Apr 302013

I’ve mentioned to a few people in passing (and some can tell just by looking): this site switched from Drupal version 6 to WordPress version 3 in December 2012. I’d been on Drupal since November 2010; on ANHosting since December 2010. I didn’t rush to a decision. There had been months of consideration and several factors which led to the switch.

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Jan 122012

I just ate at Così and realized I’m sitting next to Dries Buytaert, the founder of Drupal. The world is a small place sometimes.

Remember, even the greatest humans of all time were just people. You can be great, too, if you work. And with a little luck at the right time, you can be amazing.

Aug 142011

AN Hosting recently relocated to a Seattle datacenter. As part of this process, my site is now running on a much more modern server (AMD Opteron 6100-series Magny Cours vs. Intel Xeon 5400-series Harpertown).

Unfortunately, a new server and new install can mean software changes. AN Hosting has tightened up the security settings on PHP. Better security is always a good thing, but it means the Drupal command line utility drush no longer works out of the box. (For those that don’t know drush – please give it a chance. It provides near foolproof Drupal core/module/theme upgrades as well as command-line control of your Drupal sites.)

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Jan 042011

I have been using AN Hosting since November 2010 to host this Drupal site. Finding a responsible shared hosting provider was certainly not an easy task. There are a staggering number of hosts available, along with a huge number of rather questionable “review” websites. I was forced to come up with a list of hosting providers that seemed decent and then individually research them one-by-one. I’m hoping that my experience and real-world performance/uptime report will be useful to others.

This post was last updated 2011-11-20

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Sep 042010

I’ve now been using Drupal on 6by9.net for a year. The flexibility and variety of add-on modules has been great, but there is a definite learning curve. I would not expect casual users to have any fun at all, and the management interface is fairly daunting. Once you dive below the user interface, adding/modifying/updating modules or Drupal itself, the headaches can really begin.

So, even though I’m a highly technical user/administrator, I’m quite ambivalent. Using Drupal has been great. Administering Drupal has been demanding.

Updating modules is a painless process. You unpack the new tar and run an update script. I haven’t had any serious bugs, although the last update did raise a couple errors I had to double check (just to make sure they weren’t critical).

Updating to new versions of Drupal is serious work. You have to replace the entire site directory with the new version and then pull in the changes you have made (modules, themes, files, settings file, etc). I haven’t found a great way to automate this, yet, although I certainly would if my site were larger.

One trick I’ve found very useful regards module settings. All the non-core modules must be disabled before the update. You then have to go back through all the modules (often several pages long) after the update. Instead of manually keeping track of which modules were previously enabled, try this:

  • Pull up a new window in your browser and point it to the page of module settings (usually example.com/admin/build/modules).
  • Don’t make any changes – just put the window aside until you’re done with the updates.
  • After your Drupal directory has been updated and you’ve put all your site files back where they belong, go back to your browser window with module settings. Scroll to the bottom and hit save.
  • Depending on what modules you had enabled, Drupal may prompt you to confirm that certain dependency modules also be enabled.
  • Done! Now run through the myriad module updates that are probably needed.