Goodbye MovableType, hello WordPress

Posted on Tue 27 November 2012 in About the site, WebDev & Code

Finally I've got around to updating my blog from MovableType to Wordpress.

[caption id="attachment_646" align="alignleft" width="300"]Steves original movable type blog How the old blog looked[/caption]

If you're looking at this today (and maybe for another month.. or year) you'll see the template is still the default Wordpress template. Eventually I'll update it but for now at least the content from all the old posts is still visible.

The move has come about because of a number of reasons:

1) Spam. There was too much comment spam. Most didn't get past the spam filter but every attempted post was a load on the server. At times the server was overloaded by spammers trying to post.  The anti-spam features stopped almost all of them but it was annoying me.  I say this knowing there's probably even more spammers trying to break Wordpress....

2) Server Migration.  The old server is being retired.  My web host gandi.net has introduced a new service where instead of having a fully managed 'virtual private server' (VPS) they run a 'platform' they call 'simplehost'.  Simple host has a number of advantages

  • It has a built in web cache for performance
  • They keep all the software up to date (PHP, Mysql, etc)
  • It costs less than their VPS (less than half for roughly equivalent performance)
  • It scales easier than a VPS (in the unlikely event one of my posts becomes popular I can up the power for a short time to handle it and lower it once the world moves on)

It has a number of disadvantages

  • I don't get full control. Limited control of PHP settings, limited Cron options, no Perl, no Ruby, no Nginx.  It's just plain LAMP (Linux Apache Mysql PHP)
  • Each vhost can only have one domain pointed to it. Although I've got the Wordpress Network working by using symbolic links and actually this might make my spread of domains and subdomains being used somewhat neater (I have lots of vanity domains pointed here, steveroot.co.uk/com/sroot.eu).
  • I only get one login (so where I used to host a few friends and gave them SSH access to upload their files, I can't do that any more because they could access all the sites and accidentally break something. Note that only applies for those that need to upload things, where they login through a web interface like with Wordpress I can still host that for them, or they can send me the files they want uploaded like my sister in Australia does.).

3) If I put my blog on the simplehost service I no longer have Perl which is the software MovableType runs on.  Wordpress uses just PHP so that's another motivator to switch

4) A lot of friends are using Wordpress for different things.  I've had to use it for a couple of community/charity projects I've been involved with so I thought I might as well learn how to use it full. I actually had it running on the old server too but just as an experiment a year or so ago.

Which is best?  I honestly don't find much difference between them so far.  Although any code alterations I want to do should be easier in wordpress (I've coded PHP in the past but never Perl) I found there was always an open plugin that did the job and that's been good enough for me.  After all, I'm just typing rubbish for my own benefit anyway :-)

Next post - some notes on the migration method.