This week I’ve been migrating my websites to new hosts. I’ve also changed my email provider at the same time. I’ve been able to do this without any significant tech knowledge, though it’s meant a lot of administration-type functional checks and redirects.
To start with I was paying a very hefty amount for my web hosting from my ISP, and I knew that I didn’t want to get caught in another twelve month contract before it was due. Thanks to Owen, who gave me some invaluable advice, I’m now set-up on Digital Ocean, at a vastly reduced cost, and with a significant increase in responsiveness.
The hosting arrangements are quite different from what I’m used to, but now that I am more familiar with them they are clearly easier to use and simpler to operate. The only issue being that there aren’t a lot of guides at hand to look at if there is a problem. But then this is where YouTube comes in handy, as there are plenty of walk-throughs and discussion of the main processes for hosting a new site.
The other major change has been to shift from self-hosted email, to using an email service provider. In this case I’ve gone with Microsoft, because I already have Microsoft Office 365 and One Drive, with access to Word, Outlook and so on. I use these applications on a regular basis, and I’ve integrated them with my phone and my laptop quite easily. So using Microsoft to host my emails for two different accounts was relatively simple. It’s not like I’m managing a large team, so its cost effective and is billed on a monthly basis.
I don’t want this to read like an advert, but the standard of usability and service really has improved over the last few years, and no doubt will continue to improve as more cloud-based services come online. Being able to work on a document in a coffee shop, then walk into my office and open the file at the exact same place is one of those small improvements that we very quickly take for granted.
The next stage of my websites development is to upgrade the design work. I’m definitely not a graphic designer, so as soon as I have some money there is a job going for someone. I’ll concentrate on posting content and sharing podcasts, images, vlogs and blogs about the stuff that I’m interested in. If I can make small improvements as I go along, then all the better.
Because of the slow response time of my last ISP it was difficult to make any improvements and test them at the same time. Now I can do things on the fly. I’m also going to try to develop the habit of posting content as I travel around. As my sites are WordPress installs, the apps have got a lot better in recent years to enable editing and updates on the move.
It’s been an intense couple of days, but I’m pleased there are no major problems, though the last job to get done is to ensure that the SSL certificates are active and that I’ve got fully secure sites that will be accessible on all browsers. Last couple of steps to go then.