I’ve missed a couple weeks of updates so I’m going to include what I’ve missed because there’s been a lot going on.
Weekly Update: July 22 – 28
Spending Update: July 22 – 28
This week was pretty crazy for spending. I was having an and off again problems with Bluehost and seemed to be spending more and more time on the phone with their tech support. Out of desperation, I signed up for Cloudflare’s Pro Plan at $20 a month in the hopes that would help out with all the down time with the site.
My laptop was also starting to get ridiculously slow and bogged down. It had served me well but was still a five year old $400 Emachines computer. I looked at my finances and decided to invest in a new laptop – this came to $800.00 with the purchase protection plan which they gave me to for $60.00.
The $40 ‘fees and charges’ section is a bit misleading. I had a few “corrections” where my daughter had mis-keyed my bank PIN number and it shows up as a bank charge. It balances out in the income category. The “work expense” is mislabeled and is actually the $20 she pulled out of the bank machine.
Insurance was due so and the total was higher at $170 after it was all said and done.
Entertainment was down with spending at $75.00 this week but $95.00 after I factor in my kid’s $20 spending on a movie with a friend.
This week spending was higher due to some extra expenses. I gave my daughter money to go to an amusement park with her friend. This worked out to be not cheap at $70 for a day’s worth of fun.
The rest of the charges belong to me at just under $50. There were also charges on the credit card for $100 for clothes for my daughter; $60 for gas; and some other odds and ends. I’ll expand on this in the ‘Life Under Construction’ section.
Life Under Construction: July 22 – August 4
After a solid couple weeks of having these kinds of problems, I signed up for Cloudflare’s Pro plan to try and help out with the problem. The only issue is Cloudflare only works if there is some sort of receptivity from the hosting server. If there’s not, you get the same white screen of death with a snazzy Cloudflare logo instead of just the usual blank screen.
Not too long after this, I was lamenting my web hosting problems on Twitter and some one responded with a recommendation for switching over to WP Engine. I did some research and looked at a couple of different web hosting companies. At about this time, AT&T blocked access to several Bluehost servers because “many of..[their]..sites hadn’t been adequately updated”. I don’t know, this just seemed problematic.
Ultimately, I decided on WP Engine and here’s why:
- I wanted my blog to be accessible – this meant consistent up-time and fast page loads. Being accessible means my readers will enjoy their experience on my blog and will want to come back. It’s important to me that I deliver a top quality site.
- I didn’t want to worry about the technical aspects of my blog. While I’m reasonably proficient with it, I don’t enjoy it enough to want to spend a lot of time on it. WP Engine will handle that for me.
- WP Engine specializes in hosting WordPress sites. It’s the ‘All WordPress, All the time Network’. They know what they’re doing and I trust their advice.
- Unlike a lot of discount web host companies out there, you get what you pay for with WP Engine. They don’t over sell their product and under deliver on their services. I am willing to pay more for their record of ‘making good’ on what they promise.
- And finally, my least technical reason of all. I think it’s like moving into a good server neighbourhood. Scuzzy spam sites are less likely to sign up with WP Engine and muck up the running of my blog because internet service providers blocked them for being sketchy. Or having malware or viruses. Or being a security risk because nobody updates their sites. WP Engine is simply too well-maintained and expensive too attract sites with these kinds of challenges. That also means their slightly Draconian about certain plug-ins and other processes running on your site, and subsequently, their servers. For me, that’s an acceptable trade off.
At the end of the day, I can’t say anything too bad about Bluehost. They did their job – sort of – and were a great place for me to call home for a little while. Lots of people do really well with them and never really have too many complaints. They just weren’t for me. Thus concludes my break up speech about Bluehost.
I also bought a new laptop. This recent addition to my electronics entourage has set me back $800. I bought it on credit using a store credit card. Before anyone decides I should be cuffed upside the head, here are my reasons:
- The store credit card has a six month grace period before interest kicks in which allows me a lot of time to pay it off.
- Phil, my husband, has already paid the maximum contributions to certain Canadian taxes this year which frees up $400 a month. He is willing to use that extra money towards running the house while I use some of the money I save towards paying down the store credit card.
- If I wanted to continue with blogging, I needed to upgrade from the five year old $400 Emachines computer. It was a good and reliable machine but it needed to be retired – it was getting excessively slow and boggy. Blogging is becoming profitable, therefore, buying a computer is an asset (maybe a secondary asset?).
- As a small business in Canada, I can use payments on office equipment as a tax write-off. For some reason, this does not hold true for outright purchase of said equipment. I’m still not clear on why that is yet, I’m still learning.
I have since cancelled Cloudflare because I’m not sure I need it. That will save me $20 that I can put towards my new web hosting company. WP Engine is $30 a month but I think this will pay itself off. It’s a risk but sometimes you have to take the leap before you know if it’s going to be successful.
Damn, this is a whale post. I’ll post an update on my daughter’s new job soon! Thanks for sticking it through until the end!