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R.I.P. Wiredtree, No To Liquid Web, But Hello SSDNodes

Wiredtree Is Gone, So Who To Host With NowIt’s “host choosing time” and it only took 4 months for me to make a decision on the future home of my websites, apps, and whatever else I want to host. My hosting company sold out to a bigger competitor at the end of 2016. Hosting companies come and go and this is just the technology “circle of life”. Technology moves fast and as startups come, they go just as quickly which is why we get a new Apple or Samsung phone each year. Also it’s why we have more apps than we need at our fingertips.

Note: This post is not sponsored, or even asked for by any of these 3 companies that I will discuss. I don’t do sponsored posts and I only review things that I have personally tested. This allows me to honestly share my thoughts on something without getting my hands all in the bias soup. I just wanted to make that clear just in case this is your first time ever reading something I have published. I don’t sell snake oil from town to town and my blog is not bought…at all.

I began my hosting relationship with Wiredtree in 2008. I just couldn’t take the limitations that shared hosting presented and it was time to get a bit more serious about my business. At one point, I had grown all the way to a full dedicated server with them for $400/month and it was fully managed in by Wiredtree. After shutting down my company that I built on their infrastructure, I stayed with them using their VPS packages so I could still run my personal sites. The Wiredtree guys and gals knew their stuff and helped on everything to include fringe questions that they didn’t have to help with. These were way out of the support they offered, but still helped me anyways! They were responsive and often talked on the phone with me more than I spoke with my own mother. 

The founder on Wiredtree left his job at Liquid Web about 10 years ago to start a new hosting company and his passion made thousands of us happy to get great hardware, free upgrades, and complete managed hosting. I freaked out once I saw the official notice and I searched nightly about other hosting companies for a few months. It was like getting divorced after a 10-year marriage and learning how to date again. Not something that I am particularly fond of.

Wiredtree was the result of an ex-Liquid Web employee that wanted to grow his own company in the hosting world. He did it well and hired the right people to make something out of nothing. It’s not surprising that he sold out to the larger company because Wiredtree was amazing on all fronts.

Wiredtree & Liquid Web officially announced the buyout through press releases. The hosting community certainly went wild over the announcement as well. R.I.P. my sweet prince…

Who Is Liquid Web?

Liquid Web is a huge company boasting gigantic pool of customers and annual revenue. They say they will honor our current prices from Wiredtree and that we would even get better hardware through the merger. They set up a migration team to move accounts to their data centers and till this day they have not migrated what is left on my server and I haven’t reached out to them. This is not something I have any desire to go through.

Liquid Web has been buying up what they can and most people are still trying to figure out what happened and what is next. They have people in hosting forums trying to help and squash any problems. This is good business 101 and I do applaud their effort. My rub is all of the people discussing about getting less hardware for the money or having a lot of issues migrating. It’s going to be a long process to move all the accounts to Liquid Web so I expect a reasonable amount of pain for some servers.

By all accounts of Liquid Web’s own pat on the back through press releases, emails and so on lead me to believe that this is not going to be a good move for my websites. I never trust someone who keeps telling me how awesome they are. A quick look at Liquid Web’s prices will show that they are 

Wiredtree’s prices were great considering what I received in return. Here is a snapshot from my invoice as of last September 5, 2016 for my annual renewal.

Wiredtree VPS4000 Invoice

This doesn’t include all the hardware like the 4.5GB RAM upgrade and WHM/cPanel licensing. $68/month on a annual payment was the best hosting I could find. I recommended their services to several people over the year as well.

Switching gear back to Liquid Web and a quick glance over their offerings for comparable hosting packages can quickly turn you from “this isn’t so bad” to “no, there is no way they are going to keep their promise even if they sign the agreement in blood”. I just don’t trust everything I read online. Here is a screenshot of the closest VPS that Liquid Web offers as of May 4th, 2017 without adding anything more to it.

Liquid Web's VPS Hosting Baseline

It’s great as long as I never need to change the type of hosting I need. I have a good feeling that they would honor my price as long as I don’t upgrade or downgrade, but for how long? Can I truly trust that I will get the same specs? I seriously doubt it, but it’s not something I am going to wait and find out. Companies have one job to do and that is making as much money as possible. Empathy rarely enters into any business agreement.

So, I decided to move before I was left in a pinch and decided to try an unmanaged server provider. I figure it’s time I start learning more. Time for using command line, installing packages and managing my server.If I am going to grow then I need to push myself to step out of the box. This leaves me with less time to write, but it’s only temporary until I can add a sysadmin to my team.

I Have Never Heard of SSDNodes

North Korea's Flag At Propaganda City At the DMZ
It’s a couple kilometers away, but it’s huge. I shot this from the DMZ in 2009.

I know right?! Me either, so get in line to see what they are all about if you are wanting a new hosting provider like I was. They really don’t have any reviews or history that I was able to find on the net which is normally a bigger red flag than that one North Korea hangs in propaganda city at the DMZ.

They answered all my questions quickly and had a great price. It was enough to bring me over and give them a shot. I figured I would bring this website and a few others over to the new host and it was certainly an uphill run for me. Of course the sale price put the decision over the top for me. I am a sucker for a good deal…but I research the shit out of anything I am getting if it’s a big or important purchase.

I decided to run CentOS 7 and I tried the pro version of Centos Web Panel for a few hours and it sucked. I took some advice and got a paid web panel. It was $20/month to go with WHM/cPanel so I decided to see what Plesk had to offer. at $8/month I decided to give Plesk a trial run and boy am I glad I did. I love Plesk! I can run Node scripts like NodeBB, Meteor/React, PHP/MySQL, and so much more. After just 10 days of running Plesk I am never going back and you can’t make me!

SSDNodes Hardware For My VPSI paid $240 for an annual VPS with SSDNodes and the Plesk yearly license will be about $100 so it’s still less than half of that I was paying for and especially for the hardware I got. It’s only about 8 times more than Wiredtree ever gave me! Remember though, it’s a trade off and I am not getting managed hosting.

This is not the review of SSDNodes. This is the beginning of a relationship that I am not pushing until I have been with them for at least a month. The post is started though. I will publish the full review of SSDNodes by the end of May and let you know what has happened and whether or not I recommend them.

What You Should Do

Nothing. Don’t lift a finger unless you can validate my experience with others or just trust me that much to come on over. If you are like me, you study, research, dip your toe in just to feel the water, and after weeks or months of research you finally make the purchase. Overkill? Perhaps, but my host is a big deal because I want to do big things and I want to know that they have me when I am in a pickle or that I am really getting what I paid for. So far, zero complaints there.

I would recommend that you wait for my full review coming at the end of the month, but if you just want to dive in like I did then I have an affiliate link if you want to give me a bit of credit for bringing you on board. If not, just Google SSDNodes and get started without telling them that I recommended them.

Affiliate Link: Click here to get your own unmanaged server then click here.

Holding Hands

Maybe you don’t want to learn how to be a system administrator. If you have a simple site and are sick of hearing about how great Squarespace is then shoot me an email. I will try to find a managed server to recommend as well for those of you that don’t want to take on the extra headaches. I never offer hosting to folks, but I am in this position that I could actually help manage small to medium websites. I am still debating if I want to become the help desk for other people’s websites.

There is still a lot in the air with Wiredtree gone, Liquid Web taking the customers and infrastructure, and learning SSDNodes. It’s a large effort for me to learn how to move over everything, issue new SSL certs, and diving into DNS among many other pieces of the puzzle.

I am happy to answer questions that you might have or just leave me a comment on what you think. Are you going through the same thing as me? I want to hear from other people about what their situation is. If you have a small WordPress site then this might be a good move for you. 

I have considered taking on a few sites to see how it goes. I don’t have a desire to become one of those dudes pushing hosting deals. I mainly host only my own websites or for a friend or two. There is far too many resellers out there already to compete against so I see little point in pushing shared hosting services. I want to keep my focus on writing and building my communities but I am happy to entertain a deal if you have something simple. 

Beyond that, I want to save the rest of my thoughts for SSDNodes in the actual review that I am working on. I want to make sure the best information possible is offered and promise that it is completely by my own decision to give them a review. Leave me some comments to chew on or tell me what is on your mind. Did you go over to Liquid Web? What choice did you make? I want to hear what you have to say in the comments below.

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