The Journey Begins

Thanks for joining me!

Good company in a journey makes the way seem shorter. — Izaak Walton

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Yes.  This was the default starter post.  Left here for reference. 😉

W

15 thoughts on “The Journey Begins

  1. Wolfmoon, a couple of WP tips for you and
    anyone else interested in setting up an active community blog.

    no gain for me in sharing this
    (except enjoying seeing fellow treepers succeed)

    First let me point out:

    When assessing risks, you will quickly see that running on WordPress’s platform puts your content and your connection to your community in the hands of WordPress as a service. I know of two very large WP blogs that were suddenly “deplatformed” in the last month for supposed violations of community standards or some such.

    There was no recourse. Years of material and hundreds of followers just gone. Stories like this become our motivation to put in the extra effort and cash to move away from the “free blog hosting” model.

    Secondly

    Another risk to mitigate against is single provider services. If your password for your site is compromised but the password for your domain name is on another platform, the breach is contained at that level. If you use a different name server management (DNS) tool, you have split the burden of this risk three ways.

    In general, I have found that the best services are the ones that provide full and customized services to paying customers in the business realm and then have a basic free level that allows small users to benefit and perhaps be motivated to upgrade to a paying level at some point. These businesses tend to avoid violating privacy or in other ways displease their users as they don’t want to put a question mark in the minds of their paying customers who want a solid platform for their businesses.

    Let’s look at each of the services you will want to consider one by one.

    Hosting your content

    For a very low investment you can give your WordPress content a home on a shared server that is under your control. Since I enjoy playing with such things, I’ve tried out various shared hosting companies over the years and have a pretty good feel for which ones are the most responsive for support and which ones run a good business.

    This company should be a good fit for you: https://www.a2hosting.com/web-hosting
    I see that today their “Lite” plan is less than $4 per month.

    You will want to get your domain name first so you can set it up when you sign up for the hosting plan.

    Registering your domain name

    When hosting your own website, you will want to register a domain name. In today’s market, the annual price to register a name is based on desirability in the business realm. As an example, you can pickup a domain ending in .xyz for about $4 per year since the extension .xyz hasn’t been proven to be desirable in the market.

    Picking an appropriate name can be fun as you explore all the options.

    Again, as with shared hosting sites, there are many domain registrars to choose from. Many are low budget resellers with little support. Too many of the biggest names have predatory practices that I find repugnant.

    The registrar I’m recommending has served me well for almost 20 years: https://directnic.com

    Set up steps

    So far, the order for setting up a site using this strategy is:
    1. register a domain name
    2. setup your hosting service
    3. tell your domain name registrar to point their name servers to your site’s IP on the hosting service

    Don’t forget

    Remember, for spreading risk, you aren’t going to want to use the same company for multiple services. Different company for each service.

    Considering an independent name management service

    Even if you go with a very inexpensive hosting service that does not mean that you won’t get much in the terms of features. Standard hosting these days is fairly robust. All of them provide a name server. This is the server that ties your site’s IP address to your registered domain name. But you might want to consider using a 3rd party domain name service (DNS).

    For the last couple of years I’ve been using CloudFlare to take care of this. The basic level service is offered for free. It not only resolves your name to your IP address, it also stands between you and a whole lot of malicious behavior that just happens on the internet. This is lightyears beyond what a basic name service does.

    CloudFlare in some ways could be considered both a router and a firewall between the internet and the service hosting your site.

    One of the important tools they provide is the ability to force all connections to your site to use secure connections (HTTPS). Their traffic statistics might be interesting for you to check from time to time. You likely won’t need or care about the many other features. But if you like that sort of thing, exploring the options behind each dashboard button is not difficult.

    I don’t know where CloudFlare stands in terms of the hostile climate towards certain viewpoints at this time and so I will caveat my recommendation with that caution. I do not know of any reason to be concerned, it’s just another place where you are giving control.

    If you go with CloudFlare, you will find that they make setting up your domain’s management pretty easy. The main task will be to change your name servers (again) at your domain name registrar. The switch will take a while, maybe an hour, maybe a day. But you can do all this before redirecting your WordPress community to the new site.

    Backing up and migrating your WordPress content

    I have only used a single WP plug-in for backing up and even migrating a site. It works for me, but there may be better recommendations. A quick search gave me this article reviewing options for backup plug-ins: https://www.wpbeginner.com/plugins/7-best-wordpress-backup-plugins-compared-pros-and-cons/

    There are plug-ins that are specific for site migration as well. This plug-in does both and made it onto the list at the review page linked above: https://wordpress.org/plugins/duplicator/

    Protecting WordPress

    When you have your own WP installation, you will have to protect your site from the constant probes and even attacks on your site. It is just part of the online landscape.

    Using CloudFlare will provide a significant level of protection for your site, but nearly every WP site also installs at least the free version of a plug-in named WordFence. I’ve used it for years and based on the logs it is defending that particular site from malicious attacks many times every single day. You can read more about it here: https://wordpress.org/plugins/wordfence/

    WordPress themes

    WordPress offers many styles of themes. Since many of our treeper family post late at night you might consider using a basic WP theme with the colors selected to be softer or warmer (less blue light). Maybe a the color of your wolf moon. Sticking with WP basic themes is important since you will want to avoid having an upgrade mangle the display of the pages.

    To sum up

    The decision to take more control of your content and your services may reduce the risk of losing your content and your connection to your community. Using the services listed above, the cost will include at least $50 per year for domain registration and hosting. These are not the only costs you will want to consider.

    It has been said that managing a blog, just for content, is at least 30-40 hours of your time per month. Add on to that the need to install and keep up to date not only WordPress, but also the appropriate WordPress plug-ins. On a basic blog you may only need a few plug-ins and you can set them all to update automatically if you like.

    Dive deep

    You can really dive deep on some of these topics. Here are some pages that might help.
    + https://www.cloudflare.com/learning/dns/what-is-dns/
    + https://www.cloudflare.com/learning/security/what-is-web-application-security/

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Oh! I forgot to include this!

    When registering your domain name, you will definately want to pay the extra to get domain registration privacy. If you don’t your domain name, your name, address, phone number, etc. will be published online for the entire world to see. Not good. It is only $5 per year if you register with DirectNic.

    Learn more: https://directnic.com/page/privacy.html

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Just a thought, disregard at will, but you may consider a weekly random thoughts and connections concerning Q page for things that don’t fit but still interest bloggers wanting to post something. Similar to Tree house daily pages, but these would be weekly. It would cut down on your work, which has been rather exceptional thus far. Thank you.

    Liked by 1 person

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