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Migration of Free Hosting Accounts

We’re migrating all our clients whose sites we have been hosting for free to paid accounts, with a full Website Hosting and Maintenance package.

AND, we’re upgrading all clients on Raw Hosting to Website Hosting and Maintenance Packages.

If you’d prefer to move to cheaper hosting, you’ll have a full 30 days to do so. But please first read:
5 Reasons Not To Move To Raw Hosting
Moving Hosting
Why You Need To Keep WordPress and Plugins Updated

Why are we now going to start charging you for hosting your website suddenly?

Hosting your site is a responsibility we take very seriously. It takes time and money (staff, time, hard costs) to maintain servers well and make sure sites are behaving themselves, for the good of all of the sites. We find that sites that are not maintained may develop problems. These include security risks when software, WordPress and patches/plugins are not kept updated, and other issues.

This is the nature of WordPress sites, unfortunately. We don’t want to, and can’t afford to, have un-maintained sites on our servers any more to protect the maintained sites that we do host and do maintenance for.

Therefore we would like you to decide to either stay and upgrade to our premium managed hosting (more details below) where we will keep your website up to date, logging in and doing routine maintenance, health check and backups on it manually every month, or we would ask that you move your website to alternate hosting.

Why do you even have sites you host for free?

Most of our clients on free hosting are still on the ‘3 months free web hosting’ we offered when we created their web site, that we never got around to billing for (and sometimes that’s extended out for years!)

Better late than never, right?

If we’re a charity, we need to be doing it properly

So we’ve put our money where our mouth is:
We’re Giving.

We would rather provide charity to an actual charity than just due to our forgetting to send an invoice to a business!

If it’s free, often it’s not valued.

While I never hear from our ‘free hosting’ clients (another reason I would rather they become actual clients, because I LIKE hearing from clients and helping them) – however I get appreciative noises from our paying clients all the time! Also, my monthly clients bug me – and I love it when they do. I excel at solving problems – so please bring any questions, issues or queries to me.

Remember, if you take up our Maintenance Package, you get 20 minutes support per month free, for whatever you need done – coding, a tweak, an update, a new image, a new page of content – (and that is in addition to our monthly health check and updates we do.)

Free hosting isn’t enough.

Basically, if we’re hosting it, it’s on our server, and that means we’re also keeping an eye on it – hence our Website Hosting and Maintenance package. We really don’t want non-maintained sites on our servers any more, as they are vulnerable and could infect the entire server. So our decision has been made to help protect the integrity of the whole.

We’ve found that websites eventually have something that goes wrong – often, nothing to do with hosting, either. It’s a maintenance issue. And here’s a couple of examples:

– The Twitter feed on your home page stops working, because twitter changed their API, and you need to log into WordPress and re-authorise with Twitter in a new way, plus update a plugin for it to work again.

– An image disappears on your homepage.

– You logged in to your site and broke something.

We fix it – and more!

We not only fix what comes up, but every month we log in and update your Plugins and WordPress itself to the latest version, check your site for Malware, take a full back up, and send the backup to our off-site cloud archive storage.

We need to do this – for ALL sites that would like to stay hosted on our server.

Unfortunately, it’s the nature of WordPress and plugins – because it’s open source, that means that Plugins are written by people and offered for free – but the downside is, they don’t always keep working forever and ever, and the developer sometimes abandons them (because they made them and gave them for free)- and so on.

Here’s another example: A client was savvy enough to install a backup service and run automatic backups of their WordPress site which we’d built, but their cloud storage account was maxed out (a Dropbox type paid service). That wasn’t our issue, but it took us time and skill and labour resources to go in there and see what the issue was. If we’d been hosting and maintaining the site, we would not have had either of those two issues happen.

Other problems happen when clients stuff up their site by accidentally removing a character of code (that’s all it can take to break a ‘div’, and your whole home page looks messed up. If we weren’t doing maintenance on the site, it is labour intensive to restore a site from backup if it is possible at all, because most hosting accounts don’t offer backup service unless you pay for it, and even then, only keep one backup that’s a week old – a backup that gets overwritten with a new backup each week. (So if something goes wrong on your hosting and you didn’t notice for a week, you might be out of luck!)

Again, that would not happen to our clients, as we back up your website and send the backup to offsite storage.

So, what we’ve come to realise is that we need to do monthly maintenance on ALL the sites we host on our servers. And we simply can’t do that for free.

You may be tempted to move your hosting yourself to save money, but here’s why you shouldn’t:

It takes skill and bandwidth and technical ability to be able to create a hosting account, log in to your current hosting, make a backup of the server, download it, upload it to the new server, and point the DNS, and configure the data and database so it all works. Even if it does work first time (such as, a tech did it for you) you will typically get a) downtime as the DNS propagates, b) emails will stop working and have to be re-set up on the new server, and c) you might lose all your emails if you are using IMAP (which accesses emails stored on the server – in other words, if you change hosting to a new fresh account, there will be no emails on the server!)

Apart from the fact that moving hosting is a pain – (expensive, technical, there is no way around some downtime) – sometimes WordPress doesn’t even work on other hosting because it doesn’t have the right specs, and you don’t realise that until it’s too late.

Also, if you have become accustomed to our level of service, you will likely be very disappointed with other hosting companies’ service.

There may also be some other hidden costs, such as – some webhosts (such as Netregistry) don’t let you host emails – that’s a separate charge. Then, the email accounts also have to be re-set with new passwords… and email databases sometimes get lost, as I’ve mentioned.

Also we can’t really help you moving hosting away from us without charging you by the hour, because it’s no longer ‘our’ hosting – so if someone did help you, you would spend more in technical assistance hours billed than you’d be saving per month.
Typically, it could be as many as 5-8 hours of labour, depending on how big your site is and how many email accounts, and if you want these migrated or not.

Basically, moving hosting is a pain. Not to mention that of course I would like the continued business.

You can also read this link:
5 Reasons Not To Move To Raw Hosting

If you stay, life will be dreamy!

So if you stay, and you’ve never experienced any problems, expect that to continue!

if you’ve had problems before, a lot of them simply wouldn’t have happened if we had been doing monthly maintenance on your site and hosting it on our premium servers.

What will we do each month?

We will log in to your site each month and check things out, make a backup, send the backup to Amazon, update all plugins and WordPress to the latest version, check everything is working, and send you a report. We’ll also give you 20 minutes a month for any tweaks or questions.

There are only a few companies who do WordPress managed hosting and maintenance in this way that I would recommend. One of them is here. If as a matter of principal you must move to a competitor, please choose the Premium Plan here. However you will notice that Brendan doesn’t offer email hosting – we do. Also you will notice some similarities between our services! This is because we masterminded our offerings together recently and compared notes as to what was missing in the market! You can also see that our Website Hosting and Maintenance package specs are very comprehensive as well (very similar, we have a couple of extra features).

We will start billing you for managed hosting next cycle.

If you want to move hosting, you must let us know immediately and we will provide you your Cpanel and WordPress logins (if you don’t already have them) and you must move your files within 30 days.

I would recommend you move your hosting immediately rather than last minute, so you can keep both accounts going simultaneously as long as possible to check that all files have been transferred correctly to your new host, before we delete your account and files.