This blog has been hosted on WordPress.com for many a year. It has, all in all, been a very pleasant experience: It feels like the uptime has been at least 110%, and most everything just works.
I’ve worked around the shortcomings of the platform, but the small annoyances have piled up, and this weekend I finally took the plunge.
The reason for doing it now instead of later was that WordPress.com seemed to experience a hickup a couple of days ago, and I thought that instead of bugging support with the problem, I’d just take it as an opportunity to get moving. The problem was that the admin pages suddenly started taking 15 seconds to load. I checked it out in the browser debugger, and it was the initial “GET /” thing that took 15.something seconds, but only if I was logged in. So they obviously had an auth component that was timing out, and falling back to a backup thing (and it’s been fixed now).
But I clicked “export”, created a new VM at DigitalOcean, and got importing.
And… it failed. It got a bit further every time, downloading all the media from the old blog, but then failed with “There has been a critical error on your website. Please check your site admin email inbox for instructions.”.
After doing that for about ten times (and no email), I checked the export XML file, and what did I find?
So I got a new export file (after waiting 15 seconds), and ran the import again… and it failed again the same way. So that wasn’t the problem after all?
I blew the VM away, started from scratch again, and this time skipped doing the import of the media, and that worked perfectly.
To do the media, I just scripted something do download all the images, and then I rsynced it over to the new instance. Seems to work fine, even if the images aren’t in the “media library” of WordPress, but I never cared about that anyway…
It’s even possible to copy over subscribers and stats from the old WordPress.com instance, but that requires help from the Automattic support people. And I’m flabbergasted at how efficient they are: I had two requests, and each time it took them less than five minutes to do the request and get a response. I’ve never seen customer support, I mean Happiness Engineering, that efficient before; ever. It almost made me regret doing the entire move to self-hosted blogging…
Anyway. This is a test! If this post is posted, the new WordPress instance works.