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.

Tuesday, April 23, 2019

Pauses and practice

The house is quiet. Kids are back at school today. Mercifully, the chocolate has gone back into hiding again. Yesterday, we had visitors from Brisbane, and enjoyed the art of all-day conversations. But the introvert in me, is grateful for the stillness, now. I can gather my thoughts, to plan the next steps.

Pauses on my blog, are normally due to one of a few things. I'm either peculating ideas, which need time to take form. Or busy working in the background, on the mundane and/or extraordinary aspects of my life. Family needs me. I need me. Or the words just won't come. But the pauses, always give me new things to write about, later on. So they are productive, in their own way.

Recycled coffee jars and used chocolate wrappers ~ 
make Bunny themed presents, for relatives

I was wondering when I would mention something, I'm working on, in the background through the pauses, though. Something new to do with my blog. It involves, all of the "few" things I mentioned above, and so many more new things, to learn and put into practice.


So I'm working on building my own website. A new home for Gully Grove. I won't be closing this blog down, because I'm respectful of the links, others have been so kind to put on their blogs. Plus I don't want to lose, documenting over ten years of our lives. I will still post here, when it has to do with Sourdough, or things which may not have a lot, to do with our property's development. But I will always link to the new website, here, when I write a new post about the property.

Brown paper bags, and used chocolate wrappers ~
also make Bunny themed gifts

I'll share all the reasons why I'm changing, later. But it was time to make a declaration about it. Making it real, instead of a "maybe" that was still creating pauses in writing this blog. It's rather mundane and tedious, to put a website together - but also extraordinary, I can even try. I look forward to unveiling this new development, in full. Soon, I hope!

May you have enjoyed the holiday, just past (safe and sound) ready to pay respects to the Anzacs, next.