During college, I had a computer science professor that told his students to go out and purchase domain names (and I think he said to buy a range of IP addresses too) because they were cheap and being bought up quickly (at least the good ones).
I didn’t because I was in starving, frugal student mode at that time. A few years later after getting a decent job, I heeded his advise and bought 2 domain name.
I played around hosting websites on my home workstation for years. It purely was a hobby for me, and I had fun. I created my first blog over 10 years ago, but I wasn’t using blogging software and the posts were directly into html code. I knew I could write something that could make the process easier for me but I didn’t have time. Eventually, I let my first website slid into the nonexistence.
In October of 2009, I discovered wordpress and thought I would give it a try. So I downloaded a virtualization software package called “VirtualBox” and created a virtual machine that ran an “Ubuntu” linux server on my Windows Vista workstation.
A Major Problem, Dynamic IP Addresses
So basically I was self-hosting my blog at home, but a problem that I had was that my ip address wasn’t static and would occasionally change on me. This would create an outage because people trying to get to my site would go to a wrong ip address until I change the ip address in my dns provider (Zoneedit.com).
After spending a week looking for a silver bullet to my problem, I discovered the Linux scheduler “CRON” and a Linux command that would change my dns configuration automatically! Yeah, I would still have an average of 15 minutes of downtime ever time my ip address change, but it beat my previous record of 10 hours of a wrong ip address while I was at work. And what if it changed while I was on vacation! It wasn’t that bad though, my ip address only change about every 2 weeks or so since my workstation was always on.
Why I moved to a hosted solution
I was tickled that my total cost for my hobby was only costing me about $10 per year! It seemed like a great deal!
But then my ISP (Internet Service Provider) started going out on me! My ISP is a local cable company that was providing my site internet access and unfortunately, they were running at capacity! Fellow buddy bloggers at site “EverydayTipsandThoughts.com” and the “FinancialSamurai.com” and would occasionally shoot me an email telling that my site was down or very very slow.
At this point, I was making a little bit of money via google adsense and even had a few advertisers onboard. So after reading a few articles and books on blogging, at the beginning of October 2010 I decided to switch to a hosted solution via a hosting company (hostgator, bluehost, etc).
After the move to a hosted solution, my traffic increased 50% in one month and doubled in three months. Apparently google prefers a faster site…
If I Could Do It All Over Again
If I were to do it again, I would still use wordpress, but I would definitely start out with an hosting company instead of self hosting my site the way I did (in a Virutal Server on a Windows Vista machine).
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