I believe it was in the last quarter of 2009 when I started using Hostgator as my hosting service. Since then I have purchased over 5 hosting packages from Hostgator and have hosted more than ten WordPress blogs with them. Undoubtedly, Hostgator’s hosting quality is good. Lately, however, their customer support has started to disappoint me.
For the past year I have wanted to move my sites away from Hostgator, and try a new web hosting company for my WordPress blog. In this post I will share what I experienced when changing hosting companies. I have added few insights that may be helpful to you if you decide to change your host at some point.
No donuts For me: hosting renewal fees
Last month I received an email from Hostgator for a hosting renewal payment. I had only two days to make the payment, and this presented me with the dilemma of needing to decide whether to stay with Hostgator or move away from them.
Unlike the discounts offered when you sign up for a new account, there is no discount offered for hosting renewals. My 6-month hosting renewal with Hostgator was costing me about $60, which is $10/month, and I did not want to pay that amount. So I decided to move away from Hostgator. I also wanted to try out the Duplicator plugin for moving WordPress, so that gave me another reason to make the move.
In this tutorial, I will share what I experienced when I moved five WordPress sites from Hostgator to Siteground’s hosting service. I will also share a few important things I learned while making this move, and I will give you a glimpse into Siteground’s hosting service as well.
A few words about Siteground:
I had heard many great things about Siteground, and looking at the technology they are offering for their shared hosting servers, I was quickly inspired to try their service. Once such bit of technology is Varnish Cache. Varnish Cache is a web application accelerator which I have used in the past when I was hosting ShoutMeLoud on my private VPS (Virtual Private Server). Varnish Cache is one reason behind blazingly fast website loading, and is among the reasons I wanted to try Siteground. Siteground is also a non-EIG hosting service, yet another reason for me to give their hosting service a try.
Moving my WordPress site from Hostgator to Siteground:
Once I felt confident that it was time to move away from Hostgator, I purchased Siteground hosting for 2 years at a 60% discounted price using this link. Initially I considered buying it for one year, but I quickly realized that I would be paying way too much for the second year’s renewal.
Tip: If you want to save on webhosting, always purchase it for a 2-3 year term, because you will only be offered a discount on your first hosting bill. (You can read more about it here.)
Afte purchasing the hosting, I started looking for migration options. Siteground offers free website migration, which is quite useful for non-technical users. In my case, I wanted to migrate my WordPress blog myself, so I used the Duplicator plugin to start migrating the site.
- You can read the tutorial here: How to use Duplicator plugin to migrate a WordPress site
Moving the first site took extra time since I was using the Duplicator plugin for the first time. Thereafter, moving the remaining sites was quite easy.
The problem with moving sites, and help from Siteground’s hosting support:
I was tired after migrating four sites, and I asked Siteground support to move the last site from Hostgator to Siteground for me. I filled out the migration form inside my Siteground cPanel, and added all the login details:
After filling out the form, I suspected that it might take 2-3 days to finish the migration. To my surprise, I received a reply within 3 minutes.
I re-verified the login details, and I sent the new credentials for my Hostgator cPanel. Within 10 minutes I received a response from Siteground support stating as follows:
“As you may know our free website transfer promotion is for 1 website that is less than 1 GB of data. If you want us to proceed with the transfer you should decrease the size of your account with HostGator or you can pay an additional website transfer fee of 49.95 USD for this transfer.”
Since I had already migrated four sites, I had deleted the data of the migrated sites, and the size of my Hostgator hosting account was reduced to 3Gb which they gladly migrated over to their hosting.
So far I’m really happy with Siteground’s customer support, as they did an awesome job to ensure that my sites were properly migrated. I told them that my hosting was about to expire in 12 hours, and they migrated the main site to my Siteground hosting within 5 hours. Additionally, they took a complete backup of my existing sites on Hostgator, and saved it to my hosting account so that if Hostgator shuts down my account, I will still have access to my other sites’ backup.
Within five hours I had moved all five of my WordPress sites to Siteground hosting. Since I was using Cloudflare to manage my DNS, the Name server propagation happened instantly.
Issue with free domain for life:
Siteground offers one free domain for life, as long as your hosting is with them. I thought I could use the free domain later, but was surprised to learn that I would need to have booked the free domain when I initially signed up. I contacted support and raised a ticket for this issue, and their customer support was kind enough to make an exception in this case.
Note: If you did not take advantage of the free domain when you originally signed up for Siteground, you still have a chance to get one free domain for life. Ask their customer support, and I suspect they will not disappoint you.
I’m pretty happy with my decision to host my sites on Siteground. So far I have really appreciated their customer support which typically replies within five minutes of creating a ticket. I also have the option of getting in touch with their friendly support team via live chat. I use the word “friendly” because their support team speaks to a customer as though he is a friend, and they seem to care about all customer concerns whether they are related to Siteground’s hosting or to the customer’s sites which are hosted on their server. Most hosting companies will not offer support for sites hosted on their server, but Siteground is an exception and this is appreciated.
With this migration I have discovered a new hosting company that I can recommend to my readers. If you have been planning to move your sites away from your existing hosting company, you would do well to consider moving to Siteground.
Indeed, don’t pay a premium for hosting renewals, when you can move your site to other hosting companies at a discounted price.
Let me know if you have recently migrated your site from one hosting service to another. Tell us the specifics of your experience using the comments section below.
And as always, if you find the information in this post useful, please share it with your friends and colleagues on Facebook, Twitter and Google Plus.