Self-hosted WordPress vs. Blogger. The internal struggle. You’ve heard the arguments before from dedicated WP-ers, while Blogger-users have rallied back with reasons they stay.
But let’s be honest: if you’re on Blogger, you’re borrowing space until someone (Google) decides they don’t want to play with you anymore. I switched to self-hosted WordPress in June of 2011 and I never once looked back, if for no other reason than my web-host makes it easy to stay.
(Who am I kidding, there are lost of reasons, but you’ve heard them all before).
The bottom line is, you do not need to be a coding guru to be on self-hosted WordPress. In fact, you don’t need to know a thing about it. I didn’t when I started out. Did you know how to talk coming out of the womb? ‘Course not.
On March 31st, at 4:29am, I received the following email from my webhost:
This is an automated notification from Tiger Technologies about your thebawdybookblog.com Web site.
Your MySQL database named “auto-29740-1” is exceeding one of the size limits shown on this page:
Please read that page carefully and reduce the size of the “auto-29740-1” database. Your database and site may not function properly if you don’t do so.
(We send this reminder notice weekly if the database is too large, and the reminder intentionally cannot be disabled. If you need larger limits than shown on that page, you should switch your service to a “dedicated server” with another company that can assign you a non-shared database with higher resource limits.)
We hope you find this information useful. Don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions. Thank you!
First thought: My website it broken! 🙁
Second thought: Relax yourself, Jenn and click the support link in the email. So I clicked the support link shown, and read a bunch of gibberish I didn’t understand, but this is the gist of it:
In addition, a practical size limit on MySQL databases with shared hosting is:
- Each individual table should not exceed 1 GB in size or 20 million rows;
- The total size of all the tables in a database should not exceed 2 GB.
These limits are fairly high. Less than 0.05% of our customers ever create databases this large, and we’ll notify you if it happens.
Wut? I have tables? What is MySQL? (Never you mind that my boyfriend is in IT and I HAVE heard of it; I just don’t know what it is). I read the support link three times. I still didn’t understand it. HOW WAS I GOING TO FIX SOMETHING I DIDN’T UNDERSTAND?!
So, knowing that TigerTech is amazing and responsive, I sent them an email that night:
Hi, I received this email this morning, but I don’t understand any of it, even after reading the attached link. Can you dumb it down for me?
It took about 25 hours from initial email to the first non-automated response, but I should note that whenever I have tweeted them, they always respond instantaneously. ALWAYS. And since my site wasn’t down, I wasn’t panicked for an immediate response.
It was also a Saturday night. They deserve t party like the rest of us.
Thank you for writing! We’re sorry to hear you’re having trouble. You’re getting this message because something on your WordPress site is storing vastly more data than usual. Your site is storing more data on the servers than 99.95% of all WordPress sites, which shouldn’t be happening unless it’s very, very busy (with millions of visitors a month). Since it’s not, something is wrong.
Ouch, TigerTech, ouch… What I wouldn’t give for that problem. Sorta.
We’ve spent quite a bit of time looking into this, and what’s happening is that you’re using a WordPress plugin called “Core Control” that is saving (“logging”) a great deal of technical data about HTTP accesses to your site. I know that’s still pretty technical, but it looks like something that you’ve intentionally turned on at some point, so hopefully that makes sense.
Anyway, that plugin has now stored more than a gigabyte of this kind of logging data, which is causing problems with the performance of your site. In short, it’s making WordPress store hundreds of times more data than it usually does. Do you need this option enabled? If not, you should turn it off and delete all the logging data that it’s stored. While we’re not familiar with this plugin, it looks like the way you do that is to: 1. Login to the WordPress Dashboard; 2. Click “Tools” in the left-hand column; 3. Choose “Core Control”; 4. Click “External HTTP Access Logger” along the top. Then you’ll want to click “Disable HTTP Logging” to stop it from adding new log entries. Next, you’ll want to click “Delete All Stored Requests” to remove the logging data it previously saved. Our guess is that when you do this, your browser will actually “time out” because there are more than 85,000 entries it needs to delete, which will probably take it many tens of minutes. It’s okay if it times out — it will still have deleted thousands of them, and you can just return to that screen after it times out and click “Delete All Stored Requests” as many times as necessary until it has deleted them all (you’ll be able to tell because it won’t time out any more). Finally, after doing that, you should reply to this message so that we can “optimize” your database to return it to full speed. (If we don’t do this, the database will have lots of “holes” in it where the old data was, which makes it still run more slowly than it should.)
THIS makes more sense. And their very detailed instructions for a MySQL dummy totally were easy to follow. I was able to resolve the issue and delete the requests so they could re-optimize my self-hosted website. And don’t let me fool you: I actually don’t know what the hell the plugin they are referencing DOES, but I do know where it came from. I had another issue over Christmas where my comment post-back (this is where, if you use a commenting system like Disqus or livefyre, the comments post back to your database from the commenting system, in the event that you ever decide to stop using it) had stopped working, and livefyre and Tigertech worked together to resolve the issue for me….over several weeks!
But it gets better! And this is the point of this post:
We hope this helps. Since we’re here, we have a couple of other observations from looking at your WordPress dashboard. The first is that you have 17 plugins and a theme that need updating. You should do this right away, and always do it as soon as updates are available. Failing to update WordPress plugins and themes is by far the most common way we see WordPress sites being “hacked”, because updates often fix security bugs that allow “hackers” to take control of your site. If you don’t update them, it’s like not locking the door to your house when you leave. Secondly, you do have a comparatively large number of active plugins, including some that seem unnecessary because they conflict with each other (for example, you’re using both Akismet and Disqus for comments, two different “Gallery” plugins, and two different plugins that display social media counters). Remember that each plugin slows WordPress down and increases the possibility of conflicts and security problems. If there are any plugins there that you aren’t actively using, we strongly recommend that you deactivate them. Your site will be faster, more secure, and less prone to conflicts if you do so. Anyway, as we said, if you can use the “Delete All Stored Requests” to remove all the extra data, just reply and let us know so that we can then optimize your database. Please let us know if this doesn’t help, or if there is anything else we can do. Thank you again! — Robert Mathews, Tiger Technologies
Robert didn’t have to look into anything else. He could have just answered my question and re-optimized my site, and then moved on to the next issue. Instead, he took the time to take a gander at The Bawdy Book Blog (and my extreme case of the lazies) and inform me of what needed to be updated, what plugins I could delete, and went into why. Basically, he delivered great customer service. That, my friends, is getting hard to find.
My issues were resolved within the day, I took care of all the additional and unnecessary plugins as Robert suggested, and The Bawdy Book Blog is running in tip-top shape again, all because I didn’t understand an email and reached out to my host for help.
For anyone who is interested in switching from Blogger to self-hosted WordPress, but is worried that the stakes are too high (you don’t know the dashboard, you are afraid you won’t find a good deal or a good host, etc), you will never have to worry with these guys. They have been so super helpful when I’ve needed them and above all else, PATIENT. Not everyone knows code or understands the back-end of running a website, but I don’t feel like you need to with TigerTech. They will hold your hand along the way.
Curious about self-hosted? This is what I get (some of it) and what I pay:
Monthly: $5.30 (my mother purchased her self-hosted site through my TigerTech affiliate link, so I’m getting a discount right now. It runs out soon, and then I’ll be paying just $7.95 again). See? Self-hosted is NOT expensive! It’s the price of ONE PAPERBACK BOOK. Less, depending on the store, the market and the publisher.
- Free Domain Name
- No contract
- Mailing lists
- Site statistics
- Unlimited subdomains
- Free WHOIS privacy
- Unlimited bandwidth
- One-click WordPress installer
There are more benefits, too. Mailboxes, auto-responders, you name it.
I’m not telling you this in a B-Tips to pimp out my affiliate link, or earn money. In fact, you won’t find my affiliate link in this post. But I was so impressed with the swift and excellent customer service TigerTech provided, that I felt like I needed to give them a proper shout-out, and let readers know that if they have been thinking of switching, but they’re nervous about which host to use, it doesn’t get any easier than these guys, I promise.