Its a middlin’-length sordid story, but for those who are interested, and for any bloggers who want to learn at my expense, here it is.
I originally started blogging on LiveJournal back around 2003. After a short time I decided to just get a website. My initial thought was to go with Yahoo since I figured they were huge enough that they’d be reliable and fast on their feet if there were problems. As it turns out, the opposite was true….big enough to not know what the other hand was doing, and big enough that there were layers and layers of “press 1 now” and “you are caller number…”.
For about ten years things were cool. The service was okay and the price was reasonable. Then there were a couple episodes this year that were just horrific. Most notably an unexplained and ill-defined problem that they took almost a month to track down. In that time the blog was virtually inaccessible. I don’t really make any money off the blog…I get a few bucks here and there from advertising, but it isn’t like having downtime puts a dent in my wallet. As a result, I was fairly willing to ride things out and wait for Yahoo to get their act together. But…while I don’t really make any coin off the blog I rather do like the interactions with people and being able to say the blog is one of the oldest preparedness blogs out there…so I did want to see things get straightened out quickly.
Pretty soon the choices were clear – migrate or perish. A blog migration can be either a piece of cake or it can be the internet equivalent of the Alamo. Whats involved? Well, three big things have to line up correctly: backup files from old website, establish new location and install those files there, repoint the domain name so that it goes from old.nameserver to new.nameserver.
Sounds easy, right? Well, I suppose it can be if you are disciplined enough to keep regular backups, remember registrar passwords, and generally keep a clean house. Sadly…that is not me.
For you bloggers, here’s how it went:
Install in my WordPress blog the Updraft plugin as my automatic backup system. Use it to create a backup of everything. Then, head over to Bluehost, sign up, install WP, and install Updraft plugin. Go into Updraft and upload the backup files to the new WP install. Run restore option. Discover that Updraft realizes that this is, in fact, not a restore at all but rather a migration. Demand $30 for migration software add on. Fork over $30. Run add on and start migration. Chew nails and watch status bar as you pray to science that this thing works and doesn’t start spewing error messages. “Migration Succesful!” Really? I dont believe it. ..:::look:::..hmmm….:::look:::…okay, that was worth $30. Then head over to the folks who handled my domain name and change nameservers. Wait for that to propagate. Get busy making finishing touches.
Soup to nuts, the migration, including software and contract with new host, came to about a hundred bucks. Honestly, I’d have paid more to not lose any more than has already been lost.
A new broom sweeps clean, but I will say that thus far I have been pleased with Bluehost. All the options and extra features are overwhelming (in a good way), but the customer support was good (and not based outta Calcutta…unless theres a Calcutta, Utah), and the rates, eventually, will be cheaper than what I was paying at Yahoo. Knock on wood but so far its looking promising.
If you run a WordPress blog I cannot emphasize to you enough how good Updraft is. I have it set to automatically backup everything once a week and dump the files to Dropbox. And I tested it thoroughly to make sure it does exactly that. And if you do wind up having to migrate your WP blog somewhere the migration addon really is worth the thirty bucks to get. this. crap. over. with.
Finally, I also have a plugin that crossposts to LiveJournal which is sort of a backup-of-last-resort and poor-mans-mirror. So if you ever come to www.commanderzero.com and the place looks like a train wreck, go hit http://commander-zero.livejournal.com/ and see if I posted about whats going on.
Barring any surprises, the website should be sitting here for the forseeable future. I still have to go figure out the emails, but it looks like for now you can go ahead and bookmark me and expect me to be there when you click it.
Oh…and skip Yahoo hosting if you can avoid it.