This blog is finally online, even after all of the struggle and confusion and seemingly aimless exploration. Let me tell you what happened:
The Story of this Blog
It all started when I decided that I needed my own website. If I was going to make this whole “starting a writing business” thing work, I needed to have my own platform where everything was 100% customizable and (somewhat) safer from the whims of the tech lords.
Yes… I know. I thought I could hide from the tech lords. (We all know they see all and control all.) That’s why the first thing I tried was building the website on IPFS (the InterPlanetary File System).
Essentially, IPFS is a way for the internet to work between planets. The creators of IPFS knew that if you tried to open a website from Earth on let’s say… Mars, then it would take at least three to twenty minutes for information in light waves to travel the distance between planets. That’s way too long for most stuff we do on the internet nowadays!
The way IPFS works is that whenever a website page (or file, or movie, or whatever) is transferred between devices, the device that receives it temporarily stores the website and allows other devices to access the file. That means even though it would take quite a while for the website to travel between planets the first time, it would take less than a few seconds the next time because devices could now access the file on Mars instead of Earth.
This ability to share files between users’ devices instead of just from one primary server makes IPFS a decentralized network. This means, among many things, that the tech lords will have a heck of a time messing with it.
Unfortunately, IPFS is not very compatible with the internet we have today. Because of this, the website I wanted to create would have needed to work well with the normal internet and IPFS. One option was to dual host it on both Amazon AWS and IPFS, but that would mean I would have two websites, not just one. (And I was slightly intimated by the AWS platform.)
The other option was using Cloudflare, a company that likes decentralized technologies. The main thing they offer is an excellent Content Delivery Network (CDN). A CDN creates a copy of your website and keeps it in places it’s popular so your website can get to people as fast as possible. (Less distance = faster internet speeds.)
Hmm… now that I’m looking at it again, they seem to have a rather cheesy-looking free option for their CDN. How did I miss that? Oh well, life’s life.
Another thing Cloudfare provides is an IPFS gateway, which is a bridge between the decentralized internet and the rest of the web. When a particular IPFS file is requested, an IPFS gateway copies that file from IPFS and then delivers it to whoever asked for it over the normal internet. In Cloudflare’s article on their gateway it says, “Using Cloudflare’s gateway, you can also build a website that’s hosted entirely on IPFS, but still available to your users at a custom domain name.”
Regardless of all that, I still haven’t totally figured out how their IPFS integration works. Supposedly they have one. I also heard that serving a website over a gateway can be really bad for SEO due to the gateway being slow or problems that come from forwarding your domain.
It was just all too confusing, and I wanted to get this blog online!
Months went by…………. [Musical Emotional Interlude]
At last, I turned to traditional hosting. Cheap, reliable, and easy to use, I was sure I’d find something. (But wait! Don’t think this is the last you’ve heard of IPFS.)
I already knew I should use WordPress and then find a hosting company for it. I mean, WordPress seemed to work well for 40% of websites. Plus, I was already somewhat familiar with it because of a photography blog I had way back when.
WordPress.com was the first. I thought I was on WordPress.org (big difference, by the way!), but apparently, I was not. Somehow I ended up creating the structure and multiple pages of the website before realizing that you have to pay $25 a month for the business plan to even use plugins! WordPress is all about plugins! WordPress is nothing without plugins!
Plus, the pricing for WordPress.com is terrible compared to other options. Especially considering that you can’t use plugins without the business plan.
After finally discovering the WordPress I was looking for on WordPress.org, I decided to find a hosting service that was affordable and one that would give me the FULL POWER of WordPress.
Eventually, I settled on three options: Bluehost, Dreamhost, and IONOS. IONOS was obviously the best option. They seemed trustworthy and convenient, and they had a good amount of storage, all for a killer first-year price ($1 a month). But I struggled with the decision for a week! I simply couldn’t spend money that might go to waste! (Wait a second… I knew they had a 30-day money-back guarantee…)
Finally, I explained the three options to my sister, Lael (who was sitting in the closet), telling her that “IONOS is obviously the best option.”
“Well why don’t you just buy it then?” she said.
“I just can’t!” I answered her. “What if it doesn’t work.”
“Buy it,” she commanded. “Just buy it! You need to buy it.”
After she pressured me to make the decision (sisters have great power), I bought it.
But I did not yet know how to harness the FULL POWER of WordPress, so after a long time of messing around and spending far too long on the magic of creating an effective and wonderful homepage, I deliver to you: JohnathansLiterature.com The happy home of all of my writings.