Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

(Temporarily) Switched to WordPress

This is a blog post I hoped I would never have to make. I have switched (temporarily) to WordPress.

As those of you who have been reading this blog since the early days will know, I have been using Movable Type since September 2002 – a grand total of 5 1/2 years. I was one of those who defended it in 2004 when Movable Type 3.0 came out with its more restrictive licensing. I beta-tested several releases, namely 3.2, 3.3 and 4.0 (and would have tested 4.1 if I had the time). I have tried to answer criticism of MT on other peoples’ blogs when I have felt it unfair. And yet, here I am, on a fresh installation of WordPress.

The reason for switching is only partially MT’s fault, however. Today I had an email from my host about the amount of CPU time this site is using – 110 minutes per day when my allowance is 30. I blame this on 3 factors:

  1. In its default configuration, MT isn’t the most efficient application out there. It’s based on Perl, which when used through CGI is slow and draws a lot of CPU time.
  2. However, my host doesn’t offer me any ways to help to rectify this. Movable Type supports FastCGI and memcached, which can dramatically improve performance through caching.
  3. I’m also a massive target for comment spam, and this causes a lot of load on the Movable Type scripts.

My host has given me a week to sort out the problem or upgrade to a more expensive package which provides more CPU time. As I believe it is comments which are primarily causing the problems, I have shut off comments in Movable Type (which is still live on the server). However, it also means I cannot receive comments on posts like this one, and this is just the sort of post that I want comments about – carry on reading if you want to comment. So I set up WordPress on here, partly so that I can carry on blogging while MT has been voluntarily crippled and partly to see what WordPress is like before I make a final decision.

And it’s this final decision I want help with. This is potentially one of the biggest changes that this blog has undergone since 2002 and so I don’t want to go into it lightly, so please comment here with your opinions about what I should do.
Essentially, these my options at the moment:

  1. Switch to WordPress and stay with current host
  2. Move to a new host and stay with Movable Type
  3. Stay with my current host and upgrade to a higher package

In terms of loyalty I’m probably more loyal to MT than I am to my host – so I would prefer to take my data and move somewhere else. I’m paying for my hosting by month so cancelling wouldn’t be too difficult; however, my host also has my domain name tag so that would need to be transferred too, which could take a while. I have a quote for another host who charges about the same as at present, but offers the performance-enhancing features that I am missing presently; this would solve the problem of high CPU usage and also provide better performance for visitors – I’m sure many regular commenters will have seen a blank page while commenting recently. Upgrading to a more expensive package would mean spending 150% more per month, which I can’t really justify right now, and I don’t need any more disk space or bandwidth allowance than I receive now so it would probably be a waste of money.

There is also the fact that Movable Type 4.15 is in beta which will bring performance improvements, so I want to try it out before committing to a decision.

As for switching to WordPress, it would be stepping into the unknown. I haven’t used WP since version 1.5 and to be honest I wasn’t massively impressed (again, long-time readers will remember I experimented with WP when MT 3 came out). Though I understand there are more plugins than you can shake a stick at, I am worried that I won’t be able to do many things that I can currently do with MT. For example, I’d like solid OpenID support, the ability to cross-post entries to LiveJournal and possibly Vox, and support for static pages for things like the Atom feed and index page.

There’s also the issue of security as I know that WordPress has had more published security vulnerabilities than MT and several people I know have had their sites defaced because of flaws in WP. And last time I tried WordPress (again we’re talking 2004 here) the templating was difficult compared to MT which gives you total control over your pages; hopefully this has been sorted.

So what do you guys think I should do? And do you have any other suggestions?

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