Welcome to Webby Wednesday, today is the 23rd day of this month long Blogging Challenge. In this post, I will talk about consolidating different web hosting services. Recently, I listed down the web hosting plans and services we have; including shared hosting, VPS and SaaS hosting providers. It is time to start culling the non-active services, and consolidate the plans with a few selected providers. This applies to hosting, email and cloud storage. Learn how I ended up with multiple services, what is their expanse, and how I plan to consolidate them.
This is first of a two part Series. For reading part II, click here.
Cheap Hosting proved to be costly
I had a dirt cheap web hosting plan with GoDaddy till 2018. Hosting a WordPress site on that plan turned out to be a disaster, and taught me three important lessons.
- Firstly, always separate domain registrar and web host. Not all domain registrars have good web hosting service.
- Secondly, choose a web hosting plan on basis of feature, not price. The classic sales pitch by web hosts is on price, and cheap hosting can actually prove to be costly. This includes frequent downtimes, slow speeds, and overall bad experience for you and the visitors to the site.
- Finally, back, backup and backup!!! gaathastory.com and to and extent this blog is a classic example of the downsides of not taking proper backups. In the initial years of 2016-2018, the backups were partial or not archived properly. This can, and in our case, did, result in broken links, missing files (posts and images) and overall took a very long time to fix.
Enter Webhosting communities, Great offers, and options
In Apri or May 2019, I discovered the world of Web Hosting Communities. In a previous blog post, I have covered some of the major forums or communities including WebHosting Talk and LowEndTalk. Many service providers on these forums post offers for Storage, Shared Hosting, Email and VPS or Virtual Private Servers. Over the past three years, I ended up with quite a collection of these services. Typically offered at steep discounts, the temptation to try out different servers (and services0 and learn along the way, was always there. I learnt about using cPanel and DirectAdmin, an dconfigure and manage KVM, OVZ and NAT servers, set up email on MXRoute and other providers, and finally, use rsync or rclone for backing up data to servers. In terms of learning, the last three years have been amazing. Firewall configuration, disk encryption, setting up cron jobs, getting SSL certificates via LetsEncrypt… I can go on.
There is an obvious downside to it
Recently, I listed down the web hosting plans and services we have; including shared hosting, VPS and SaaS hosting providers.The list was exhaustive and exhausting, with 42 different active services. I also have a few places where the providers have offered credits, but do not have any active service. Coming to the how I arrived at this number: This deep dive began when I requested a provider to cancel a hosting plan*. In the notes I mentioned that I had too many services, and was in the process of consolidating them. The question I asked myself,
“Just how many hosting services is too many?”
Answering my own question, here is what the chart looks like for me. For obvious reasons, specifications, provider details, etc. have been left out from the below table. I was surprised and shock. This is just the kind of reality check that was needed at this juncture: the process of cancelling low priority accounts has begun. Many cancellations are immediate, most other plans have been set for cancellation on the day the plan expires. The account management panels in WHCMS software enables you to do that.
Each ‘x’ represents one unique service
Note: The last column refers to hybrid hosting + Content Management System or CMS providers like say Bookmark.com, who typically use AWS or Google Cloud Platform as back
The “Lifetime” Deal Collection
There are sites like Appsumo and SaaSMantra, and a couple of Facebook groups where group “lifetime” deals are offered occasionally. I ended up getting some services through such sites.These include Bookmark, Swipe Pages, Brizy, Brick.do and Makershost. In addition, there is a service called Zerocode who offered me a long term plan in lieu of a review I had written for them.
Consolidation, Culling and More
Now that we have more than adequate hosting options there is a good opportunity to start consolidating the services. And culling most of them in the process. This applies to web hosting, email and storage plans. By the end of the financial year (read: end of March 2022) my aim to to cancel or set for cancellation all services except six. That would include three shared hosting, three “hybrid” and three VPS services. Which in itself would be more than enough.
About this post
This post was written as a part of #bloggingchallenge for February 2022 under the theme “Webby Wednesday“. Also check out my page on Shared Hosting and the benchmark of Virtual Private Servers.
Wordcount: 820. Time taken for writing, editing and publishing: 1 hour
This post was updated on 2022-06-04