DigitalOcean WordPress Droplet dashboard

WPMUDev is a WordPress-focussed company. They do many things, plugins, hosting, but what stood out to me specifically was their managed hosting service.

Okay, I’d first seen them advertised via WordPress plugins, Hummingbird for example, and then sought out better hosting.

At the time, I was still using shared hosting. Moving from Hostgator to Bluehost, back to Hostgator’s “managed WordPress” service, all of which were sh*te. This was probably during periods 2014-2019~.

Then in 2019, I thought I’d invest in a more expensive service. Mainly motivated by the page speed issues that Google seemed to hate, and inevitably lead to a larger fall from grace as Google’s ranking algorithms factored this in more and more.

So, I took a shot at WPMUDev. Immediately, I felt the results. It was fantastic.

Yes, I fell in love with it instantly. But, there’s more to come on this love at first sight conundrum later…

I bought the full plugin package.

You get to use their full suite of tools, they’ve got a great SEO package, of which the name escapes me, and a pretty impressive speed optimization package called Hummingbird. I’ve not really given the package much justice but it works and has pretty much everything you need–there are many more plugins included.

So as time went on, I was happy with the outcomes.

But, as my site slowly started growing things started to slow down. Admittedly probably due to my less organized approach of dropping gigabytes of images and old plugin files on my server.

And I needed to upgrade. The price on WPMUDev was already too high.

I tried another, “managed host”, WPXHosting. As it’d be mentioned by another internet marketing blogger “Matthew Woodward”. It was okay but seriously lacked in control.

Ultimately, it was an oversold shared hosting package. And although their customer support is nice, I genuinely wasn’t impressed.

So, I moved back to WPMUDev. And… ruined my migration. Things got lost, images got broken. 404s rained down from the sky. And ultimately ruined rankings, of which I’ve not really recovered from.

Things could have been solved quicker, but as a part-time blogger, it’s not easy to sift through every page, link, comment, image, article and fix all of these things.

And this, in my mind, all occurred because WPMUDev was too expensive.

Okay, this reasoning is rather indirect, and actually the breakages were caused by my own errors.

But, were WPMUDev not looking to charge $50 per month for hosting a WordPress blog, I probably wouldn’t have run into this issue.

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Note, the $50 per month is after membership fees and the plugins package. So, I was looking at more than this in total pricing.

At first, the numbers seemed fairly reasonable. 8GB dedicated RAM, 4 vCPUs. But this is actually really expensive.

Just to put it into perspective; let’s say we pull the 100k monthly views shown in the pricing above. And our AdSense pay-out is (on a really good day) $1-2 per 1000. Before you know it, your hosting, membership, and plugins pack is eating around 50-60% of your blog earnings.

Sure, many people will get more than that, but the fact of the matter is, most people get far less traffic than that. But, need more power behind their sites.

This is the point where is stumbled upon DigitalOcean. And by God, was this a saving grace.

Okay, DigitalOcean isn’t “managed”. But, I’m a pretty competent software guy. I work a full-time software-dev job, I can code. I know my way around WordPress. I understand how Ubuntu works.

So I spun up a Droplet. A “containerized” WordPress application”. The exact same thing companies like WPMUDev use, then resell to people at a higher price.

And I got it at $10/month. Fully customizable. I control all the packages. The content. Everything. The update releases. The upgrades. Everything.

It was at the point. That I left these shitty over-priced hosting providers. And got my hosting at the source. And saved a bunch of money, took back control, and ultimately regained a tonne of value not just monetarily, but in quality for my users, and Google’s page speed requirements.

Until next time, Josh.

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