Marketing, Design, Writing & More

Annual Web Hosting Audit: Wiredtree & My Options

Wiredtree Website Hosting ChoicesMy loyalty seems fairly well documented by looking through all of my Wiredtree invoices. According to my billing ledger, I have been with them since April, 2008. For a company to get customers to stay for 8+ years is not very common these days by any stretch of the imagination. Americans consistently want the lowest prices (Wal-Mart’s success proves this) and I personally have been brainwashed by the federal government that the lowest bidder always gets the contract. I have no idea how I escaped it because Wiredtree is not cheap. One thing that always stuck with me since I was a child was my father repeatedly telling us that “you get wait you pay for”.

I think that might be the first time I had so many random thoughts in an opening paragraph. This is about hosting decisions and what I do about 5-10 days prior to my annual renewal. I research my options and normally continue doing what I normally do as long as nothing has really changed. This year is a different one though, as I have choices I have to make quickly. I have two reasons for this review. My transition from the military to a normal 9-5 employee is happening and I am preparing for that ahead of time by reducing my financial exposure from my personal funds. This is the responsible choice not just for myself, but also friends that could potentially save some money too. The second reason is the need to address my mom’s hosting and if I need to combine her server with mine.

I offer a lot of guidance through the year on the best moves, hosting, web design, and more.  My choices that I share usually influence my circle of friends and in this case, family. That’s right, if you have read previous content that I have written, you know my mom has her online business called Lynn’s Coupons. Over the past 3-4 years we have transformed her 2004 website into something a bit more secure and more modern. Her choice of web hosting was based on my recommendation. She runs a WordPress site, online shop with WooCommerce, and a community using Xenforo. That is three fairly demanding I/O (In & Out, referring to queries on the server) platforms that need caching and power to deliver speedy and secure transactions.

Below I racked & stacked the 3 options I am considering and what they offer. Obviously the bigger one is a no-brainer, but I need to be realistic. My income will drop significantly in the coming months and I need to live within my means. Sounds simple, but only if you don’t really want to do anything on or offline. I know that I may wait 1-2 years before my VA disability comes to a conclusion and potentially stabilizes my income. For those of you serving in the military and reading this, it’s a weird feeling as you come closer to retiring or separating and try to build a realistic budget. Most people transition to a government job, and continue doing the same job out of uniform that they did in uniform the day before, and get 2 retirement checks at the end. I am not like those guys. I want to be a stay-at-home-dad and blog on a daily basis. With all of that said, here is my choices…

Wiredtree Website Hosting Services Comparison

You can see the differences in options and price. I even broke down the cost and who pays for what. This was my Excel spreadsheet captured into a better looking graphic, but the content is powerful if you have been in this position. Each year I sit down and re-evaluate my positions in domains I want to keep or let go, hosting plans, and even my goals. You have to do this on a regular basis otherwise you can loose sight and spend way more than necessary.

More than likely the choice will be upgrading to the hybrid class, and wait it out until I have funding to go to the dedicated. I can combine 3 servers into one and save a chunk. We all want the very best and I now can set my sights towards the next milestone which is getting my company a revenue stream that justifies my effort. To date I have not made a dollar doing what I do and that’s fine. Building a strong foundation is the hardest part for any new company. I needed to pile great content on my websites and use the right choices in how I fund my venture. That means no advertising spots at this point in time and no, I am not crazy, I am just picky and that’s a positive thing. I didn’t get here by thinking I am owed an income because I made a website. That’s the wrong attitude to have and if I make nothing then that’s just fine as well. This is my investment, if not my outlet for my creativity.

Wiredtree is keeping me as a paying customer (they should appreciate that). They have been amazing to me during my time. Even their support teams have gone out of their way and even for questions they don’t support, but still gave me answers to. This certainly saved me from having to hire someone on eLance to help with small things. This doesn’t mean that I am telling you to dump your host and come on over. If you have a solid service at a great price then stay. These companies are hard to find and if anything, I want to hear about other hosts and thoughts. (No shills in the comment section either…I am watching you.)

I want to break down the main reasons I have stay with Wiredtree and you can compare them to what you have if you wish to do so.

  • They are in Chicago. It’s the center point of the U.S. and in my mind they should have equal latency to both coasts.
  • They answer 99% of my questions…even the dumb ones.
  • They don’t have $5/month shared hosting, but their VPS line-up is reasonable.
  • Complacency & inability to find something better.
  • I have gotten so used to WHM/cPanel that using SSH/CLI is challenging.
  • Fast support responses. They literally respond in minutes and react quickly.
  • I can call them whenever I want and press 2 for the tech support.

I think that’s a decent list and there are more that I could have listed if I wanted to take more time and brainstorm. Again, this is not a pitch. This article is solely meant to encourage you, your CTO, or whoever is running the webdev stuff to find a chance to sit down at least once a year to look at options. I do this annually and sometimes multiple times if situations drastically change. If I hated my host I would absolutely tell you without a single hesitation.

When I first started out I used shared hosting with GISOL, which took everything I built for 3 years, suspended my account, tried extorting me for $2,000USD to give me my content back and I never considered shared hosting again. I own everything (renting) and take backups often to guard against my entire company falling prey to scams and hostage attempts. If you want to go down a rabbit hole just type in “GISOL hosting” into Google and enjoy. It will make you more aware of the scams that are out there.

Tell me about your host, how often to sit down to do a review and what reasons you stay or go. I love sharing these situations with everyone because I have to spend days taking in all considerations. I did one last year discussing my GoDaddy domain comparisons.

If you want to try Wiredtree and give me a referral using my affiliate link then it is appreciated. If not, here is the link that is not my affiliate code. I disclose as much as I can, but remember that this is just to get you to sit down and figure out if you are getting the best bang for your buck.

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