October 14, 2016

Starting a Wordpress Blog - An unexpected turn of events


I was actually ready to write the post on how to choose the best template for your Wordpress blog, but then an unexpected turn of events came up. So what happened? Well, I got so fed up with my Wordpress blog that I decided to continue the blog on Blogger...

In this Wordpress Blog series I want to share my personal experience with starting a self-hosted Wordpress blog and if things were working out I would have told you so, but I'm not going to sugar-coat things when it's not working out. And, it's not working out...

THE TROUBLE I AM EXPERIENCING

I have to start by saying that the trouble that I am experiencing with my blog is probably not caused by Wordpress itself. I think that my hosting company Bluehost is to blame for it.

1. Slow loading page because of shared server space - I have mentioned before that I purchased a one-year hosting service from Bluehost for the amount of $5.95 per month. That meant that I had one of their cheaper services with shared server space. So I am basically sharing a server with multiple other websites and blogs. Sharing server space slows down the loading speed of my blog site, not only for me, when I want to login to the blog dashboard, but also for my readers when they visit my blog. Since I am not planning to turn my blog into a business and earn money with it I was okay with that.

2. I got bombarded with spam email - After my blog was launched, the email address that I had to register with Bluehost to create my account was launched into digital space as well. What that meant was that I got a ton of emails from shady companies offering me SEO services and website design. It wasn't just a couple, it was a flood, and the emails are still coming in as we speak. Fortunately my Gmail account threw most of them right into the spam box, but even so, it's just nasty that Bluehost doesn't offer standard privacy protection for their customers. Instead, they let you purchase it, meaning that you will need to upgrade your hosting package which involves even more costs (which I didn't by the way).

3. My login data stopped working - I know that back in 2013 when I had a self-hosted recipe blog on Wordpress via Bluehost this also happened. One day I wanted to login to my Bluehost dashboard and my user name and password stopped working. I was never able to get it to work again, but since I was shutting down that blog anyway I didn't care that much. I also thought that I probably did something wrong which caused this.
Well, turns out I did nothing wrong back then, since the same thing happened to me again this time. Last week, after using the Bluehost login portal for 5 or 6 weeks after purchasing their hosting services, the portal did not recognize my user name and password anymore. And it didn't let me create new ones either.
I tried to contact Bluehost, first via email, but it appears they have no option whatsoever to contact them this way. Then I tried their help desk phone number which promised 24/7 service. Yeah, a 24/7 tape service they mean. I got the computerized message to call back later.
Through Google I found some tips how to try to access my Wordpress blog in other ways and finally one of them worked. So I had at least access again to my blog dashboard.

4. I got weird emails from Bluehost itself - Since I create layouts for Blogger I probably know a little bit more about the techie stuff than the average blogger. But the emails I got from Bluehost were abracadabra to me. Just this week they sent me this: 

Dear DAPHNE POPULIERS,

This notification is generated automatically as a service to you.
We have received a request that the name servers be changed for the following domain name(s):

LIFEASDAPHNE.COM

If you are monitoring this name with Domain Backorders, the above change is also displayed in the "Monitoring and Backordering" section of your Account Manager.

Follow: link...(for privacy reasons I have removed the link they gave)

Thank you,
Bluehost
Toll Free: (888) 401-4678
Outside US: 1+(801) 765-9400

So my hosting server got changed? Is that what they are trying to tell me? And who the hell requested that? Certainly not me! Of course I can call them, nice of them to offer that, but I'm sure I'll get that tape again.

MAKING THE DECISION TO HOST MY BLOG ON BLOGGER

When I tried to login last Wednesday to write a blog post and got the same shit again with failing login attempts it was the straw that broke the camels back. I had had enough. And right then and there I decided to continue the blog on the Blogger platform. Sure, it has its flaws, but not as big as these and it's free as well. 

Yesterday I moved all the posts I had written on Wordpress (thank God it was only a hand full) over to my new Blogger site. I didn't even bother to transfer the domain name (www.lifeasdaphne.com) to Blogger, I just started off with a new name. So if you want to follow along with my personal stories you are more than welcome over at www.soulsearchnotes.blogspot.com.

AM I AGAINST WORDPRESS BLOGS?

No, certainly not. I think Wordpress itself is a very professional blogging platform with a lot of great options to make your blog grow. If everyone that is on Wordpress was having the same experience as me it could never have grown into the big platform that it is. So in what lies the problem then?

I think Bluehost is the culprit, and specifically the hosting package I chose. To get a smooth experience you will probably have to purchase a hosting package that is a lot more expensive than the one I bought. These larger packages start at around $20 a month, which is just more than I am willing to pay for a personal blog. But of course everyone has to make that decision for themselves.

With the fact that the Bluehost help desk was very hard to reach, I don't think I would choose Bluehost as my hosting company even if I had the money for a more expensive package. They should at least offer the service to contact them via email.

With the experience of two self-hosted Wordpress blogs hosted by Bluehost, my personal advice would be to go with a different hosting company. And then make sure you purchase a hosting package without shared server space, and make sure that the company is easy to reach for trouble shooting. After all, you pay for their services and they should do their job!

IS THIS THE END OF THE WORDPRESS SERIES?

In a way it is. Since I am no longer blogging on Wordpress I can no longer share my experiences. But I think I am going to write one last part in this series. That will be about choosing a good template for your Wordpress blog. There are some things you need to know when buying a template that could make or break your template experience. So we'll get into that sometime soon!



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