Friday, May 6, 2011
What to look for in a web-host / the last month of my pregnancy
I must admit though, I've been very preoccupied lately, in the last month of my pregnancy, so maybe that's why I'm not dilated yet. Back during Salma's time, my last month was spent waiting idly, watching tv or reading books (I had been given a month's bedrest before my actual due date). I am not working now either, but I have been very busy at creating my own website! My very own dot.com. I had actually researched Malaysian web-hosting plans a year ago, before I even got pregnant, and had been eyeing Exabytes to make as my webhost for quite some time now because of their range of web-hosting plans. I wanted to start my own online business, and had put in the web-hosting cost in my business plan, but didn't actually have the guts to actually purchase a plan from them yet. But then about 2 months ago, Groupon came out with a coupon to redeem an Xtudent Exabytes plan for RM39 instead of the usual RM99 per month! It was just too good a deal to pass up, so I bought it. Even though I had originally planned to purchase one of Exabytes's business hosting plans, the Xtudent plan, although basic, is still great. Let me explain.
Here is their banner, hehe: To get your own website, please click on the banner, and sign up through me! (So that I can earn affliate points. Yes, please do it!)
The nice thing about Exabytes is that they have a user-friendly software for you to use, Softaculous, that helps you to install the scripts and software you want to use in your site with a touch of button. So you literally don't need to have any coding knowledge to get your site up and running with Exabytes. And the best part is, no matter what plan you purchase from Exabytes, from the most basic Personal or Student plan to the largest Business plan, you are provided with the same scripts and softwares. That is the best part. Cos if you're just starting out, you don't need 300GB of disk space, you know what I'm saying, so starting with the Xtudent Plan is fine, because with Exabytes you can always upgrade your existing storage and bandwidth at really affordable prices (I'm serious... check out their hosting comparison charts. Just click on the banner above, then click on Web Hosting on the menu bar to compare the plans). Oh, and Exabytes uses both Linux and Windows. And depending on the plan you select, you can have your domain name (dot.com address) for free. With Xtudent, I got a free domain name! Yay!
Now, at the time, since I was using just the Xtudent plan, Exabytes had put a cap on my PHP memory (I am allowed 64MB but then it was capped at a lower level). And to run WPEC, I needed a higher PHP memory. I didn't know this at first, so when I first installed the WPEC plugin, it crashed my site. But to my surprise ya, I raised a ticket with Exabytes customer service and told them what happened, and they acknowledged that I needed a higher PHP memory, and released more memory for me, without me asking them to. So I was extremely happy. I thought I would have to go through a long process of asking them to give me more php memory, but it took less than a day. Their customer service tech team communicates via e-mail and online chat, and I've used both, and they've been very helpful. To the point of actually showing me where to look for errors, how to interpret the errors so that I can easily solve problems on my own in the future. Because you know, it is easier to do it yourself so you don't waste time.
Now having said that, I get all this service for only RM39. Wow. I still can't believe it. Even though I have to renew my plan when the year is over, I'm still chuffed about it. :) It's fine, I'll pay the renewal fees. The only other thing I had to pay for was purchasing a professionally designed website template. I spent USD35 on it. Which is cheap okay! But I found the most wonderful site theme, it is fully customizable using a user-friendly admin panel and has the most wonderful after-sales support. I don't know where my web-developer, PrimaThemes is located (they don't actually tell you where they are based), but it seems like they provide 24x7 support all year round! They even layan stupid questions like "where did my photos go?" Haha! oh man... seriously. The patience that these guys have... they deserve a medal. No, they deserve to be knighted! For just USD35, I get a beautiful site theme and great developing support. (Btw, OS Commerce web-designers charge USD99 and above for their themes). Yes, all the programming has been done for you, but you know, to tweak the site to look and function the way you want it, you'll need to add your own additional coding in there somewhere. So you do need to know a little HTML and CSS, and a little PHP. But don't worry about it even if you don't, cos www.tizag.com has really good online tutorials to guide you if you are totally green. But anyway, my web-developer at PrimaThemes writes the code for me, and I just have to copy and paste it into my php files. Hehe. Happy. So if you are looking to hire a local web-designer, make sure that they are also a web-developer, because the 2 are not the same. A web-designer just designs the site (the aesthetics part), and the web-developer puts in all the code to make the design do what it should do, e.g. make the menu drop down when you click on it, etc. A web-designer will not necessarily know how to do this. And lots of people fall into this trap. They buy a site design from a web-designer, and then don't know how to make it "work" because the designer has no developing knowledge. Don't fall into this trap people! Make sure whoever you hire has a team that can do both!
So I've been spending the last month or so building my website. My online store is not ready to go live yet (because I haven't bought the inventory yet), but the blog accompanying my online store is ready. It is fashion-centric so I keep it toally separate from this blogger one, which is centered on my kids. You can view it here, Nüunäa Stylist and please start leaving your comments! There are a bunch of articles I haven't put up yet, so feel free to bookmark it and check for updates.
Being preoccupied with building my site lately, I haven't really noticed if I have contractions during the day or if the baby is moving around. Sometimes I get the impression that baby in my tummy is sitting quietly listening to mommy tapping away on the keyboard, and cursing now and again at failed loadings and other errors. Sometimes I am aware that I am having a contraction, but continue to work on my site design, and then I fail totally to note how long the contraction lasted, what time it took place, and how many minutes apart from the previous contraction. Maybe that's why I'm not dilated 5cm yet. Because, if I think about it, my former colleagues at the office mostly worked til the last day before their due date. So working probably reduces the chances of you delivering early. Doesn't that make sense? Even now as I am typing this blog entry, I have ignored the contractions that I've had. And I'm pretty sure I had 2 already (cos it hurt for awhile, but I just ignored it). But anyway... building a website can be time-consuming, but is totally fun when you have all the right tools. Start with a good web-host, like I did, and then find a good developer to assist you, like I did, and you can make the internet a new home for your business (or hobby or whatever...) :D