Ever since I began self-hosting my WordPress sites, I have used Hostgator as my hosting provider. I started out with their Baby plan which was a shared hosting solution when I only had a few sites, then about 9 months ago I moved up to their reseller plan as I was thinking about providing hosting services to some of my clients. I have been pleased with the value pricing because I don’t have a large budget at the moment, but this week I realized the downside of this solution versus a managed hosting solution when dealing with clients that have a large user base.
Hostgator had a major outage on its reseller servers due to an OS upgrade this week and all their clients that were hosting sites there suddenly lost service. I found out about this from one of my clients in a polite email where he informed me that the two sites that I host for him were down. He is in the process of launching a book and his blog and website are a critical component of his marketing campaign – I can imagine having his followers call or text him that his site is down was not a great experience for him.
As bad as it was for me, it was much worse for others:
Can I build an entire new site while waiting on hold for @HostGator #hostgatordown #HostgatorOwesUs pic.twitter.com/4RFBNZBjPp
— David Tintner (@DMTintner) October 31, 2014
Message to Hostgator #HostgatorDown: http://t.co/d3DGa81QOJ via @YouTube
— HallMarc Websites (@HallMarc) October 30, 2014
So to be proactive in case something like this happened again in the future, I researched managed hosting and found what seems to be a pretty good plan with Media Temple’s Premium WordPress Hosting. You get 3 WordPress installs, 20GB of storage plus lots of other goodies for $29/month. Additional sites are only $9/month with an extra 5GB of storage. That’s plenty to work with on most of the sites that I manage.
I won’t be migrating all of my sites to this solution, but for the mission critical sites of paying clients, this is my new solution for a couple of reasons:
- This is not (at least yet) my full time gig and its only fair to clients that when there is an issue there is dedicated staff to deal with it
- As much as I have learned on the technical side of sys admin type functions with WordPress, the time spent troubleshooting those type of issues (backups, security etc.) detracts from the time I could spend mastering the web design and theme building aspects of the platform – which is where I know my real strengths lie
Since this is a new approach, I decided to first try it out on one of my own sites, so I migrated my main business site over. There were a few hiccups in the process, but overall it went quite smoothly. I will have a post later this week about the steps I took and some of the troubleshooting I had to do.