The WordPress Process: to WordPress.Com We Go

WordPress.Com is awesome
WordPress.Com is awesome

The WordPress Process is a series of posts at Newsome.Org, documenting my forced march from the comfort of Blogger to the initially uncharted territories of WordPress.  Parts 1 & 2 are here, Part 3 is here, Part 4 is here, Part 5 is here, and Part 6 is here.

Newsome.Org (formerly and sometimes currently known as Rancho DeNada) has lived a gypsy’s life.  When I started blogging (actually no one knew about blogging then; it was just “Latest News”), I published content via a Perl script.  It seems antiquated now, but it worked pretty well.  Then I began using Blogger’s publishing platform, via the now-discontinued FTP publishing feature.  My blog was hosted on my web server, but I could use Blogger’s front-end to manage content.

When FTP publishing was no longer available, I made the move to WordPress.  Again, hosted on my web server.  It was sort of bumpy, as noted in Parts 1-6, but I got it done.

Near the end of last year, it dawned on me that (a) I might need a new tractor this year and (b) for that to happen while staying married meant I had to cut out some expenses.  So I did.  One of them was my web server.  I needed a mighty and dedicated web server back in the glory days of ACCBoards.Com, but I don’t need it anymore, with the decline of the message boards and the vast improvements to content management platforms.  So, I decided to move Newsome.Org to WordPress.Com.  What this means, in effect is:

1. My blog is hosted at and by WordPress.Com;
2. WordPress handles all the software updates: and
3. There are a few limitations on how I manage pages and content.

This was probably the best blog-related decision I’ve ever made.  For one, I don’t have to worry about updating WordPress.  They do all that.  Two, media handling is very easy, often requiring nothing more than a URL or shortcode.  Three, it is a lot cheaper.  I need some storage and the ability to stream media files, so I pay for the $100/year upgrade bundle– less than half my prior monthly cost.  I could go into a lot of detail, but the point is that managing my web site is much easier and much less expensive.  Sure, I can’t install certain plug-ins, and I can’t install any theme I want.  But you know what?  I don’t need to.  I don’t miss them at all.

I had a lot of content, and the import process was very easy and mostly successful.  Because of my blog’s long history and many prior platforms (and resulting scattered media files, etc.), some of my pictures weren’t imported correctly.  I sent a request for help, and got it quickly and effectively (Valerie is tech support awesomeness).  After all was done, I still had to manually go back and revise some internal links, but that was because some of my early blog posts were in .shtml (because of all the server side includes I used to hack and use).  It took a few nights, but soon enough I was up and running.

And it is great.  So much less stressful.  It’s hard to explain, but blogging just seems easier and more fun.  In sum, if you have a blog or want a blog, there is no good reason not to host it at WordPress.Com.  There are plans ranging from free to enterprise.

One limitation of WordPress.Com over my former web server is that I can’t just upload whatever pages I want.  Native JavaScript isn’t supported either (content from certain approved sources can be used via shortcodes).  This is the reason for all the scrambling I did last month to find a new home for The Home Place, my internet portal.  I ended up hosting it at Amazon via S3.  Here’s the new link.  Amazon S3 (and Glacier) are unbelievably cheap.  Look for a tutorial on those shortly.