Self-Hosting – My Trials and Tribble-ations

You may have noticed I have not added much artwork here on yikici or updated any (some) of the page information on the side-bar; there are good reasons why this is so -I promise they are not excuses -honestly I do!  These ‘many’ reasons I will come back to -here or on another post -I haven’t yet decided, let’s see how I feel; before we do, the main reason I wanted to mention is:  I have been toying with the idea of going self-hosting for some time now (yes exciting stuff!); in fact I have enlisted help from a good friend (AKA Ian) who is helping me to modify the current theme so it works better for me and hopefully for you.  Some of the navigation/layout of this theme I find rather odd; as well as the small font size -all of which we are trying to address within reason; whilst pondering on these matters, I thought I’d throw this out to you and ask what improvements you think could be made -is there anything that causes you to desert the page because something is not quite right?  I welcome all thoughts as I want to get this right.

NB:  If you are finding this difficult to read please scroll down to the bottom of the post and read the pdf version of this post.

ONE STEP FOR MANKIND – A WHOLE UNIVERSE FOR yikici (AKA Oζ): As a mere distraction tool -before we venture into Self-Hosting, I wanted to grace you with a raw piece of photography by moi; I call it Stepping Stones -i.e. stepping into the unknown; that’s how I feel about blogging and self-hosting -as well as tweeting!  I digress, back to the photograph; I usually (not always) prefer to work on raw photo’s using Photoshop before displaying it -this, I decided to leave as it is and showcase it here for you as a treat (it may be a long while before you see any other artwork/photography) so enjoy it while you can!

Stepping Stones - Photography by yikici Copyright © Ozlem Yikici 2011 & Copyright © doodllz™ 2011. All Rights Reserved

SELF-HOSTING 

In this bit, I ideally would like to write about what I have found out in my endeavour to go self-hosting; though it seems I am at a loss for words (very unusual for me on most occasions -I guess it happens once in a while).  So I have decided, I will let a plethora of thoughts try to explain what I have and am still finding out.

THE INGREDIENTS REQUIRED ARE AS THUS:

  • Deciding on a name for your blog (that is if you decide not to choose your own name -or for those who are unfortunate enough that their name has already been taken; what a nuisance!); sounds simple in theory but if the lovely .com has been taken all of a sudden you are filled with choices .co .co.uk .org .info etc, etc, etc…  Choice is good -I agree; but really?!!!
  • Designing a webpage or modifying the theme you have chosen if it does not quite meet your particular requirements (that’ll be me then!).  For this, you will need a web designer/someone who is adept in CSS codes -unless you actually possess those skills; to me, all of this is a foreign language, so I cried for help -yep literally -in a true ‘damsel in distress’ moment kind of way and my saviour (Ian) appeared in a cloud of smoke -ooops!  Were we not just telling swashbuckling stories?  *blushes* Now where was I?  Oh yes, so if you do not possess the relevant CSS skills then you must enlist someone who does.
  • This is where things get tricky (my current predicament); if you have an artistic temperament (like moi) then you are likely to suffer with the following:

Please note:  For ease of illustration and writing purposes I will use Ian’ name instead of writing web designer, so from now note that ‘Ian’ = generic web designer type person.

  1. You have a great idea on how you envision your blog to be.
  2. Your great idea changes with your moods.
  3. ‘Ian’, patient as he is, starts working on other important ‘stuff’ because you seem to go in circles.
  4. You begin to lose heart -will this ever finish?
  5. You have another ‘great idea’.
  6. ‘Ian’ points out the possible difficulties that you will experience in the long run.
  7. Enthusiasm drops; ” ‘Ian’ any suggestions?”
  8. ‘Ian’ suggests listing what you like and dislike about the theme you have already chosen (sensible advice) and also suggests to see if there are features of the other themes that you like that we -well he :), could incorporate.
  9. You make a list and research all themes; to a point where eyes start to see stars and your brain just chugs along -it’s kind of gone mush…
  10. You come back to square one -go figure!
  11. You start asking friends, family and lovely blog visitors…  🙂 -I hear you say Ah!  Now no running away!
  • Ok, let’s say you’ve surpassed all the above and have a blog page you are satisfied with, next you will need to find a good self-hosting package; it might be best, at this stage, to choose something low-budget, just to see how it all fairs before committing to self-hosting completely.  I, thanks to Ian,  have been fortunate enough to test the above out on Mazkan International‘ server, as I was unsure of the whole process -this has been a huge deciding factor for me, as it opened my eyes to all the possibilities available.  Having said that, I know not everyone will have this opportunity so this could be a stab in the dark for most of you; that’s why I am suggesting you to try out a low-budget, self-hosting package before you commit fully.  I am currently looking into this: Vidahost; having said that; Disclaimer:  I have not used this so I do not know if Vidahost is any good, therefore I am not recommending it -I am only letting you know what I am considering -by all means I am no expert in these fields!
  • Another thing to consider is something called parking your domain name (I know all these technical terms are waaaay too much!  I will do my best to explain, clearly as possible, with what I know), what this essentially means is this:  Rather than purchasing your domain name through the self-hosting package, you buy it off someplace like Freeparking, this will enable you to park as many domain names as you like and also allow you to have full control over these domain names; this will ensure that you do not have any problems in the future -if you decide to move the hosting elsewhere; I have been told that this has been an issue for people/companies in the past.  Another Disclaimer: This is not a must, by all means -in fact it is not at all necessary if you plan to stay with the hosting package you initially set-up with; however, if you envision you are likely to move on or worry you may encounter problems, then parking your domain name is something to consider.  Transferring your domain name becomes that much quicker (seconds I’ve been told) when you move hosts as you have 100% control.
  • Once you have all the four ingredients 1) Name for your blog 2) The actual finalised webpage 3) Domain Name and 4) Self-hosting package then, all you have to do is put it all together and et voila!  -Oh I forgot to add -you will also need to download the WordPress web software -that makes it five ingredients! 🙂 So there you have it in a nutshell; my impressions so far.

A tiny tiny note:  Why did I write this piece and why choose self-hosting?  In all fairness my blog experience is only 3 months old; already I am learning a lot through this new platform and this is why I want to make sure everything is right -best to start on the right foot and sail forth into the murky waters!  Well that’s my motto –I am a perfectionist at heart –yep drat and double drat whichever side of the coin you choose to look at it from; always pick the tougher course!

Friendly Reminder:  Please jot down your thoughts and suggestions on how to improve this blog –by ambience / look / function / design / etc, etc, etc, below in the comments section.  I’d also love to hear what your experiences have been like if you are one of the many who have chosen self-hosting; so please tell us of your experiences.  If I have missed out anything or misinterpreted anything let please let me know so I too can learn -after all this is a HUGE learning curve for all!

I think that’s all I can muster; one last thought:  Just in case you have been side-tracked and/or for all those who missed the purpose of this post, let me spell it out a wee bit clearer: I’m Going Self-Hosting -Watch This Space!

I hope that all made sense; as I think my brain has just been frazzled!  -The post on why I have not uploaded any artwork will have to wait for another day.  *heads off to find solace with fellow tweeps on #MyWANA and #amwriting*

Special Kudos & Thanks:  A big shout goes out to Mazkan & Ian -you know who you are!  I really appreciate all your help (and continual help -I’m hoping!) and also your patience with my numerous questions and rather ‘blonde/brunette/black/red hair’ moments!

pdf Self-Hosting – My Trials and Tribble-ations

Advertisements

~ by yikici on May 24, 2011.

14 Responses to “Self-Hosting – My Trials and Tribble-ations”

  1. You’re missing one important point, Yikici. If you go self-hosting, you’ll be using WordPress.org and currently you’re using WordPress.com. They are different. While it’s not as closed a community as a bloghost such as LiveJournal, most bloghosts have their own followers and I think you’ll find that those using WordPress.com might feel let down that you’re thinking of leaving to go to wp.org! It sounds silly, but it’s one of the ridiculous realities of the internet!

    As for your questions above… Personally I’d stay put on wordpress.com until you have enough content to move to a self-hosting blog and also so that you’ve had time to get the hang of it. Blogs change over time (and their authors change with them). Once you’re self-hosting, you’ll need to do a lot more work to get readers and to keep them interested.

    As for this layout – it’s nice for images as it’s against a black background, but is very difficult to read. I’ve got a blog (Val’s Nature – link to it in my side panel) that is also against a black background and it’s predominantly for images which is why I chose it, but it’s still difficult to read text in the posts, so I try to keep text to a minimum there.

    I understand having changes of mood, I have them myself. And I also understand about changes of mind about image, layout, etc. For that reason, I think it’s better to stick with a free bloghost until you’re sure of what you want.

    TimeThief has a post that might be of help to you: Self Hosting: What’s Your Hurry? and the links to her other posts at the bottom of that one might also help.

    Good luck!

    • Heya Val, thank you for the invaluable advice; you are right I did not even think about the first point you mentioned; think I need to re-evaluate my plans and have a re-think.

      I am quite partial to the darker themes for its aesthetic purposes; I personally find the bright white pages a bit too ‘bright’ hence my choice here. Having said that the small font size really does not help readers at all -I know my cousin avoids reading it for this purpose -that is why I have introduced the pdf link -I’m hoping that would an alternative solution if visitors here agree it works.

      I definitely will take on board your advice; it makes total sense when you put it that way. 🙂 Thank you for the link, I have wandered across and TimeThief has a great post full of good sense; I will read some more.

      Thank you for popping by and your good wishes; I truly appreciate it. 🙂

  2. I’ve been self hosting for over a year now. I’m actually hosting over ten sites, both my own, as well as sites for my wife, my son, my daughter, Web Lit Canada, and some others. It can be a pain, but at the same time it does allow you a lot of freedom that hosting on WordPress doesn’t.

    I prefer it myself.

    Wayne

    • Oh wow! Ten sites?!! Can I ask what swayed you to go self-hosting? Any particular reasons -I’d be interested to know.

      • Um, well, I tend to get into fights with people a lot. I’m a DMCA magnet. It doesn’t matter that the DMCA notices are invalid, American law is a total disaster as far as the Digital Millennium Copyright Act is concerned.

        Take your blog for example. Say I get upset at you. If I fill out a DMCA notice correctly I can force your entire site offline. Even worse, if I make certain minor mistakes, and you have the wrong host, you won’t be able to bring your site back online for ten days, and you won’t be able to take action against me.

        And no, I am not kidding.

        So I self host in Canada, where I can’t be forced offline so easily. Anyone who wants to come after me has to do it on my territory.

        I’m currently having a run in with a lawyer from North Carolina, who has been sending me nasty grams over a Trademark Squatting case (he is representing the trademark squatter).

        Since I’m in Canada, they have a major problem on their hands. If I was using WordPress.Com my site would be down already.

        Wayne

      • Now that is interesting! I didn’t realise such an act existed; surely it’s there for the protection of individuals works? Why would they file DMCA notices against you? (You don’t have to answer if you do not want to, I’m just curious -if you prefer send a direct message to me.)

        I hope what I write does not offend anyone; but in the likely chances its seems an option to consider.

        I just had to look this up: Trademark Squatting -that’s a new phenomenon -that must be annoying! I hope you solve it successfully.

        Wayne, you have given me much to ponder on; appreciated greatly -thank you for your frankness.

      • Now that is interesting! I didn’t realise such an act existed; surely it’s there for the protection of individuals works? Why would they file DMCA notices against you? (You don’t have to answer if you do not want to, I’m just curious -if you prefer send a direct message to me.)

        I hope what I write does not offend anyone; but in the likely chances its seems an option to consider.

        I just had to look this up: Trademark Squatting -that’s a new phenomenon -that must be annoying! I hope you solve it successfully.

        Wayne, you have given me much to ponder on; appreciated greatly -thank you for your frankness.

        Sorry love. You used to have a nice government. Now you have the best government that the corporations can buy. The technical term for it is Oligarchy.

        This is a complicated subject, and I can’t do it justice in a short answer, but I’ll try. Wikipedia has an article on the DMCA. Part of the DMCA is the Online Copyright Infringement Liability Limitation Act which sounds like a good idea, until you realize that the defendant isn’t has no place at the table. In other words, the work in question could be totally legitimate, like when Microsoft issued a takedown request for a copy of the Free Software Open Office package in error.

        Here’s an explanation on How to Send a DMCA Takedown Notice.

        Here’s a Sample DMCA Take Down Letter (I recommend this article highly – Gene and I disagree on a lot of issues, but I have a lot of respect for his skills).

        Using the DMCA Takedown Notice to Battle Copyright Infringement

        Here’s the story of an attack on the International Music Score Library Project using a false DMCA Takedown notice, IMSLP under attack by Music Publishers Association (UK), note that due to the way the law is written the IMSLP has no legal recourse against the Music Publishers Association.

        Here’s a further follow up titled UK Music Publishers Issue DMCA Takedown On Public Domain Sheet Music, and my own attempt to toss gasoline on the fire, The UK Music Publisher’s Association Attacks The International Music Score Library Project, which I followed up with UK Music Publishers Association Tries To Hide CopyFraud.

        Notice and Takedown as a system is problematic. I had one enemy of mine attempt to force my entire site off-line because I wouldn’t back down. He was frustrated beyond believe when he found out his DMCA tricks wouldn’t work, since I’m hosted in Canada.

        Notice and Notice, which allows the defendant to respond to the accusation is far more equitable in my opinion.

        Wayne

      • Wayne, thank you for taking the time out to provide us with such insightful information. I have notice the DMCA is particularly applicable to the US; I suspect from my understanding that -being a UK resident- this law does not apply to me however; seeing my blog is hosted via wordpress.com -the host, if issued with a DMCA, will likely take my blog offline in such circumstances; therefore it seems the wiser option would be to continue with Self-Hosting in the UK in order to avoid such possible predicaments.

        I can see how the DMCA can be abused; clearly it was not thought through properly -unless there are other reasons behind it that is not currently available for public knowledge. There really should be a clause in the Act which would safeguard the copyright owner/the accused until the allegation can be proved rather than just shut down the site without concrete evidence.

        Clearly this can lead a way for people with malicious intentions to fire away such claims against many websites! I hope this is recognised very soon and rectified.

      • Ah, you are English – my wife is from Stoke on Trent. Yes, you should try to host in England if at all possible, and use a .UK domain.

        The DMCA was put together as a wishlist by the RIAA and the MPAA, two large American trade associations. They wanted to be able to shut down anyone who annoyed them, at any time, with no responsibility. In other words, if they shut you down by mistake, you can’t take it out on them.

        A couple of the large Internet companies got the ‘safe harbor’ provision added, which meant that as long as they took down whatever they were asked to immediately they weren’t responsible.

        Now I may not have the explanation totally right. I wasn’t involved with copyright at the time that the DMCA was put through, and I’m still more interested in Canadian law than American law. But this is in general how I understand it. There’s some pretty good information available on techdirt.com on American law.

        Wayne

      • Thank you Wayne; I wil will have wander there when I have the time. 🙂

        Send a warm English ‘Hello’ to your wife!

  3. If the text size is a major issue for you, you may be able to do something about, though the process is slightly tedious.

    When you’re editing a post, you’ve got the Visual and HTML tabs on the right. If you use the HTML tab, you can surround each of your paragraphs with a stylized paragraph tag that will let you increase your font size. For example:

    <p style=”font-size:1.3em;”>First paragraph text</p>
    <p style=”font-size:1.3em;”>Second paragraph text</p>

    Which will give you larger text like this.

    I recommend trying it on a test post first to make sure you get the hang of it. Sometimes going back and forth between the Visual and HTML tabs can get messy because each tries to do its own thing.

    There’s also a CSS upgrade that you can purchase from WordPress.com for $15/year that lets you tweak your theme properly.

    Oh, and if you’re wondering who the heck I am, I found your blog by way of Sonia M. and Billie Jo Woods.

    • PS
      This is just a suggestion, though. I’ve never tried your theme, so I can’t be sure that yours will work like mine.

      • Thank you for popping by (I apologise for the delayed reply -not been well for the past week!) and thank you for the suggestions, I was not aware of the html option -obviously I have not paid enough attention! Though I suspect the theme is stylized and I guess my only option is either the CSS upgrade or self-hosting -if the pdf link is not favoured. Having said that I also want a header menu as well as making the blog more interactive so I am guessing self-hosting is more for me…

        Sonia M and Billie Jo Woods are great 🙂 -feel free to pop by anytime. Thank you for your comment.

Comments are closed.

 
%d bloggers like this: