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 πŸ˜‰ )

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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And it begins

The Barefoot Bum has accepted my offer. I now have my first…guinea pig πŸ™‚

That was quick πŸ˜€

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 πŸ˜‰

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
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 πŸ˜‰

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!

The 31 definite reasons why you should be self-hosting WordPress

While I was presenting the arguments against the most popular reasons people have for not self-hosting their own blog,Β  I’ve been proposing WordPress as the software people should be using for that purpose. However I haven’t actually explained what’s so great about WordPress in the first place nor have I specificed the benefits self-hosting provides over free hosting like or Blogger.

Of course one can just look at the features as given by the devs themselves or check what popular blogs on blogging have to say but I thought that since you’re with me until now, you might be interested in my personal take on it.

Disclaimer: Some of these may look obvious or be already available for your free blogging platform of choice but that does not mean they are available for all. As an example: Blogger does not support trackbacks while does not allow ads.

For simple or casual bloggers

1. Having your own domain name means that if you ever change your mind about how popular you want to be, you don’t have to go through the hassle of redirecting your readers to a new location.

2. You have hundreds, if not thousands, of possible themes to choose from. Practically a guarantee that your blog will look fresh and unique to visitors without any effort on your part.

3. The WordPress software is gratis and will always stay that way. As a result the only costs you have, is your web host which generally provides you with much more benefits over simply having a blog.

4. You can have pages that exist outside of your blog timeline. No need to have your “about page” be a normal blogpost you need to link to, or other workarounds like that.

5. You’ve got free stats integrated into your blog. No need to go through the hassle of opening, verifying and installing google analytics or any other third party software.

6. It takes just 38 minutes to set up, including registering with a new host.

7. Installing new themes of plugins is as simple as it gets. A one click process.

8. Autosaves and revisioning so that your sanity and nerves are spared from both PC crashes and wrong saves.

9. With the widgets setup, you can easily change the layout of your sidebars or add custom and obscure scripts with two clicks, without editing any files.

10. You don’t have to be technical. You don’t have to know anything about dns, ips, mysql or apache to install and maintain it on most popular hosts

For the Technical and Web2.0 oriented bloggers:

11. You can have your OpenID being your own domain name and know you won’t have to change it in the future.

12. You can customize your theme as much or as little as you want and this is made much easier by the modular design of wordpress themes.

13. Where in other platforms you can only use whatever plugins or gadgets they provide or allow, in wordpress you have a choice of hundreds of plugins for almost any purpose your might think off.

14. You also have a choice of Categories and Tags. None of that googly “labels” that no-one else uses. Having both categories and tags allows better categorization and tag clouds πŸ˜‰

15. With so much anti-spam you can pretty much say goodbye to everyone’s favourite canned meat. And that is without annoying your commenters with captchas and the like.

16. A comment system that is not a pain in the ass and actually recognises blockquotes.

17. Pretty much all services related to blogging support wordpress first and best. Even if that service has not, for some reason, implemented any way to integrate with blogs or wordpress, sooner or later,Β  someone will make a plugin for it.

18. Supports Google Gears and offline/faster use.

19. The amount of information about wordpress out there is staggering. If you want to play with the system or simply optimize it as much as possible, you easily can.

For popular or Pro-Bloggers (and wannabes)

20. You have your own domain name which allows you more authority and visibility. Not having this, especially when you have big plans for your blog, is a big mistake.

21. You can use adverts if you wish.

22. Has great SEO out of the box that you can make it even better with plugins. If you’re going to write articles and don’t have many people to link to you, you’ll need this to be discovered.

23. With any number of plugins you get the option to show similar posts which is great for makingΒ  scrappers work for you and keeping visitors engaged.

24. You have trackbacks. ‘Nuff said.

Other great capabilities and options

25. You have a great built-in media library which gives you not only the ability upload your own files but to also easily find them in your server, with the same settings you used them before if you wish to.

26. Supports the iPhone for the fanbois.

27. You setup collaborative weblog without having to make people register with a specific provider. You can even avoid registering altogether by using OpenIDs once more. Hell, you can set it up as a little social club if you want to πŸ˜‰

28. Being Open Source, you have the certain knowledge that you platform will never go stale or out of development. Indeed, the more people that use it, the faster and better it becomes.
It is already on the bleeding edge of blogging and it shows no signs of slowing down.

29. It is easy to integrate with other software that you might use like gallery or forum software.

30. Being on your own host means that you can now easily help your friends escape the limited free hosting by taking them on your own server, with little cost to yourself.

And finally

31. As Free Software, wordpress is the most ethical choice of platform. By using it and showing your support, you not only retain your freedoms but also support people who might not otherwise have an online voice (say due to costs). It also means that most of the plugins and tools created for it are also probably free software which allows you or anyone else to take and customize them for your own use or join to make them better.

It means that, even just a bit, you promote a culture of shared reciprocation and freedom.

What other reasons can you think on why one should self-host and use Wordress?

Self-hosting addendum: Host Selection

In the last two posts I’ve been explaining how and why the WordPress installation and maintenance neither difficult not time consuming. I’ve made some claims about how quick it is to register or use a one-click installation but I deliberately have not mentioned which hosts can do this. This is because I did not want to appear as simply advertising for them.

However after some discussion with another acquaintance from Greece as well as from the comments, I was led to realise that, while some of what I say may sound as obvious to anyone who is already self-hosting, people who have no knowledge of the subject can understandably be miffed or confused. As the Barefoot Bum adequately put it:

This seems like useful information, but it’s not. What’s a “shared hosting provider”? Already you’ve asked me to Google. Assuming I figure out what that means, which are competent? Which are honest? I have to check ratings, recommendations, referrals.

Then, *most* shared hosting providers? Not all? Then I have to check. Is it obvious on their website? Do they say “WordPress” on the front page? Are there any limitations? Version requirements? Extra costs? And again: Are they honest? Do they *really* support WordPress, or will it crash when I install it because they’re using some funky tweak of PHP or MySQL?

I think this is a pretty fair statement to make and truth be told, I am planning to tackle the selection of the hosting provider in my final post in depth. however for now, in case anyone is already convinced and itching to start with shared hosting but can’t decide with whom to go I’ll give you a few choices in short.

Personal suggestion: Dreamhost. This is the one I’m using at the moment, and everything I’ve said until now definitely applies to it. If you want to know why I suggest it, you’ll have to wait until the final post of this series. If you do decide to use this, you can also use the promo code dbzer0 to get 20% off.

Alternative suggestions: Check what is certainly supporting wordpress from the official site. Unlike Dreamhost, I can’t promise anything about these as I do not know them personally. However It’s quite certain that they will support most of what I mentioned.

You want to self-host your blog but don't have time? Can you spare 38 minutes?

The Passage of TimeWhat I have heard from most people who have been blogging for a while is that they would really like to self-host their own site but they never got around of doing it because of time constraints. And every time I hear this excuse I can’t help but wonder where they got that impression.

The Passage of Time
CC - Credit: ToniVC

What I have heard from many people who have been blogging for a while, is that they would really like to self-host their own site but they never got around of doing it because of time constraints. And every time I hear this excuse I can’t help but wonder where they got that impression.

Now I can understand that one might also have the false idea that setting up WordPress is something technical and thus would take time to figure out, but I’ve also heard this reasoning from experienced computer people.

The only thing I can put this down is a simple ignorance on how easy and quick most good web hosts make it to setup your site, both in WordPress and in most other known systems. Not only are the installations a one-click procedure but the whole thing will be wholly automated so that you can simply ignore it until its ready.

Do you know what would probably take the most time? Getting your credit card out and typing the numbers in the purchase order for your hosting plan.

Here, let me break it down for you:

  • Register a new hosting plan: 10 minutes and maybe 1-5 more until it’s activated
  • Register your new domain name: 3 minutes
  • Install your new WordPress site: 10 minutes (and about 10 minutes of waiting)
  • Configure your new WordPress site: 5 minutes to infinity (depending on how much you want to play around)
  • Import from your blogger or WordPress account: Lets say another: 10-20 minutes depending on the volume, all automated of course.

Honestly, I’m just looking back at the notification emails of when I first started. I made the purchase at 4:56 and my website was up and running at 5:15! I kid you not. And back then I had absolutely no idea what I was doing.

It took me more time to find a theme and install some plugins of course but that’s the great part. You don’t have to do this if you don’t want to but you can if you do. And given how ridiculously easy it is to try, change and install addons now, compared to when I started, the whole procedure should not take you more than an extra 30 minutes to 1 hour if you want to take your time.

And from then on, you’re simply opening your “write new post” bookmark or even better, just pressing a button on your keyboard.

Another thing that you may not realise about a wordpress installation is that you’re activelly saving time as you use it.

  • Managing: Whether it is looking at your stats, checking your comments or modifying your categories, WordPress has it as easy as possible.
  • Writing: I would argue that even writing a post can be quicker with all the extra options that wordpress provides for media or special formatting. nevertheless, for one who simply writes text, there won’t be much of a difference. Nothing can beat the ability to grab a CC image from flickr for your post in three clicks however πŸ˜‰
  • Designing: If you’ve ever had to edit your blogger template and look for the start of the body and the end of the head or whatever, you’ll love the wordpress way of using different files for each part. Customizing your theme has never been easier.

These may not seem like much but altogether and in small amounts, they start to build up. There’s a thousand little ways were you can become more productive with wordpress and if that’s not enough, there’s plugins to make it even quicker.

So if time is your constraint, don’t even think about it. What are 38 measly minutes?

Why setting up your own self-hosted wordpress blog is not hard.

De vieilles entraillesThe third most popular reason people seem to have for not self-hosting their own blog seems to be a misguided understanding of the technical skills and expertise such an undertaking would require.

I’ve heard various takes on this, Some seemed to believe that they would have to code their own site while others assumed that setting up a home server would be necessary. These are, of course, more extreme opinions so I will assume that most people know that setting up your own wordpress installation involves none of that if you don’t want it to.

De vieilles entrailles
CC - credit: Sunfox

The third most popular reason people seem to have for not self-hosting their own blog seems to be a misguided understanding of the technical skills and expertise such an undertaking would require.

I’ve heard various takes on this, Some seemed to believe that they would have to code their own site while others assumed that setting up a home server would be necessary. These are, of course, more extreme opinions so I will assume that most people know that setting up your own wordpress installation involves none of that if you don’t want it to.

The honest to Gould truth is that setting up your own wordpress powered site is usually a breeze.

Do you have the impression that self-hosting includes you ftp-connecting, php-editing, apache-configuring and whatnot? If so let me get this out there first. Self-hosting yout blog can be about as easy as setting up a new blogger account or as difficult as any DYI project. It’s all depending on what you wish to do.

Most shared hosting providers not only provide an already setup environment for installing wordpress but they make installing and upgrading the whole wordpress installation as simple as possible. Literaly an one-step process. You can have a new wordpress installation with as much as putting a new password and pressing OK twice.

Once you’ve set up a basic wordpress installation, just with the very default settings you’re good to go. All you need to do is find a theme (and even that’s optional), and if you’re with a good host you’ll have a few waiting for you and you’re ready. No need to tweak any css or php files.

Some of you might think at this point: “But what about new themes and plugins, don’t they need ftp thingamajibs and whatnot?”

Not any more they don’t. Plugin or Theme installations has in recent times become a ridiculously easy procedure. You’ll be hard pressed to find any instances where as part of improving your site you’ll have to get your hands dirty.

Upgrades? One Click. Backup? One Click. SEO? One Click.

So tell me, does hosting your own blog still sound too technical?

The costs of self-hosting your blog

the curl of datasmokeWhat many people seem to be wary of hosting their own blog or site is that it is somehow going to cost and arm and a leg, or at least a heavy enough sum that it’s just not worth doing. Add to that the misconception that self-hosting is only something that pro-bloggers are doing and you can understand why most people stay with free and limited hosts.

the curl of datasmoke
CC - photo credit: zen

What many people seem to be wary of hosting their own blog or site is that it is somehow going to cost and arm and a leg, or at least a heavy enough sum that it’s just not worth doing. Add to that the misconception that self-hosting is only something that pro-bloggers are doing and you can understand why most people stay with free and limited hosts.

Let me get this out of the way first. Self-hosting is not expensive, not unless you consider 1-10$ a month an expensive amount to spent on a hobby, and lets face it, if you’re not a pro-blogger, it is a hobby for you. It is aΒ  way to reach out to other minds out there and make your voice heard. Possibly have some fun with memes, and hopefully affect the world in some way.

At the most expensive plan, self-costing would probably cost you as much as a night out to the movies per month but in return, instead of a 2 hour (hopefully not-lame) entertainment you not only get to own your data but you get much more freedom in what you can do with your site, more visibility and authority due to your own domain, more security (as someone whom you pay, you can keep accountable for problems as well) and a wealth of other goodies that come along for the same price.

What’s the downside? One less crappy holywood movie per month. It’s about time you found out what the better choiceβ„’ is anyway.

I honestly don’t know why so many people have this impression that hosting costs are high. With the profileration of shared hosting, costs have dropped to almost nothing. Web hosts practically fall over each other to be cheaper than each other and the final beneficiary is you.
I don’t know, maybe you’re stuck in the 90s where you were paying by the megabyte and assume that for a normal blog you’ll rack hundreds of euros/dollars of cost per month. If so, rest assured that unless you can fill up a few terrabytes of traffic or hundreds of gigabytes of space, you probably won’t end up paying anything more than the basic costs.

Now, to be fair, there is a chance that a basic hosting will not be enough. I do not currently pay the basic 8$ per month costs I started with. I pay 30$. You know why? Because I am hosting at the moment 4 individuals blogs and 2 galleries. My cost have nothing to do with bandwidth or space and everything to do with script heavy sites (of my own choice) and a recent influx of visitors. Were I to simplify my sites and reduce the 35 of so plugins per site I’m using, my speeds and costs would improve considerably.
That said, someone might require a faster, stronger plan to have a quick and usable site if he gets more that 500 visitors per day but at this point, a few ads could easily not only retrieve the costs but bring you money as well. Something you wouldn’t be able to do in some free hosts for example.

At this point you may be wondering why more people are not self-hosting if it’s not that cheap. Frankly, I’m wondering the same myself. Hopefully by the end of this post I will have dispelled at least the misconception of cost. Stay tuned for more of the same in the later posts of this series.

If you still have concerns on the issue of cost, let me know in the comments and we can discuss if you have a point.