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One Great WordPress Plug-in: WP Smush.it

wordpress-logo As mentioned previously, some weeks ago I moved this site into a brand new VPS. Such a move is pretty transparent to readers, but gave me a chance to rework the site, enhancing the WordPress installation in some interesting ways. I think that some of what I’ve recently discovered might be useful to others.

This new WordPress installation has been refined with respect to how it handles media. One of the niceties that I’ve discovered is a WordPress plug-in called WP Smush.it. This plug-in leverages a Yahoo API to automatically implement a best practices approach to optimizing images as they are uploaded to the site.

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Meta: New VPS Launched

hp-compaq-8510p-comp Not all progress is obvious without careful examination. Much of my time working on this site has, for the past week, revolved around getting the entire thing moved to a new virtual server…not that you would likely notice.

After some well documented effort (part 1, part 2 & part 3) to move from a shared host to a VPS, it ran well, essentially untouched, for over a year. UnmeteredVPS.net has proven a responsive and reliable hosting provider.

However, over that time there were a great many patches to the software (LAMP) that are the foundation of a WordPress installation. In July I found that something I wanted to do required updating PHP to a much newer version.

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Blog Hosting Quality Update

Recently Pingdom published another in a series of reports documenting their findings about the reliability of various large blog hosts. It seems that in the months of October & November 2010 Google’s Blogger platform managed perfect (100%) uptime, while tumblr (96.81%) was the least reliable blog host.

As I am a WordPress user, and I started this blog at  WordPress.com, it’s interesting to note that WordPress.com was the second best host, with 99.99% blog uptime and no single outage lasting more than four minutes. That seems impressive to me.

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Reader Voice Comments Officially Launched

You may have noticed the widget that I added to the sidebar about a week ago. Inspired by hearing about Voxeo’s Phono on a recent VUC call I decided that I’d like to provide a mechanism for readers to leave comments in the form of a voice message.

This seemed like it would be really easy, even though I’m not a developer. I was particularly happy to see that there is a WordPress plugin called WordPhone that makes this practical for the complete newby.

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Blogging In Transition: A Host Of Issues – Act Three

There’s nothing like your site going down routinely to lend a sense of urgency to the search for an alternative hosting solution. While my circumstance was not quite as dire as that pictured right, it certainly felt similar.

The newly live server at VPS.NET was crashing at least once every day or two, but it remained live while I poked around the TKL web site investigating the other hosting providers that had partnered with the project. The biggest was Amazon’s EC2, but recent events lead me to shy away from Amazon for my own purposes.

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Blogging In Transition: A Host Of Issues – Act Two

Welcome to act two of our little saga, whereupon our protagonist, having found that his existing shared blog host is now unreliable, has set out in search of a new host. A private host. Very possibly a virtual host. In fact, the situation has become very cloudy indeed.

In some regards the growth of a blog such as this, and the related hosting issues, is a little like being a teenager. Living at your parents home is very cheap, but you’re limited in what you can do, and the sort of traffic that they will allow. Ultimately your desire for freedom will force you to find your own place to live, where you have greater control of what goes on, even if that means you always have to clean up after yourself.

The decision to seek a more private host is only one step in this migratory process. The next question that arises is, “what kind of host?” Windows? Linux? If Linux, what distribution? Which supporting applications? How much CPU, memory, storage, etc?

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