Hello there! Welcome to Ken's personal website and blog. Today, I am going to talk about migrating my personal website to a Chinese host.
I used GoDaddy as my website host previously, but I considered migrating my personal website to a Chinese host, which has some benefits.
After migrating my website, I feel relieved because of the high-quality service and easy management. However, I didn't consider more about this before taking actions.
Do you know why I considered migrating my personal website and why I used GoDaddy previously? Here we go!
Note: Some information about my server and configurations is not shown to prevent from being attacked.
Note: This article can be quite long, which contains many important information and notes. If you do not have time to read it, you can save and read later. Also, you can click on the subtitle below to go to the corresponding content rapidly.
Why I Abandoned GoDaddy and use a Chinese Host for my Website?
GoDaddy is a web host that provides services related to the web in the United States. It has some useful products: website builder, Windows/Linux hosting, cPanel hosting, managed WordPress hosting, domain registration and DNS, professional domain email, email marking, and HTTPS SSL certificates.
There are several reasons why I use a Chinese host for my personal website.
Slow Speed on Overseas Network
The overseas bandwidth in China is limited and there is a long distance between the users and my previous server. During peak hours, the speeds for using overseas websites are very slow, about 20 KB/s, which cannot fulfill my basic requirements for studying and working.
For this reason, I usually make wrong judgements for my website. Having falsely thought that there is a problem on my server, I often temporarily close my website by mistakes.
In fact, Baidu Drive, a Chinese web storage service, limits the download speed for free users under 100 KB/s. Furthermore, the speed for accessing my personal website in the past few months is slower than this, which takes about 7 seconds to respond and 3 to 5 minutes to load the whole home page and some images could not be loaded or loaded partly.
The speed after migrating my website, however, is much faster than previous one. The response just takes 0.5 seconds and the browser just needs 10 to 20 seconds to load my website home page.
Cloudflare is Unstable
Cloudflare is an Internet safety service. There are some acceleration and security features, such as global CDN (Content Delivery Network), DDoS protection, DNS, email address obfuscation, and firewall.
Recently, Cloudflare services were unstable in China. Sometimes it and the associated websites can't be used. Quizlet, an English word remembering app, was also being affected.
Then, I removed Cloudflare from my website, but my website was very slow after doing that.
Hosts Around the World
There are hundreds of website hosts around the world.
Note: According to China Internet Safety Act, using Chinese web hosts requires real-name verification using an ID card or a passport. This also applies while opening a WeChat Pay account, an Alipay account, and China phone numbers.
I used shared and managed hosts previously (so I do not need too much computer programming knowledge), which only offers from the hosts outside China. Then, I used dedicated hosting while migrating my personal website with a unique IP address.
American hosts have their own policies (different hosts have different policies). However, Chinese hosts comply with the laws in China.
Also, using dedicated machines requires programming knowledge. This is because shared machines are configured and managed by the staff in the host company. Therefore, Chinese personal websites are generally built by programmers.
The History of my Personal Website
2019 Jan. to Jun.
Firstly, I started my YouTube channel on Aug. 14th, 2018 (it stopped service since Jul. 2020). This is because of the inspirations from the summer camp in Chicago, United States in Jul. 2018.
Caution: My YouTube channel stopped service since July 2020 because of the massive study tasks during senior high school life and the long time for making videos. I am going to remove the contents related YouTube and my channel from my website to prevent misleading users. Learn More
Then, I started to create my website because many YouTubers have their own website. I attempted to create my website on Wix.com but failed, because of the payment issue.
On Feb. 2019, I created my personal website on WordPress.com because some people create websites using WordPress, and then I attempted to use WordPress.com to create. The first version (1.0) of my website was only used for promoting my channel and blog articles.
On Mar. 2019, I changed the theme of my website, bought a real domain, and added the 'download resources' feature on my website. My website could be used to download my resources, not only for my blog. (2.0 version)
Note: The domain of my website is www.kendeng1603.com. However, some media (included but not limited to my school) still show the old domain of my personal website: kendeng1603.wordpress.com, which is already expired and you will see this: "The website is deleted/not exist".
On Jun. 2019, I migrated my website to GoDaddy using the managed WordPress (self-hosted) plan. Then, I added the notice banner on the top and reCAPTCHA on my website to prevent spam comments. (3.0 version)
2019 Jul. to Dec.
After migration, I received so many spam emails such as SEO (search engine optimize), website design advertisement, and phishing scams. Then, I fixed a bug about email addresses on my website and reported all spam emails to the email providers. Therefore, I was likely forced to do SEO on my website using Yoast SEO plugin, or I still received spam emails about this.
Then, I updated my website to 4.0 with more features, animations, decorations, and colors. I can't remember the time, but I guess that I upgraded it on Oct. 2019.
A few months later, I successfully stopped all spam emails on my website. I recognized that spam robots usually go to websites, crawl and remember real email addresses (email@example.com), and then send spam emails repeatedly.
2020 Jan. to Jun.
On Apr. 2020, I added the voting feature, removed the banner on the top, removed unnecessary elements from my home page (according to blogger Gill's suggestion from her blog posts). (5.0 version)
2020 Jul. to Dec.
Since Jul. 2020, I terminated my YouTube channel from publishing new videos.
On Aug. 2020, I migrated my website to a Chinese host to improve visitor's experience.
Since Sep. 2020, I terminated the email newsletter and subscription feature to prevent spam emails.
Why I Chose an American Host Previously?
The first reason I created my personal website is that I wanted to promote my channel. So, I used an American host to create my website. My website was created followed by the establishment of my channel.
Then, I used my personal website for other purposes. They are writing English blog articles and teach foreigners to use Chinese things that are not translated to English.
And then, the audiences on my website are changed, from people in the United States to China, especially my friends, schoolmates, teachers, etc. However, the speed was slow in the past few months.
Finally, I migrated my website to a Chinese host. The new server is suitable for the main audiences of my website.
What is the Host and Why I Chose it?
I chose Tencent Cloud as my new web host. There are several reasons that can make my website better, safer, faster, and more stable.
I didn’t make considerations before making decisions. This is because I don’t have time and the burden on study tasks will increase since Sep. 1, 2020.
The prices for many products are reasonable and they are not expensive. Meanwhile, the monthly price for building a personal website is similar to GoDaddy.
It also has a 5-day money-back guarantee policy for the first purchased product (some products are excepted), which is also similar to GoDaddy.
More Features and Secure
Tencent Cloud provides many features for the servers, such as periodically backup, one-key OS reinstall, free basic website security, and so on.
For instance, I just need to restore the backup or reinstall the entire operating system (make sure the data backed up first) if my server has serious problems.
Also, there is a firewall that blocks all unnecessary ports (defined by the website owner), so my website can be safer.
High Speed and Fast Lines
The speeds of their servers are very fast with low latency time, depending on the server's performance and bandwidth.
Adjustable, Upgrade at Any Time
Adjusting the hardware and/or bandwidth of the servers is allowed, but some of the adjustments are limited (such as downgrading the hardware). So, it can cater with the requirements of my website every time depending on the daily visitors amount.
For instance, if there is a major activity in my school that leads to the dramatic increase in the visitors on my website, I just need to upgrade the bandwidth of my server with just a few clicks.
Please note: If there are too many visitors on my website in a day, it will temporarily and automatically close and display an 'Out of Service' page for 1 to 3 days. This phenomenon rarely occurs when my website runs normally, and it happens typically only if my website has been featured without letting me know, like WordPress.com's Discover feature.
There is an official mini program of Tencent Cloud on WeChat. Therefore, I can manage and monitor my server(s) and/or my other products easily anywhere at any time.
Where is my Server and Why I Use it?
My server is located in Hong Kong, China, which is close to Guangzhou, the city I live in. This is because the website using servers and/or data centers (included but not limited to CDN) in China mainland requires ICP (Internet Content Provider) registration with MIIT (Ministry of Industry and Information Technology of China) (备案) according to China regulations, but both my website and I do not satisfy with the minimum requirements.
- I'm not old enough. (at least 18 years old)
- The first language of my personal website is English, but not Chinese.
- I am not sure whether the name of my website complies with the guidelines or not.
Note: The registration number must be displayed at the website footer (bottom of the website) and link to the registration website of MIIT to give convenience for visitors to query the information.
Not only do I have visitors in China, but also there are some oversea visitors access my website.
The Steps for Migrating my Personal Website
There are several steps from migrating my personal website to another host. They requires programming and technical knowledge.
My website uses WordPress personal blog framework. This includes import and export features, so I could migrate my website easily with just dozens of clicks.
Firstly, I installed the server (such as Apache, Nginx, or Tomcat, but I don't tell you whether I am using), PHP, MySQL, and WordPress on the new server. I have successfully done that because I have adequate programming skills. In fact, I tried to install them on a virtual machine that is used to create test WordPress sites.
And then, I migrated (exported and imported) the data and files.
Next, I installed the HTTPS SSL certificate on my website, but I tried several times because I didn’t know about the SSL, which is the most difficult step. The certificate is bought on and issued by GoDaddy, because I had to use their certificates for the managed WordPress hosting due to its restrictions.
The reason is that I didn’t know the private key and CSR (Certificate Signing Request). Also, the SSL has been attached to the managed WordPress machine in GoDaddy and I have detached it from the machine. Therefore, I couldn't find the private key.
Meanwhile, I don't use SSL on the test machine that is not connected to the real Internet (for security reasons). Also, using SSL for IP addresses and/or 'localhost/127.0.0.1' can be difficult. So, the SSL must be configured in the real server.
I found and followed some tutorials on the Internet, generating a CSR file and letting the GoDaddy CA (Certificate Authority) issue a new certificate.
Finally, I successfully installed the certificate, enabled and enforced HTTPS for my website, and configured my whole website server.
Complying with the Laws
There are some strict Internet laws around the world in order to regulate people's behaviors on the Internet, ban illegal content, and protect people's privacy. For instance, European GDPR and Californian CCPA are Internet privacy laws, many websites are required to follow them.
Meanwhile, a few countries usually block websites that violate the laws to maintain a clean and safe Internet environment, such as China and the United Kingdom.
My website allows users in every country around the world with Internet access to give people an opportunity to learn from my study strategy, which includes users in China, European countries, and the United States. So, I need to comply with their laws. This is the reason why my website displays a banner about using Cookies at the bottom (GDPR), and a 'Do Not Sell my Personal Information' link at the footer (CCPA).
Above all, every website should comply with the laws in many countries, wherever the website server locates.
How does my website Comply with Laws?
I always strictly check my content that will be displayed on my website before publishing, such as articles and related images, to make sure they do not violate the laws in many countries/regions, invade people's privacy and/or other rights (without their permission), and even spelling or grammar mistakes.
As I am an obedient student, I always follow the rules strictly whatever I am doing.
Before publishing an article, I read it over and over for at least 3 times until I confirm that the article can be published.
Meanwhile, all contents that uploaded to my server (such as comments) must be checked by myself artificially before appearing on my website since Sep. 1, 2020. I always manage the behaviors of the visitors on my website, which is my responsibility. It is against my Terms of Service to send spam comments and/or emails on my website, reduce my study efficiency by affecting me, and featuring my website without letting me know.
How does my website Protect People's Privacy?
- Do not provide services and maltreat users that reject permissions.
- Get permission again and again from the user and/or in advance.
- Do not give an opt-out option to users.
I check my website periodically to make sure it does not have the behaviors and content mentioned above. If it has (which can be meant that my website is attacked and modified illegally), I will immediately close it and make a rectification.
Note: if some websites and/or apps have the behaviors mentioned above, I will not recommend them to my friends and schoolmates. Also, they will not be appeared and recommended on my website.
This is an article about my experience, feelings, procedure, and reasons of migrating my personal website to a Chinese host.
I hope this can benefit me and visitors a lot, improving my study efficiency and the user's experience.
I experienced some difficulties while migrating my personal website to the Chinese host, but I kept trying. This can let me learn about the importance of persistency.
Alright! This is the end of the article. Thanks for reading.
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Reference Materials (No Copy and Paste)
Reference articles of this article are shown for obeying Academic Honesty rules