my experience changing web hosts with wordpress
- Here's how it went for me, in hopes that my experience will make
things smoother for others.
I had long hosted a website at Network Solutions. At first a static
page, later linked to a LibSyn blog & feed. Earlier this year I
installed a WordPress blog with podPress. I found pretty slow
response and tried to work with NetSol to fix it but they are too big
and not committed to WordPress. I opened an account with bluehost and
played around there finding response times to render WordPress pages
was less than 10% of that at NetSol. Even better, the tools available
to keep the WordPress site up to date were much better.
The first problem I ran into was that a podcast run on a WordPress
blog is pretty interconnected with other internet resources like
LibSyn, Feedburner, Google analytics and the WordPress MySQL database
as well. I found I couldn't build a replica installation to my
podcast site before moving the DNS to the new host servers. I tried
several ways. One installed an infinite loop and crashed my bluehost
account for 4 days. Other attempts mostly pointed whatever I was
trying to do back to the NetSol installation where the DNS still pointed.
So I built a development site with a different URL and made very
careful notes of all the steps I needed to take. I did a few practice
runs to see how quickly I could rebuild the site from scratch. I got
it down to about an hour. Lots of uploading, unzipping, importing,
etc. Then I put in my request to change my URL over to Bluehost and
waited the 5 days they insist you wait before implementing the change.
At 6 on a Friday night I went to work and everything seemed to go fine.
I don't post over the weekend and LibSyn has been having some stats
issues anyway so I couldn't really tell what was happening.
Feedburner updates every night it seems and it was Sunday afternoon
before I realized my audience had dropped by about 2/3.
The culprit I soon found was a Feedburner and podcast411 recommended
technique for temporarily redirecting a feed address had worked at
NetSol but didn't at Bluehost. The objective was to retain ownership
if the feed address as some extension to my domain, instead of having
it show up as something part of a LibSyn or Feedburner domain. I seem
to have solved the problem by putting a permanent redirect to the feed
address WordPress generates. Most if not all my audience reappeared
and the new feed address http://podictionary.com/?feed-rss2 seemed to
find its way through to podcast client software that I tried. I have
just now also added the iTunes new-feed tag (though (a) people will
only get it if they still got the feed anyway, and (b) I'm not
convinced it's working in my podPress implementation).
I later realized this same non-redirect problem was breaking the link
for podictionary weekly listeners as well and I fixed that
(appropriately a week later). Similar breakages are outstanding on my
list of archive material but I've yet to decide what to do about that.
The poor tools at NetSol had caused me not to keep WordPress up to
date and as a result the version of the database that I was exporting
to use at the new site was out of sync as well. I now find that this
has caused hundreds of audio files to become unlinked to their blog
posts in my archive. I maintain an alphabetical listing of all of the
650+ words I've covered. I see a day of repairing these links in my
future. At least the last few weeks are still intact.
I'm now letting the website rest a bit as I continue to post episodes
and on the development site figure out how to make blubrry and podtrac
Both these services are integrated into the most recent podPress
versions, but there seem to be some issues there including a question
as to whether both can be used at the same time.
As I understand it more than two redirects is verboten and so podPress
limits this ability. But it seems to me that Feedburner stats (which
are said to count in the total of two) apply to a redirect of the
feed, while blubrry and podtrac stats apply to redirects of the
enclosure addresses for the audio files. LibSyn stats are also said
to count in the total of two calculation, but this doesn't involve a
redirect at all from what I can tell since they track their stats at
the server itself.
I can see that for me the adventure will continue...
- Try giving the folks at KatAlley.Com a try. They are VERY friendly to
podcasting and are quite familiar with Wordpress, etc... I use them for all
my sites now and I can actually go in and setup my Wordpress installs