Another year, another blog update lol!... Last year I remember doing a significant version upgrade for my self-hosted Orchard CMS software on the DiscountASP hosting platform and it all seemed to work fine.. However I just happened to look at my site recently and it appears that something was broke as a whole chunk of content wasn't rendering at all. I have no idea how long it had been like that so it was somewhat frustrating. The version of Orchard that I was running wasn't anywhere near the latest (although it wasn't that ancient) so I could only hypothesize over the underlying root cause. In any case, I had little energy to try and perform another upgrade and/or fix the issue which was further compounded by the fact that I was fast falling out of love with Orchard CMS. It wasn't slick enough and creating blog posts was just a royal pain in butt at times hence not really blogging much lately.
I have wanted to sort out my blog for a while and moving to a SaaS type platform was high on my agenda rather than the existing PaaS type offering that I was on. I follow a number of other blogs and one that I like to read is security guru Troy Hunt and recently he blogged about moving to Ghost for a number of reasons so I thought I'd check it out.
At first glance I was pretty impressed. I was able to create an empty site with just a few clicks and creating posts seemed really quick and as it is all based on markdown. I can drag/drop images into the posts really easily and not have to faff around uploading etc. The other feature that I liked is the ability to use + force SSL through CloudFlare without costing anything more other than the base subscription. CloudFlare offer free accounts for very basic setups like mine by the way which come with a shared SSL certificate. Along with the usual other features such as custom domain, tagging, custom slugs, code injection, themes etc etc all out of the box, it seemed a no brainer to get on and get moved over especially as the basic package works out at $19 (paid yearly) which covers more than what I need.
The biggest factor for me in deciding to move was time and how much I value that time. Today, I'm middle aged with a family and hobbies and I don't want to spend personal time maintaining things when someone else can far more cheaply than I ever could. For less than 20 bucks per month, someone is watching my site, patching and backing it up as required and I can get on with the fun things in life. Economies of scale I suppose. A few years ago, I was always of the mindset to do things myself, from building my own machines to gutting and refitting my kitchen!.. now you get to a point where you just want to pay someone else to "do it" for you as even though you could, you don't want to. Time gets more valuable it seems. I've become a big fan of SaaS over the years and often look to the cloud first rather than think about self-hosting a particular technology solution.
I'll follow up with a more technical future post on my migration as I had to roll my own Orchard to Ghost Export/Import solution so although not SQL related as such (although Orchard ran on a SQLCE db), I think the experiences may help others looking to do the same.
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