All Posts Tagged ‘web hosts

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New name, new host, same blog

Yesterday I made a couple of changes to my blog, though I’m hoping that you will barely notice one of them.

The change you will most likely notice is a change of blog name, from ‘Mike McArthur’ to ‘A Saved Wretch’. This is the name I used for my blog for a while in 2014 and despite not using it since then I kept the domain name because I like it.

Over recent weeks I’ve been feeling that I should write more about my faith than I have been and the name change is based on this conviction. I like this name for the depth of meaning it derives from the hymn ‘Amazing Grace’:

Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.

I personally identify with being amazed that God in his grace would save a wretch like me. This is a significant element of my story so seems appropriate to use as the name for my personal blog. And while I do want to write about my faith a bit more, this remains a personal blog – an ongoing story of my life. Topics will continue to range wherever my wandering mind happens to go.

I mentioned having made two changes. The second is switching my hosting provider from Siteground to WordPress.com. My one year of hosting at Siteground expires soon and while they offered a 60% discount on the first year, the full price thereafter is a bit steep for what you get so it was time to look elsewhere.

WordPress.com have a massive and efficient infrastructure, tailored towards ease of use. The platform is restricting with respect to not allowing plugins on the cheaper plans, but this is not currently an issue to me so the pros outweigh the cons for what I need. I’m using the same theme as I had previously, so all you are likely to notice about this change is different wording in the site footer credits.

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Trial of Squarespace

I am trying out Squarespace as a blogging platform. A completely hand coded site is too much work and I am tired of WordPress security issues. What I really want is to focus on writing rather than technical stuff, despite always getting bogged down in the details of that.

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Where is this blog going?

where-is-this-blog-going

A new blog name, a new web host, new blogging platform, new domain, same old writer. What’s the deal?

New web host and blogging platform

My web hosting account with A Small Orange was up for renewal at the end of September so I was in the headspace to reassess whether I was getting a good deal for my money. In digging around their terms and conditions I noticed that this particular hosting company was happy to host pornographic websites provided they complied with US law.

Hmm… I’m not as pure as the driven snow, but the idea of my dollars going to a company that is also making profits from porn does not sit well on my conscience. So I started looking into this issue and realised that the majority of hosting providers in fact are happy to host ‘legal’ porn sites. The few that do not tend to be European sites. Much internet searching later and I had a list of possible candidates and one in particular held my attention; Ghost.

In the Terms of Service for Ghost it clearly states that each user must warrant that:

Content is not pornographic, does not contain threats or incite violence, and does not violate the privacy or publicity rights of any third party;

Ghost is a new blogging platform which began from a Kickstarter campaign to design an alternative to WordPress which put the focus back on writing rather than the amassed options and clutter which can overwhelm many blogs. I tried it out a year ago when very new but at that stage I found it just too sparse and technically demanding to stick with it. The platform has matured since then and I am enjoying it now that I’m getting used to writing using Markdown.

Why the new domain and blog name?

I began blogging with a very Christian focussed blog, “Words of Eternal Life“. Having a title like that implied that what I was writing should have some authority to it but in reality I was using my blogging as an exploration of my Christian faith rather than trying to make authoritative statements on belief. So I often felt a tension between what I wanted to write and a that I should be writing good theologically sound content.

I then went the other direction and blogged under my own name and wrote on assorted random topics, though have not in fact published very much during this phase.

What I most like to write about is faith in Christ. The process of thinking up and writing blog posts centred on my faith helps my faith to grow and drives me to learn more about what I believe and why and how this can be lived out in the real world. So I am wanting to move back to such an emphasis on my blog.

However, the longer I try to walk with Christ the more aware I become of my failures, weakness and unworthiness. The grace of God is my only hope, apart from what God does I truly am wretched. I don’t profess to have a great understanding of theology, though I try to remain orthodox in my beliefs. I’m interested in how faith interacts with real life – Monday morning faith rather than Sunday evening faith. Life can be hard, for most people it is hard and faith needs to have real answers for those hard places.

The path from here will hopefully be through pondering, wrestling with, writing about and living out faith in Christ amid my normal daily life.

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About (A Saved Wretch)

Hi, sorry, not much to see here. I am in the process of migrating 5 years worth of blogging to the Ghost platform so it may be a bit messy here for a while. Once I’ve got all the posts moved across I will get around to writing a more informative ‘about page’. Until then have a dig through the posts and see if anything inspires you.

Enjoy,
Mike


Contact

The Ghost blogging platform does not have a comments feature as yet and I am reluctant to use Disqus as it requires you to set up a disqus account in order to use it. So currently the only way to give me feedback is to email me at mikemcarthurnz at gmail.com, just be aware that my response time is in the order of a day or two rather than within minutes! I’m married to my wife, not my email.

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Migrating

I first began blogging in November 2009, which is also when I joined Facebook. Since then I’ve written many blog posts, status updates and tweets. At least half a dozen domain names have been registered by me with great ideas of stuff I’d like to publish but time and motivation have failed to follow through.

As my own interests, goals and motivation for online writing has morphed over these four years and as social media has evolved into a gigantic advertising machine, it seems time to transition from a niche blog with a strong focus on a single (major) aspect of my life to a more general personal blog that can serve as my online hub.

To some this may be viewed as a backwards step – there are millions of largely un-read personal blogs out there so why add to the mass? My defence: “Facebook made me do it!”

You see, I hate advertising. It really pisses me off, especially when it is intrusive and poorly done, as is most online advertising. Over the last 12 months the big social media sites have been steadily increasing the proportion of advertisements being inserted into timelines. So have the ‘news’ websites, using trivial entertainment to attract pageviews to generate advertising revenue. Finally I am grumpy enough to make a move.

My personal view is that the ‘free-but-supported-by-advertising’ model deserves to die a miserable death. I realise I am in the minority but feel strongly enough about this to not only reduce my use of Facebook and Twitter but also to pay for website hosting on the Squarespace platform in preference to using WordPress.com in order to stop supporting an advertising based business model.

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Phew!

Hopefully this post will be the only reason that you realise this website has moved across the Pacific Ocean! The Words of Eternal Life blog now physically resides on a server in New Zealand. This has involved transferring the domain name and WordPress database to the new host and my very grateful thanks goes to the fantastic support team at Mothership for doing the technical stuff and ensuring my blog didn’t disappear into the ether!

There are a few minor issues that I still need to update as a result of the transfer, I know a couple of images have broken links and I have not activated all the plugins yet so some behind-the-scenes functionality is not available. However, overall you should not notice too much difference, if you do please leave a comment!

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Server switch

In order to (hopefully) improve the speed of this blog for people in NZ and to support local web host providers, I am going to attempt to move the Words of Eternal Life blog from a server located somewhere in North America to one located in Auckland. All going well you won’t notice anything, but there is a chance that the blog may be unavailable for a short period.

If you do try to visit and cannot connect, or get a ‘404’ error, don’t panic. Chalk it up to my lack of IT skills and visit again a few hours later when it should be all working again!

Thanks in advance for your patience!