Tired of the downtime.

This seems to be about the 3rd time in the last 60 days that Bluehost has had downtime.

Granted, the downtime works out to be for less than a few hours at a time, and during the wee hours of the morning for the Americas (when most of my readers would be reading) anyway, but it still bugs me that my site is down so often. I am seriously considering giving up having hosted space because of this.

For a while there, I was “hosting” at WordPress.com and just pointing my domain to them instead. The problem with that is that the Jamaican bloggers aggregator didn’t have access to my feed because it apparently reads only self-hosted WP sites and not the WP.com feeds. I’ll have to research why that is and consider whether I really need that aggregator to pick me up. Maybe the benefit outweighs the need to have my site up. We’ll see. I have to think about this less emotionally.

Honestly, the biggest plus of going to hosted at WP.com is money – of which there is little while I am not working… the biggest downside is the inability to interact with my site from a command line. (I am a techie, after all).

And maybe … there is another solution like Bluehost that will be cost effective but less unstable. If my readers (assuming there are any of you left) have suggestions, please do drop them in the comments below. I promise to stay tuned and keep up with your comments better than I have in the past. 😉

To self-host or not to self-host, that is the question

This week, I realised that my hosted space was not being used to the capacity that I intended it to be used nor within the capacity that I used it in the past. And it warranted a brand new perspective on my online presence. I needed to make a decision.

I have had my web hosting space established for years. In those days, free blog hosting was limited to some very restrictive options such as Blogger in its very initial stages. For those of you who either used it then or now, you know what I am talking about. Blogger is not your geek hangout spot online at all. And a huge geek I was (still am in some regard). I had to tinker around in the back and play with settings and code and tweak my stuff just right. So I chose self-hosting.

I have never had the occasion to question that decision because I have always had use for my self-hosted space. Whether it be tinkering with latest releases of open-source software, playing with my blog, building my gallery and maintaining it … I always had use for web-hosting.

Bluehost.com is the company I have stayed with the longest, I believe. Their service and product has never let me down. And if there was ever a problem, they were quick to respond and get it sorted for me in record time. My server had an uptime of over 99% over the years. I think I can probably count on one hand the number of times my website was down for maintenance. And I can count on that same hand the number of times it was down without warning. Their service has been exemplary and if and when I go back to self-hosting, I know that it is with Bluehost that I will return.

Now, I know that shared hosting stability is a lot more about who else is sharing the server with you than it is about the company’s response times, but I think I can say that somehow, I either was lucky enough to get a good set of neighbours, or Bluehost was pretty good at selecting the “right” people to share server space. And yes, I am also perfectly aware that the selection process might be automatic and hence my reasoning rendered moot. I like to think that I was a VIP to them and that they did their best to give me their best.

In any case, it suddenly hit me that with the blog hosting facilities that are now available, coupled with me decreased involvement with my self-hosted space, it really has become largely unnecessary for me to hold onto my self-hosted space. At least not right now. My history with Bluehost will remain on file with them, I am sure, so returning is not likely to be a brand new relationship.

That said, I have watched WordPress.com grow and mature and flourish over the years. There are a few features that I am going to miss severely from having my own hosted blog (plugins, the ability to edit my themes to suit me, the ability to get in on the command line and peer at the files like they are old friends, and the bloody sans serif fonts that seem to be rampantly popular now – argh!) but I think it’s time I refocused my attention and my resources.

The transition is going to be long and arduous, and I can’t promise you that things will be normal anytime soon, but hopefully the next time you enter http://fyrfli.net into your browser, you will end up here. If not, and you are seeing this for the first time as http://fyrfli.com, then … Welcome, to my new era in blogging.