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Moving this site to dreamhost

Remember when I told you how much I liked Movable Type? Well like all software it caused me immediate problems.

By Administrator on May 29, 2011 6:37 PM

The first problem was installing Movable Type on 1&1, my web host. All kinds of grief until I learned that FileZilla seems to know what transfers to make ASCII and what files to send up binary. The completely retarded procedure of downloading the Movable Type zip file, only to be told to move the directory mt-static out of the MT-5.1-en top-level directory. Retardation continues when they tell you to rename MT-5.1-en to mt. They then tell you to install it in cgi-bin, but you only get to see that directory if you are a total geek building your own UNIX web server and have root access to the entire operating  system. It took about 12 tries, I created a cgi-bin directory under open-sport.org and the the mt directory in that. then you move mt-static under open-sport.org. Then they make you fiddle around with file permissions. They want you to connect with secure shell layers and type grep geekl gobbledygook to do all this. Thankfully FileZilla lets you right click and change permissions. Why Movable Type does not just set the frigging file permission in the zip file is a mystery to me.

So after all kinds of misery, I finally get movable type to actually respond. but the wizard that is supposed to make the installation so easy and care-free does not work. So then I learn about modifying the mt-config.cgi-original file and renaming mt-config.cgi. You put in paths and the database info for the cgi database you create in your 1&1 web panel for Movable Type. Don't forget to give it the right file permissions or you waste a few more hours of your precious life.

After a mind-boggling about of misery, you finally will get MT5-Pro installed. Then when you go to make your very first entry on your very first blog. 1&1 gives you "500 internal server error". This is good for another week or so of wasting your life. It never goes away. 1&1 don't care.

So then I rip that Movable Type Pro installation out and install Movable Type 5 open-source. That goes a bit better, and I can then spend a lot of time setting up the site and blog pages and just doing tons and tons of work. So the Movable Type works fine until you get about 10 entries across different blogs and when you do a really big important one with pictures, then the creeps at 1&1 give you a "500 internal server error".

A tangential discourse--- Game theorists study human behavior in a game called the prisoner's dilemma. It is an exercise in trusting another prisoner so you both get treated a little better, versus screwing him so you get even better treatment, but less than the combined good treatment of both prisoners. Recent computer simulations show that the best survival strategy is to trust the other prisoner unconditionally, until he screws you once, then never ever ever ever ever ever ever trust that vermin pig again. End of tangential discourse.

So rather than spend a week with the 1&1 "support" department, only to get jacked around, and only to live in fear that the next blog post will cause the dreaded "500 internal server error", I decided to move to a different web host.

A quick visit to the Movable Type forums confirmed that 1&1 starves their servers for resources so Movable Type gets these 500 server errors. This is retarded since web hosts should love Movable Type since it loads their servers running scripts only when you publish a page. That page is static html and Apache just whips it out the door with no scripts or programs running, unlike Wordpress that runs a whole slew of programs every time a reader looks at your page.

Reading the movable Type forums brought up two web hosts that work well with Movable Type. Pair Networks, and Dreamhost. Pair is $16 a month,  but they do have a cheap deal but it is like it is from a different company. Dreamhost is 10 bucks a month, they have spam assassin and other good things. Neither of them support long email lists on their SMTE server so that is schawaked if you have a lot of friends. 1&1 might be retards, but the way they deal with it is that the email takes a long time if it has a lot of recipients. That way you can sent to 200 people, it just might take a half-hour for the email to go.

Dreamhost assured me that if I wanted to upgrade to a VPS (virtual private server) for $35 a month it would be transparent to me-- just pay more and the performance would be there. That turns out to be very important because......

Movable Type installations are essentially unportable, they encode fixed path-names in their database like it was 1981 and we are doing DOS environment variables again. So rather than figure out how to move the 1&1 install to Dreamhost, I just built a new website on a Dreamhost account.

Bear in mind I had already installed one Movable Type installation on my Dreamhost account. Installing the second one took 6 hours. That is why Movable Type lost to Wordpress. It seems inexplicable, but the thing that seems to allow Movable type to run was when I changed permissions on the mt folder from 777 (full permissions) to 755.

When I finally spent another three hours installing MT5 Pro, I found out that setting the website or blog theme to "Professional" meant Movable Type went and created three pages. Those pages got assigned blogID 1-3. So my first blog, which had to be Blog ID #1, came out Blog ID#4. Crap. So I tossed the database, created a new one, and erased mt-config.cgi. That forced Movable Type to do its install wizard again.

[Update 30May2011] When you select the "professional" website theme, Movable Type creates 3 pages under the top-level template set. BlogID 1, (or the first ID available when you do this) is "Contact" created as http://www.open-sport.org/contact/contact.html. Next is Blog ID 2 as "About" at http://www.open-sport.org/about/about.html. The last page Movable Type creates is Blog ID 3 as "Welcome to our new website!" at http://www.open-sport.org/home.html. Near as I can figure, none of these pages get published. When you change back to the Classic website theme, these pages stay and I am nearly sure the blog IDs the used will not get released if you do erase them.

I think it was the third install before I figured out that I had to install a classic website and blog theme. I think created the 11 old blog posts so they came out with the same file name, 1.html, 4.html, /9/index.html and so forth. I changed movable Types goofy file naming conventions to make the URL short. Just assigning the blog ID to the name is the simplest way to do that.

So a whole day down the drain just to end up with the same website on Dreamhost that I had on 1&1. But I did install MT5 Pro and I never ever got a 500 error. Now I am going around and patching up little problems and fixing and broken links. That will take another day at least, but its Memorial Day, so that's ok.

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