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Blogography Moving Day!

Posted on Wednesday, July 11th, 2018

Dave!Blogography may be screwed up for a bit, but I'm still blogging!

After twelve years of suffering through my current web hosting provider, I'm moving to greener pastures.

When I first investigates Media Temple, they were more expensive than others, but billed themselves as a "pro" solution and were hosting some of the biggest sites on the internet. I figured the extra money would be worth it, and signed up.

And, for a while, I think it was worth it. They offered tools and goodies that most others were not, and their support was very good. I didn't like my annual bill, but I liked everything else.

Then they moved to a new "grid" architecture, and it sucked ass. Basic stuff like... oh... I dunno... SITE BACKUPS were gone. Downtime was rampant (and they never felt like reimbursing you for the time your site wasn't available). But they kept promising that they were working out the kinks and that the missing tools would be restored, so I stuck with them.

After two years, things stabilized. Downtime was still happening, but it was okay for a personal blog. And then? That was it. They just coasted along and nothing changed. And that backup tool? Oh... it's still coming!

A decade passes and I'm still fucking waiting.

I stuck around despite it all because I didn't want the hassle of moving. The thought of losing emails in the transfer was always a big deterrent.

And then? I kept getting hacked. I installed protection, which helped, but the attacks never let up. My hosting company doesn't offer any help in this arena what-so-ever (knowledge-base articles didn't much help), and so I've been attempting to handle it on my own. As I'm working on it, my "GPU" points ran out, and so I had to pay for overages... $38 for last month alone... in order to cover my backups and blog hits. $38 I can't afford.

And so I wrote to support from Media Temple.

After the bullshit canned answers I've come to expect, I couldn't take it another minute. Twelve fucking years as a customer, and they don't give a shit about me. No "Hey, sorry you're having problems we don't offer tools to deal with, so let us reimburse you the $38 as you're working through things because we value you as a customer!" Not even close. And so? They can just fuck all the way off. I'm moving to a new hosting company that may or may not be better, but at least I'm not paying a premium to host there... and, oh... THEY OFFER FUCKING BACKUP OF MY SITE AUTOMATICALLY!!!

A few things I've learned through all this...

  • The paid Wordpress "easy migration" tools don't work. I tried three of them (ranging from $30 to $45) and not one of them was able to handle my massive Blogography site... or even my much smaller DaveCafe site. Hoping that all their "money-back-guarantees actually happen.
  • Using the built-in WordPress export tool to collect your entries, comments, and such is fine... but the import tool to get them in your new site is total shit. I had to manually split my export file into two pieces because of size limitations... then the installer kept timing out before finishing, so I had to figure out which entries were missing, edit the files to only contain them, then install those. Then repeat. Again and again. Blogography ended up being tens of thousands of lines of XML code. Do you know what it's like to try and edit that shit? Thank heavens for TextMate and the ability to define blocks to copy/paste! (Command-Shift-DownArrow, Command-Shift-UpArrow).
  • All my templates are custom-coded by me. A skill I have long-since forgotten how to do. This meant a lot of time wasted trying to figure out how my templates work so I could repair everything.
  • Do not panic when your archives say "0 comments" on entries you know you have comments... the actual post page will have the comments intact. You have to Google for a PHP script to fix all that (though I am really nervous about doing so when I just got everything working, finally).
  • The SSL certificate "ca-bundle" goes in the "Intermediate Certificate" field or else secure site hosting won't work. Why hosting companies can't label where things go is beyond me. I had the same issue with Media Temple, and finally remembered what I did to get it working.
  • You can look up your database prefix in MyPHPAdmin. Don't forget to put it in the appropriate spot in the wp-config file or nothing will work. And, no, I don't know why WordPress puts that not with the database credentials section, but instead all the way down the page where you can easily miss it.
  • If you hard-coded links on your site, every last one of them will fail if you customized your permalinks (under settings). I customized mine to "/archives/%year%/%monthnum%/%postname%.html" in order to be backwards-compatible with the Movable Type blogging platform (that was my pre-WordPress platform).
  • Just copy all your plugins via FTP and add them directly to your new site... don't try to search for them inside WordPress because half of them are missing, unsupported, or abandoned.
  • Screaming at your computer display does nothing except scare the kitties. Don't do that.
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Categories: Blogging 2018Click To It: Permalink
   

Comments

  1. martymankins says:

    What web host are you moving to?

    • Dave2 says:

      DreamHost. I don’t find them particularly dreamy (I’ve had uptime issues with them in the past and their control panel is total crap) but the price is right for my non-mission-critical websites. 🙂

  2. Andy says:

    Urgh – website moving is never fun. I’m been with dreamhost for 12 years as their price is very good but they used to keep telling me that I was using too much cpu on my 1000 hit site a month..I stuck cloudflare in front and that fixed that issue.
    They recently just warned of removing catchall email address’s so any throwaway email address that get used once a year – well forget about getting them in a years time….you know the important ones like domain registration reminders!
    Thankfully I think most of the important ones come in more often and i have been working on using gmail to capture the emails used and lastpass has a lot of them stored too.

    For what it’s worth, I’ve found the (free) Duplicator plugin (https://wordpress.org/plugins/duplicator/) works very well for migrating WordPress to another hosting company. Just make sure you don’t have blog backups in your actual wordpress site and hopefully you should be good.

    I got notified that you had moved as inoreader flagged your site as missing the atom feed so I came over to see the live site. Glad to see you are still around but sorry about the moving pains!

    • Dave2 says:

      CloudFlare so hopelessly screwed up my old site when it was enabled that I swore never again. It was a complete nightmare trying to get it uninstalled so that my blog would actually load reliably. Hopefully it’s more stable now, because I will probably have to do the same thing. One thing I’ve found which helped was to disable wp-cron, which runs every time the site is visited. By relegating it to an actual cron job on Dreamhost, it now only runs once every four hours. That will save a huge amount of bandwidth when spammers and hackers are hammering my site. At least I hope so! That’s what solved my $38 monthly additional fee at MediaTemple.

      I had a catch-all when I first built my old site, but deleted it five?… six?… years ago because it was all spam all the time. About three years ago I also eliminated all my email “dave@” addresses on all my other domains and only have my main personal addresses for blogography. I have a redirect on daveweb (which has been my address since I’ve had personal email at the dawn of time!), but that’s it. Soooo much happier that way!

      Duplicator didn’t work for me because my blog was so huge, so I bought the “Pro” version. It couldn’t migrate Blogography no matter what I did. I also tried it on smaller sites like DaveCafe, but it wouldn’t migrate that either. None of the plugins I bought could do it, and I have no idea why. Duplicator was especially frustrating because it didn’t check to make sure that crucial files like wpconfig were present before bundling the site (I keep mine outside my home directory), which meant I had to keep rebuilding and rebuilding by trial-and-error after figuring out what files were missing.

      Hopefully my feeds are all working now. I think it was a redirect messed up in my htaccess file (I use FeedBurner).

      And so… yeah… huge, huge huge pain in the butt. This is why I never wanted to move away from my old host! And yet… so glad to be rid of them. Hoping it’s all worth it in the end.

  3. Andy says:

    Oh btw your feed was atom3.xml that no longer exists. You may want to add a redirect for that page if you are so inclined.
    For that I use the redirect plugin https://redirection.me/

    • Dave2 says:

      Interesting. I had to rebuild my sidebar, but the link I used was exactly the same. It worked for me, but I think what happened is that the redirect to FeedBurner was broken in my htaccess file. I’ve copied it from backup, so hopefully that solved the problem?

  4. I’ve been meaning to move off my current hosting provider for ages now, but the thought of moving my blog is just too daunting. Every so I often I do a manual ftp backup of my blog, which takes *all weekend* to do because there’s so many files (and no shell access to zip it all up first).

    I *love* my catchall email address. I give a different email address to every organisation I deal with – organisation @ kazza – which lets you see who sells your email address or gets compromised. My phone only sync my personal email which means I don’t get general company mail or spam on my phone.

  5. kapgar says:

    And people think I’m crazy for paying $11/month for Typepad. That includes hosting and domain registration/renewal, to boot. I’ll take it.

  6. Ugh, that totally sucks. Don’t blame you for moving. Sounds like you’re all settled on your new hosting provider. But if you ever want to move again, I’ve been an extremely happy customer of Pair for the last decade or so.

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