News & Updates
Here’s an interesting article someone shared with me about how Wikipedia is being manipulated, especially when it comes to health-related articles:
I’ve run into evidence of this bias on multiple occasions, especially when I researched water fasting earlier this year. See for yourself by taking a look at Wikipedia’s water fasting entry. I think you’ll agree that it’s an absolute joke. It’s barely more than a screen’s worth of info and looks like it was written by someone who either knows nothing about water fasting or is just an all around idiot. The entry has a mere two sentences about the health effects of water fasting. Seriously? Half of the entry is about religion. There are only three references in the entry, one of which goes to Quackwatch, which isn’t even close to a credible or scientific source for health info. After all these years, this is Wikipedia’s summary of the knowledge we’ve accumulated from thousands of years of water fasting? Really?
In the past I’ve donated to support Wikipedia when they do their annual donation drive. Not this year. I do feel they do a provide a good service for the planet in many ways, and I’ve used their site a lot for research. But I find myself trusting them less with each passing year, especially when it comes to information that could affect my health and well-being (and by extension the health and well-being of my readers if I share such info). Wikipedia needs to do a better job of rooting out corruption and bias, especially in the health area. At the very least, their water fasting page should be filled with a lot more facts as well as links to scientific studies. If you know something about water fasting, see if you can fix that entry without having your changes rejected, as the article above suggests.
Earlier this year I completed a 17-day water fast without Wikipedia’s help, and I found it beneficial. It was easier than I expected. The summary blog post about my water fasting experience will give you a lot more info about water fasting than Wikipedia at present, and I’m just one guy who did this one time so far, able to share only from personal experience. Wikipedia’s entry on this topic should put my blog post to shame in terms of the facts and knowledge it provides, shouldn’t it?
Wikipedia, up your game.
A new vegan retail store just opened in Toronto. It’s called The Imperative and sells vegan clothes, shoes, cosmetics, and more. Wonderful!
I like the greeting card that says, Congrats on living this long with a protein deficiency! 🙂
Next month is my 20-year veganniversary. Still waiting for that protein deficiency to kick in… I wonder how many people are still brainwashed enough to believe that these days.
Why the heck didn’t anyone tell me that New Order came out with a new album last year? I just found out this week. I suppose that’s what I get for ditching social media.
It’s called Music Complete. And apparently this year they released a remix album called Complete Music. I’m listening to the latter now while reading through a few hundred emails related to my last blog post on turning weaknesses into strengths. Both albums are really good!
New Order is my second favorite music group. My favorite is the best band of all time, which is obviously Depeche Mode.
New Order is helping with my musical detox, which I really needed after being immersed in 30 days of Disneyland last month. I’m still haunted by some of those Disney tunes endlessly echoing in my mind.
Anyway… I’m learning tons by reading through these emails. Y’all certainly have some interesting problems and challenges on your plates!
Any interesting synchronicity – a few people mentioned wanting to improve their alignment with unconditional love, and the lyrics from New Order’s song “Stray Dog” on their new album begin with this line:
The secret of our happiness is unconditional love.
I’m working on setting up a basic home video recording studio, so I can create and share more videos with you. While I’ve done lots of speaking with live audiences, I’m fairly inexperienced when it comes to making videos, so I took a few days to research the heck out of this in my usual deep dive fashion. I found no shortage of opinions on the subject, especially when I asked experienced friends for suggestions. I’ve learned enough to get started, but it’s also clear that I’ll need to learn most of this by diving in, taking action, and iterating based on results and feedback.
I found the tutorials from Wistia’s library immensely helpful, especially the ones on putting together a sub-$100 lighting kit, video lighting, and recording audio. Some of their recommendations contradict what I’ve learned elsewhere, but I really like the clean look of their videos.
It’s ridiculously easy to get lost in endless research on this subject, so I focused on finding videos I really liked and then studied how they were filmed. What I love about Wistia’s material is that they show how different tweaks change the resulting video, like how the same shot looks with different lights. I also like the general vibe of their videos – upbeat, friendly, and helpful.
I finally figured out what to buy, some from Amazon and some from Lowe’s, so I’ll assemble everything on the weekend if the items arrive by then. I decided to start with a pretty modest investment, so I’ve kept the total cost below $300, not including the camera. I can always upgrade to fancier equipment later if it seems warranted, but I don’t want to go crazy with the gear just yet.
For the camera I’ll be using an iPhone 7. For editing I’ll use Final Cut Pro, which I learned a few years ago. I’ll record the audio separately, which will produce better results than using the iPhone’s built-in mic.
For starters I would love to create a short video series on a certain personal growth topic, so I can gain some video production experience quickly, help you move the needle forward in your life, and get some feedback on the results. If you have some suggestions for what you’d like help with, please share. What are your biggest problems or challenges in life right now? In which area of your life do you most want to make faster progress?
Learning Strategies is hosting a free audio streaming event this week, based on the Sedona Method. It’s intended to help you destress and enjoy the holidays more, and it covers overcoming various limiting beliefs and inner blocks. It’s called ReleasingFest and runs for six days, from Nov 28 to Dec 3.
I’ve gone through a lot of Hale Dwoskin’s material myself, and he’s also created some free Sedona Method audios just for this community. Hale and I met several years ago and have attended some leadership retreats together. He’s a really playful, heart-centered guy with a lots of deep experience helping people overcoming emotional blocks. If you’ve had some heaviness in your life lately, and you’d like to lighten your energy more and create a better sense of possibility, I’d recommend giving this Fest a listen.
You can access this via your web browser or phone, and each day there’s a new lesson for you to listen to. The first two lessons are already online, so you can listen to them now. It actually started on Monday, but you can still access Monday’s session for a short time.
All six days of the Fest are free, with new sessions posted each day. Each session can be streamed for free for a limited time. There are also some free Paraliminals you can listen to as well, which is especially nice if you like meditation.
Get free access to ReleasingFest, and enjoy! 🙂
Five years ago, Learning Strategies ran a free NLP Mindfest online, which was very popular. They’ve updated the program and and running a new version of it with 14 new presenters, starting today. It runs October 24-30 and covers a variety of personal growth topics such as boosting performance, overcoming anxiety, and improving communication skills.
You can learn more about it, get the details, and sign up here:
In other news, we just finished the Conscious Entrepreneur Workshop yesterday and hugged everyone goodbye. It was a real challenge doing four workshops in four months – especially two of them back to back this month – but I grew a lot from the experience. Today Rachelle and I are driving to Anaheim, California to begin an unusual 30-day experience, and I’ll be blogging about it along the way. You’re invited to join us too:
We had an amazing Conscious Life Workshop this past weekend, definitely one of the best workshops if not the #1 so far. It was very social and connected – lots of love and many powerful breakthroughs for the attendees. I’m really happy with how it turned out. Energy-wise it was pretty intense from all the shifts people were sharing along the way.
I was thinking this might be the last time I run this workshop since I like variety, and I usually prefer to do new events as opposed to repeating ones, but given how transformational this workshop has been for so many people, I’m tempted to run it again at some point if there’s enough interest.
This will be a very social week since I want to keep connecting with the people who are still in town, and we’re also gearing up for the new Conscious Entrepreneur Workshop this coming weekend. If you’re interested in attending that one, you can still sign up for it. Be sure to read the CLW vs. CEW blog post if you want some extra clarity on the workshop topics.
Last week I moved StevePavlina.com to a new cloud-based web server. The migration went smoothly, and the site has been up and running on the new server for the past few days.
I wasn’t planning to do this move right now. It was actually on my agenda to look into a new web host during the first quarter of next year since it was becoming obvious that my old host, ServInt, was dropping the ball this year in terms of service and support. This change became urgent once my ServInt server began suffering major periods of outage last month. Despite repeated requests to them to fix the critical problems, they never did, and in fact some of their attempted fixes only made things worse. I was really surprised by the extreme negligence on their part. After a week of dealing with a server that I couldn’t even log into much of the time and the realization that ServInt was only making it worse, I’d had enough.
I’m especially grateful for the readers who sent me recommendations for new web hosts. After researching those leads, I settled on a cloud-based hosting account with SiteGround, which had some really positive reviews, especially for their reliability and support. I have to say that they’ve been delightful to work with, not just on a technical level but on a human level too. In addition to reading numerous SiteGround reviews, I did about 100 minutes of live chatting with their pre-sales people to get all of my questions answered and to make sure they’d be a good fit.
SiteGround’s support people efficiently migrated StevePavlina.com and ImaginaryMen.com to the new server and helped me get everything configured. I’ve been especially impressed by the speediness of their support. Dealing with ServInt’s disappointing standards and laissez-faire attitude left me feeling a bit jaded. I was developing an aversion to dealing with tech support after repeatedly having to wait half a day for a response to a critical outage-related problem, even after making a live request to speed it along… and then only getting a half-assed reply each time that didn’t fix anything and occasionally broke something else. By contrast, SiteGround’s typical response times of 10-20 minutes (and as low as 6 minutes for my requests) made the migration go faster than I expected. They’ve also been more proactive than I expected. Last night I submitted a request asking them to diagnose a small issue I was having, so I could add a feature to my site. They not only diagnosed it, but they added the feature for me.
I’ve never used a cloud-based hosting environment before. I had looked into cloud-based solutions like AWS a few years ago, but I ruled them out because they all seemed annoying complicated to set up and maintain. They also seemed like black holes of endless jargon and acronym hell. I really don’t want to have to get a degree in cloud hosting just to host a couple websites. All the reviews I’d read about using cloud hosting for WordPress came with lengthy caveats and warnings about the complexity of doing so, and people warned of higher costs as well. But today’s situation is different than it was a few years ago. Now there are much customer-centered cloud hosting services that don’t require you to do your own server maintenance or go through a lengthy installation process via the Unix command line. They’re really not much more complicated than cheap shared hosting accounts in terms of setup and maintenance.
With cloud hosting I like that I can easily scale up the server if it ever needs more resources. I can see, for instance, that most of the time it’s only using about 15-25% of its current CPU capacity, with occasional surges to around 60%. I can add more CPUs, RAM, or SSD storage to the site in a matter of seconds.
This switch is actually saving me money too. I estimate that the new setup will reduce my annual web hosting costs by about 75%, saving me thousands of dollars per year, so that’s almost like adding a new passive income stream. And given how cloud hosting it continuing to evolve, these costs may continue to come down even if traffic grows. Time will tell.
All of the errors and problems that were occurring on the ServInt server have magically disappeared on the new SiteGround server. I still have some further optimizations to do to make the sites a little speedier, but otherwise the new server seems very stable responsive. This is a big website though, so if you encounter any issues, error messages, or odd behavior, please drop me a message via the contact form to let me know. I’ll also continue to monitor the site to make sure it keeps running smoothly. So far, so good.
By the way, yesterday, October 1st, was StevePavlina.com’s 12-year anniversary. 🙂
I’m probably going to have to find a new web host soon. I was hoping to work on that near the end of the year or early next year, but I’m not sure I can wait that long anymore.
For my web hosting, I’ve been leasing a VPS from ServInt for more than 12 years. They hosted my computer games business during the early 2000s, and I kept using them after I started blogging in 2004. In all the time I’ve been blogging, I’ve never used another web host, and I haven’t regretted that. I’ve paid ServInt tens of thousands of dollars in hosting fees, and for most of those years I’ve been very pleased with their service. Their support has been among the best I’ve experienced in my 21 years of doing business online, with the possible exception of Rackspace. When I had a tech issue with the server, they’d normally respond within an hour or two, and I could expect it to be resolved professionally and skillfully. Most of the time, I’d rate their support 5 out of 5. They aren’t cheap, but I felt the price they charged was fair for the quality support and reliability they provided.
This year I’ve been pretty disappointed with their level of support and service, however. They’ve been much slower to respond to support requests, frequently taking several hours even when I’m reporting a critical problem like the site being offline. When I’ve used their live support to ask if they can please speed things along, they tell me they’ll look into it, but it doesn’t seem like it makes the support ticket get answered any sooner. To their credit they’ve always been polite, but the technical competence I saw in the past seems largely absent this year. They’ve made numerous inaccurate diagnoses and tried repeated quick fixes that didn’t actually work. Meanwhile the original problems I reported continue to occur.
Given how long I’ve hosted with ServInt and how reliable and professional they’ve been in the past, I’ve done my best to be as patient as possible, and I’ve trying to work with them, but for the past several days, it just seems like I’m getting the runaround. I tried contacting other departments there to see if anyone can intervene to help speed along the resolution of recurring technical issues, at least to stop the server from going offline so much, but that hasn’t made any difference so far, and I don’t have good reason to believe the situation will improve. I get the impression that the skill and professionalism they expressed during most of the years I’ve been with them has somehow evaporated. Even if they fix these problem now, it’s going to be difficult to trust them going forward. If there’s ever another problem with the server going offline, I need to know that my host has my back and will get critical issues fixed quickly and accurately. Letting critical problems linger for days unresolved simply isn’t acceptable.
I’m sure I should consider myself extremely lucky to have found such a reliable host for most than a decade, which is pretty rare in web hosting circles. But it’s looking like this lucky streak is coming to an end this year, so I think it’s time to look for a new host. Unfortunately for me, the timing isn’t good since I’ll be on the road for most of the next two months, and even when I’m back at home, I’ll be busy doing the two October workshops. Choosing a host is a decision I like to make carefully. If ServInt can at least stabilize the server for two more months, I can stick with them for that time, but otherwise I can’t go for so long with an unstable server that experiences daily downtime.
In the meantime, I’m well aware that the site has been plagued with slow response times and frequent inaccessibility, and I’m sorry about that. Jetpack Monitor reports that it’s been offline for many hours this week. Traffic levels are normal, and the server should have more than enough capacity to handle the traffic without so much as a hiccup. Twice now ServInt has reported that the problem was caused by an issue with one of their host nodes, which they said they corrected, but the problems would just come back within a day. The WordPress error log, which normally should be empty or nearly empty, swelled to more than 120MB in size within a week, mainly because database queries keep timing out. Much of the time I can’t even access the server myself to see what’s going on, so I’ve been at the mercy of ServInt to diagnose and fix the problem, which hasn’t felt particularly merciful this week. Now I feel like I’m merely waiting for them to attempt the next quick fix that won’t actually work.
It’s been a long time since I’ve had to research web hosts. I’ve already started researching some options, but I’m not yet up to speed on the current quality offerings for high-traffic WordPress hosting. As a programmer I’m pretty comfortable with the tech side, but I still prefer a managed hosting environment since I don’t like worrying about updating server software and keeping up with security issues. If you happen to know of any reliable hosts that provide serious speed and solid support for hosting a WordPress site with tens of thousands of daily visitors and at least 1TB of monthly bandwidth, please let me know. I’m not super price sensitive, and I’m used to paying hundreds per month for strong service and support.
I do want to avoid hosts with less than stellar reputations for support; that isn’t an area where I want to gamble. I also want to avoid hosts that have uncompetitive pricing models for high traffic sites. One otherwise promising host that I ruled out was Kinsta, which offers puny bandwidth packages and then charges a ridiculous $1/GB for bandwidth overage (Seriously… $1000 per TB!). Another I had to rule out was WP Engine due to its per-visit pricing scheme and inconsistent support reviews, whereby the definition of “visit” is left to its discretion and includes bot traffic (by their own admission); this blogger sure wasn’t happy about the surprises on his bills. I don’t want a host that plays pricing games to pad their revenue at the client’s expense. At least to their credit, ServInt never played pricing games, so I always knew what the monthly bill would be.
Switching hosts isn’t my favorite kind of challenge to tackle, but it’s worth the effort for a site that’s fast, responsive, and accessible to people worldwide. Even if it takes a while to get there, I hope you’ll be patient and can forgive the site’s current accessibility issues till this is resolved. Perhaps I’ll get lucky again this time and will find a host that’s great for at least another decade. 🙂
For the past 48 hours, the web server that hosts StevePavlina.com has been having technical issues, causing the site to run slowly or to be inaccessible for some visitors. Traffic levels have been normal, but for some reason the server load has been spiking as high as 200x its normal levels, even with strong caching and a content distribution network being used.
I use a WordPress plugin called Jetpack Monitor that checks the website every five minutes and sends me an email if the site goes offline, so I’ve been aware of the issue since it started. My web host is aware of it too, but so far they haven’t accurately diagnosed and fixed the problem.
In the meantime I’ve extended the early bird discount for the upcoming Conscious Entrepreneur Workshop. It was set to expire at the end of Wednesday, September 21, but due to the recent accessibility issues, I’ll keep the $100 discount active for a few more days, at least through the end of Sunday, September 25.
My apologies for the accessibility issues. I’ll keep working with my web host on this till it’s resolved.