A New Host and a New Theme

As my New Years resolution in 2009, I stopped procrastinating and started a personal blog. It was something I wanted to do for some time and coming up with a New Years resolution was just the motivation I needed to get my butt into gear.

Because this site is of a personal nature, I didn’t have any expectations of it paying for itself. I viewed it as a hobby that I was to undertake, which would come along with out of pocket expenses. With the out of pocket part in mind, I opted to go for inexpensive web hosting to get me through. At the time I thought a host was a host and as long as traffic levels were low, I wouldn’t run into trouble.

Despite having the low traffic levels that I expected, I ran into performance issues that I did not expect. When choosing my host, I went with a bargain basement GoDaddy plan, with a web coupon, to bring the grand total of my hosting to about $65.00 annually.

As time went on, I realized I was getting just what I paid for. I went cheap with hosting and was getting cheap hosting in return. After I began experiencing delayed response times from my site database, I began to voice my displeasure with GoDaddy support.

Dealing with such a large company had its ups and down. Wait times for email support were long, as were phone support calls. Sometimes staff was very helpful and other times it was simply a waste of time to submit some sort of trouble ticket.

While I have no illusions of this personal blog becoming highly trafficked and requiring a large amount of server resources, I do want to it function smoothly for the couple hundred people who visit per week. Because of this, I made the decision to transfer hosts at the end of the year, when my twelve-month signup was complete.

This all changed after yet another slow day on my blog. I was attempting to transfer some posts I had typed up, when I experienced several database outages. When I contacted GoDaddy, asking that they please look into the problem and move me to another shared server, I was informed that I was required to sign up for a new WordPress package if I wanted to see an increase in performance.

I was told that when I signed up, my site would be moved to this new grid infrastructure and that the remaining time left on my current plan would be pro-rated and credited to me. Having my host tell me that if I wanted my site to run properly, I had to sign up for another twelve months, was the straw that broke the camels back.

Along with a new look, I have taken the time this weekend to transfer hosts over to one that I am more familiar with. I signed up for a more expensive Midphase Package, but have long history with the company through the Stogie Review website (our host from day 1). While we have had our problems with Midphase, we never experienced any major issues on their shared hosting plan. With this change in hosts, I hope that anyone that was having issues on my personal blog in the past, will find it much faster on the new Midphase server.

I thought that since I was taking the time to upgrade my hosting plan, that I would also take the time to give the site a face-lift. After the redesign of Stogie Review, I was very impressed with the work of Matt Brett and wanted to bring some of his work here to my personal blog. While I couldn’t afford to go the route of a custom design, he does have a few competitively priced premium themes.

I hope that you like the new layout and that the host upgrade makes a noticeable difference during your visits.

5 comments On A New Host and a New Theme

  • Hi Walt, just wanted to say that the site looks great. Keep up the good work.

  • Looks nice man! I dont care for how the comments work – you have to click the comments bubble rather than having it at the bottom of the post, when you click on the post to read it, but other than that it looks nice!

    Mike

    • Mike,
      The Article / Comment toggle you are talking about is actually a feature. It takes a little getting used to but I like that its a little different from most blogs. The only drawback that I’ve seen is that if a video is playing, that video will stop when you change pages to view comments. Can’t listen and scan comments.

      The Theme is actually set up so that I can easily change the way the comments work (just a matter of click a radio button). If the comments become a problem I’ll shift them back to the traditional style.

      • could always open up 2 windows I guess, so you can watch the video on one and scan comments on the other. I dunno, just seems to be a pain to me 🙂 You should put up a poll on the front page and see what others think. I am usually in the minority about these things 😉

        Mike

  • Nice layout and the comment location is interesting. It’d be a challenge if one is trying to reply to content and forgets what it is, goes back and then comes back again (the going back and forth would be annoying although it’s good that the comments keep what you’ve written thus far).

    Even for a minor blog I still say it’s worthwhile to pay for decent service. As time goes on, it does add up. At 200 people a week, that works out to about 10,000+ visits a year. For a small blog, that does add up over time.

    So kudos to the host move and finding a good provider. 🙂

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