This is the final wrap up on my experiences moving us from local hosting over a T1 to remote hosting using satellite Internet.
First, satellite sucks. Clarke Maxwell explained way back in the 1840s that you will have a half second ping to anywhere. Isaac Newton explained 200 years before that, why it will always be expensive and bassackward.
And the Reagan Revolution explained 30 years ago why rural Americans have the same broadband options as residents of Congo. (Dialup works because the Roosevelts, Teddy and Franklin between them, made the telephone company a regulated utility that had to deliver or get shut down, before Reagan could sell us out to Wall St.)
The price of a T1 is insane as well. It’s a dedicated pair from the CO, and if the local switch is really neandertal, back to Manchester. Clear the traps and add RS-422 drivers. A one time $100 on top of a burglar alarm connection would be fair. About $500/month less than I was paying. Can you tell I’m an unhappy camper with a degree in electrical engineering?
Moving our WordPress installations from one server to another just doesn’t quite work. I first tried exporting and importing the databases, using PHPMyAdmin. This almost worked, but it did require switching DNS at the same time. And I had to leave DNS on the old server thinking it was still www.mackhillfarm.com.
I suppose I might try using PHPMyAdmin to edit the settings before I export. That seems dangerous: I mean I’ve got backups, but, it could be a mess.
The next time I tried the export-import using WordPress itself. That avoided some PITA stuff that made me try two or three times with PHPMyAdmin. However it left my blogroll and various plugin settings behind. I can see how it could be tricky to do the plugin settings, but come on, the blogroll?
I tried to upgrade Thesis as part of the migration. This was a mistake. I should have upgraded to 1.6 first. Copying my old Custom folder didn’t work because 1.6 has two stylesheets instead of one. I still haven’t figured out where OpenHook stores its’ data. I had to send my code to gmail to paste it back in. That’s better than hacking on template files, but there’s still room for improvement.
There was one final gotcha: Our instances are so old that I had to set up friendly URLs (both people and search engine ) myself, using the .htaccess file and mod_rewrite on Apache. WordPress now supports friendly URLs on its own, just a teensy bit different than the ones I set up years ago. I had been going to accept the temporary hit in googlerank and switch to the built in version, but because there are links all over Lisa’s Flickr stream, I had to rebuild my original version. It took about ten minutes once I figured out the problem but it’s ten minutes every time I move, for the next forever.