A bit of a mishmash of topics this month for my linkup entry, but why not?! Read about my latest web hosting saga; a mini review of SiteGround and Cloudways of sorts. A bit of a blogger’s nightmare as my website was taken offline for almost a week. And how that turned to a blessing in disguise, as I took the leap and signed up at Cloudways instead.
And I hope you don’t mind, but there are many, many animal pictures in this post! Finally, I’ve been trying to ‘be a good girl’ with my work-life or computer-life imbalance. Have fun reading, and hope to see you in the linkup too!
*Note: This post contains affiliate links. It will cost you nothing to click on them. I will get a small referral fee from purchases you make, which helps with the maintenance of this blog (approx. $100/month). Thank you!
I didn’t think I’d use this prompt to talk about hosting issues this month, but here I am! Moral of the story: Getting a good host matters for your website; Sometimes what everyone thinks is a ‘good host’ is in fact, not suitable for you; customer support is paramount – full stop.
So what triggered this spade of vehement conclusions? As a web developer, I’ve tried dozens of hosting and domain companies over the decades. Always curious about ‘which is better’, and of course, based on my clients’ or my needs.
The Price to Pay for SiteGround’s ‘Great Speed’
SiteGround is well known for great uptime and service, but I beg to differ. They recently took my website offline for days, because it exceeded ‘shared server usage’. Sure, they send you warning emails at 80% usage, but with not much help except to ‘clean up or upgrade your plan’.
Their plans, after the initial introductory offer, are infamous for the hefty price tag. Many customers need to find a new host again after their plan ends, which can be a hassle. I chose to go with SiteGround regardless, as I was lured by the reviews of ‘great speed’. Yet this isn’t quite the perfect picture as I’ve come to realise.
SiteGround’s hosting speed is decent (well compared to my previous host at least!), but this comes at a cost to certain clients. Websites that ruin those ‘pretty numbers’, so to speak, are taken offline.
They could argue that this is to ‘protect resources for other customers’, which I can accept. But moving on to my next point, which was the main reason I decided to leave SiteGround for good.
Problems with SiteGround’s ‘Great Customer Support’
Many customers seem happy with SiteGround’s customer support, yet I’ve never had a single good interaction with their support staff. What I’ve come to realise is that issues they help most customers to solve are mostly simple WordPress related issues.
When it comes to more complex backend problems, their front-line support staff are clueless. One of them even ended the chat without any resolution to my problem, or waiting for my reply. This isn’t a one-off, unlucky experience either.
How I Ended Up at Cloudways’ Doorstep
We’ve been doing a lot of research at work on hosting companies with great speed, as this is a major SEO factor in 2021. My boss is also on SiteGround, yet finds even their best GoGeek plan unsatisfying to keep up with his website’s needs. His plan was ending soon as well, and he wasn’t sure if he wanted to pay so much money for their regular, post-offer plans.
We both moved to Cloudways recently, and I’m going to say that I’m blown out of my mind. Each and every single one of their customer support staff deserve a gold medal. Some of them even stayed online with me for hours to try and help fix my website.
SiteGround wanted to charge me $30 for re-instating a backup version, but Cloudways wanted to try and avoid that. SiteGround’s reason was that their senior engineers had to do ‘manual work’ to restore the backup. Is that to say that they outsource the work? Or that their regular engineers don’t do any ‘manual work’?
Cloudways’ Blazing Fast Site Speed
Another reason that I’m now a big fan of Cloudways is that their hosting speeds are blazing fast. I hadn’t expected such a huge leap in site speed, as my WordPress theme is 6 years old.
I’m working on a more updated blog layout for Google’s latest rollouts, but this automatic boost is helpful for my SEO in the interim. Both my mobile and desktop site speeds increased by 20 – 30 points. My desktop site speed is close to 100 now, even! (You can check your own site speed here.)
Click on the banner to give it a free trial 🙂
Which Plan to Pick on Cloudways?
There are a quite a number of different plans to select from on Cloudways, which might be overwhelming. If you’re unsure or confused, their basic Digital Ocean or Vultr plans are sufficient (approx. $10/month).
I am on the 1GB Vultr high frequency plan (more speed!), which costs $13/month. I would recommend it without a moment’s hesitation. And I’ll definitely be incorporating many more websites and projects on Cloudways soon.
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Seeing a Psychologist to Try and Learn Breathing Techniques
Moving on to more chronic illness life stuff, my psychiatrist had referred me to a psychologist a few months ago. She wanted me to find new ways to regulate my anxiety and panic attacks, as the anti-depressants I’m on are pretty much maxed out.
She asked me to give it at least three sessions, as I’ve never had a good experience with in-hospital psychologists here in Singapore. They are pretty much textbook and clinical.
The private one I had seen a few years back was brilliant and helped me a great deal, but also expensive. It was totally worth it though, as the issues we explored and the perspectives that I gained are for life.
Anyway, true enough, after three sessions of me trying my best to keep an open mind during the sessions, I quit. Every session felt like a forced Q&A where she was the teacher or mother, and I was the child. “Do you think that this is a good way to view things?” … “No.” … “Yes.” “Can you try doing this every day?” … “No.” … “Yes.” You get my point.
Why We Need to Practice Deep Breathing Even When We’re Feeling Fine
If there was one useful thing that I took away from the sessions, it’s that we need to practice deep breathing even when we’re feeling fine. To transform it into a habit, and forming healthy habits is an everyday process and effort.
This helps us to access these mental resources much quicker when it’s actually needed during meltdown mode. Muscle memory, yes, even for deep breathing.
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Book Recommendations on the Topic of ‘Breathing’
I then asked my psychiatrist to recommend some books on breathing that I could learn techniques from instead. She recommended ‘Think Like a Monk’ by Jay Shetty, because of its timeless yet practical applications in modern society.
I also bought two other books on the Kindle store after having a look around. The first was ‘Breath: The New Science’ by James Nestor; a journalist who travels the world to investigate what went wrong along the way with our breath, and how to fix it. It’s a New York Times bestseller and the first few pages had me captivated.
The second book was ‘Power Breathing’ by Sang H. Kim, who is a martial arts expert and creator of ‘Power Breathing for Life’. I hadn’t intended to purchase a book on power breathing but calming ones instead, but the excerpts held my fascination for some reason. I liked how clear and simple they were.
The authors come from two very different backgrounds, and take on very different approaches on the topic of breath. I’m sure that I’ll learn some interesting trivia and perspectives from both of them. And also practical applications to help curb my anxiety and improve my wellbeing!
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My Little Rascal, Talisker
Hmm…smiling. I think the person who makes me smile the most is my puppy, Talisker, who is not even a person!
He’s a rascal, no doubt about that, and bites me til I’m bruised and bleeding. It’s funny that people caution you about the responsibilities prior to getting a puppy. Responsibilities such as taking them for walks, cleaning their poop, vet trip costs and so on.
Everybody Warns You About Responsibilities, But Nobody Warns You About the Bites!
But nobody warned me that puppies bite. And they bite pretty hard, for about a year. I mean it makes sense if I stop to think about it. Human babies teethe too, and need to bite at things to ease their itch. And pups definitely have bigger and stronger baby teeth.
My spoonie friend, Shruti of ‘All Things Endometriosis’, got a puppy around the same time as me and was just as surprised, as new dog owners. We both have different chronic illnesses that biting can mess with. She has EDS and POTS, and often needs walking sticks for mobility. All that excited jumping and biting can catch her off guard and impact her stability.
I have Antiphospholipid Syndrome, a blood clotting disorder, and take blood thinners for it. So I’m prone to bruising and bleeding, and both can lead to other problems such as DVTs or haemorrhaeges. We both try to work around the biting as best as we can.
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Affection & Cuddles are Life
One of the reasons I decided on a shetland sheepdog is that they’re affectionate.
So far he’s pure puppy wildness, but when he does decide to lie against my foot or hop into bed for snuggles, my heart melts. I hope that the adult version of him will be less bitey, and more cuddly like that.
Often when I’m away from him for a few days, my face lights up into a smile when I think about him. I also can’t help but smile whenever I browse the hundreds of pictures of my birds and dog on my phone.
Here are some of my favourite pictures and videos of them. I hope that they make you smile, too!
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Metering My Energy with Chronic Illness & Fatigue
I’ve been trying to stop myself every day, before I hit my maximum energy consumption. Some days I feel crappy, whilst on others I feel up to task.
It’s always a risk as I tend to do all the things on those better days. Sometimes I work on projects for 10 hours straight. For a healthy person they might feel a little fatigued after (or not even). But when you’re chronically ill, it’s almost certain that there will be a price to pay.
Trying Out a New Pacing Strategy
I am currently trying to pace myself a little differently. To quit being productive before I even start to feel tired. The concept is similar to overeating. Often we eat until we’re ‘full’, but our bodies have a bit of a lag reaction. That is why mindful eating can help with weight issues and eating more healthy portions.
I am quite in-tune with my hunger levels (except when my period is about to come, then I eat all the carbs…late at night). But I’m definitely not in-tune with my energy levels, as I tend to get absorbed and sucked down the rabbit hole. Before I know it, I crash.
‘Mindful Productivity’ & Keeping My Todo List for the Day Flexible
I guess the point I’m trying to illustrate here is to do ‘mindful productivity’. To stop every now and then to assess my body, pain and energy levels. To recalibrate my energy and if necessary, adjust the todo list for the rest of the day.
“Mindful productivity can be defined as being consciously present in what you’re doing, while you’re doing it, in conjunction with managing your mental and emotional states. Mindful productivity is about calmly acknowledging and accepting your feelings and thoughts while engaged in work or creative activities.”
Todo lists don’t have to be locked in for the rest of the day. You are allowed to modify them on the go, based on a variety of circumstances.
So far this strategy has proved pretty good on a mental and physical level. That isn’t to say that I wake with less pain, but I do seem to have less crashes that take several days to recover from.
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Self-Reminder: Sometimes One Little Thing is Enough to Make Your Day
Finally, relishing. My partner has finally found his way to Singapore from Berlin, after a year and despite all the COVID red tape. I am relishing some quality time spent with him in person, after a year of long-distance relationship. Which is something I never thought I’d do actually, if not for COVID!
Life is all about the little things, as they say. Relish in whatever little or lot you have. Sometimes, one small thing is enough to make your day.
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*Note: This article is meant for educational purposes and is based on the author’s personal experiences. It is not to be substituted for medical advice. Please consult your own doctor before changing or adding any new treatment protocols.
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