Tag Archives: dreamhost

I’m ba-ack!

front view of the cluster of Wikimedia servers...

Yea, baby, yea!

I have finally moved away from Dreamhost after 6 years of being a loyal customer. After barely being able to run a simple murmur server and 2 wordpress sites without multiple reboots per day due to lack of resources, even on a VPS, enough was very much enough.

So I have finally decided to make the jump into a different host which came recommended from a friend and until now I’m very glad I did so. Not only is my speed blazing fast compared to dreamhost, not only do I have 10 times the available resources, not only do I have full root access and ability to customize my sites fully, but I’m also paying less than 1/3rd of what I used to!

Now this is a significant difference and I really struggle to understand why I had to pay $15 extra a month just to get 300 lousy MBs of ram which was a also a hard limit that caused by whole server to reboot during each resource spike? Why indeed did 2 wordpress sites with no particular frills and a mumble servers with 5 users caused 1-10 reboots a day for years? Why couldn’t dreamhost support in troubleshooting this very worrying performance of their services?

In the end I really had myself to blame for a lot of it. I was far too lazy and a bit scared of going to fully rooted hosting and got very complacent and used to the user-friendliness of the dreamhost panel.  It is all kinds of awesome how easy dreamhost makes it to set-up and maintain sites, emails, DNS entries, cro

n jobs and so on. It’s such a pity that their performance has been in the toilet for the past 2 years for me.

I could even have lived with the 2-5 seconds per page load, or the visible lag I has in a simple ssh connections to their servers. But 20 server reboots in a day while dreamhost support were telling me it’s my own damn fault for running vanilla wordpress, was just too much.

All that was part of the reason why I’ve been so inactive in blogging lately as well, aside for my newborn child and my new hobby in octgn development that is; it was just so frustrating trying to blog in a server that took second to load each panel and literally went down every time I hit “publish”.

I hope that I’ll start writing a bit more now that my snazzy new system doesn’t seem to be making it a chore to put two words together on the net 🙂

Is Dreamhost PS simply a way for Dreamhost to wash their hands of support?

Another month, another total crapdown of my sites which are hosted at the moment in Dreamhost’s Virtual Private Server offering. Once again the story begins in the usual way, all three of my  sites start puking Internal Server Errors all over the place which generally means that you are out of available RAM on your server. As I generally have about 180 Mb of availability, it would meant that either I have a huge amount of traffic that my Cache did not alleviate, or that something is going wrong on the server.

Going to the Resource Management, I am greeted by a classic figure

Up, up and away!
Up, up and away!

Having looked at my traffic already which had stayed steady in the last days, I know that this is certainly caused by some server/app malfunction. I know this from experience because the same goddamn problem happens to me so regularly, it’s not even funny anymore.

Since this happened while I was at work, I could troubleshoot it through the terminal as they have the ssh ports blocked so I had to wait until I came back home to investigate. Once I arrived, I fired up an ssh connection and checked what processes were running. As expected, it was PHP in CGI mode that was sucking my life’s blood.

Bad PHP. Baaaad!
Bad PHP. Baaaad!

Now mind you, I know all this because I’ve done it before where I had to google around and learn which commands to use to discover this info. The first time it happened, my ram usage was slowly creeping upwards in jumps of 30 Mb per week or so. After that, it simply happens all at once suddenly.

Now this is extremelly difficult to troubleshoot as you can have no idea what is causing this. A php5.cgi process can be anything under the sun that runs on PHP. Basically the whole wordpress interface or any of the dozens of plugins I have installed. You can kill the processes but this will not tell you what is happening and as it does not happen persistently, you can’t figure out which plugin might be causing it as shutting down a plugin does not stop the process and you don’t know when a process will get stuck again.

Unfortunately, and this is what is annoying me mostly, Dreamhost’s answer in the past has been that “It’s not our fault. Figure it out yourself”. A very unfulfilling answer as you might guess. But at least I know that I can expect very little help from them anymore so I avoid them.

So then I got to process killing. Unfortunately this time it seems that I had found a resistant strain of bug. As soon as I killed a process, 5 seconds later and a new one would be spawned, then another and another, until all my RAM was eaten up, no matter how much I increased my available. At this point I was fast reaching a deadend with my current skills as I couldn’t make the problem go away. I couldn’t even access my wordpress’ admin panel to disable plugins.

At this point, a former colleague suggested that this might be caused by a known PHP 5.2 bug which leaves processes hanging when done with them. I thought this might be a good thing to suggest to Dreamhost support to check so I fired up a support ticket.

A while later, I noticed that the RAM usage seemed to have dropped off so I thought that the problem had resolved itself. Unfortunately, while the main page was working the admin panel refused to work.

What admin panel. There's no such thing here
What admin panel. There's no such thing here

In desperation I did a quick server reboot and this was the point where the universe b0rked. After the reboot the whole site was off and my memory usage was stuck at around 20Mb which means that basically the whole thing failed to load. I fired a new ticket to support and waited.

I had to wait until today for an answer which basically told me that they managed to get the sites running again but advised me that my RAM usage was high so I should be checking that and no, they still can’t help me. Thanks Sherlock…

Looking around the interwebs however, I did stumble on a page in the dreamhost wiki where there was a note under supercache under caching that warned not to utilize the “super” part of WP Super Cache as it may drive resource use up on Private Servers. Gee, it would be nice if I knew of this a bit before. It would also be nice if Super Cache was not installed as part of the standard one-click installation of WordPress by Dreamhost which makes people assume that if anything, this plugin will be working well.

So I disabled Supercache on the Division by Zer0 and on the Wesnoth Journals and killed the remaining php processes. Lo and behold, no more processes were spawned. Unfortunately I was lucky that I could access the admin panel of these two sites after I increased my available resources to some ungawdly amount (1.5Gb of RAM or so). Unfortunately I was not so lucky in the Antichristian Phenomenon where not only I could not access the admin panel (never finished loading) anymore but the php processes kept spawning repeatedly and fast.

I tried deleting the plugin directory which led to my whole page being turned off. I tried fixing the .htaccess file. Nothing. Anything I tried, I couldn’t get the site to work properly. So I did the only thing I could do, renamed the whole wordpress directory and reinstalled again. At least this gave me an opportunity to finally rename the prefix of my database tables which helps avoid zero-day exploits by script kiddies. After a few hours, the site was back online.

Unfortunately the latest ordeal has really disillusioned me about Dreamhost’s PS and their support of those. From the 3 times I’ve contacted them about issues in randomly increasing resources, their reply has been “Deal with it yourself” because apparently now I control everything on the server and if anything goes wrong, it must be my own scripts or whatever. Seeing as I only use standard software like WordPress and Gallery this reply does not help me much.

Basically what seems to be happening is that when one decides to go to a PS in order to get a bit more speed (since shared hosting seems at time to be powered by hamsters) you’re on your own. If you’re not a (quite) techical user and have made the grave error of installing wordpress plugins on your site, you’re fucked. It seems that as far as Dreamhost is concerned, you shouldn’t be running plugins in the first place. Just vanilla WordPress for you.

Luckily for me, I know a few UNIX commands and how to use an ssh shell to do some troubleshooting. However even for me this kind of response is definitelly inferior. It would be nice if I could expect the Dreamhost support to ask questions like “Are you using WP Super Cache?”, or something similar. It would be nice to expect the support people to know of a few issues that generally might cause this kind of trouble. Is this is all too much to ask? Is it too much to ask to expect some attempt to help your users?

Last time I was delighted when the support tech gave me a simple command to help me trouble shoot but since then, all replies have been to explain me that it’s my own damn fault and this is very disheartening. To everyone considering the Private Server offering, if you’re not very technical and open to spending a few hours now and then to troubleshoot random issues that occur without you changing anything, then stay away from it and stick to simple shared hosting.

As for me, now my sites are all in the classic WP Cache mode and I’ve used Hyper Cache for the ACP to see how it goes. If all goes fine, I will switch everything to Hyper Cache and drop Super Cache altogether. ‘Till next time my site craps down…

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Pingback and Trackback eater identified

To my dismay in recent weeks I’ve noticed that I’m not receiving any trackbacks or pingbacks anymore. This was especially annoying as it happened right on the time I posted the Carnival of the Godless and received approximately 17 linkbacks (of which about 5 must have included proper pingbacks, blogger as always sucks in that regard).

So after getting annoyed enough, I’ve managed to discover the perpetrator of these disappearances. It seems for some reason the BcSpamBlock plugin was just chewing everything up without letting anyone know. I disabled it and the problem went away.

I think this may have to do something with relation to Dreamhost as if it happened to everyone, everywhere, surely someone might have noticed sooner. Nevertheless, if you’re missing pingbacks, at least you have an idea where to look.

Unfortunately all the ones I should have gotten by now are lost forever…unless the good people who linked to me make the trouble to do it manually again 😉

Invite yourselves then

Ok, nobody took my on my Dreamhost invitations offer so I might as well throw them out there for anyone who might be interested.

  • 575458093644
  • 509716414959
  • 131138983931
  • 595831052380
  • 551763039374

So feel free to take them and register for Dreamhost. You’ll get 2 Tb of Space and 20 Tb of bandwidth per month. You will also get a nice price cut on 5 and 10 year plans.

You can only use them for the next 4 days unfortunately but If you do use on of them, just write it in the comments so that others are aware.

Holy mama! I've got Dreamhost invites!

I don’t know if anyone from Dreamhost noticed my recent promotion for Self-hosting WordPress, but I’ve just been handed special 5 promotional codes to give around and boy are they a doozy.

  • You will get four (4) times the normal disk and bandwidth!
  • If you choose our five-year plan, you’ll get $150 off.
  • If you choose our ten-year plan, you’ll get $200 off.

Now, 4 times 500 is 2Tb of space. 2. T-e-r-r-a-b-y-t-e-s (I don’t get to say this word often enough) and quite a lot of bandwidth as well.

The only problem is that this is valid for 2 weeks only so I need to give these out quickly. If you were thinking of taking me up on my self-hosting proposal, then there’s no better time than now. Once this is gone, you can’t get this offer any other way, short of stumbling on someone who got this invite as well.

So step up. I don’t have anything else to do with these so I might as well give them out. If you’re interested just email me or leave a comment and I’ll give you the 12-digit code of your dreams (pun intended 😉 )

UPDATE: I just noticed that If you go and sign with Dreamhost now, you get unlimited bandwidth and space for life, just because it’s their birthday. You don’t even need my invites, unless you want to save the money that is. Hurry up. Only 30 places left

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How to migrate step-by-step from Blogspot to Dreamhosted WordPress

In this article I want to write an easy, step-by-step guide on how you can transfer your blog from a free account hosted in Blogger to a Dreamhost powered WordPress installation. I’m writing this now as my memory is quite fresh from my recent migration and hopefully this will come useful to others who might be thinking of doing this themselves.

Registering a new Dreamhost account

  1. Follow this link
  2. Press the “sign up now”
  3. Select “Host a Domain” as the other choice is just to get a new domain name through Dreamhost
  4. In Step 2 Select the yearly option as it’s the most sensible for someone with a low budget.
  5. In Step 3 You don’t need to select anything unless you plan to run a lot of heavy scripts and have a bit of traffic.
  6. In Step 4, Uncheck Google Apps if you want to use Dreamhost’s custom options. This is a good option if you just a WordPress blog for now. You can always turn it up later.
  7. In Step 5, leave it as it is, and type the domain name you would like and a username for your ftp access.
  8. In Step 6, fill your information in.
  9. In Step 7 type dbzer0 to get 20$ off or dbzero@gmail.com if you want to be extra nice to me 😉 Check the Box and go to Payment
  10. Go through the payment stuff and wait until you receive the “DreamHost Account Approval Notification!” email.
  11. Follow the email link and put your credentials to find yourself in your Panel.

Setting up your domain

You’ll find yourself in the Overview pane. From here you can follow various links to manage your stuff. Start by clicking the Manage Domains button (Also found in the sidebar under “Domains”)

If you created a new domain in the previous part, you should see it now in the list. Press the “Edit” Button next to the “Delete” button in the middle.

In the next screen the only things you should change are the following

  • Switch your PHP version to 5.x. PHP 4.x is obsolete and you’ll run into problems with plugins and the like if you keep using it.
  • Further down where it says “How do you like the www in your URL?” don’t leave it as “both”. Select the “remove www.” as this will help Search engines find you better.

Press “Change fully hosted setting now!” to complete this step.

Installing WordPress

Now that our domain settings are ready, lets go ahead and setup our WordPress installation. Start by heading over to One-Click installs (from the sidebar it’s under “Goodies > One-Click Installs”

  1. Click “Install new software (Advanced Mode)” (Easy mode is similar hosting it on wordpress.com)
  2. Preparing wordpress to be installed
    Preparing wordpress to be installed

    WordPress should be already selected so simply scroll down. You should see an image similar to the screenshot on the left.

  3. In “Install to” you should see your domain. Leave it as it is, unless you want your wordpress site to a subfolder of your domain (ie /blog/). However I don’t recommend this. First because you can later on configure wordpress to show your posts under something like that and secondly because you’ll have to create some kind of splash or home page on your domain root for people falling there. This will probably be different from your site and won’t be counted in your wordpress stats.
  4. In “Select database to use” you should have the option to write your own database name. The default probably will not work so change it to something obvious for you. An example is yourblogname_wp_db
  5. In Hostname, you can just leave it as it is.
  6. In Creating a user for the database, you can simply create the same user as for your ftp access so to cut down on things you have to remember. You’ll probably never use this anyway so it’s easy to forget if you put something new.
  7. Press “Install it for me now”. it will load for a bit and then the page will reload and on the top you should see something similar to this:
  8. Within 5 to 10 minutes, you should receive an email telling you that your installation is ready.

Setting up your WordPress and importing from Blogger

Our Blog Waiting
Our Blog Waiting

Now that you’ve received the funky Dreamhost email follow the handy instructions within.

  1. Go to the install link and create your first user.
  2. Login to your site

That’s it. Your first wordpress site is now ready 😉

Lets proceed to import your blogger site now

  1. Go to Import (follow the link in the email or in the admin panel head to “Manage > Import”
  2. Click on Blogger
  3. Click Authorize
  4. Click “Grant Access” in blogger.
  5. You will now see all blogs you are managing in blogspot. Click on the “Import” Magic Button and wait a few seconds to minutes (depending on your old content)
  6. If you’re using feedburner (and if you’re not, why aren’t you?!) go to your feeds, then to your blogger feed, and click “Edit Feed Details”. In the “Original Feed Location” replace your old blogger feed location with the new wordpress one. This is always in the form of http://yourblogurl/feed.
  7. If you’re not using Feedburner, first go and create a feed for your wordpress installation. Then go to your old blogger blog settings > Site Feed. In the “Post Redirect Feed URL” put the new feedburner feed you just created which has your new wordpress feed as its source. This will transparently migrate all your old readers to your new location
  8. Write a new post on your blogspot blog that you have moved and point to your new location. Once we setup your plugin installer, we’ll set up your blog to automatically redirect each post to your new location.

That’s it. You have now successfully migrated from Blogger to WordPress 😉 In a next post I will explain how to migrate Intense Debate Comments as well, since the wordpress importer does not grab those automatically.

There’s one last thing that you might want to do which is to inform your readers that you’ve changed location

Finishing touches

Currently you should have created your wordpress site and migrated from blogger but you are probably at a very basic state. You should at this point configure a few options to make your life and look easier.

Settings

  • Settings > General
    • Put a Tagline for your site. This will both be shown on your theme but also probably be seen by search engines as well.
    • Configure your time so that the times you schedule and post are the ones you expect
  • Settings > Discussion
    • Under “Before a Comment Appears”, uncheck “Comment author must have a previously approved comment” This will reduce your management overhead.
    • Under “Comment Moderation” increase the number of links to 3 since it is not uncommon for a non-spammer to include to links in the same post.
  • Settings > Permalinks
    • Here you should set your permalink structure. That is the way your posts will look at your blog. While you can leave it as the default ?p=123, this generally looks ugly, is not rememberable and search engines don’t like it.
      Many people select the date based permalinks but I personally do not like that choice. This kind of setup is only appropriate for newspapers really. The only ones who should be using this are the ones who are writing an actual journal.
      My advice to you is to use a either a custom structure or a category based one. In a custom structure, you can use the simple /%postname% option which will make all your articles show on the root (ie http://dbzer0.com/this-is-a-post ) or put something in front to make it differ from pages. I prefer /blog/%postname% but it’s up to you.
      In a category structure, your posts will show under each category which is nice but if you tag sometimes in more than one category, an article may show under an undesirable one.In any case, whatever you choose does not need to be permanent. Even if you change your permalink structure in the future, wordpress will automatically redirect links going into a post that has changed location correctly so don’t agonize on making the perfect choice now.

Plugins

Plugins are the most exciting part of having your own wordpress installation. I’m not going to go into much depth but I want to mention how to set your installation up to allow you to install and manage plugins from the wordpress admin interface (instead of setting up ftp connections each time). Unfortunately we cannot avoid using FTP the first time.

  1. Use your favorite FTP client to setup a connection to your server. I recommend the excellent fireftp which you can use without installing software on your PC.
  2. Setup your connection in your ftp program of choice. In Fireftp:
    1. Select “New Connection”
    2. Find your webserver name in the "Machine" column or under "Account Status"
      Find your webserver name in the

      Find your server name. You can find this in multiple locations:

      • In the automated emails your received
      • In your dreamhost panel by going to Users > Manage Users and looking at the “Machine” column
      • At the dreamhost panel, clicking on “Account Status” on the top and looking at “Your Web server”
    3. In server name, put your server name followed by .dreamhost.com (e.g. dodo.dreamhost.com)
    4. In user name, put the user your created for your account
    5. In Password, put the password you created. If you do not remember it, you can change it from Manage Users again by clicking on “Edit”
    6. Press OK.
  3. Connect to your server. You should now be in a folder where your domain exists as a subdirectory. Enter that directory and then navigate to Wp-content > Plugins.
  4. Download the One-Click Plugin Updater and extract its contents somewhere on your PC.
  5. Using your ftp program, upload the plugin directory into your wordpress Plugins directory we navigated before.  In Fireftp:
    1. On the left-hand side of the split-screen, navigate to the place where you’ve extracted the zip file.
    2. Make sure that your right screen is showing the contents of youblog.com/wp-content/plugins (you should be seeing other folders and .php files like wp-cache/ and hello.php)
    3. Select the directory and click the little arrow pointing to the right between the split-screens.
    4. Wait until the job is complete.
  6. Go to your plugins admin page (Top right)
  7. Scroll down to where it says “Inactive Plugins” and activate the One-Click Plugin Updater. This will make your plugin page show a little differently. Namely you should see yellow bars next to various plugins.

That’s it. Now you have the ability to install new plugins and themes without using ftp and without even downloading and extracting files on your PC. Just follow the instructions that you can find in the “One Click Updater Miniguide” in your Dashboard.

So that’s it.

Hopefully this guide will help any of you who are thinking about self-hosting but don’t want to trust me or want to learn to do it yourselves.

If you see anything I forgot or something I should include or make simpler, let me know.

This is why I like dreamhost

About a week ago I noticed a sudden spike in my Private Hosting memory consumption. And when I say a spike, I mean a spike

dreamhost ps

Literally within a day I was through the roof and I had absolutely no idea why. I had attributed my previous increase in consumption to a recent traffic increase but a jump like that was ridiculous.

I was fairly certain that this must be a malfunctioning script running somewhere but a quick ps -e didn’t give me any hints. So I turned to Dreamhost support. I fired a quick ticket and got my first reply within 2 days and unfortunately it wasn’t what I wished for.

Basically, the support told me that they cannot know what I am running on my site and thus cannot really help me. I should figure it out myself. Needless to say I was a bit disappointed.

Thanks for the reply Brian but I’m a bit dissapointed. Your reply was basically “we can’t help you. Figure it out yourself” which is a bit of a letdown compared to what I’m used from Dreamhost support.

The thing is, that in the Dreamhost PS information, you mention that 300Mb should be enough for a top 100 blog. I don’t even have a top 100k blog and I do not run any custom code. I run 3 wordpress blogs and 2 galleries and that’s it.

While I can imagine that some plugin is malfunctioning or possibly a site being hacked and running custom code, I’m not an expert on this stuff and without full access it get pretty impossible for me to figure it out.

I can understand that Dreamhost cannot be expected to troubleshoot everyone’s usage, but on the other hand for someone now really knowledgeable this sounds just wrong. From what my point of view, the “usage”, which I cannot verify in any way independently and does not have any visible basis, could just steadily keep increasing to 2000Mb and I couldn’t do anything about it other than just fork out money.

In any case, I’ll see if I can find anything myself

One more day passed and then I had a much better response. Another support person took over and gave me some tips to try as well as some possible command. ps auxe > serverlog

So I gave it a try and, lo and behold, now 4 misbehaving scripts were revealed. One was an instance of my very own complexlife plugin taking up 15% of the ram, while the other 3 where instances of the photodropper plugin, each taking a 10% . Altogether pretty much explained why my usage was so extreme.

So it was time to bring out my good friend –kill– and get me rid of some unruly processes.


Whoop-de-doop, my memory consumption is back to sane levels. This is why it pays to have some good support at your company. I’m happy once more 😀

Barefoot Bum's New Slum

So, Barefoot bum’s new shiny, wordpress-powered self-hosted blog is now ready. I’ve finally finished with all the imports and the thing is ready to use. Of course the layout might change if Larry wishes but the thing is ready to be used.

Here’s a step-by-step summary of the setup process, just to get an overview of what was required. Keep in mind that for a new blog, you don’t need more than 10 or so of these.

Day 1

  1. Setup the domain to use php5 and not to use the needless www. prefix.
  2. Use One-click install to setup wordpress and wait 5 minutes.
  3. Setup WordPress password.
  4. Install One Click Plugin Updater through FTP.
  5. Deactivate Wp-Cache.
  6. Acticate the plugin Wp-Super Cache (Installed with wordpress).
  7. Delete all other plugins except Akismet and Hello Dolly (Just in case he likes it).
  8. Go to Settings > General and copy the blog desc from the original blog.
  9. In Settings, Go to Writing and add http://rpc.blogrolling.com/pinger/ to the ping so that the Atheist Blogroll is pinged.
  10. In Settings, Went to Discussion and deactivated the option to require one approved comment before posting it. Increased the number of links before moderation to 3.
  11. Updated the admin password to a temp password from the default of WP.
  12. Added a new admin user for me and Larry and deleted the default admin to avoid 0-day attacks.
  13. Went Manage > Import > Blogger. Sent email to Larry to authorize wordpress for his blogger account.
  14. Downloading some themes closer to the original blog style.
  15. Larry started the import procedure. It finished in about 10 minutes for 1200+ posts and 3000+ comments.
  16. Installed a cartload of plugins. Activated them.
  17. Set Permalinks to /blog/
  18. Setting up feedburner.
  19. Setup Yadis for blogger
  20. Setup Photodropper
  21. Enabled wp-supercache and .htaccess settings.
  22. Added Similar & Recent posts to sidebar and feed.
  23. Added Socrates Image to right sidebar.
  24. Extended sidebar size.
  25. Added We-Op-Ed image and rss for larry.
  26. Added Atheist Out Scarlet A.
  27. Added more wigets.
  28. Got stuck on how to import the IDC comments from blogger

Total time to setup all these, from start to finish, while also doing other stuff (like chatting on ICQ and reading blogs): 5 hours.

Day 2

  1. Finally received some help from Intense Debate on how to import IDC comments from blogspot to WordPress. I got a plugin which automates this in the mail.
  2. Plugin did not work as my host does not support a php function for security reasons.
  3. Contacted the Josh Fraser, the author of the plugin for help. He was amazingly responsive and helpful and provided me with an updated version of the plugin that could work around the php restriction. Josh you rock!
  4. Import went perfectly and all comments were back into wordpress. Unfortunately one post did not get them as the title has italics which wordpress stripped and they names did not match. Nevertheless, the rest worked. (I will do a follow-up post on this later)

Total time for this part: 1 hour.

Thoughts

Of course this process was a learning experience for me as not only did Larry have a pretty customized blog with widgets, images, etc) but he is also subscibed to a lot of services I do not have access (Feeburner, Scoutle, etc). Finally this was the first time I was trying to migrate ID comments from blogger to wordpress sso this took some extra research as well.

For someone who has a very simple and uncustomized blog, the migration time can be cut to 1/3 easily.

Nevertheless, this first experience will now allow me to know what I need and streamline the process. Specifically, there is the issue that I cannot setup a lot of stuff without access to one’s accounts, while other times I may need feedback.

This is the stuff I need to know in order to bug people less:

  • Feedburner password: In order to setup your blogspot feed to redirected to your new blog
  • WordPress.com password or API: So that I can setup your stats
  • Blogger password and username: So that I can start the import process and see the codes for any widgets you have on your sidebar (Mybloglog, scoutle etc)
  • If the codes are not visible through the blogger gadgets, I need to have them so that I can put them in the sidebar.
  • How do you want your tags and categories? As blogger only supports the generic “labels” which gets translated to wordpress categories, I need to know which ones (if any) to turn into tags
  • How do you want your permalink structure to be? By date (as in blogger, like a newspaper), with categories? with a custom text (like here under /blog/ ?)

All of these are information that I will need to set it up with the minimum of input from you. If any of these is missing, unfortunately I will have to ask you or you do it yourself (for the last two options I can just make a choice myself which you can change later on).

All in all, it went quite well and nothing horribly broke. So I’m quite glad. This will go much faster for someone with a more simple blog (as in, one hosted in wordpress.com, or not very customized blogspot)

I’m only a bit saddened that Larry chose not to start using it yet. If he keeps using his old blog, new comments and posts will be more difficult to transfer over as it cannot be done as part of a mass import.

Anyway, so what do you think?

And it begins

The Barefoot Bum has accepted my offer. I now have my first…guinea pig 🙂

That was quick 😀

So I’ve now started setting up the Larry’s new home. I will attempt to log and blog my progress to that hopefully others who might want to follow, but doing this themselves might be able to do so.

Stay tuned 😉

As for the others, I still haven’t heard from Alonzo and unfortunately Vjack is preoccupied with Hurricanes and the like so it’s not really feasible for him at this point (and best of luck to him). In any case, I have some time until I’m finished with the Barefoot Bum.

PS: Fuck, I now need a new category to post these types of blogposts under.

Still wary of self-hosting? Then here's my ultimate proposal.

Right, so here we are, after one full week of me trying to convince you that self-hosting is the superior choice and most probably, you still have the same opinion as before I started.

That’s ok, I didn’t expect 6 simple posts to create a stampede of people falling over each other to take control of their own site. What I did hope to achieve is to dispel some of that wariness so that I don’t have to counter all these arguments in this post.

So here’s my cunning plan:

I’ll do it for you.

What will I do specifically? I will setup your wordpress installation. I will use all my experience in the platform to configure the most useful plugins, your SEO, your backups, your performance and importing your previous blog. I will take your wishes for your blog and attempt to make them come true.
You will not be required to spend any time in setting anything up, other than buying your new hosting plan and putting your new password once I’m finished. Hell, I’ll give you 30 days support while I’m at it.

And I’ll do it for free.

It is at this point that most sensible people would ask: “What’s the catch?”. Well, there’s no catch, but there are…stipulations:

  1. The people eligible for this offer will be personally chosen by me. I will only help people who have proven to hold values at least a bit similar to mine. This means no Ayn Rand Objectivists and no libertarians: These true believers in the free market can go pay for it.
    Initially this offer will be extended by invitation. Depending on how well received it is, I may allow people to request it. I will investigate and veto requests on ethical grounds.
  2. You will have to use Dreamhost and you will have to use me as a referrer. The reasons this are:
    • This is the provider I use and know pretty well by now. I do not know the admin panels of the other hosts and nor do I care to learn them. By using Dreamhost it means that I’ll be able to work very fast.
    • I will receive 10% of whatever you pay as a referral reward. This will be less than 5€ if you go for a yearly plan so don’t assume I’ll be earning a fortune. Furthermore, since by using my promo code dbzer0 you will pay 20$ less, I will not get anything for a while.
    • If you pay by credit card, you can cancel your contract within 90 days. This gives you ample time to abort if you don’t like it anymore and saves me from nagging. It gives you the peace of mind that I will not scam you as soon as you give me access.
    • It is cheap. You can pay from 9$ to 6$ per month, depending on how much you prepay. While this is more expensive than some, it more than makes it up for quality and support.
    • It is scalable. If you find that shared hosting is too slow, and you will only have that if you have too many plugins or too many visitors, you can request private server hosting for an extra 15$ per month which will dramatically improve your speeds. You can then further increase your speeds depending on your needs.
    • It provides overwhelming amounts of space and bandwidth. The initial plan will give you 500Gb of space and 5Tb of Bandwidth which will increase weekly. You will find it practically impossible to use them all, which means you can start hosting stuff for your friends, or special projects (say, online backup of your home PC).
    • You will certainly find naysayers of Dreamhost and I’m certain they have valid points but I’m quite satisfied myself and I believe you will be too.
    • They’ve been recognised as one of the only twenty five companies in the world to have a democratic workplace. I’ll gladly promote and pay a bit more to make sure that their employees are not abused and give an example for other companies. Plus, they are one of the few companies that don’t take themselves too seriously and their newletters and blog are actually worth reading.
  3. You are not required to give me any reward for this. That does not mean I would not appreciate any way you might deem to repay me and I will accept anything you believe my work deserves. This can be a linkback from your new blog, a permanent or prominent place in your blogroll, donations, a good word and generally anything else you might think of.There is only one catch:
    Any kind of reward you provide me for this work will be shown publicly.I will have a special page for this project and I will list all the people and sites I’ve created through it and all the rewards each has provided. Of course, on stuff that it is not easy to figure out if they are a reward or not (like a linkback), I will only require you explicitly mention it somehow.

So these are my only stipulations. I believe they are reasonable but if you disagree, I’m open to discussing it.

How will this work?

Simple. You follow my link and register to the only plan there is (I told you it’s simple). This will automatically set me as your referral so don’t go surfing around before registering. If you want to make sure, use my email dbzero@gmail.com
Alternatively, you can use the promo code “dbzer0” (minus the quotes) to get 20$ off. Alternatively you can not use the code which means that at some point in the future I’ll receive those 20$ extra 😉

Once your account is ready, you give me your new admin code for your dreamhost panel.

I ask you some information like “What domain name do you want” and “This domain name is not available, choose another”.

Once I have all the information I need, I tell you to wait.

At some point in the near future I get back to you and tell you that your new blog is ready and provide you with a new username and password.

We spend the next month telling me what else you would like you blog to do and I try to make it do it.

Once the month is past, I keep supporting you only on a best effort basis as I attempt to help someone else. Hopefully by then, you’re once again to the stage where you’re happy to leave your configuration be and simply post new stuff.

Why do I do this?

I do it because I’m honestly disappointed to see so many good people not doing the smart choice because of time or skill constraints.

I do it because I find it a pity that these people cannot shine as they could, as they are moored in the limited free hosting.

I do it because I want to help fellow Atheists (with correct values) to become better.

I do it because I like attention.

I do it because I have free time and enough skill that won’t hurt me to put to good use. It’s either that or simply read more or watch some series.

I do it because I had a dream.

I do it because I think gathering goodwill is worthwhile.

I do it because I hope it will inspire others.

The first invitations.

So, to get things started, here are my first invites.

I will start on a first come, first serve basis. If more than one of you guys accept, I will do it serially.

If none of these three accept the invitation, I select the next batch of invites. If none of the next batch accepts, I will attempt to select one from the comments (so if you want me to do you, please leave a comment stating so along with who you are, in case I don’t know you already)

If I have no acceptances and no comments to select from, I will consider this experiment a failure and stop asking.

Personally, I’m hoping it does not fail.

As for the rest of you. I hope to hear your opinions on this. Speak up!