Because I got some questions about building my blog, I thought that I could share some basic ideas and resource in terms of building my website. Some links below are affiliate links, which provide a small commission for me to create more great content. You could read the Disclosure Page for more information.
If you want to build a website, the first thing to do is to find a place where your website “lives.” You might have used Blogger or other BPS platforms for creating your blog, but if you want a website that is totally customizable and free of unwanted ads, you need a hosting to create a self-hosted WordPress site.
SiteGround: I’ve used two different hosts, and settled down on the second one ─ SiteGround.
Cloudways: 2020.11.17 Update I left SiteGround and move to Cloudways. I will share more details down below.
Why I Choose SiteGround, well, in the first place
How did I know SiteGround? Well, it all started from googling. I was not very happy with the speed from my first host (I don’t want to cause any harm so please don’t ask), so I googled and find that SiteGround was the No.1 in a recommended web hosting poll. And since I was using another host at that time, they provided a good price for transferring hosting. So I thought: it’s never hurt to give it a try. So, I jumped.
And just in the first week, I really felt a difference in my site speed, which at least made me satisfied at that time because I realized later that it’s involved more than that. But what really makes me stay is their 24/7 services.
Since I’m in Taiwan, the working hours are different from that of most western countries. And at that time, CSS and PHP and JS were really Greek to me. So when I run into a problem, I really want someone there to help me. SiteGround’s 24/7 support service really helps me a lot.
Another thing is that since many people use their hosting, especially some web-instructive bloggers, I could easily follow the steps as the screenshot by those instructive bloggers. And their backend is more common and easy to understand compared to my first hosting experience. So, I stay.
Why I left SiteGround & move to Cloudways (2022 Update)
After using SiteGround for 2~3 years, I moved my site to Cloudways because:
SiteGround’s customer services started to disappoint me. – That’s my full honesty.
I have to say that I used to love SiteGround because their support team was really helpful. But after 2 years, I started to notice that it’s not as good as it used to be. Sometimes I used the live chat to ask questions regarding the server errors or slowing speed, the answers I got become unclear or ambiguous. And I found myself become the one who found the issue and solution first, which is really not what I had expected.
Many WordPress users recommend Cloudways.
Because I wasn’t happy with the situation with SiteGround, I started to look for another hosting/server provider. And then I found Cloudways in many WordPress users’ recommendation lists. But Cloudways is quite different from SiteGround. It mainly provides servers (Cloud Server Services) but not hosting plans. It’s more like Amazon Web Service (AWS).
A lot of WordPress users recommend Cloudways mainly based on its reasonable pricing and improved site speed, which I care a lot about because I’m also the kind of person who usually gets impatient with the loading speed of a site.
But because it’s such a different platform, it took me quite a while to decide to move. Cloudways mainly provide server services, which means you have to learn more in order to deal with any problems and errors that might come up. I must admit that I was quite intimidated in the first place because I didn’t think I was tech-savvy enough to do that.
But after a month or so, I just felt the need to improve my website loading speed, and I was really fed up with the not-very-helpful support from SiteGround, so I took the leap.
And you know what, it turned out that it wasn’t as difficult as I thought it would be. You do need to read a few articles or do some research at first, but Cloudways has a huge knowledge centre containing how-to or web-related knowledge. And also I think I’m a fast learner in some way too, so in a month, I’ve got quite familiar with the basic things that I need to know regarding maintaining and monitoring the website.
I use Olsen Light with custom CSS and PHP. I do spend quite some time learning CSS and a little coding, so all I would say is either learn it by yourself, which is what I did, or pay for it (like using a paid version or asking professionals)
EQUIPMENT FOR PHOTO & VIDEO
I bought my Canon EOS M2 in 2015 and use it for most of my photos and videos between 2015 – 2018. But one of the buttons doesn’t work right now and I want to take my photos to the next level, so I bought a Canon EOS 77D in early 2019. It’s a bit lighter and smaller compared to most DSLR cameras and I like its focusing speed.
Even though Canon EOS 77D is not so heavy, it’s still quite bulky to me if I just snap some clips for my videos. Hence, I bought a Canon G7 X Mark II in March 2019. It’s really light and handy. I’m mostly happy about it.