Today I am pleased to say that I smoothly and transparently switched from 1and1.com to Bluehost as my hosting provider for Subism.com and VampiresTheMovie.com
By the end of today Shotspan.com will be moved over.
By the end of the week MediaRebellion.com will be moved.
By the end of the month LongPork.com will be moved as well.
In short, I’m moving all domains I either own or run to Bluehost, be they active or inactive.
This of course begs the question: Why?
The answer: Because 1and1 let me down.
I have been a loyal 1and1 customer since the company’s launch and have been a happy advocate for them the whole time. However in the last year or so I’ve tried, and failed, at doing more sophisticated things with my WordPress install.
Turns out 1and1 didn’t like that. Automatic updates wouldn’t work. Image uploads would fail, my database would crash, plugins would cause my whole backend to freeze up. It was exhausting. There were features of my blog that I was simply unable to use and just accepted it. Sure enough as I researched and troubleshot the issues, I’d always find someone else having the same problem, and interestingly enough they were always on 1and1.
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago when I caught my friends Mindy and Leyla tweeting back and forth about WordPress issues. Turns out Mindy was experiencing many, if not all, of the same issues I was, and Leyla was advocating she switch to Bluehost.
Needless to say due to these constant frustrations I decided that I was fed up with both WordPress and 1and1 and that it was time to switch both out. (something I swore I’d never do again after leaving MovableType) I finally decided to take a look at ExpressionEngine which Jeffrey had suggested to me long ago.
Yesterday, I purchased a license to ExpressionEngine and signed up for a free two week trial of Dreamhost (which Abe and Jesse have both suggested in the past).
Immediately after signing up I was not impressed with Dreamhost. The package of unlimited everything was very nice but the lack of phone support (which I’ve rarely used anyway) seemed to me to be kinda cheap on their end. To top that off, as soon as I got my test domain configured I was greeted by this:
error id: “bad_httpd_conf”
Off the bat, a fresh configuration and I was getting an error. Really Dreamhost? A quick Google search led me to understand that this is a common thing for them and has been since at least 2008. Extremely easy to fix but extremely common. My line of thinking was this: if it’s a known issue that many users experience and they’ve had it since 2008… their priorities aren’t right. I don’t want a host that expects me to live with issues common enough that they should have already worked out.
I trudged on anyway, fixed the issue and installed ExpressionEngine. From there I did some reading and poked around at the back end enough to realize I am in over my head. ExpressionEngine is more of what I want (less blog centric) but less of what I know (easy templating systems). I am still curious about what I can do with EE but it’s too much for right now. Luckily they have a 30 day trial so I am going to return my license for a full refund and look at it another day.
I also wasn’t pleased at the Control Panel options on Dreamhost and maybe it’s just me but the whole thing felt kinda sluggish and cumbersome.I decided to cancel my two week trial after only one day.
But this brought me back to square one.
Today I got up and registered an account with Bluehost, I was able to discover a $3.99 monthly unlimited plan and signed up for two years (with phone support thank you!). I was going in mostly blind and without a trial option but I read some comparison blogs that people had written and I generally had a good feeling.
So far I couldn’t be happier.
My biggest gripe about 1and1 was that it had specific incompatibilities and problems with WordPress and I was delighted to find that Bluehost offered one click installs of popular CMS systems, WordPress included. I immediately tested it and set it up with all the things I wanted to do before: file uploading, caching, twitter and url shortening plugins. Everything worked like a charm, as did the update system.
From there I set up Google Apps for my domain and I am pleased to say I am up and running smoother than ever. I can’t wait to push it further.
What gets me the most out of all of this is the benefit of smaller companies. The fact that 1and1 has so many issues with what is by far and away the most popular CMS used by bloggers is a disgrace and really is inexcusable. Bluehost is tiny compared to 1and1 but Bluehost immediately knew their user base, they offered me every thing I needed to get setup right from their Control Panel. Their support site is clear and easy to navigate and even offers video tutorials of how to set things up so that you don’t have to call support. I’m excited to move my business to them and I have really high hopes.