Let me preface this entire post by saying that I’m not exactly proficient when it comes to anything related to web hosting, development, coding, design, etc. This whole website has been an uphill battle for me yet one I intend to win. It’s also been extremely difficult at times. Web hosting can be easy or it can be super hard. Hopefully, the information I provide here will at the very least help get you started in the right direction towards building your own website.
To give you the full picture, let me take you back a few years when I decided a website was something I was even interested in. Originally, I had no plans for MyIdeaPark, I just wanted to play with building a website, the idea intrigued me. I can’t remember the first domain I bought, maybe jasonmccrory.com, but I really can’t recall. At any rate, I barely did anything with the domain and I’m not even positive I had a hosting plan during that timeframe, if I did, I definitely didn’t use it. Seriously, I spent roughly five years doing absolutely nothing except owning the domain(s) and maybe owning a hosting package during some of that time. Never once back then did I understand any of it, though, but then again, I wasn’t trying to learn.
Eventually, I had the idea to snag myideapark.com because the name was so meaningful to me. I was stoked when I found out that it was available! After purchasing the domain, I then proceeded to do absolutely nothing with it until about June-July last year, 2016. As soon as I started focusing on the site, though, it was like magic. It was difficult and confusing, but man I loved it! I still do! I wake up every day with new challenges, but also new opportunities, it’s fantastic.
All this to say that in recent months I’ve learned quite a bit, but in the coming months, I’ve got even more to learn. I’d like to shed some light on the inner-workings of site-development from the perspective of someone who’s in the process of figuring it out himself. That being said, recently, I decided to move MyIdeaPark from a shared hosting plan via HostGator, to a virtual private server (VPS) in the way of InMotionHosting. Unfortunately, my efforts were thwarted, although most likely it was my own fault. Let me explain. You see, it’s not always as simple as, go build a website. Sure, it can be, depending on what services you’re using, but if you want some control and flexibility, you’re probably going to want to educate yourself a bit more extensively.
Allow me to digress, if all you’re looking for is a quick starter package to get the engines revving, I highly recommend HostGator’s ‘Hatchling‘ plan. It’s cheap and fairly easy to use. It’s a shared plan which means you share the servers with other customers, but all of your files are still private. You’ll also need to purchase a domain name which is separate from your hosting plan. You could easily get this from HostGator as well, but I park most of my domains at Namecheap, they’ve been great so far and allow for easy redirects if you’re into that sort of thing. I would also recommend installing and learning WordPress, which I will explain in more detail on future posts. Here’s the rundown for building your first site:
Okay, back to my troubles and woes. I’ve been using HostGator’s shared ‘Hatchling’ plan for a while now, and it’s been great. I haven’t really had any problems and it’s more or less easy to work with. However, now that the traffic is starting to pick up a bit (thank y’all very much) I need faster servers, enter (VPS), or virtual private server. Unlike shared hosting, a (VPS) only belongs to you. That means that no other sites can affect your site’s performance. My friend Justin suggested that I give InMotionHosting a shot, which after pricing around and comparing apples to apples, I thought it was a good idea. So far, though, I haven’t been able to make the transition, despite my efforts.
Sadly, I think my problems are mostly self-inflicted. Basically, cPanel houses all of your website’s files, so understandably you want to backup those files periodically. If you’re using WordPress to build your site, then those files will also be saved to your cPanel. In order to migrate a website from one host to another then, those files will need to be transferred. Unfortunately, it’s not as simple as ‘dragging-and-dropping’ and I haven’t fully grasped the concepts I need to grasp in order to complete the migration. So currently, I’m stuck. MyIdeaPark was down for nearly two days before I switched everything back over to the old HostGator plan so as to get the site live again. Considering I had spent almost a week trying to figure it out, it was rather depressing. I lost tons of time that I would have rather spent creating more content. Lessons learned, though.
My plan now is to dig a little deeper, learn a bit more, and try again. I’m hoping the site won’t go down again for more than a few moments during the transition, but honestly, I can’t make any promises. If it does go down again, though, at least now you’ll know why.
Wish me luck!