New Site Location, New Site Look, New Site Smell.

I thought I had a good thing going for the past few years by having my websites hosted by 1AND1. Unfortunately, over the past month 1AND1 has been having serious reliability issues and my sites have been inaccessible for days(!) at a time. Calls to the tech help line were anything but helpful. They only confirmed that there was a problem and could not give an estimate for when they would be back on line.

Now, I can understand an occasional glitch, especially when computers and software touch hands, but for a hosting service to have entire servers on the fritz and no information to provide the customer (me) as to what the problem is or, more importantly, when it will be rectified is unacceptable.

Therefore, in keeping with my personal principal of “voting with my dollar” I immediately set about finding a new host that I could put some trust into.

Finding a reputable hosting provider is not as easy as I would have hoped for.  There are a number of rating services claiming to have evaluated multiple providers, but the field is so deep with would-be service providers (thousands) that very few places perform comprehensive evaluations of the providers.  Many of the top results on a Google search had wildly varying recommendations for a wide variety of companies.  Very few were repeated.

I went looking to see if several providers would at least pop up in the top five or ten consistently and found that seemed to get more than an occasional high ranking.  I did some more digging and looked at their plans and found that they were pretty competitive for my modest needs AND they had a 50% off sale for 24 months, so I was sold.

The real bonus for me came after I had signed up, modified my domain DNS settings and started the process of recreating my sites on the LunarPages server.  The first major benefit was the inclusion of their “Fantastico” 1-click install of the latest version of WordPress!  It also provides easy setup for more than one blog type, several popular E-Commerce, CRM and CMS packages. The installer set up the mySQL database and configured WordPress to use it, so all I had to do was log in to the WordPress admin screen and perform my customizations.  Very nice!

Since version 2.6 of WordPress doesn’t play nice with the dated Redoable theme that I loved and was using on my old site, I had to find and FTP a new theme into the ‘themes’ folder and migrate my old, exported blog database into the new one.  I found a free theme called Daleri Dark and created by Andreas Viklund.  Overall this was not as hard as it could have been, as it was when I was using 1AND1.

Additionally, I like the control panel that LunarPages provides for the customer.  There is a wide variety of powerful controls and options for one to tweak and modify to one’s content.

The LunarPages Customer Control Panel.
The LunarPages Customer Control Panel.

My only gripe is that the help file they provide is very basic and not terribly helpful.  On the other hand, I did have one problem I couldn’t figure out, but was able to reach a real, live human being on their support phone line and they solved the problem in a minute flat.  Color me happy!

If there is one thing I have learned about this whole experience is that my database and website backups saved my ass!  Because I had all of my data regularly saved and ready for the apocolypse it became invaluable when the time came and I needed to have it.

In addition, My thanks go out to LunarPages, the WordPress crew and Andreas Viklund for making my needs become a reality.