We run several classroom blogs and professional sites, including this blog on using educational technology in the classroom. Mostly we use WordPress, but lately we’ve been experimenting with bulleting boards (phpBB) for our online literature circles.
You can only go so far with free accounts, whether they’re with Blogger, WordPress.com, Edublogs, or Wikispaces. Eventually, you want to be able to do more. That’s when we looked into setting up a self-hosted WordPress account and looked into finding a web host.
So, what changed?
- Domain Name Privacy Registration
- 1 and 1 Internet
- Bottom Line: Who do you use for your classroom blog or websites?
BlueHost now charges $4.95 (per domain name per year) for their domain privacy service which they used to include for free. That’s enough to force us to go looking for a new home.
What’s the big deal? Domain names (like classroomteacher.ca) cost around $10 per domain name per year. When you register a domain name, your personal information usually gets published in an online database called WHOIS. (Canadian .ca domain names generally do not publish your personal information.)
Do you really want your students to be able to look up your home address and phone number?
Apparently, we have around 200 days before the privacy domain registration we have on our current domain names with BlueHost expires and we’ll be charged the $4.95 per domain name per year fee to mask our personal information. We have around 15 domain names registered for different classroom blogs, projects and professional sites. Now, we’ll have to pay an extra $75 per year to keep our domain name registration information private.
So, we’re in the market for a new place to host our domain names. Heck, we might even switch web hosts, entirely. Here are the two companies that have caught our eye.
1&1 Internet offers free privacy domain name registration. Bluehost does not. 1&1 also charges less for domain names than Bluehost. Bluehost charges a flat $10 per domain name per year. In comparison, 1&1 charges $6.99 for the first year before returning to their regular price of $8.99 per domain name per year.
So, if we transfer our domain names over to 1&1, we’ll pay less for our domain names, and we’ll still get our free domain name privacy.
We’ll probably move our domain names over to 1&1, but at this point, we’re not too sure about switching our web hosting over to them yet.
Bluehost offers Simple Scripts which allows us to install a variety of free (open-source) programs to run our websites: WordPress, phpBB, Moodle, BuddyPress). Sure, we could install WordPress the hard way by downloading and uploading the software ourselves. (Have a look at our free ebook to see how complex it can be to install WordPress yourself.) But, after installing over twenty different WordPress sites on our Bluehost account using Simple Scripts, it’s hard to go back to doing it yourself with FTP. With simple scripts, you can have your wordpress blog up and running in a few clicks and a few minutes. It really is that simple.
1&1 Internet doesn’t offer simple scripts yet. Instead, they have their own “click n build” application process that includes phpBB, but doesn’t include WordPress. Since 1&1 Internet doesn’t offer simple scripts, we could set up our own simple script account, but it would cost us $15 per year to get unlimited installations. (We would need the unlimited installations option because we keep on setting up more and more WordPress blogs for our classes and colleagues.)
pSek is the web host that Edublogs trusts to run their Edublogs Campus. (For $900 per year, Edublogs will host up to 100 of your own edublogs accounts on pSek servers. $6500 per year if you want an unlimited number of blogs for your educational institution.)
pSek charges $10.95 per domain name per year which is a little more than Bluehost. We’re not sure from their website if they offer domain name privacy.
For many people, web hosting with Bluehost is better than pSek.
- Bluehost is cheaper. Bluehost charges from $6.95 to $8.95 per month (depending on if you sign up for 3 years or 1 year of service.) In comparison, pSek charges from $7 to $25 per month ranging from a personal plan to a corporate plan.
- You can set up more websites with Bluehost. With Bluehost, you can have an unlimited number of websites with different domain names (add-on domain names) on your account. pSek only allows you to have a few websites on your account (1 add-on domain for the personal plan and upto 10 add-on domains for a corporate account)
- You get more space with Bluehost. You get unlimited disk storage with Bluehost. In comparison, you only get 200 MB with pSek. You get 100 SQL databases with Bluehost. (You’ll basically need 1 SQL database per WordPress or bulletinboard site.) pSek offers you 5 SQL databases with their personal plan.
Bottom line is that Bluehost will pretty much let you set up as many class blogs and websites as you want. We’re glad we started with Bluehost and we’ll probably continue to use Bluehost as our shared web hosting provider.
So, why are we considering getting a pSek account? Because when we have 30 students in the lab at one time trying to create work on the same classroom website (powered by Bluehost), it seems the website runs slowly.Wordpress sites definetely run slower than our literature circles (which run off of phpBB) but either way, there seems to be a lag while students wait for the pages to load.
Which brings us to pSek. If this is the webhost of choice powerful enough to power Edublog Campus, then it’s something we need to look at. Especially if we go down the road of helping other teachers to set up online lit circles.
Since Bluehost is no longer offering free domain name privacy registration, we’re in the process of finding a new place to register our domain name. At this point, it looks like we’ll be transferring to 1-and-1 internet.
But we’re also starting to wonder if we’re beginning to outgrow the web hosting services at Bluehost. We’ve got our eye on pSek as well.
Who do you use for your class blog or website?
- Do you pay money for a web host to host your classroom blogs and websites
- Do you chose to use the free classroom blog options out there (like WordPress)?
- Do you use a free account with an online educational community (like Edublogs)?
- Do you use a free educational wiki (i.e. Wikispaces) or Google Sites account?