Headaches of Domain Transfers… What was I thinking?

Those who have been following my personal blog, my Twitter, or this blog will know that I have been working on moving my sites to a self-hosting provider. For the past two years, my sites (personal and business) have been hosted by WordPress.com. It was a brilliant place to start: easy to use and cheap (i.e. free for the site with the option of adding a custom domain for little financial outlay). For someone just starting out and building that on-line platform, I honestly can’t think of a better place get that momentum going. But for financial business reasons, shifting to a self-hosted site was important.

Let’s face it… I was paying $60 USD per year for a single email address for Black Wolf Editorial. This was on top of the $26 USD per domain that I was paying for the domain registrations itself. (Before anyone says something about the cost of that, it’s $18 USD for the domain registration through WordPress.com and an additional $8 USD for privacy. Sorry guys, but I don’t want my home address plastered across the internet for all to see — or my phone number, private email, etc. This is all stuff that is required with registration of domains.)

For the same money (i.e. $60 per year + domain registrations), less actually, I was able to get self-hosting for ALL of my domains, with an unlimited number of emails. No offence, but it really is a no-brainer. The only caveat is that I needed to design the site myself and maintain it myself. For some, that can be a daunting idea. For me…

Here’s a little known fact about myself: I worked as a computer programmer in my twenties and had my first website back in 2000. It was meant to be an early version of a blog — an Internet-based magazine on herblore.  It was fun to write, but I had to spend hour after hour staring at HTML code each time a new issue was released. A little history: CSS was still a new thing back then (not really taking hold until 2001). Regardless, shall we say that I have no issue of digging into the back engine of a site and pulling it to pieces, assuming I have access to the back engine. (Well, I do now.)

Besides the number of emails I now have access to, there are some other advantages to being self-hosted: ability to fully customise the layout and design; ability to include scripts into the pages if desired (no more running giveaways off-site); no ads unless I put them there; and the list goes on.

However, the process of transferring domains has been far from a smooth one. They say that patience is a virtue… Well… Patience is a curse when it comes to the domain-transfer process.

The first domain transferred was my private site. The transfer process took forever. When I started the process, clicking the verification buttons and links in the scores of emails that came through, I was told that the process would take 5–7 days. I don’t know exactly how many days it took, because impatience took over when my site went down and I couldn’t do anything about it. Basically, what happened was that around the world the domain to my personal website was no longer pointing to the WordPress.com site, but rather the new provider, but because I live in New Zealand, I was unable to gain access to the new site control panel for an additional 48 hours.

AAAAHHHHH!

But there was a reason that I had transferred my personal domain first. I needed to iron out all the kinks of the transfer process, including the transfer of the blog posts for the various sites, so that way when I transferred the business site, I knew exactly what to expect. To put it blunt, I learnt what steps were needed to quickly get the new site up and operational. However, I also learnt that I needed to develop a level of patience for that final transfer step — realising that there would be a 48 to 72-hour period where my business site would be down completely. (Good thing I timed it all for the holidays when it was unlikely that people would be looking for an editor.)

However, during the transfer of the company site, I learnt that if one was to be 100% patient, it could cripple the process entirely. I had flipped the switches for the transfer to start… Nothing happened. The automated systems failed to flag the correct check boxes, hence I was stuck in limbo land. Repeated emails needed to be sent to the original domain provider (not WordPress.com) to ask why the domain was still flagged as private, yet a WhoIs search revealed my personal details for all the world to see.

A process that was meant to take only 5–7 days easily took three weeks. Meanwhile, Tip of the Day was going out on the old site as it was the only option I had until the transfer was complete.

While the transfer itself was trying on my patience, I did learn many things along the way, things that I’m looking forward to sharing with my readers.

Would I recommend WordPress.com to anyone just starting out and wanting to build a website of their own? YES! In truth, if I had to start the whole process again from scratch, trying to build a platform with very little finances, I would quickly sign up for a WordPress.com account. It was free to use and I had the first iteration of my personal website up within 30 minutes. But here’s the real reason I would recommend WordPress.com. The transfer to self-hosted, ignoring the headaches of the domain transfer itself, was incredibly simple and easy. Once I had WordPress installed on the new server, it was a few clicks and everything was transferred, old blog posts and all my followers. WordPress.com is the perfect starting place, providing the ability for future growth.

Truthfully, if it wasn’t for the business, I would still have my personal website with WordPress.com now.

No, WordPress is not paying me for this advertisement — they don’t know anything about it — but over the last two years of using WordPress.com and WordPress.org tools, I have become a fan.

From now on, every so often, you will see another post from me about some of the tricks I’ve learnt along the way of building a website and a writer’s platform. There is so much to share, so if you are looking for all the answers at once… Sorry, it doesn’t work that way. However, if you don’t want to miss a post, you could always sign up to get notification of new blog posts via email below.

In the meantime, do take the time to check out the new site — complete new look and feel. Specials on services will be announced in the coming months. There will even be a few giveaways.

Things are changing. Here’s hoping that it’s all for the better.


P.S. I’d love to meet you on Twitter or Facebook.

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© Copyright, Judy L Mohr 2017

Posted in General Advice, Hidden Traps, Random, Social Media, Writer Platform and tagged , , , .

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