After I chose a domain name and researched hosting sites for my new webpage (Setting Up an Author Website: Step 1) I decided to have my website hosted on Hostinger.
Pro: I chose Hostinger for a couple reasons, the main reason being that they only charge .80/month. (Don’t feel pressured by their “Limited Time Offer!” It’s there every day.) There is one catch to the low price and that is you have to pay for 48 months up front, but .80 x 48 still isn’t very much. They waive the fees for the first year of a new domain name. It was Friday afternoon. I registered my new name and signed up.
Pro: You can build a website on Hostinger with any number of website building tools. Hostinger offers various site-building options including one-click installation (you want this) of WordPress, Joomla, PrestaShop, OpenCart, phpBB, Drupal and more. In addition, they offer their own Website Builder which is promised to be beginner-friendly — just drag and drop to build your website in minutes. I tinkered around with Website Builder just a little, couldn’t find the instructions, and quit for the day. The weekend was here.
Con: At 7:45am Monday my phone rang. Somebody had my name, phone number and my new domain name and they wanted to build my website. I politely declined, a little uneasy about the call. At 8am I got the second call, then the third… My phone rang every 5 to 10 minutes until evening. I online chatted with a Hostinger representative who assured me that my personal information was now protected and the flood of calls would soon stop. After a while I turned off the ringer, but I still had to monitor the answering machine for important calls. So as I launched into learning how to build a website, I had continuous aggravation.
Con: I had installed WordPress with the miraculous one-click installation, but where was my website? I searched and searched and finally went to Google, where I learned that you have to type in yourdomain/wp-admin to get to your site. Yeah. I would have figured that out. Sure. (A couple days later I did finally find a link to it on Hostinger.) I tried to build my site with WordPress, but nothing seemed to be working correctly and the phone calls drove me crazy. Monday was not a good day.
Con: The calls started up again at 7:45am Tuesday. This time I was ready — I simply turned off the phone. Too bad if there was an emergency. I was frustrated with WordPress, so I decided to give Hostinger’s Website Builder another go. I tried their tutorials, but they all ran a few seconds and then got stuck. I went online to find a tutorial, but all I could find was a guy with a really thick accent in a video that wasn’t very good. Even with inadequate tutorials I did pick up some things about Website Builder, and I played with a template that looked promising. It didn’t have a page for blog posts, though, and I couldn’t figure out how to add one. Finally I chatted with a Hostinger rep who told me you can’t do blog posts with Website Builder and I should use WordPress.
Pro: I was still hoping to find something easier, so I installed one of the other website builders Hostinger offered. They provide lots of choices. I installed Joomla — it had a cool name and it said it was good for beginners. Everything appeared to work. I read through some of their tutorial and it looked like maybe it was easier, but it was still going to be a steep learning curve.
Con: I returned to WordPress since I was more familiar with WordPress than Joomla, but now my site wouldn’t work. When I tried to view my site, I got a full-screen graphic that read: “Website spencermeadowpress.com has been successfully installed on server! Please delete the file default.php from the public_html folder and then upload your website by using FTP or File Manager.” Which led to questions like, “Huh?”, “What?”, “Where?”, “How?” There were no links or menus on the page, no help buttons. I didn’t even know if the message came from WordPress or Hostinger. So I did what any sane person would do: I waited until my tech-savvie significant other got home from work and I asked him to fix it.
My husband was unfamiliar with the platform, but, I kid you not, in less than three minutes he had found the offending file and deleted it. But my site still wouldn’t work, so he got on chat with a Hostinger rep and eventually the rep figured out that all my files were corrupted. Since I hadn’t done any significant work on my website, yet, I had the rep delete the whole thing so I could start over. The rep thought the problem involved a recent update from WordPress, but it happened right after I tried the site out on Joomla and Website Builder, so it’s possible all my messing around caused the problem. Suggestion: When setting up a website, figure out what platform and template you’re going to use before you do any actual work.
Pro: Kudos to the Hostinger reps who run the chat feature. They are fast, they are helpful, and they consistently solved all my problems. They even sent me an email a day after all this mess to see if I was doing okay.
Con: The phone calls had seemed to be slowing down, so Wednesday morning I bravely turned the ringer back on. At 7:45am the phone rang. It was maybe an hour until the next call, but then I got three calls within five minutes. I chatted with Hostinger. This rep told me my personal information was not protected — I needed to pay $5/year for a subscription to keep my information private. I never had to do this when I had a previous site somewhere else, so I wonder if some companies do this for you and, being low-cost, Hostinger makes you pay an extra fee so you can still use your phone after you register your domain. Or maybe things have changed. Anyway, I paid the $5, and the calls dropped down to a trickle, although even a month later I’m still getting some calls. You can pay the $5 when you first register your domain name and I strongly recommend it.
When you register a domain name you have to give them your name, address, email, and phone number. I tried to change my phone number to something obviously fake, but it wouldn’t take it. I seriously thought about changing my number to the phone number of a government agency that refers telemarketers to law enforcement, but I didn’t do it.
Pro: I decided that there had to be a way to make WordPress work for me. After the fiasco Tuesday night, I had a fresh start, so I downloaded my preferred template again, and voilà! It worked! I could customize the template! I started making everything look pretty. And the phone stopped ringing.