Saturday, April 27, 2019

Protecting your content

I received some great questions, about the process of changing blogging platforms - and what that might entail. Does it really add more protection, for your content, if you're paying? Also, how is it different blogging on a website, versus a dedicated blogging platform? I want to keep this simple, so will dedicate a post to each question.

So what does paying for your website, offer as protection for your content?

Well it all depends, who you choose as your website hosting company. There is a confusing amount of hosting companies around, but the companies I explored were, Wordpress, Bluehost, GoDaddy, Wix and Weebly. Why these? Because they offered either a free plan to start with, or a free trial period. If you're still a novice in the website building universe, why pay, before knowing if you actually like using these products?

These free versions, are limited in their features, however - Ecommerce, shopping carts, using your own domain name, etc: are generally, off the cards. Also the free versions, often come with advertising on your website (once you go live). But at least, you can experiment whether navigating their site builders, ie: how you put your site together - is for you. One of the reasons I chose Weebly, is because of the simple, drag and drop, construction process. But there are some limitations I will share a little later.

Effectively, when you're paying the hosting company though, you're paying for: a site builder, domain name, and real estate to park your website RV. As long as you continue to pay, you continue to protect your content. There is the option to purchase your domain name, elsewhere (which I did) but otherwise, as long as you continue to pay, they don't touch your content. That's entirely your department.

There is somewhat of a sizeable, caveat though. As long as the hosting company doesn't close down, or doesn't get hacked by a trojan virus, your content is safe. These incidents are extremely rare, but never say never. Which is why it's always sensible, to back-up your website, in some way. Most hosting companies have the ability to export a copy of your website, via a zip file, to your computer. And it's something you should do regularly, as a safeguard.

How accessible is that information afterwards though? Once again, it depends which hosting company you go with. This is one mistake I made with Weebly, I didn't realise until after paying for the plan. I can export a copy of my website, but it cannot be used to create a new website in Weebly. Isn't that remarkable? I have to manually cut and paste, everything back in.

However Wordpress have built a workaround, through a special importer tool. It allows you to migrate your Weebly website, over to Wordpress, in a simple process. Sadly, it's a feature Weebly hasn't offered it's paying customers. Weird. But I'm still happy with Weebly, introducing me to the concept of building my own website, nonetheless. You've got to start somewhere. If I need to change hosting companies, I will most likely go with Wordpress, for reasons I won't go into now. Because I know I'm already in danger of giving you information overload!

There's one other aspect I should mention, which deals directly with the Google+ shutdown recently. Another potential loss of information, can come from third party Apps. If you've embedded them into your website, and anything happens to the company with those Apps, the information they controlled (like comments, stats, etc) can get deleted too. Which was the case with Google+, and my Blogger account.

So just because you're paying to protect your content, doesn't necessarily guarantee 100% protection. But what it does mean is, you have more control over, what Apps deal with your content, and what advertising is shown on your blog/website. As a general rule, the website hosting company, doesn't want to touch or otherwise delete your content - as that's their business, keeping you in business. Which is why, when building your website, it's a good idea to keep as many features with the hosting company as possible. The more third-party Apps you bring in - the more liable you are, for things to go wrong.

The one exception to the rule, is when it comes to buying and hosting your domain name. I won't go into that now though. This post, is already long enough!

I hope that helps to answer the question about what protection, is gained through paying for a website, versus a free blogging platform. There is slightly more protection (definitely more control) if you're paying, but check what each hosting company offers - more importantly, what they don't.

My advice, unless you have an interest building your own website (for personal or business reasons) then stick with a free blogging platform. You don't have to make all these decisions, or go through a steep learning curve, just to blog about what you like. Always be diligent however, no-matter what option, to back-up a copy of your content, via the export tool.

Although the desire to have more protection, was in the forefront of my mind. The desire to start a website, was a personal reaffirmation about our property too. Which I've written about in my first blog post, on the new website. But I've got one little issue, I'm attempting to fix, before I can go live. Just one! So close.


  1. I'll be interested in how it goes for you. I have things sprinkled over several hosts as well, Blogger, Weebly, and Wordpress blog on a website hosted by Arvixe. In the end, keeping backups in multiple places is the safest route.

    1. Definitely wise to keep several places on the go - but really only if it's something you want to do. It becomes a chore otherwise. For me, it helps organise things better by having more (specific) options. But not so much I'm overwhelmed by them all. That's why I took this new website venture slowly, and didn't make any announcements until I was close to finishing. Honestly, this last technical hitch took me by surprise though. I'm patiently waiting for Weebly to fix the issue, as it's nothing I can do from my end.

  2. Thanks for that overview - makes good sense. We are still build our new wordpress site ..... it will be a while yet I think

    1. I'm glad I was able to explain it coherently, lol. There is such an enormous opportunity for information overload, when it comes to technology. You've definitely got the right approach, to take it slow and steady, in your own site build. :)

  3. Thanks for that info, Chris. Our simple living group uses Weebly. I will probably stick to Blogger for the time being as I am not blogging so much these days.

    1. Ah, great to know about the Simple Living group's website. Bloggers' a good platform, it's just a shame about the Google+ fiasco.

  4. Interesting Chris. Great info. I'm not sure Ill get around to changing my blog over, or that I should. Aside from Blogger removing google+ and losing a stack of comments as a result I'm otherwise mostly happy with Blogger. I have never had any security problems, though the odd bit of spam is currently sneaking through the filter.

    Im interested to see your new site when it's up and running!


  5. like Blogger too. Very user friendly. At least once you get used to it. I had the odd bit of spam getting through as well. So long as you check the option to notify you of comments, via email, you should catch 'em all. Like a pokemon trainer, lol


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