Therefore, it becomes imperative to stick to the more renowned and long standing businesses more than ever.
That is not to say that the long term web hosting companies will have better data management OR will not witness data breaches, but less is more.
Process of consolidation and service cancellations
I used the following rules for deciding which service providers to stay with, and which ones to cancel. The rules I followed were in the following order:
- Cancel Providers where I have single service
If I had a single service with any provider, that service gets cancelled. Either immediately (if remaining service period is less than 2 months) or on completion of current terms (if remaining service period exceeds 2 months).
- Applying the principle of “Should not place all eggs in one basket”
In light of Rule (1) above, this means with any provider, I should have atleast two, maximum three services.
- Geographically diverse locations
With the preferred or remaining providers, I should ideally have services in two different continents. In case they only have services in one continent (say, Europe) or Country (Say, US) then opt for locations where the upstream providers are different.
- Going forward, my first preference would be to pay in INR. The US Dollar- INR exchange rate is really not in favour of INR these days. Including Paypal fees, it costs me about 88 INR per US Dollar. I am better off paying in INR. Even though it means I have to incur cost for GST though I do get tax credits for the latter.
Putting the plan to action
Between November 2022 and January 2023, I cancelled the following services:
1 LXC (Host), 3 KVM (1 each from Naranja Teach, Kuroit and GreencloudVPS)
1 Shared Hosting and 1 Storage VPS (Interserver) plans cancelled.
In addition, the following services were set for cancellation in H2 of 2023:
1 OVZ ( VPSDime), 1 NAT VPS (NATVPS), and 1 Reseller Hosting (VisualWeb Technologies)
Setting a currently active plan for hosting brings some peace to mind: no invoice = no temptation to renew !
In addition to the above cancellations, the following services were discontinued by the respective providers:
- GebtianDBI : Shared hosting in Canada. They were kind enough to diligently follow up and give back the 3.5 US Dollars credit that was remaining in my account. Unlike the folks from Ionswitch, who never returned the balance money after I opted to close the service. That is a topic for a later day.
- Nexusbytes ( + Smallweb) : No longer in service
The Nexusbytes closure led to some money lost – about US Dollars 40. In addition, 1 VPX, 1 Storage service, 1 email service and a shared hosting (the latter three were complimentary with the VPS) were also discontinued.
SmallWeb was behaving erratically since August or September 2022. For example, Softaculous not working for my Singapore reseller hosting for example. The sings were evident that the provider was falling. Their services in Australia and New York (US) were also discontinued.
New Service(s) – Black Friday 2022
I did sign up for new services during Black Friday 2022. These included the following
Shared HostingcPanel based hosting- Cynderhost Plex based – Infraveo Cloud
Second VPS with Stromonic and High RAM VPS from Advin Servers (both in Mumbai)
December 2022 was also the period when I decided to avail of the VPS offers from providers where I had some credit available. Cloudcone was the first such VPS. I activated a couple of services that cost between 12 and 15 US Dollars a year. I have between 30 and 50 US dollar credit with 2 or 3 providers. Which means I will have service with them for next couple of years atleast.
Between 2019 and early 2022, I signed up with multiple web hosting providers and subscribed to way too many web hosting plans. By Mid- 2022, I realized I had to fix this problem. This was a great opportunity to start calling down some duplicate or even triplicate services. There was one point in time when I had multiple VPS and shared hosting plans in Germany or Netherlands. On the Asia Pacific side, I had four VPS’es in Singapore, and 3 Shared hosting and reseller plans!
There are a couple of services which I might transfer out in the coming weeks. Other than that, the web hosting consolidation process seems to have gone well. It took a lot of time, and thinking, but to slay the monster I had created, this was well justified.
Next comes the process of cutting down on the number of subdomains that I have for some domains, through Cloudflare. For example, I have 15 subdomains for amar.link and some 10 odd subdomains on amarvyas.in So this proves a case for keeping a better control on things.
Update: I have created a page where my past interviews, media mentions, papers and presentations published, etc. are collated together.
One site that I am leaving as-is: https://mykitaabcast.blogspot.com/
I had set this tie up in 2016, when I was exploring the use of Blogger as an alternative to WordPress. The site hasn’t aged well (poor formatting, dated content, broken links..). But I will leave it’s link here as a badge of Honour.