I said I would go into more detail about my exploits in the world of website building on the way to the much-promised passive income through the internet. After all, generating income through the internet is the definition of a Digital Nomad.
My objective was to launch a website for my recently published book, Two Broke Chicas, and to move Global Mobile Worker, which I had happily been posting to on free WordPress.com for years, to a hosted server where I could finally earn some money with Google Adsense and affiliate links.
The decisions are endless and exhausting. A nightmare experience for over analytical types like me.
Selecting the Best Host
So, let’s start at the beginning, with my goals clearly in mind. I did the searches and came back with the top names in WordPress web hosting.
I still had a grudge against BlueHost because when I closed the credit card account I’d used to set up hosting for a former business, they insisted the large credit I was owed a year later could not be returned to a different card. That may have been a regrettable grudge. I went with Hostgator based on strong web recommendations and aggressive social media advertising.
I started at their Home Page.
Well, I had complex needs. I was both launching a new website and moving my blog over to a hosted server. The critical factor was monetize, monetize, monetize. Still, I knew is I wasn’t trying to Sell Stuff, exactly. I saw WordPress hosting, knew I wanted to work with WordPress, and clicked on it.
Immediately, after buying a plan I had support questions. To get to a live support person I had to pass a gauntlet of questions. Like the name of my Plan. None of the choices looked anything like the plan I plunked down my credit card information, which Hostgator later abused. I had been shot down a rabbit hole of poor communication, sloppy branding and a myriad of names for the same things. Selecting “Walk Me Through It,” sent me into a webpage loop that forced me to log on four and five times per session, in search of support, and later salvation.
WORDPRESS HAD THEIR OWN ROLE TO PLAY
This is when I realize that my extensive search of the best hosted servers was not specific enough. I should have thrown in whether WordPress was willing to work with them. I had turned up my nose at WordPress’s Guided Transfer Guided Transfer to a hosted server for $129. That sounded like highway robbery, until I descended into the decision matrix that is a part of the process. I would have paid then twice that, but subsequent to my initial search, which had included Hostgator, they had now narrowed their potential partners to two, SiteGround and Bluehost, robably themselves tired of the poor migration services available from some hosts. The pile of “should ofs, would ofs, could ofs” began to mount.
When you analyze the generic search, Hostgator is a winner based on reliability, simple downtime comparisons win the day. But, I’m not yet a global empire and my major consideration should have been was it “idiot proof?”
I hadn’t assessed BlueHost ease of use because my past dealings with them had been in the hands of a paid web designers. So, I didn’t even investigate BlueHosts ease of use, until I’d experienced the maze of uncertainty that was Hostgator. Could BlueHost deliver on their Landing Page promise? Could SiteGround? FEEDBACK?
Sadly, reviews of BlueHost Support revealed they wouldn’t understand me any better than Hostgator.
How could we be so odd and misunderstood. How many people are trying to do exactly what I’m trying to do, move my free WordPress site to a hosted server so I CAN GET PAID.
I’m Tech Savvy, Right?
I read articles promising easy web hosting migration that made me believe I could do this.
So, Host companies have information on the market need, they just don’t get how to deliver, because none of the promised ease of use happened, and a lot of other bad shit did.
I learned with Hostgator that everything was in the fine or non-existent print. Apparently, I had selected the wrong plan for a free WordPress migration, even though it had the name WordPress in it. The good news, the Plan I needed, Shared Baby (that title explained everything, right?) was cheaper. However, the technological complexity required to switch plans was greater than the Mars space mission, and resulted in over $200 USD of unauthorized charges taken out of my bank account (that is why you should only use credit cards on the internet), gratefully it was returned after a rant on a support ticket, for which I had to use ALL CAPS in the chat session.
However, the technological complexity required to switch plans was greater than the Mars space mission and resulted in over $200 USD of unauthorized charges taken out of my bank account (that is why you should only use credit cards on the internet). Thankfully, it was returned after a rant on a support ticket, for which I had to use ALL CAPS in the chat session.
To be fair to Hostgator, after a bit of Tweeting I was assigned my own personal support person, who continued to insist that I wasn’t a bother and they didn’t just prefer I take my business elsewhere. Still, support responses by my designated savior seemed to require a 24 hour turnaround, a bit of a clue to the timezone of my Hostgator contact, and I began to look for her emails like we were in a romantic relationship, and one of us hadn’t texted enough.
Hostgator Remains a Top Ranked Host
I had good reason to have picked Hostgator, in addition to the promises on their Home page. There were good reviews out there.
There were well reasoned opinions in support of Hostagor.
It Didn’t Have to Be This Way
After a two-month conversation with support services, much of it over the holidays, I got past the majority of the challenges. That is when I realized life would have been much easier if I’d used one of the multitudes of duplication apps that would have gracefully copied and then uploaded my WordPress blog onto my new hosted server, with all my SEO intact. The people of Hostgator were at this point laughing at my ignorance, or so I suspected.
There were, again, lots of Duplicator’s to choose from. Like this one.
Set Up Duplicator for Easy Migration
The first thing you need to do is install and activate the free Duplicator plugin on the website that you want to move.
Duplicator is a free plugin that we highly recommend. We’ve written in the past about how to use Duplicator to move your WordPress site to a new domain name without losing your SEO rankings.
However, in this article we will walk you through how to use it to migrate your WordPress site with zero downtime.
Is beautiful as this all sounded, I now suspect it too was a lie. I’m just sayin’
So, several lessons learned.
I call out Hostgator in this blog not because of the horrific customer experience, which is too painful to discuss in this post in any greater depth, but because I want to point out by example that website building and hosting is a world of specifics.
There are a lot of moving parts, components, technical and design choices, involved in the march to the final product. Each one you choose makes a difference. Unless this is going to be a part of your future world of work, pay someone to do it.
All the research you do on a topic like this isn’t a waste because you have educated yourself to be a better customer.
Okay, that lesson is not as easily Done as Said. The switch from remote worker to remote client had its own bumps and disappointments. Still having them, so no judgment on what you see on the sites. It’s an adventure in progress. We can talk about that later.