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My Blogging History Part 1

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).

-MR

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11 Responses to My Blogging History Part 1

    • I was literally just playing with my site. It was a hobby, but it become addicting…

      I didn’t think there would be any money in it to be honest, so I tried to keep it as cheap as possible 🙂

  1. I didn’t even know there was any other option than to use a host, so ignorance was bliss for me.

    I can’t believe so much time has passed since you went with Hostgator. Time is flying!!

    • 🙂 The geeky side in me is why I started. It’s was more of a lets see what I can do, than a let start a side business that’s in the blogging realm.

      Now it is more of a small side business than a geeky thing though… I’ll have to start to improve my site aesthetics, it’s kind of boring looking…

  2. As one learning the tech stuff from scratch, I’m fascinated by hearing about the the technical end from people in the field! I’m going to keep up with the series!

    • Hi Barb!

      Starting my blog was very tech oriented, but since I moved to a external host, I really don’t do as much tech stuff anymore.

      It’s not that I don’t want to, instead it’s that I don’t have the time anymore… 🙁

  3. I just Just Host and yesterday my site went down for 2 hours. Unfortunately, I was working on a post at the time and was blissfully unaware. When I hit the save button, I got a 411 page and I click back and found out I lost 2 hours of work! That sucked! I need to figure out a better way to post. I guess I can write on MS Word first and then copy it over to wordpress.