Over the past several months, probably more than a year, I have had intermittent problems with my blogs becoming inaccessible. Mostly I’ve been aware of that because Jetpack has been monitoring and reporting. The outages have generally been brief, though some have lasted hours and even overnight in one case. Sometimes there was a message indicating that the database over which the blog operates was inaccessible. Occasionally I ventured into cPanel to check that and found that I could not access the database even using phpMyAdmin. that suggested the problem was with the server rather than any misconfiguration of the blog.
Interactions with the hosting provider (Netregistry now Webcentral) achieved little. They responded slowly and did not really acknowledge that any problem existed. After a couple of rounds of that and a recent increase in the frequency of outages, I decided it was time to change my hosting provider.
I had been with Netregistry or its antecedents (Jumba then UberGlobal) since I first established my own site in 2006. Prices had increased substantially over that time, partly because I upgraded my plan to accommodate two blogs but mainly because they simply rose. That made finding a cheaper alternative with at least the same facilities attractive.
Along the way (circa 2012-13) I had a brief flirtation with GoDaddy when I wanted a separate site for work purposes. The price was attractive but the use of a custom dashboard rather than the full featured cPanel and constant email bombardment with special offers drove me away from GoDaddy with a firm resolve never to return. I’ve also had a little experience with SiteGround and Westnet which are used for a couple of blogs I manage for others. Both have limitations with configuration or other aspects that would not suit me.
There is a plethora of hosting services and deciding which might best suit my needs was a challenge. I had started a spreadsheet about a year ago when the problems began but soon dropped it in the ‘too hard’ basket. I pulled it out and started looking at recent reviews and the sites they recommended. Ideally I wanted an Australian based service that would allow me to run my two lightly trafficked blogs and any other little project I might want to try. Availability of domain registration for my albion.id.au domain would be an added convenience.
It took some hours of searching and reading reviews before I came across UpTime Web Hosting. It is Australian, with the head office in Brisbane with servers operating in Sydney. A hosting package reasonably equivalent to what I had with Netregistry (@ $165 pa) is cheaper at $90 pa and domain registration for id.au is available also at lower cost. It offers less storage but more than 4 times what my sites currently occupy and is more generous in some other respects. It also offers a 30 day free trial which would be sufficient for me to ensure that I could get things working as I wanted.
I signed up Monday night, picking up a cheap ($2) domain – noibla.xyz – on the way in so that I could get things up and testing without transferring my albion.id.au domain immediately. Once I had that tied up I did some digging in the old site to ensure that I had local backups of anything I wanted to retain.