Genotrance

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Random thoughts, ideas and experiences

Move to WordPress.com

Some of you may have noticed that this blog, and my wife’s blog, are now hosted on WordPress.com. I moved since I want to stop depending on my server at home for my web hosting needs. The migration was not too difficult since I was using WordPress for the blogs anyway, but was not as smooth as I hoped.

Where did my pages go?

Since I was using an older version of WordPress that didn’t support exporting blog data, I had two options:-

  • Install a plugin that would export the blog content
  • Upgrade to the newer version that supported exporting natively

Since it was easier to install the plugin, I tried that first. The export worked fine but when I imported the data into WordPress.com, my pages didn’t show up. They were imported alright, but for some reason, they weren’t visible, either on the web site or in the admin area.

Thinking there was something wrong with the plugin, I tried the second option. I upgraded to version 2.2.3 and created a second export file. Importing that to WordPress.com didn’t help either. The pages were detected in the import but were still invisible.

After some Googling, I gave up and manually re-created every page by copy/pasting the content from my old blog. I don’t have too many pages on my blog so it wasn’t too bad. However, all the original page comments were lost since it wasn’t possible to link them to the new pages.

There’s a bug somewhere, either in the export or import step. Regardless, it was very unfortunate to lose some really nice comments.

What about media?

Blog Images

My blog doesn’t have too many images, just a couple here and there in some posts and application pages. My wife’s blog, though, is a food blog, so there’s tons of images. Since I have a Flickr account, I just posted all the images there and linked to them. It was a little time consuming to download each image, upload to Flickr and then update each affected post, but at least it was easy to take care of.

Music

My music pages link to a whole bunch of songs that I’ve composed. All the source files (Impulse Tracker) were already on Scene.org, the awesome non-profit that has supported the electronic art scene for several years. The MP3 files, though, were still hosted on my server all these years since I didn’t feel like taking up the space on Scene.org. So I finally had to go ahead and upload the MP3 files as well. They add up to 600MB so it’s not too bad. A big thanks to the folks that support Scene.org for their generosity.

What I had to remove though were links to audio CD images for the albums I released which add up to 4.5GB. I don’t think there is a sufficient demand for them anyway. People seem satisfied with MP3 files.

Applications

Almost all my applications were already hosted on Google Code, in terms of source code and binaries. Mshare was not, so I created a project and migrated it there. I also removed all links to my server so now, none of my application pages link to my server anymore.

Pros and Cons

Moving to WordPress.com has been a mixed blessing. There’s a long list of benefits:-

  • The site is much faster now
  • Feature upgrades will magically appear, I have to do nothing
  • I don’t need to worry about security, WordPress IT guys have to
  • It is completely free, no investments (like electricity when self-hosting)
  • Large community so odds of random people visiting is higher

The things that bother me are the following:-

  • I lost my page comments
  • They charge $10/year for CNAME redirection, I’m using URL forwarding which isn’t as good
  • Because of URL forwarding, I have no idea who my referrers are anymore, everybody seems to come from http://blog.genotrance.com
  • They could delete my blog for any random reason
  • They don’t allow me to use Google Analytics, my history there is now useless
  • I can’t advertise on my blog if I ever decide to

Conclusion

Usually, people go the other way. They start a blog on some popular blog site and when it is successful, they look for independence. For now, I want freedom from self-hosting so I think this is a good move. When one of the cons I mentioned become unacceptable, I’ll probably buy some web space and move there. Until then, this is a great bargain and the most sensible thing to do for small time bloggers like me.

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Filed under: Blog Update

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