service dependability

I started out hosting this blog at home using my cable modem, Linksys router and Dns2go. Because cable modems have very low upstream bandwidth I decided to host all static content, images mostly, on a third party site. I found a low-cost provider in J White Computers, Inc. I needed something simple with FTP access and they had it.

Now that I have real hosting I don’t need it anymore, but it was working fine; I was happy with the setup, no complaints.

Except for this:

After six years of service, this site will cease to exist as of September 30, 2006 8:00 PM Eastern Time

Ouch. I have 762 images hosted there and I have thirty days to move them or else suffer very many red x’s on older links. So what I have done so far is download the complete set of images. I’m using Beyond Compare for this, so I don’t have to commit to moving everything at once and I can use a visual sync to make surely sure I’ve got everything. Next I’ll be uploading them to my real servers and doing some search and replace through the database and editing my blog skins.

The challenge is that I have two web servers that are doing load balancing. So I need to keep those two servers in sync. I am going to attempt to use FolderShare for this part, since that is already configured for some other folders. Windows Live Writer and Subtext both support newMediaObject in the MetaWeblog API so I can skip the FTP this time.

The moral of this story is just to assume that your online service provider will eventually a) die b) get sold to some unsavory conglomerate c) suffer prolonged outages. If you go in with that attitude from the beginning you can be saved the heart wrench later on.

So keep copies of those Gmails, the images in Flickr (use little syncr) and your del.icio.us bookmarks on a disk somewhere. J-I-C.

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