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!
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.
- You have a great idea on how you envision your blog to be.
- Your great idea changes with your moods.
- ‘Ian’, patient as he is, starts working on other important ‘stuff’ because you seem to go in circles.
- You begin to lose heart -will this ever finish?
- You have another ‘great idea’.
- ‘Ian’ points out the possible difficulties that you will experience in the long run.
- Enthusiasm drops; ” ‘Ian’ any suggestions?”
- ‘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.
- 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…
- You come back to square one -go figure!
- 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!