cPanel and the greedy, treacherous betrayal

cPanel is easily the king of the hill when it comes to web hosting control panels. It is, in a word, awesome. It gives me an intuitive interface to simplify the process of managing my site. cPanel had its origin in the late 1990s. With ongoing improvements it became the default hosting control panel of choice early in the millennium, and remains so today. But likely not tomorrow.

cPanel and the greedy, treacherous betrayal

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MDD Hosting and the terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day

or, How to Destroy an Entire Data Center with a Typo

First, MDD Hosting is awesome. I’ve been with them for about a year and a half, and will likely stay for decades if they stay awesome. Uptime – with the one big exception described below, has been good. Speed is great. Price is reasonable. They check all my must-have and nice-to-have features: LiteSpeed server; cPanel; free Let’s Encrypt SSL; CloudLinux account isolation technology; SSD storage; Softaculous Autoinstaller; PHP version selector; Not associated with Endurance International Group (EIG); No obnoxious up-selling or other BS marketing games. Most impressive is help service – always prompt, courteous, and knowledgeable.

But last September (2018), MDD and its clients endured a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day – several days actually.

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Coming Soon: Cloudflare as a Registrar

For awhile now, Cloudflare has been quietly advertising “coming-soon” no-added-fees registrar services for Cloudflare customers – even those like me on the free tier. According to the sales pitch, CF will charge exactly $0 for this service, adding no fee at all to the Wholesale Registry fee (currently $7.85 for dot com) + the $0.18 ICANN fee. So, CF will register a dot com domain for the bargain annual cost of $8.03.

 

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WP dot com or WP dot org?

The interwebs are full of comparisons of WordPress dot org and pretty much everything else, including its sibling WordPress dot com. Basically WP dot org is free, open-source CMS software that I self-host using my own domain name and a commercial hosting provider of my choice. It has a bit of a learning curve but limitless possibilities. WP dot com is a commercial entity that offers to host my blog on its servers. It is easy to use and offers a free tier but is somewhat limited – especially on the free tier. It is frequently compared to Google Blogger.

Really no need for me to add more – except for my point of view.

WP dot com or WP dot org

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My Free-dom Experiment

experiment free domain name hostingOver the past decade or so I have become increasingly astounded and thankful at the availability and quality of free stuff for web work. WordPress – not just the core, but also awesome themes and plugins; ClouldFlare; IrfanView and GIMP for graphics work; FileZilla; Google Analytics; Notepad++ for coding – the list goes on and on. No longer do I have to risk falling behind on my rent to dabble in the web. As an experiment, I decided to see how far I could push the envelope. Could I launch a website without ads (or with only my ads) completely for free? This would include free domain name, free hosting, free CMS and other tools, free everything.

It turns out, no. Not for me anyway, though I came kinda close.

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Uptime Monitoring

keep track of uptime in practiceWP hosting providers, even at the low end, almost universally claim ninety-nine-point-something percent uptime. I want to keep track of uptime in practice, not just claimed or ‘guaranteed’. I use both of the most widely recommended free uptime monitors – Uptime Robot and StatusCake. Both are easy – though somewhat different – to set up, and both offer a free tier. By using both, I hope to catch transient downtime that one or the other may miss. On the free tier Uptime checks my sites every five minutes and StatusCake – well, they don’t really say, just a “Slower interval rate” than the one minute interval of the lowest cost paid plan. Both monitor from multiple locations across the globe. And both will happily take my money if I opt for a more robust paid plan.

Domain Registrar

I use NameSilo as my domain registrar, and recommend it without reservation. I believe it provides by far the best value among registrars. Not that there is anything horribly wrong with GoDaddy or NameCheap – I’ve used both in the past – or any of the other major registrars. It’s just that with NameSilo I get: Lower cost; free-forever whois privacy; free domain protection; no hidden fees; and no BS marketing games. I am not affiliated with NameSilo, by the way, just a customer. I can’t offer you a coupon or other discount, and if I did you shouldn’t trust me. best value among registrars

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WP hosting

In discussions of web hosting, I frequently encounter the advice to use the best hosting you can afford; after all “You get what you pay for.” Well … While that can sometimes be true, to put it on a pedestal as unquestionable dogma is just silly. It is in fact easy to overpay for most anything, including hosting. My preference is to use the most affordable WP hosting that meets my requirements.

affordable WP hosting that meets my requirements

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