Blog fixes and self-hosting is killing me

Returning to a self-hosted blog is always an adventure in and of itself. That is one way to put it.

When I think back on my very first blog in 2001, the world on the interwebs was still simple: make a Blogger account, automatically host on blogspot, don’t worry about being spammed, invaded or sued. Publish posts to your heart’s content while the sun is shining down on your keyboard. Somewhere between 2010 and today, I made the decision to self-host after Google bought Blogger and gradually dismantled everything to do with the service, support and feedreader. I realize people still use Blogger for convenience but Google treated it like an ugly stepchild and that never sat well with me. I was also suspicious of the copyright situation around blogging on a hosted platform and I really wanted threaded comments. Hence my journey to export my then blog, Raging Monkeys, to a self-hosted WP blog.

I recall this being a relatively painless procedure thanks to the fact that a) many other bloggers, including WoW bloggers had done it before me and b) there were plugins to help with things like feed redirection, perma-link redirection and importing posts and comments. It’s pretty amazing to me now really, considering things have become such a headache ever since.

Security headers, blogrolls and where the hell is my feed?

Nowadays of course, nothing comes easy anymore. Self-hosting means I am running version updates for WordPress, Jetpack and many other essential plugins on an almost weekly basis. I’ve had to figure out how to buy and install my own SSL certificate for the blog because my webhost doesn’t automatically take care of that. Oh, how I love the CPanel!

Site health

Since returning to the blog this year, I’ve also noticed a new cockpit feature telling me about my overall site health. This seems wonderful but is actually every layman’s worst nightmare because half of the recommendations might as well have been written in a different language. What are security headers? Why do I need a persistent object cache? What or who is “utf8mb4” and why do they need an update? I am not prepared!

After consulting mates, browsing the forums and opening my own threads to deal with the more important risk factors, I’m now at a point where the relevant security headers seem fine at least. Or maybe not but that’s what is telling me, anyway. I’ve also been dealing with the uncoupling of my blog’s feed from the old feedburner which has become buggy and slow. Whenever I publish new posts, they seem to take hours or days sometime to show up on feedreaders or blogrolls, so I had to reverse-engineer what I’ve done (apparently, because I don’t remember!) several years ago on feedburner. I now know where to find my .htaccess file and what to do with it, it’s a whole new world!

My blog’s feed now seems to work the way it should, that is /feed does no longer redirect to anything. It is found at “” which is the standard for most blogs. I’ll have to see if that fixed all issues (feedback is appreciated!), either way it’s good to be rid of feedburner. Speaking of blogrolls, I have given up any attempt to simulate the old blogger blogroll on the sidebar. After too many frustrating attempts with different plugins, all of which seem to NOT work one way or another, I’ve had to content myself with some block-code widget. It’s not pretty, it’s not alphabetic and it won’t change order according to time published which is why I’m calling it the “Bad Blogroll”. Still, it’s essentially the information I want and a semblance of normalcy. I’ve started adding more blogs now and shall be on the lookout for more as I rediscover the gaming blogosphere!


  1. I totally understand your complaints about Google’s ownership of Blogger. While it certainly does feel like the ugly stepchild, Blogger likely still hangs around because Google hasn’t truly thought about it in ages. About the most that Google has done is change the Analytics hooks from the old UA format to G4A. While I’d love for Google to actually maintain and improve things about Blogger, particularly interactions between Blogger and other Google entities (such as a feed for updates to YouTube entries), if it means that Blogger will continue to survive on its own for an indefinite period I’m fine with that.

    I really don’t want to have to migrate almost 15 years’ worth of blogs to another site!

    On the bright side, taking care of HTTPS properly means you’re brought into alignment with current EU standards, which are honestly more stringent than anything in the US. I personally try to keep PC up to EU standards, so I can understand your frustration of not paying attention to your blog when all of this went down several years ago.

    1. I certainly hope that Google will leave Blogger alone for your sake, for the foreseeable future. I’m surprised it’s still around but they seem to see some benefit there (or maybe it’s just too big a hassle to adress). It’s a good platform to get a blog up real quick for whatever purpose.
      And while it would certainly suck having to migrate, I think there’s something cool about a fresh new start with a new blog; I don’t think I would migrate my blog again these days, I would just start a new one. There’s always if Blogger fails you one day!

  2. In my opinion, the fact that Google ignores Blogger and never really adds or changes anything there is a *huge* positive. I wish all the services I use would just leave well alone. I struggle to think of any updates to any of them that have ever improved a single thing. In most cases all the functionality that was needed was there in the first instance and everything else is a downgrade.

    If Google ever does decide to close Blogger down, I hope some other company will come in with an almost-as-simple version to pick up all the displaced customers, the way Feedly did with Google Reader. If I had to use WordPress or self-host I’d probably just give up blogging altogether. I certainly wouldn’t be up for jumping through the kind of hoops I’ve repeatedly read people complaining about.

    1. I used to think about switching to LiveJournal, but since LJ is now owned by a Russian group, that’s not much of an option.

    2. Well, you can always use if Blogger disappears, that one is also a simple solution. I agree in some ways it’s good that Google is leaving it alone, as long as they keep up security updates and the more crucial aspects of maintaining the platform. I don’t want to end up not being able to read US blogs in Europe because they don’t keep up with things like data privacy.
      And while it’s certainly a hassle to self-host, one big benefit is that I’ve taught myself a lot of IT skills I otherwise would never have. This actually started with my first Blogger blog where I taught myself to read HTML and CSS so I could change the templates to my liking. 🙂

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