A couple of weeks ago, I changed my webhost. There wasn’t anything particularly wrong with the one I had, except for three things:
- They were very expensive
- They were very slow
- Every single facet of my hosting experience was riddled with problems and issues
In other words, yeah, my former webhost was garbage. I’m not going to name them, but seriously, I got so many problems with them that it might have been faster to start my own webhosting service. People have noticed the weird symbols popping up instead of my articles (caused by this particular webhost not supporting a very specific Apache server command because reason), infinite redirections (never loading pages, caused by my former webhost being unable to update caches), etc.
My new host is faster and also offers native https, something I’ve been wanting for a very long time. It’s significantly faster as well and, so much, much more reliable.
So, everything’s good right? Well, no: moving a WordPress installation from one host to another implies a myriad of problems that I’ve been working on solving since then. This website doesn’t receive a lot of visitors – around 25-30k per month on a normal month and perhaps 35k on a good month – but during a spike, or a front page event as I like to call it, getting upwards of 100,000 visitors in a month is not rare. Webhosts don’t like that and I’ve struggled very hard to find a webshot that could handle it. Some other webhost which I won’t name was quoting me well over $100 per month with no guarantee my website would remain up, which was ridiculous. The person even offered to let me pay per visitor, which is something I had never heard of it. It’s insane how some of those people try to take advantage of you when they can.
In any even, I found a very solid host and I am very happy with it, but small bugs have remained since then. This website is more customized than I like to admit and I’ve been getting a lot of conflicts between certain plugins, mostly between my caching plugin (W3 Total Cache), my CDN plugin and some of my archives/sharing ones. Hopefully, most of those problems are solved by now.
Getting a website to be responsive, fast and working precisely the way you want it to work is definitely more work than I thought. And this is all for a small time website. Looking back at it, I can definitely see why some people hire a full-time webmaster. To people who might be having that kind of WordPress problems, I’d like to say that: in my experience and after many hours of trying to pinpoint the source of a problem: 75% of problems are caused by a caching plugin, conflicting plugins (usually two plugins doing the same thing) or a permalink problems. The latter is especially true if you move from a webhost to another. Next in line would be, in my experience, webhost limitations (namely, php time limit and such), old deactivate plugins that leave traces and cookies problems.
What helped me was:
- Saving permalinks structures in the settings, twice.
- Reinstalling the theme
- Deleting the caching plugin. Even right now, I cannot get it to work 100%.
- Deleting htaccess
- Copying over the wordpress files. Apparently, I had modified some and functions.php is especially dangerous to modify.
- Deleting all those garbage plugin files like “publicize” that spam your website with their hidden ads (called “features”) and slow you down.
- Deactivating Jetpack. It’s a good plugin, but it should be the last thing you install.
- For the love of god, if you use a CDN, block your IP address from receiving the cache version, else, you’ll never know if the changes you made worked.
- .htaccess is a complete nightmare so make sure to delete it. WordPress will recreate it. Too bad for the lost SEO.
- Do not use those custom image shrinking things, they can mess all your pages
- And for the love of !!!! make backups of your website often. There are plugins that do backups automatically, which is perfect. I’ve had to use my cache from changing webhosts far more than I like to admit.
It has long been my intention to have a more serious, more focused and more professional website. Readers might appreciate the new tone of my recent fianncial articles and how they are more focused on one topic. I don’t think I’ll write opinions/rants again. I think it’s okay to have fun once and a while, but as I said before, if having fun is the only thing you do, then people stop taking you seriously. I want fscomeau.com to be a serious financial website and I think I have to step up to reach that goal.
From now on, I have decided to focus this blog entirely on finance, stock and trading. I think that’s what most people want anyway and I think this is what I’m the best at. Readers will notice I’ve temporarily removed my Youtube channel from active listings, the reason being that I want to improve the general quality of it as well. It used to be all over the place, with videos on poker and so on. I’d like it to be in the same vein as this website, that is, high-quality videos on finance. And as much as I like to say it, my English might not be strong enough for a Youtube channel, at least one on finance. So I may end up hiring a narrator or some sort of native English speaker to do the voice overs. More on that later.
My new website design, with a more serious banner and more developed icons/sidebars, should be up in the coming days. I will also launch two long-awaited projects which, I think, will help take this website to the next level. Once again, huge thanks to my Patrons who made this possible.
I am very excited about the future of this website and where I can take it next. Thank you for being part of this journey!