The last half year or so I've slowly made my way into blogging again. One of my plans was to consolidate all the various blogs that I forked out of this one back into it again. The events of the last week can probably regarded as a fortuitous push in that direction.
It started with several of my blogs, namely Medienschelte and Selfhostedweb, going offline, then extended to my whole webspace (provided by Webhostingbuzz) getting suspended for spam. After contacting their support to ask what's up (the e-mail from their abuse department had ended up in my spam folder), I found out that apparently scripts on my webspace were sending out spam mail. Not that surprising, considering that for some reason or other, malicious scripts always found their way into my Wordpress installations, despite using plugins like Wordfence or Succuri which, if not prevent it, at least alert me of events like that.
So, after they had run their malware scans, then graciously cleaned my webspace of the offending files they'd found, I logged on myself checked my webspace for more possibly malicious files, ran a plethora of malware scans, re-installed various Wordpress installations and changed passwords. A few hours later my webspace was suspended again.
The whole spiel started again, but after having my whole account suspended again and again, during the course of four or five days, I called it quits. I asked them to at least keep my account active until I'd had time to back up whatever I'd had on there, then asked them to kindly cancel my account.
As an aside, if you're looking into renting webspace, make sure to either pay per month or check whether they have pro-rated refunds. I did neither and subsequently lost half a year's investment into my webspace. So, you live and learn.
On towards Ghost
Anyway, there I was, five sites backed up on my hard-drive, not sure where to go from there. I have two other sites hosted on Gandi.net, and while I'm very happy with their service, I thought that maybe it was time to take a look at Ghost, the open-source, NodeJS based blogging platform as an alternative to yet another Wordpress installation. Over at hemmer.tv, my developer's playground, I'd set up Ghost a few weeks ago already.
I chose to go with yet another VPS set up on Digital Ocean, which is where I'm running the above website as well. They offer a one-click Ghost installation, which was created within literally minutes.
Ghost provides a good Wordpress plugin to export posts from Wordpress, which I'd used before to export all my 995 posts. While the plugin doesn't file attachments like images, the plugin works with Cloudinary, to which I uploaded my pictures before.
But stories wouldn't be good stories if road-blocks weren't encountered. The road-block emerged in the way of my import resulting in a rather obtuse "Import Failed". Not sure whether my import file was corrupt, I created a free trial account on Ghost's hosted service. There my import file worked without a hitch. Weird, right?
It took me about four days, repeated searching, posting in support forums, opening tickets with Digital Ocean and writing a mail to Ghost support (who were all exceptionally nice and forthcoming), until I'd finally found out that the reason my import failed had to do with Digital Ocean using SQLite on their one-click installs, whereas Ghost's hosted instances used mySQL. I found a concise how-to on switching databases, and lo and behold, all my 995 posts were successfully imported.
This tale of peril and ultimately success concluded, here we are now, on my new, Ghost-hosted version of Stormgrass.com.
So, what was imported and what wasn't?
As Ghost doesn't handle comments natively, none of my comments were exported. I could've done that with Disqus, but I honestly just forgot about it. It's a bit of a shame that the rather interesting discussion about a post I wrote on one of Coldplay's songs is gone (that post proved to be my most popular one, by a wide margin), but to put it with the words of Kurt Vonnegut: So it goes.
Also, all my permalinks have changed, effectively breaking all links to my posts, wherever they might be scattered on the web. It'll probably wreak havoc with my Google visibility as well, but again: So it goes.
Most posts with galleries are broken, as are many pictures themselves. The Ghost-export plugin did a good job with most of them, but considering that many of my posts themselves were imported from other blogs (like deathbymartini, colordisco or stormgrass.com/tech), it's actually a surprise that any images still remain. I'll be fixing those if I encounter them, if I don't, they'll keep being broken as a testament to these trials and tribulations.
Finally: while this blog might be up again, selfhostedweb and medienschelte (as well as my sister's and my girlfriend's websites, which I had hosted on my previous host) are still offline. I'm still trying to figure out an easy way to get them up and running again (and keeping them from being compromised again in the future).
And what's next?
Well, to tie that in with my intro: in the course of this whole mess I've made true on my promise to consolidate all my blogs again. So from now on you'll find posts about food, tech, debauchery and whatever else I have a burning to desire to disseminate. Good times!