I’m starting to wonder if it’s time to start thinking about beginning to ponder considering taking a look at maybe exploring the possibility of making some changes around here. I know that sounds rash, though, so I promise I won’t rush into anything.
I’ve noticed the particular server we’re running on at our webhost hasn’t had the best track record of late, particularly concerning mail traffic. I think it’s one of their older servers, running an older version of virtual hosting/control panel software. For a while now all their new customers have gotten a newer control panel package, and they’re willing to help older customers transition to a newer server if desired, so that’s an option. My biggest problem so far is that the newer package doesn’t (so far) support direct shell access via SSH. SSH access isn’t technically required for the small kinds of stuff we do with our site, but it’s a personal requirement for me for various reasons involving flexibility and mostly preference :).
So the only other option there is to look for another webhost. I know of quite a few out there, since I recently got involved with the we-want-an-official-website committee of the HOA in our community and voluteered to look into hosting solutions. It’s actually a business I’ve considered going into myself, if only on a reseller basis, since I have a good bit of the requisite knowledge. Only problem is, you’re not much more than a face in the crowd in that business. Everybody and their brother gets a reseller account and hangs out a shingle, and unless you’ve got the money for a good bit of advertising it’s hard to stand out. Just like every other business, I guess, only this one’s attractive because startup and overhead are ridiculously cheap.
Anyway, as I was saying, I know there are lots of options out there should I decide to move. But moving is such a pain in the rear (funny…just like real life) that I’d rather not if I don’t have to.
Then there’s the question of blog software. So far (as you can see to the right) we’ve been using Movable Type, and I’ve been happy with its functionality. But then they threw me (and a lot of other people) off and started charging for new versions. I had mistakenly assumed it was Free/Open Source Software, but either my assumption was off or they changed the license. In any case, their current free version limits you to 1 author (we have two), and the lowest paid license gives you five authors and costs $69.95. Seventy bucks!! When there are true free/open source projects out there (like WordPress) that are just as functional? I don’t think so. Incidentally, I just came across this post on Movable Type and WordPress, and it sums up my thoughts nicely.
I also just found opensourceCMS, a site which has all manner of open source CMSs, blogs, wikis and such installed and available for poking at. Don’t want to download something and figure out installation just to try it out? Go try it out on their site. Admin access is provided; all installations are deleted and rebuilt every two hours. Mambo, PHP-Nuke, Postnuke, XOOPS, WordPress, b2evolution, you name it. If it’s PHP/MySQL based (as most open source web-based projects seem to be these days), they probably have it. They have some ecommerce and bulletin board stuff, too. Great idea; I’m really impressed. I’ll probably spend a bit of time there checking a few things out before I decide in which direction to head. From what I’ve seen so far WordPress looks pretty good, so it’s got an edge going in, but I’ll see what I can find. Stay tuned…