In 2000 or so I bought the idiotprogrammer.com domain. I had intended it to be my professional portfolio site, with some bloggy articles on it. This would contrast that with my personal domain imaginaryplanet.net which would contain my (nonpseudonymous) personal/creative stuff. About 5 or 10 years ago, I decided not to renew the domain because I was posting most of my stuff on imaginaryplanet.
This tends to happen. It’s easy to buy a web domain, and with current web hosting, it’s not that hard to maintain or pay for it. (It’s like $10 a year?). It’s kind of a rip-off, but so what. By the way, there’s something coming down the pike that should worry indie websites like this in. As of October, Chrome is going to give a security warning for visitors who go to non-https sites. I’ve always known about https, but setting it up was a pain, and it usually involved paying a third party to validate your certificate.
I understand the reasons for this security upgrade on the browser, but there a lot of non-https WordPress sites out there, most run by individuals who don’t have the time or resources or expertise to convert to https. I’ll be implementing it probably on my commercial site (still a work in progress, no link yet) and probably on this blog, but this will definitely make me reconsider the old “let’s buy a domain and stick a blog on it” strategy. This may mean migrating projects over to wordpress.com or other larger hosts or simply dispensing with the idea that one needs to buy a domain at all.
WordPress doesn’t have ironclad security, but it has served me pretty well over the years. Also, I check in often enough to this site that I can apply the automatic updates pretty seamlessly. (To be fair, my excellent hosting service GREENGEEKS does send me emails about necessary updates). At the same time I am less enamored of php scripted sites as viable long term. If you abandon any php application for more than a year or two, chances are that the site can be easily hacked. I assume that the php community has probably taken countermeasures to prevent this — and probably the wordpress community has as well, but it doesn’t give me confidence.
I like the idea of completely separating the front end from the content management system. The content management system can be under whatever scripting language you want, but it deploys non-hackable code on the domain itself. I know Plone was that kind of system, and probably by now there are several others. But frankly, I haven’t kept up with content management developments as much as I would have liked, and frankly, the non-Wordpress choices seem to involve either 1)signing up a web application (like Medium, WordPress.com) and producing all your content inside it or 2)running a beastly php system like Drupal which requires a fair amount of advanced knowledge. WordPress has still been the happy path for most people, and once you marry a system, it can be hard to initiate divorce proceedings.
Anyway, these are random thoughts to preface some old content from my idiotprogrammer.com which I forgot to transfer to imaginaryplanet. Every once in a while I remember some great thing I wrote a long time ago, and then crap, I realized that it’s not there anymore! I can’t tell you how many times the wayback machine has saved my derriere, but alas, now it appears that the new owners of idiotprogrammer.com has blocked indexers, so the wayback machine is no longer archiving it. Bummer! Then apparently after one of my domains was hacked, I still was able to find one wayback snapshot which was not hacked.
Permit me to rant about people who buy existing domains when they expire. I don’t want to claim that my sites are particularly marvelous, but I find amazing how often a new owner will just squat on a domain and do absolutely nothing with it! Why on earth would you buy up someone’s personal domain, pay $10 per year to maintain it, and then do absolutely nothing to it. It’s better to have old content lying somewhere on a domain than absolutely nothing. Perhaps the underlying problem are those pesky domain renewal fees which over the long term makes all domains unusable and uninteresting. There will come a time when facebook.com, ibm.com and microsoft.com won’t have any content on them; it’s coming sooner than you think.
I’m going to make a bet — somebody prove me wrong! I predict that in 50 years, facebook.com, ibm.com and microsoft.com will essentially be abandoned domains. Perhaps for cultural reasons facebook.com will provide legacy access to people’s old profiles. On the other hand, archive.org , teleread.org, nytimes.com, and hopefully imaginaryplanet.net will still be around — and have accessible snapshots on archive.org — that is, unless the new owners have blocked it.