September 14, 2013

Changing hosting

For a good number of years I was using Hosting365/Register365 as my hosting service. I was with another crowd before, but around 2005 I wanted to make some experiments with web applications in .NET 2.0 and they were the only company I found in Ireland offering it.

Later I added a Unix hosting (which was cheaper and gave me the chance to learn a bit about Linux in real life), dropped a few sites there and basically forgot all about it. Now and then I logged in to do some small thing, but I never really interacted with the site or its tools.

Time passed, and they merged with another company, put a fresh site and hosting plans, and since then I really tried to avoid doing anything around. It was too confusing and gave me little satisfaction. Lucky enough the sites were more or less on autopilot, and I liked that situation.

But, two years ago my friend Rob started working in wripl, and when I tried to deploy their plugin in WordPress, it asked for updates that I wasn’t able to apply with my existing hosting.

I messed around, not really wanting to deal with all of that, and soon realized that I needed to change my hosting plan. But then, it would just make sense to unify Windows and Unix into one account (I am not using ASP.NET anymore for web hosting), and then I had to do a lot of migration work that I didn’t want to do, and then I would need to pay just a bit more, and then… I quitted.

Some of my friends (including wripl) recommended Blacknight, and I know one of the founders from my involvement in MTUG years ago, then it looked like a good candidate.

I went to their site, bought the hosting and I was sorted, sort of. I had to move the sites from one hosting to the other, then I realized that all the backups that I was doing from mySQL were useless, then I couldn’t figure out where to put my files. The documentation in Blacknight is less than spectacular, and at least for me fairly confusing. After an afternoon messing around I started getting frustrated, and my friends didn’t remember how did they do anything there either.

The next day I started from fresh, created a trouble ticket and then tried the support chat. Both were very good, nearly the same response time (from two different contacts, on a Sunday afternoon), and things were resolved quickly. Both the tools and files location are different than in Register365, but once you get the idea of how things work they are good for my needs. Creating an SQL script to import the database was a bit more tricky, because one of them was around 50 MB and the import process didn’t like that, but splitting the text file was the solution.

In the end I am very happy with the move, and hopefully will stay the same.