WordPress or MovableType?

Having switched to WordPress (WP), my problems with pair.com have stabilized. That said, I am still looking for a long-term solution that includes running MovableType (MT) in static mode (explained more below).

As I see it, the options are: 1) move to another host, 2) stay with WP, or 3) host my own site.

Moving to Another Host

In looking to other hosts, I decided to concentrate on those listed by MT as being “hosting partners.” The list includes the following:

  1. Yahoo Small Business Hosting
  2. AQHost
  3. LivingDot
  4. Nexcess
  5. pair
  6. mediatemple
  7. 2MHost

I’ve emailed all of them except Yahoo (their legalese goes on for pages) and mediatemple (the lowest cost solution is still very high), including pair since I had installed MT myself and pair has their own added-cost installation, asking about specific resource limits. Almost three days later, I now have replies from everyone except pair.com:

  1. AQHost – “no RAM limit” but if causes problems, may need to move to a dedicated server.
  2. LivingDot – “We’ve never had this problem with our servers and user accounts.”
  3. Nexcess – “*default* server limit is 8M but we can adjust it on your account to whatever you’d need in order to successfully
    rebuild your blog.”
  4. pair – No response.
  5. 2MHost – “We put no limits, but from our experience with MT, rebuilding large website may cause server load.

    We can host you, but you need to order [the] business package…”

Although the responses are encouraging, I would need to test them to see what problems I might have. Right now, I don’t have the time so I’m keeping this on the back burner.

Stay with WordPress

MT, unlike WordPress, gives you the option of creating what is known as static pages. What that means is that MT creates a HTML web page file for each post that you do. On the other hand, WP doesn’t create any pages. At least, not until someone requests a particular page. Then, and only then, is the page created. But even so, the page is not stored as HTML so as soon the information is sent to your browser, it is gone and must be created again for each and every person who wishes to view it.

As with most things, there are advantages and disadvantages to both systems. On a static system like MT, the server must do a lot of work every time a new post is created or updated. Not only must the new/revised page be done, but links to and between existing pages may need to be done as well as creating duplicates that are stored by category and by day, week, and/or month. As you can see, the server has to create many duplicate pages and keep the links between these pages updated. But once created, the pages exists and do not need to be re-created every time some wishes to view it. For sites that get a lot of page views, having static pages can save the server a lot of work.

Conversely, WP creates no pages until someone requests one by following a link (internally, since the page does not exists, the web server must be able to trap the error and redirect your browser and produce the required HTML on the fly). If your site gets a lot of hits, your server will be doing a lot of work to create and display the pages.

In addition, should the database that MT or WP uses become corrupted or fail, the static pages that MT created will remain while everything in WP will be lost. Unless, of course, you keep a routine backup done on a daily basis. Raise your hand if you do that now.

And finally, MT doesn’t add all kinds of HTML tags where they aren’t needed. For some reason, WP adds <br> tags allthrough my posts, even in the middle of other tags like links. Obviously, this creates strange looking pages and broken links. Not a good thing.

Hosting My Own Site

I’ve been working on this possible solution for some time but have found a steep learning curve.

In order to run MT, I would need sufficient hardware, an operating system, web server software, database software, and Perl.Each of these needs require a certain amount of time and effort to configure so that they run, while at the same time meeting other criteria like running reliably and in a secure manner.

Although I have the hardware, learning to install, configure, and maintain PC-BSD/Free-BSD, Apache server, MySQL database, and Perl has not been and is not easy. Not to mention problems with maintaining at least a three nines level of connectivity/uptime.

The upside is that I control the site and can run whatever I want without sharing resources with 125 other sites (like I do at pair.com). The downside is I don’t have the time.

Summary

I was going to label this last section “Conclusion” but since I have not yet reached one, I’m calling it summary.

My reasons for wanting to run MT are that it renders my HTML without trying to “fix it” and it creates static pages that remain even if the database is lost. But, as configured, it can’t run on pair.com.

Right now, WP does run on pair but creates non-compliant HTML. If I can figure out how to get WP from trying to “improve” my HTML, and I stick to strict regimen of backing up the database everyday, maybe I could live with WP.

Aloha

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