As this site slowly steams towards its second anniversary at the http://goughlui.com address, and (nearly) half-a-million views, this week has been a week of terrible service. The site was down or intermittent for the better part of the past two days, during Australian business hours. Despite all the care in employing CloudFlare and WP Super Cache, it seems that the load of my site, combined with the abuse of resources by fellow sites sharing the shared cloud hosting platform was too much, causing the server to collapse into a pile of 503 and database errors which it could never fully recover from.
Some readers might not have noticed this, because CloudFlare was doing a good job of keeping the cached homepage up and running, but anyone who tried to access the articles was sternly met with “Error establishing a database connection”. Crawlers, such as the Googlebot, were also complaining to me that my site was down.
When I started this site as a hobby, I could never imagine reaching this level of readership. My take was to choose a low-cost hosting plan based in Australia, as that was where my friends were, and that (very) small downtimes were acceptable as I couldn’t do any better from my home ADSL2+ connection anyway! But since it has grown, it has become a resource for many niche topics, where information is found for esoteric technological products, thus making it both moderately trafficked and valuable.
I must apologize to my precious readers for the unreliability. I know just how frustrating it is when you’re looking for something, only to be thwarted by an error message. I have always meant to keep this site alive for as long as I could afford to do so, its time is not up just yet. Don’t panic!
The issues also reflect poorly upon myself, and my “economically” driven choices. In all, I’m happy to report that my experiments with ad revenue have proved to be successful in offsetting the cost of the hosting with Ziphosting, in part, due to the low cost of hosting.
Despite living with Ziphosting for the better part of 2 years, and its very random “moody” quality of service level, I felt that it was time to leave (even though the time that I had paid for, is not actually up quite yet). Thank you Ziphosting, but this downtime is not downtime I can swallow anymore.
As a result, I am pleased to announce that after a sleepless night, and leveraging the connection at my university, I have been able to migrate this site almost seamlessly to a new account at GoDaddy, with hosting for the next five years paid upfront (out of my wallet). While every hosting provider is always going to have nightmare stories, I thought I’d take a bet on this one because of their long-running track record, Australian billing, and promotional pricing. It’s about twice the amount I paid for Ziphosting, but I’m fairly confident that my advertising revenue should help me break even or at least reduce the cost to something less burdensome.
As my first substantial WordPress migration, I’m quite happy to see it went easier than I expected. It was just another one of those “big experiments” which worked out in the end.
My initial experience was a little confusing, moving to the GoDaddy cPanel system, but I got the hang of that pretty quickly. GoDaddy’s resources are relatively limited for hosting accounts, but appear to be sufficiently provisioned and limited to avoid adverse effects. Only time will tell if their reliability is going to remain.
But one thing’s already apparent – GoDaddy is faster than Ziphosting.
Long live goughlui.com!
The setup still retains the use of CloudFlare and WP Super Cache to give the site the best chance of survival. The same anti-spam solutions are in place as well. If you find anything broken, please let me know. The e-mail address may be broken for 24 hours as cached DNS MX records expire and get reloaded.