What do websites and trees have in common?…Well, Jollyleaf, of course.
Back in April, I went on a serious hunt for a new hosting provider for my websites. I had been with GoDaddy, and I was tired of paying through the nose for Outlook 365, having to call someone every time I wanted help…you name it. I also wanted to move my sites onto servers outside the USA, as the privacy legislation for non-US citizens took some damage in 2017.
Some intensive hunting brought me to Jollyleaf, a UK-based hosting provider that also handles domain names.
First point in their favour – very proactive business dev team that managed great outreach without being pushy. I whined (once) about my hosting provider hunt on Twitter, and a friendly message from an actual human popped up in my Twitter inbox.
I checked them out, and I may have blinked. At the time, I was paying upwards of $500 a year for four domain names, hosting for two websites, and two email addresses with GoDaddy. It looked as if Jollyleaf’s Oak package would give me all that for under $50 a year – plus the transfer fee for the two domains I was actually using. They were also offering a free SSL certificate – something that GoDaddy had been trying to upsell me on for $70 a shot every time I had to call them for a year.
Ten times less money? Hell yes. I suspect there are still skid marks somewhere on GoDaddy where I pulled out full speed ahead.
I wanted to rebuild my author website from the ground up in any case, since it had been the website I ‘learnt’ WordPress on, so I went ahead and migrated that over, set up my author webmail, and found with delight that Outlook 2007, which would only allow one of my Outlook365 addresses to handshake with it, would cheerfully handle any number of webmail accounts.
A week later, I backed up my review site, and discovered that I had no idea exactly how that would fit into the Jollyleaf structure. There were a lot of worryingly flexible options available to me in the cPanel with my account, but nothing that screamed ‘plug second website in here’. Incidentally, I can’t over-recommend the UpdraftPlus software for a simple, hassle-free (and actually free) website back-up tool. It’ll send full website back-ups zips and the database (do not omit the DB – really) to the file storage of your choice (I use Dropbox), and once you reinstall the plugin in your virgin WordPress, it’ll handle re-install of your site.
I then learnt about the wonderful world of sub-domains (see my Websites 101 post, covering the basic information I wish I’d known in April). Suffice it to say that after a few hours where I was sure I’d overwritten my brand-spanking-new author site with my review site, and another few hours where the images zip upload ate all my bandwidth and finally skewed altogether and had to be manually installed in the relevant sub-folder in phpMyAdmin, I turned out to be the proud owner of a site and sub-domain site, and two working webmail addresses, both showing up in my Outlook client on demand.
Overall, now that I’m set up, I have to say that Jollyleaf was a great find. If I’d known word one about the backend of website set-up (and I make no apologies for my ignorance, my partner works in programming and had no idea of some of what we found out either), transition would have been a lot smoother. They don’t yet have all the endless help articles and how-tos that Wix and GoDaddy have to guide the uneducated through set-up. Key words to look for when setting up a second site on Jollyleaf – ‘sub-domain’ and ‘addon domain’. Jollyleaf does have very available and professional support people, available through an email ticketing system, who will try and talk you through your panics.