“You’re paying WAY too much for web hosting.”
In this article, I’ll discuss how paying $250 each month to keep LifeReboot on the web lowered my quality of life.
I never planned to pay this much to run a blog, it just turned out this way. When I began LifeReboot in February ’07, I paid only $10/month for a shared web hosting plan. Unfortunately, the moment my blog was made popular by Digg, this inexpensive hosting service protected their other customers by suspending my account.
Anxious to get my blog working again, I quickly signed up for a high volume hosting plan that cost $75/month. After migrating LifeReboot to its new home, I was convinced that my bandwidth problems were over.
Sadly, they weren’t. Two links to LifeReboot were featured on the front page of Digg on the same day. The resulting traffic spike crippled the high volume server, and caused my host to firewall all traffic to my site (i.e., suspend my account). At this point, I believed that I needed a dedicated server in order to run a blog that was “Digg-proof.”
Since dedicated server options started at $250/month, I was terrified about making this upgrade. Regardless of how scared I was, I still dared to do it because I was convinced it was my only option. I imagined that this upgrade was an appropriate “next step” towards my dream of becoming a successful blogger.
The reality, however, was that I took a considerable step back. I started penny-pinching — and the sacrifices I made to “save a buck” lowered my quality of life.
I stopped going out to eat; I figured I could no longer afford it. I stopped going to the library every day; I figured I should save on gas. I stopped having date night every Friday; I figured it wasn’t necessary. In short, I cut out a lot of luxuries so I could save money.
At first, it felt like prioritizing: Since my heart was in my writing, I would cut back on other aspects of my life in order to put writing first. Ironically, reducing my life to nothing but writing left me with little to write about.
Consequently, I spent four months holed up in my apartment struggling with writer’s block. The act of writing shifted from recreation to obligation as I became increasingly worried about producing new content for my blog.
If I didn’t produce new content, I would lose my audience. If I lost my audience, I would lose my revenue. If I lost my revenue, I would lose my freedom from the 9 to 5.
The monthly operating cost of my blog transformed into a 250-pound gorilla on my back. Thankfully, I received some advice that helped remove it:
“Not all web hosts are created equal.”
I should have done more research before paying for a dedicated server. Without knowing that other (better) options existed, I ended up making a thousand-dollar mistake.
Having basically wasted $1000, I keep imagining different ways I would rather spend it. After all, $1000 could just as easily be used to buy:
- Round-trip plane tickets (for Thanksgiving dinner with my folks)
- 2-3 times more presents than I planned to buy at Christmastime
- One year of Piano Lessons
- A Brompton Folding Bicycle
- Four YEARS of web hosting.
Oh well. I wasted it on only four months of web hosting. Live and learn.
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