Goodbye Wordpress

Everything old is new.

Technology trends are cyclic, and sometimes we backtrack to ideas from the past that have fallen out of favor. Static site generators are a good example. They are starting to gain popularity again, the difference is that 10 years ago most sucked and looked pretty awful (also ironic is the trend of many sites returning to single column text, minimal formatting, of course the fonts and layout are nicer than what we had in the mid-90’s.) I’ve decided to jump on the bandwagon too. I’m tired of dealing with scores of automated attacks, maintaining databases, PHP, blah blah blah … all for a site that 1) generates no revenue 2) only has a few thousand visitors a month, and 3) I don’t contribute to on a regular basis.

I also made a few decisions based on traffic I receive. Almost all of my visitors land from search engines and are only interested in one topic, then move on. So really why clutter up the interface with navigation, and other nonsense that’s difficult to cull from a wordpress theme?

I am also ditching comments. For a few reasons, but keeping Spam out of the comments meant requiring every comment to be approved (despite some very capable plugins that caught most of the junk.) And I really wanted to remove all server-side processing on the site. Sure, there’s Disqus, but let’s be honest about what the internet has become … when a service is free on the Internet you are the product. How does Disqus make money? By tracking the visitors to websites that have it embedded, and selling that information to advertisers. It’s the same annoyance I have with most social sites.

So, I am trying out Octopress. In terms of how difficult it is to use, it’s definitely more complex, but it also drastically simplifies the maintenance of having a blog. I am not saddled with a database, frequently checking for security updates, worrying about plugins getting out of date, putting a caching layer in front of what is essentially static content, and scripting backups. I can use simple tools (vim, git, and ssh) to do most of the work and I can free up memory on my VPS for other things that I think are more important.

I’ll follow up with another post on where I ended up on my wordpress configuration, with a few tips on adding extra layers of security. There are some effective tricks I learned for locking it down that will be useful to others.