Notice anything different about House of Annie lately? Like, maybe the site’s pages are loading quicker than usual? It’s almost as if the site is now turbocharged!
Ferrari F430 Spider: Vroom Vroom!
This weekend, I switched the House of Annie’s web hosting service from Go Daddy to InMotion Hosting. I’ve been wanting to switch to a different host for a while now. With our Go Daddy hosting contract up for renewal this month, I decided it was time to make the switch. And I’m glad I did!
I’ve been using Go Daddy ever since we moved off of BlogSpot over a year ago. They are the undisputed leader in domain registration, and also offer value-added services such as domain hosting, at attractive prices.
But the downside of being the biggest web hosting service is that you have millions of websites to serve up. Not all of them are very active but if one or more of them starts to get a lot of traffic, then access to the others is affected.
Recently, our site experienced some excessive slowness and hiccups, resulting in pages not loading, or loading very, very slowly. At one point, it was even saying that it couldn’t find any of our posts! Can you imagine how panicked I was then?
I messaged Go Daddy’s support on Twitter and they messaged me back. I explained to them my problem and they came back saying that there was nothing wrong. Then they blamed my Yet Another Related Posts plugin for causing the issue. Then they tried to upsell me on their next highest level of hosting service.
I was pretty ticked off at that point. Eventually, the problem “fixed” itself, without the Go Daddy support team doing anything other than telling me their server was fine. The next day I started looking for a new web host in earnest.
The speed of our site is very important to me. I’m actually a bit obsessive about page speed. The longer someone has to wait for a page to load, the more likely they are to give up and go to another site. I want to do everything I can to make the site faster to give visitors a reason to stay.
Most of the page loading time is dependent on the user’s ISP, how a webpage is coded, and how good the caching is. But page loading speed is also dependent on the hosting company. One thing I liked when I researched InMotion Hosting is that they let you choose which data center you want to be hosted from, to be closer to the users who most often visit. They also have peering connections with other large ISPs. All this boils down to faster loading times for most of our users.
I contacted their sales team using the live chat interface on their website. They responded immediately, understood all my questions about moving the site, and answered them all to my satisfaction. The best part was, he let me know about a special offer on their 2 year hosting plan that wasn’t advertised on their site. It worked out to about $5/month, which was very reasonable to me.
I decided to take them up on their offer.
They moved the entire site’s files from Go Daddy’s servers over to their servers, set up the database and configured WordPress for the new setup. ALL FOR FREE.
All I had to do was tell Go Daddy that the houseofannie.com site was now being hosted on InMotion’s servers. That part was pretty quick and painless. I did run into a hiccup though.
While the main site loaded fine, I found I could not log in to the WordPress administration panel. After I entered my password, it would display some encoded text instead. I tried to figure it out on my own but eventually had to throw in the towel. I clicked on the live chat to their support team.
Again, they answered immediately and understood my problem. The tech tried a couple of things which didn’t work. Then he had me open a trouble ticket with their online HelpDesk. I was fearful that I would have to reload everything from scratch.
About an hour later, they responded by email that they found the problem and fixed it. (It had to do an obscure command in the .htaccess file to enable zlib compression – told you I was a bit obsessive about speed!) I don’t think Go Daddy’s tech support could have figured it out, but the InMotion guys really impressed me.
The best part about moving over was when I went to Pingdom Tools and tested access to the site. Previously when the site was on Go Daddy, pages would take between 4-6 seconds to load. After the move to InMotion, they take around 2-3 seconds to load.
That’s right, the site now loads in HALF THE TIME!
Am I happy I switched to InMotion Hosting? You betcha!
If you’re not happy with your hosting service, I recommend InMotion Hosting. If you click on the link to sign up with them, I get a free month of web hosting. But even if they weren’t giving free hosting for referrals, I’d still recommend them.
I’m working on another piece of the puzzle to make the site faster, but it’s not ready for primetime yet. As soon as it is, you’ll be the first to know. Until, then, please enjoy browsing around the newly turbocharged site.