Holding pattern

A wise blogging friend advised me today to stop running myself ragged trying to restore everything at once, and take as much time as I need to think through the gnarly problem of what to do with Via Negativa long-term. Moving Poems and The Morning Porch are back up on a new host, Luisa is continuing her daily poems in response to my porch posts (scroll down to see her three most recent), and I have this beachhead here until I sort things out.

Another blogger I admire recently migrated her site off of cheap shared web hosting and onto WordPress.com (which is about the same annual cost once you get the necessary upgrades), and has urged me to do the same. I’m very tempted. Via Negativa’s database is so bloated, I can’t even upload it here without trying to learn something called SSH. But even if I manage that, I have no guarantee that I won’t get kicked off this server, too, for exceeding CPU limits. This is a problem on all shared web hosting arrangements, from what I gather. Via Negativa has simply gotten too big for this environment, I think, and it’s time to either pay hundreds of dollars a year for VPS (a virtual private server — the next step up), or learn Drupal and attempt to export this beast to that more sturdily built content management system. Both options are way beyond my current technical abilites. At WordPess.com, by contrast, I’d never again have to worry about getting shut down for excessive CPU usage or crashing because of a traffic spike. Through some minor miracle I managed to import almost all VN posts to a nonce site there today, which almost made up my mind for me. But it would mean significant changes and sacrifices: most incoming links will be broken because of a slightly different permalink structure; the series will no longer work as such since they don’t support that taxonomy there (I would probably just use tags); I won’t have a fancy podcasting plugin and will have to content myself with a simple audio player for the Woodrat podcast; etc. And I will miss tinkering with the controls and pretending I really understand what makes it all fly.

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Dave Bonta (bio) crowd-sources his problems by following his gut, which he shares with 100 trillion of his closest microbial friends — a close-knit, symbiotic community comprising several thousand species of bacteria, fungi, and protozoa. In a similarly collaborative fashion, all of Dave's writing is available for reuse and creative remix under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 United States License. For attribution in printed material, his name (Dave Bonta) will suffice, but for web use, please link back to the original. Contact him for permission to waive the "share alike" provision (e.g. for use in a conventionally copyrighted work).

9 Comments


  1. I’ve pondered moving from time to time too, but what’s held he up is, as you so aptly put it, that love of tinkering with the controls. Still the wp.com option seems to come with a simplicity that seems more and more appealing as I find myself with less and less time on my hands.

    By the way, is the moving why the links from my reader don’t go to the posts? I was coming by originally to leave a comment on the. St. Death post, which I really liked.

    Good luck on your blog maintenance project. I’m curious to know what you wind up doing.

    Reply

    1. Yeah, the posts are still there in Reader, they just aren’t here. This crappy webhost (Dreamhost, 2-week free trial) won’t allow an import script over 7MB! WordPress.com says ten, and yet it managed to import all the posts from my most recent export (which unfortunately was only as recent as the end of June) in only two tries: 42MB. That’s a lot o’ words!

      Reply

  2. I’m scared. If you move to wordpress.com and don’t love it, you will look at me like … like I suggested it or something. :-/

    Reply

    1. Not at all! Remember, I’ve been a big advocate of WordPress.com for certain things for a long time, and I know it well. I’ve almost broken my arm this week patting myself on the back for never succumbing to the tempation to take qarrtsiluni off the reservation.

      Reply

  3. Re: Drupal, while it may be scaleable, I am not so happy with the state of the version 7 codebase, the current release. Version 6 modules may be more mature but many do not work in verison 7. I had to re-write a module to showed a numbered table of contents, rather than an unordered list. Just thought you should know. If you decide to go this route, I would be happy to help.

    I can’t help but think that your amazing, literary site would easily qualify for grants. You have all the things grant bodies want: a body of high quality literary content, clear evidence of collaboration, a large steady following, a history of competent administration, etc. A five year grant for administration costs of an upgraded site makes perfect sense.

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    1. Thanks for the supportive remarks, John. That’s an interesting suggestion. And I appreciate the offer to help with Drupal should I go that route. In the short term, I’ll probably set up an experimental installation and see if I can do something cool with it, such as assemble an online Collected Poems for everything I’ve written that doesn’t make me gag. If nothing else, it would provide an outlet for my urge to tinker. But if I can surmount the supposedly steep Drupal learning curve, in time I could build the site out to include most of what is now a diffuse collection of sites on WordPress. And presumably more and better modules will be written for Drupal 7 in the meantime.

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  4. The point about drupal is that mastering it would be akin to learning how to pilot a jumbo jet compared to the kite-flying of WP. And if you have a playground/sandpit/flight-simulator to start off with, all the better.

    Reply

  5. “And I will miss tinkering with the controls and pretending I really understand what makes it all fly.”

    Yes, I understand!

    Reply

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