After discovering the brutal reality that hosting companies were more concerned with turning a profit than fine tuning their servers, Dana Rockel and Karen Jackie decided to rescue WordPress fans by entering the WP hosting arena themselves.
Thus BlogOnCloud9 was born.
Founded in February of 2010 by the team behind ContentRobot, BlogOnCloud9 offers WordPress bloggers a cloud based solution for those seeking friendlier host who actually tries to help resolve WP related issues (instead of pointing them towards a search engine).
Utilizing the power of Rackspace (their host), BlogOnCloud9 seems geared towards medium sized sites such as small businesses, probloggers and hobby bloggers who have become a little too popular.
The folks at BlogOnCloud9 were gracious enough to give me a test spin under the Guru plan, and are even offering readers $10 off for the first month of service (see below for details regarding this offer).
Migrating your blog can take up to 3 days (if not longer), although if you are an impatient geek (like me), you can simply create a new account and 24 hours later import your old blog WP style into BlogOnCloud9′s hands.
Note: I would highly recommend the migration path, as that way you do not have to reinstall any plugins, themes or customizations to your site.
Regardless of which option you choose, BlogOnCloud9′s team will guide you through the process of setting up your new blog, and will even help you configure your DNS settings on your domain.
Email, cPanel and FTP (Oh My!)
BlogOnCloud9 does include FTP for the geeks out there, as well as access to Rackspace’s default cPanel that allows you to easily view how much space your blog (or blogs) are taking up, as well as create email addresses underneath your domain.
Despite the fact that providing an email service gives BlogOnCloud9 an edge over WordPress hosting rivals like HostCo (who does not provide this service), I found the user interface to be very bland and “anemic” (note: I would highly recommend using Gmail instead).
Although I did not see this mentioned on their site, BlogOnCloud9 does also boast a calendar within their email interface, as well as a tasks feature (both which bloggers may find useful).
The Price Is Right?
As far as expense goes, BlogOnCloud9′s pricing models are more expensive than the “el cheapo” hosting sites that dot the digital world, although their plans are actually competitive considering the support that they’re giving users.
Their basic (aka Guru) plan is currently $25/month (note: this price looks temporarily reduced from $35/month) for one blog and 100 GB of bandwidth.
For those with multiple sites (or larger blogs), their Expert Plan offers 15 GB of space for $65/month (note: this price looks temporarily reduced from $75/month) which allows you to host up to 5 blogs and grants one up to 300 GB of bandwidth.
For bloggers with multiple blogs this last plan appeals to me (as I currently own 4 on a less than pleasing hosting site), and unless your site is routinly on the front page of Digg then these plans are for the most part reasonable.
Warning: Speed Bumps Ahead
Although I was impressed with the service overall (minus email of course), I did encounter a few slow downs while using the service, although that issue had more to do with their host Rackspace than BlogOnCloud9.
While Rackspace does have a positive reputation in the geek world, the site was hacked into in June (which caused a mass panic amongst the WordPress faithful) and is increasingly becoming a preferred target by hackers (something Posterous discovered recently).
According to Rackspace, many of these attacks are the result of faulty WordPress plugins, so users who decide to utilize BlogOnCloud9′s services should verify each plugin they install (or have the BlogOnCloud9 team check them out for you).
Is BlogOnCloud9 Right For Me?
For those of you desiring to leave your old host behind, BlogOnCloud9 is offering readers who sign up by October 15th $10 off their first month of service.
Users can receive this discount by typing in the code “BLOGHERALD” (minus the quotations of course) which should help users test out the service for the first month without losing an arm or a leg.
Although BlogOnCloud9 can’t cater to everyone’s needs, their platform is the perfect solution for small business and personal bloggers desiring to leave blog purgatory and experience WordPress in a whole new light.
Image Credits: BlogOnCloud9 and Norebbo
Update: Corrected information detailing that the cPanel interface is from Rackspace, not BlogOnCloud9