The Price of Fame

29
SPONSORED LINKS END OF SPONSORED LINKS
Graffiti at Chapters, Ottawa, August 2013

Graffiti at Chapters, Ottawa, August 2013

Blogging is time consuming—all those who take the time to write articles, upload pictures or share their thoughts, skills or knowledge online know that.

But having a blog is also a financial expense.

Sure, there are plenty of free options. If you sign up with WordPress.com or Blogger, use one of the many free themes or templates and focus on open-source resources, you probably won’t have to pay a dime for your online presence. That said, you will have to live with the limitations of such platforms—third-party ads, lack of control over your content, random account suspensions, hosting limits, etc.

I started with a free account on Blogger. It was a great platform to see if writing for an audience was right for me and I enjoyed it for a year or so. But in 2007, I decided to take it a step further and I opted for a self-hosted WordPress website. As they say, “with great powers, come great responsibilities”: I had to buy a domain name (www.correresmidestino.com), find a shared hosting plan and transfer my Blogger content to WordPress. Somehow, I made it, with no technical knowledge whatsoever.

At that time, my expenses went from $0 for a Blogger account to:

  • $96 a year for a shared hosting plan with Site5
  • $10 a year for a domain name with GoDaddy
  • $59 for Colorlabs’ Arthemia theme license (a one-time payment)

Blogging was actually costing me money.

I have never regretted transferring Correr Es Mi Destino to WordPress, though. And I have never regretted investing in blogging either—it did pay off in many ways. This blog is a great way to meet people, to fuel my passion for writing and photography, to show what I do to prospective clients, to network, etc. And it’s always rewarding to see the readership grow.

But it has downsides as well.

Earlier this month, I received an email from Site5, my hosting company, claiming that my resource usage was too high to stay on a shared server plan.

Hi Juliette,

We are contacting you to inform you that your account is currently consuming too many resources for shared web hosting and will either need to be optimized to reduce resources or will need dedicated hosting. The additional usage by your account is causing a strain on your shared server, so this issue will need to be resolved within the next 5 days by reducing usage or moving to a more robust hosting plan.

“How can I be using too much resources?”, I wrote back. “This is a personal blog, I’m a drop in the ocean!”

After making sure my account hadn’t been compromised with malicious files, Site5 pulled out my stats.

Hi Juliette,

Unfortunately, resource usage is still very high on your account so we’re forced to upgrade you to a VPS package in order to accommodate your resource usage.

I reviewed your stats and this has been a problem for a long time, we honestly just have been super behind on notifying customers. Your website is too busy for shared hosting as it is receiving ~2,000 unique visitors a day and around ~6000 page views a day.

For a few days, I went back and forth with a long list of Site5 technicians, never the same person. Could I try to lower resource usage? I implemented a captcha method in order to reduce the number of spam comments (don’t worry, no need to decipher some warped letters—all you have to do is tick the “I am NOT a spammer” box below the comment area!). I cleaned up some old files and plugins. I optimized my database.

All of my efforts were to no avail.. Without waiting for my approval, Site5 migrated me to a Virtual Private Servers (VPS) account.

Now, what am I complaining about? Well, VPS are expensive, much more expensive than shared hosting. The VPS Site5 moved me to was $72 a month. Ouch. I mean, I love my blog but I’m not paying $72 a month for a hosting plan.

Besides, I was kind of annoyed with Site5. I mean, I have been a loyal customer for 5 years and suddenly you decide to move me to an expensive plan without trying to work it out? I felt they were pushing me to VPS because it was worth it to them—not to me.

So I contacted a bunch of hosting companies. Some simply sent me the link to “register NOW!” without adding anything. Other replied to me days later—a fairly bad sign when it comes to customer service.

Eventually, I had a good conversation with the folks at A Small Orange, a small-ish hosting company. They did warn me that, considering the stats I had provided, VPS was the best option. But they were cheaper than Site5 ($30 a month) and would take care of the migration for me.

I signed up.

“Fame” has a price, and so does keeping this website online.

But I enjoy blogging and I’m not quitting.

Now flock to the damn blog, and use some hosting resources—I’m paying for them!

Share.

About Author

French woman in English Canada. World citizen, new mom, traveler, translator, writer and photographer. Looking for comrades to start a new revolution.

29 Comments

  1. Next time you have the urge to move your blog, have a look at Webfaction. I’ve been thrilled with their service and it’s only $10 per month. My site’s stats are pretty much identical to yours: 2000 unique visitors/day and 6000 pageviews/day. Migration would probably be up to you though… 😉

    • Thank you so much for the recommendation! I’m keeping it in mind because things haven’t been too smooth with A Small Orange the past couple of days. We will see how it turns out…

  2. How could they move you to a more expensive service without you agreeing? That seems wrong to me. It sounds as if moving is a good idea, so good luck finding the right solution!

  3. Well, that’s annoying – how can they move you to such an expensive plan without your consent? I’m glad you found a solution to it with A Small Orange!

    I understand what you mean, though – for 3 years now, I have been paying for a self-hosted WordPress blog. I don’t make any money out of my online presence, so you could say that I’m “wasting” it. The thing is, it’s really not such a large amount a year to call it a waste – I enjoy writing, I enjoy choosing pictures, I enjoy the occasional revamp of the website. I mean, given the choices, I think it’s one of the cheapest hobbies I actually have.

    • I don’t think blogging is a waste of time or money (although it would be nice to get paid!) if you enjoy it… which you do, I think 😉 I enjoy reading your adventures and insights!

  4. What goes behind the scene of blogging–constantly thinking of what to write, staying up late or waking up early to start or finish a post, spending time even on weekends tweaking the site–is most of the time not realizee by the reader.

    But the readers eventually will see and appreciate all the efforts. And because of your hard work and the likes of you who have been blogging, that is, sharing experiences for others to learn from, traffic/fame is inevitable.

    For all the efforts of bloggers–kudos!

    And if at some point blogging is turning into mundane task more than passion, these words are reminder of what it used to be and should blogging be about:

    “But I enjoy blog­ging and I’m not quitting.”

  5. If you want to go back to a cheaper alternative, you could use a “static blog generator” like Jekyll ( http://jekyllrb.com ) or Pelican ( http://docs.getpelican.com/en/3.2/ ) or Octopress.

    Your customers will find out your web-site much faster. Your hosting will be cheaper because you only need to store static files in your server.

    You could still use Disqus ( http://disqus.com ) for our customer’s comments.

    This might help: http://jamesmurty.com/2013/05/23/migrate-wordpress-blog-to-static-site/

    This might help: https://iwantmyname.com/blog/2011/02/list-static-website-generators.html

    This might help: http://www.webhostingtalk.com ( for choosing your hosting provider )

  6. Wow, it’s good to be read but you’re right. It’s also expensive. Now that I’m working on my online portfolio, I’m realizing how expensive it is and plus, how time consuming.

    On the other hand, it’s good to keep a blog to keep in touch with people that are in different country.

    What do you think about Facebook?

    • I’ not on Facebook because I find it’s a bit of a waste of time. I’d rather put time into my own website… plus I disagree with their privacy policy, etc.

  7. Oh Wow…..indeed blogging is a good place to network and embrace new friendship. I really wanted to know how you manage Zhu…with Baby Mark now and juggling work…..I am finding it hard to update and race along 🙂

  8. Crikey Zhu, that’s expensive! I moved to a dedicated server earlier this year and I’m paying less, with 10 domains under one account on Bluehost.com. (I charge the other businesses for their domains on my account, so my costs are covered.)

    The one continual problem, however, is the war on spam. I’ve tried lots of different plugins and the current one is working well (G.A.S.P., or Growmap Anti Spambot Plugin).

    • How much are you paying with Bluehost?

      Like you, I have just implemented the G.A.S.P. plugin, which isn’t too annoying for readers. It does help a lot even though some spam does get through.

      • $25/month, with dedicated IP, domain privacy and Postini email filters. They didn’t upgrade me automatically, it was only a phone call with tech support to find out why my site was slow that prompted me to upgrade. I’ve been with them since 2005, and tech support is 24/7 (they’re in Utah).

        For the GASP plugin, try changing the Checkbox Name to fool the bots.

        • Cool! Well, I’m going to look into it. I contacted Bluehost for general inquiries but I wasn’t too impressed with their reply, which was basically “yeah. anything, I work on commission so call ME”.

          • I only deal with tech support, not sales, but yeah, I wouldn’t be too impressed, either. I checked again and it shows VPS packages starting at $24.99/month and VPS Enhanced at twice that.

  9. Damn, that’s expensive. I pay about 30$ for all my VPSes combined. I think I’m at 5 right now. But then, I don’t deal with 6000 hits per day 😉

  10. This kind of traffic should also produce some $. Maybe you could try to better monetize your website. 2000 unique visits per day isn’t that high, but WordPress and any CMS are resource consuming platforms. My advice: don’t go with a host solely for the low fees. Do some research, read what others are saying on websites such as webhostingtalk.com. An unreliable host can give you a lot of headaches.

    • I’m pretty happy with A Small Orange so far and yes, I agree with you, the cheaper option isn’t always the best. If you have some suggestion for monetizing, I’ll take them! I suck at marketing 😆

Leave A Reply