As any Internet marketer or business owner marketing your business online, your website is your lifeblood.
You live or die a virtual death, based on whether your blog or e-commerce store is up and running.
So, your website MUST be up at all times.
Although I had been with Bluehost shared webhosting for about 5 years, I made the choice to switch two years ago.
Much of my decision had to do with the chronic overloading of it’s servers, leading to poor performance as resources were throttled and conserved. If you exceeded 1% CPU usage, it’d be common to see a blue error screen that your site was inaccessible because it had exceeded it’s allocated resources.
So instead of rejoicing that my blog had made the list of top viewed Internet marketing or affiliate marketing blogs, my visitors would instead see the equivalent of a Windows Blue Screen of Death (BSOD). Talk about a wasted effort.
It looks like things haven’t changed much. Yesterday, I did some webhosting benchmarking for a friend, James Tippins, for his blog which is hosted on Bluehost.
This is what I saw:
If you can’t see the screenshot, it says that there are 999 other domains on that C-class IP (the unique number that a website is linked to).
While this means that Bluehost is getting good returns on each server, it isn’t as good for you for the following reasons:
- It suggests that the server might be overloaded. Even with some of the higher spec Dual Xeon servers on the market, I’m not confident the server can cope with that volume of websites. There might also be issues linked to having to redirect traffic to each of the 1,000 domains.
- Another serious issue with that many websites on one page is the formation of “bad neighborhoods”. In this case, there was one adult/explicit website hosted on this domain. You may be penalized by search engines for being in the presence of a bad neighborhood and be penalized in your ranking on search engine results pages (SERPs). Also note that browsers and toolbars may access online reputation tools and link your site to the bad site, and block access to your site. If you’re a business owner, this is like the Internet traffic cops standing in front of your webstore and directing traffic away because your site has been flagged as a “bad” site.
There are other factors which will hurt your business, especially on overloaded servers. I can understand how a webhosting company which charges as little as $2 a month would want to max out their servers, but it will ultimately come back to bite you if you use these cheap plans.
So, after a few bad experiences with bluehost, pre-emptively blocking my site in the middle of a product launch, and a few server outages, I decided to jump ship.
I moved to another webhost, A Small Orange, on a friend’s recommendation.
The server was much more stable, compared to Bluehost and I left my blog there.
During this time, I was focusing on my affiliate manager work with Neverblue and later as a lead generation consultant for a few advertisers/clients.
It was only in the last 2 months that I had time to focus on rebuilding my Internet businesses which I had left dormant for the past 2 years.
It was also during this time that I meet Siggy Gudbrandsson, a programmer and self-confessed hacker, who had spent the last year doing client work, focused on WordPress optimization and while consulting for them would fix bugs and errors inherent in many WordPress themes and plugins.
While I hired him to work on optimizing this blog, he found that there were some bottlenecks on a server level which made this blog 25% slower than usual. In the process of mailing A Small Orange’s tech support, he was told that they would not change the server settings. I suspect that they are deliberately kept at a lower setting so that the server is stable as they host more websites on them.
Frustrated, I took up Siggy’s offer to host this blog on a SSD-based cloud VPS server. This is a bit techie, so here’s a layman’s explanation of the differences:
Server data storage: Ok, all your WordPress files, photos, data needs to be stored on a hard disk. In regular computers and servers they use magnetic hard disks, the regular boxy hard disks that have been around since 1956 when IBM developed them for use in their mainframes. The technology hasn’t changed a lot, though storage capacities have increased many thousands of times (ie: Moore’s Law). The new development is that Solid State Drives (SSD) have been invented. SDDs use flash memory, similar to the ones used in USB storage drives. Since there are no moving parts, the speed of data access is much faster, which lets your website be displayed faster. So SSDs are better than the regular hard disks which they use in cheaper webhosting plans.
Cloud-based VPS: Based on the concept of cloud computing, our webhosting server is not located on a physical machine, but rather in a cloud. The cloud comprises a section in a network of servers. While it is in the cloud, it is not located on one physical server, but distributed across the cloud. If one part fails, another part of the cloud takes over. So there will be higher reliability as the server load is distributed across multiple servers.
I could see that this blog was loading faster as a result of the WordPress optimization and the faster, better hosting.
Here are some before and after stats:
But more than just the numbers, I could see that the site is loading much more quickly now.
So, it just made sense to form a new business with Siggy to offer the WordPress-optimized hosting to more users.
Our plan is to focus only on hosting WordPress and static HTML sites, and provide the fastest and most stable webhosting environment for these types of sites.
We have just completed a webhosting install for a client this week. You can see an improvement in her website stats:
With an improvement in page load times from 6.4 seconds to 2.1 seconds, her visitors will experience a better user experience, fast page loads, which has translated to an increase in revenue.
Here’s why you need to use our service
- We eat our own dogfood: Our sites are also hosted on the same infrastructure. As site owners, we’re looking for tweaks to continually enhance our websites. As we make improvements to our site on a site-level, all the other WordPress sites on the server will experience the same performance enchancements too.
- We like and want to live in a “good neighborhood”: That means we review every site that will be hosted on the server. If it fires off red flags due to adult, gambling or other content that is or will be flagged as negative by the search engines or services like My Web of Trust (MWOT), we won’t host them.
- Pain-free, hassle-free: Put in a request and it will be set up for you, from your installation preferences, loading a new theme. You set up an online business so that you build up an asset, not to get distracted with hacking PHP code or managing databases. We take care of that for you.
- Customer service: We know what it’s like to have to wait 24 hours or more for a customer support request. One of our founders or a member of the customer support team will be checking customer support tickets regularly, including on weekends. We want to delight you with our level of responsiveness.
More importantly, we want to make sure that our platform helps you grow your business, so we’ll be periodically getting your feedback for improvements and enhancements to our service.
Ok, I’m convinced, let me in
You can check out the webhosting plan here.
And request a site speed audit and find out about our WordPress hand-tuned optimization service here.
* Note: Most webhosting companies offer a pro-rated refund based on the number of months left on your contract. So you can contact them after you have moved your website to our server, then put in a refund request. If you need advice, we’d be happy to help you.