Migration to Digital Ocean

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 10.18.52 pm

I moved my blog recently, not that you should realise, other than that I haven’t settled into a new theme yet. I never manage to find one that I’m comfortable with, more on that later. Here’s some thoughts on my choices thus far:

The trigger: my bluehost subscription was ending. I know it’s a fairly sucky host, but 1. I started on it many years back when other cloud hosts were not so freely available / established / cheap. Bluehost offers me $4-6/mth depending on length of time, and allows me to run php / rails / ftp / unlimited space / DNS / ssh tunneling fairly easily though at a low speed, which was kinda tolerable.

But I wanted to try Ghost, but node.js seems to be hard to find. sigh.

Hosting options:

  1. Self host, on my Synology NAS
    Good: “free”, other than electricity costs
    Bad: I don’t have a permanent IP, or dydns, and uptime ain’t the best.
  2. Old shared hosting – bluehost
    Good: less work
    Bad: low performance
  3. Ghost.org hosting
    Good: Quick and easy
    Bad: only Ghost. and it isnt cheap at $5/mth for only one tiny blog (this) and I freaking have to host my images somewhere else.
  4. Ghost on Digital Ocean
    Good: Quick and easy
    Bad: Migration from WP is still a huge pain, images cannot be transferred easily, lack of easy plugins is more work than I want to do right now.
  5. Ghost on Amazon
  6. Ghost on some other provider
    couldn’t find a cheaper one.
  7. WordPress on Digital Ocean
    Good: Fairly easy. FTPing image directories was very fast and easy. DNS was okay, could be much better. Will allow me to add more sites in the future. flexible. no lockin.
    Bad: Had to fiddle with some ssh stuff, php settings..why do I even need to do this.
  8. WordPress on Google App Engine
    seemed like too much work

Hence I am still on wordpress until Ghost matures future and then I’ll reevaluate. I still largely dislike how clunky and slow wordpress is.

Screen Shot 2014-04-27 at 10.20.38 pm

Why Digital Ocean: FAST. Their SSD and pipe is fabulous. The droplets are simple, but need to be careful when customizing. After all, you do get a flat open VPS linux server to fool around with. Not the best thing for noobs. Be prepared to use lots of SSH. They are fairly new in the scene but seem to be picking up and have funding. They should be alive in the near to mid future. Long term we’ll see. The $5/mth is a low package in terms of capabilities and bandwidth but enough for me for now. Hope I don’t need to upgrade.

If you decide to get Digital Ocean, use my referral link here https://www.digitalocean.com/?refcode=7ffe3bf23299


How I did the transfer:

1. Transfer domain to Namecheap. Messed this up a bit but worked out in the end.

2. Export WordPress xml backup, wp to ghost export file, wordpress sql backup

3. Test import to Ghost

4. Test import to WordPress on Digital Ocean droplet. had to do some ssh config.

5. Import xml backup to wordpress. had to ssh in to increase upload filesize limit.

6. Export wordpress wp-content/upload directory from old host

7. SFTP wp-content/upload directory onto new wordpress

8. redirect DNS to Digital Ocean (need to remember to also set MX settings for G apps)

didn’t use the sql backup. luckily. would probably be a pain.


Comment System :

Still cant believe Ghost doesnt have one, but whatever. I tested out the Google+ comments. It’s kinda useable, but confusing for new users, especially the privacy settings. Not much choice in customization and I hate their whitespace.

Went back to Disqus because some people prefer a more anonymous commenting.

Would I be able to use both? Seems too much for the low traffic.



Wanted to find something that’s at the same time clean, responsive, elegant, beautiful pictures, modern. Medium’s design is great for long form, but not for lots of images, and no one seems to have close enough themefile. Oh well. Still searching.


P.S. Gotta say I really love how beautiful Medium and Tumblr are, and how convenient they make it. But I need to own my writing. =)


Migration to Digital Ocean

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