Tag Archives: Plugins

Why I No Longer Self Host WordPress

Well I finally did it. Cancelled my hosting account. This post you are reading was written on WordPress.com and not in my Self Hosting WordPress instance. MediaTemple had a good run, but I just didn’t need it anymore.

Looking at things a little deeper.. When I started blogging back in 2004 (it’s been over 10 years already?!?) I started on blogger, there weren’t a ton of choices. Then, a couple of years later I moved to my self-hosted WordPress. I wanted more control. Many things that you might have wanted to do, you could only do if you hosted it yourself. I moved that between hosting companies, hosted it myself on VM’s, windows, Linux, back to managed hosting, etc.. and now my blog (all 1000+ posts and 2000+ comments) are in WordPress.com

How times have changed… many of the features and functionality that at one time you had to meticulously edit PHP files to get working or find a supported plugin (and then watch it go unsupported), are now baked into the platform. Software as  a Service FTW.

I also had a good run with Google Adsense. While I particularly didn’t like running ads, it basically paid for the hosting. The “long tail” on my blog still gets enough hits that I could make $15-20 a month and cover MediaTemples cost. With MediaTemple, I got more than one site I could host (100 actually), but I was only using a handful, and I realized that most if not all of them could go.

With twin boys looming, coming any day now and at most within a couple of weeks, it is one less thing I have to worry about – hosting a site (oh, and one less bill monthly – I guess that can go towards diapers.. or beer)

So what did I have to do to get this going? Not a whole lot.

First, I looked at my self hosted instance, and the plugins. Which could I turn off, live without, do I care anymore, etc. Which are handled by WordPress.com now? etc. Pretty much if not all I was ok with (obviously, I moved my site).

Feedburner? It’s dead. Mobile theme? Built in. JetPack features – built-in. Backup, etc – built-in.

But, I had ads, you can’t do that in WordPress.com – no need, wasn’t making $1000’s of dollars a month.

So I ran a Tools->Export. And then in WordPress.com, Tools->Import. The beautiful thing here as well is that all the media (post images, etc) got pulled in.

I signed up for a custom domain redirect in WordPress.com ($13 a year) and changed my DNS.

Chose a new theme and done.

We will see how things go as time goes on, but I am happy so far. Little weight lifted from the shoulders is always a good thing.

Here’s to another 10 years.

Photo Credit: Me on July 30th 2014 riding my bike on the back roads of Wisconsin. 

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Dusting off the Blog Theme

Most people that might follow this blog probably hit it though RSS readers, or a post here or there from a Google search, so the changes aren’t probably noticeable to many, but they are to me.

Having started blogging back in 2004, on Blogger, and then a year or so in moving to WordPress (self hosted) – but moving it and changing it over time, you get some cruft. Back in the day, things weren’t so “easy”. You wanted a change, it meant PHP time. Over the years WordPress has become more and more “drag and drop” if you want it to be, of course you can still code whatever you want in your themes, etc, but the “widget” concept is pretty cool.

I think the last time I changed my theme in a major way was around 2006 or 2007, (if I remember, it was a “code camp” Saturday with Joel Dahlin at G Allens). It didn’t change too much but I think I started with Google AdSense after the last theme change. In order to do what I wanted it was code code code

Fast forward to today, where the theme is looking outdated, hard to update, etc. I wanted something new. Without totally jacking everything I had, I wanted to start fresh but yet be able to continue what I am doing and how I want to do it. The ads on the site pay the bills, for the hosting and other tools I use. By no means am I living high off the hog, but it is nice to have the site pay for itself and also allow me to do other projects online.

I searched around a bit, and was looking at WooThemes and others, but then stumbled into Headway. It really isn’t a “theme” in the sense that most other themes are, but a framework/system to be able to do whatever you want easily, visually, etc.

I set it up and I am really liking it so far, I have some ideas where I can go at my own pace yet keep things they way I want them easily, fully extensible and the “code” I might use isn’t at all embedded in the PHP files of the theme, but configurable like a modern CMS.

I hope to get more pictures and article, magazine type look as I move forward, that’s the goal anyways. It’s fun to dust off the site and theme and get back into it a little bit, so much out there to learn and use, pretty cool, also is making me rethink all my plugins I have been using, etc.

Another minor changes? I changed the favicon to my current avatar, which is kinda cool.

Another minor note, I am approaching 1000 posts on this blog. I should amend my 2011 goals and try to get to 1000 by the end of the year.

More to come as time goes on, as always.