Moving Elsewhere

I’ve been running the blog here for almost four years, but the recent spate of comment spam has made me reconsider my options. The comment spam seems to be under control for the time being, but I know it’s only a matter of time before it comes back again.

So I’m thinking that maybe I should consider a hosted blog. Let someone else’s servers take the brunt of the comment spam. I might even be able to turn trackbacks back on.

Hosting my own blog has obvious advantages. I have complete control over how the blog looks (yes, I take complete responsibility for the crap design) and I can even dig into the raw database if the need ever arises (which, to be honest, it rarely does). But not having my server brought down every few days by what effectively amounts to a denial of service attack would massively outweigh those considerations.

There are a number of hosted blog systems to choose from. Maybe it makes sense for me to use something from Six Apart as their systems are likely to be closest to the Movable Type system that I’m used to.

So that gives me Live Journal and Typepad to look at (actually, I’ve tried Live Journal before and didn’t really like it). And I understand that their new system Vox might well launch today – so that’s something else to investigate.

There are also other systems like Blogger and Yahoo! 360 or even MSN Spaces and My Space.  [Update (Jan 2018): Yahoo! 360 and MSN Spaces were both closed some time ago and those links are no longer useful. These days, the only game in town for hosted blogging is WordPress.]

So what am I looking for? Easily configurable templates for the appearance of the blog. The ability to incorporate external RSS feeds and things like my Flickr and Technorati links. It would be nice if I could import all of the (1000+) entries from this blog so that the blog history is in the same place as the new entries (and, of course, the ability to export all of the entries for when I decide to move elsewhere later). Free would be good, but I don’t mind paying a few quid every month.

If anyone has experience of using a hosted blog service and has any opinions, then I’d love to hear them.

3 thoughts on “Moving Elsewhere

  1. Chris,Thanks for the suggestion, but I think that’s addressing a slightly different problem. I already have a pretty good comment moderation system. None of the comment spam gets anywhere near to being published on the site.My problem is the sheer numbers of requests that are made to the site – sometimes I see the server trying to handle dozens of requests simultaneously. Something like Jeff’s verification system won’t achieve anything. I’ll still get the same number of requests to handle.Or am I missing something?

  2. I used Typepad for ‘A lemon tree of our own’ for pretty much the reasons you mentioned – I didn’t want the hassle of setting up another MT install, or handling the spam ir installing the plug-ins or breaking it every six months when I upgrade. But I’m very familiar with the MT tags and layouts and didn’t want to learn a whole new thing.The pro account on Typepad lets you control all of the templates, although it is a little bit more complicated than the standard set of Movable Type templates because of the number of modules and micro-modules included.The downside of hacking your templates together is that they keep announcing all these great new features that I can’t use because I’ve gone down the roll-my-own route. At some point I might revisit trying to replicate the “design” just with a CSS overlay on the default template set.On the whole it has suited me fine so far – although I have a couple of gripes about the UI of the application when you are posting.

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