Moving mcdwayne.com to SiteDistrict

As of WordCamp Sacramento, I have moved the hosting of this site over to SiteDistrict.com. TL;DR: it is awesome so far. It lets me have more of an opinion for certain things and it feels custom built for the intermediate to advanced developer.

A Blog About WordCamps And DrupalCamps

My blog started at the very end of 2016 when I realized that I had been to a good number of events and could not tell you many specifics, as they all blurred together. I decided to correct this by using the go-to blogging platform and learn the back end along the way. I have an intended audience of 1, me in the future, so I can easily reference where I ate and what sessions I saw.

I had the extreme privilege to work for a large scale containerized hosting as a service platform at the time and naturally just spun up the site using their very opinionated tooling. But given my intentions for the site it meant that I was not the target user of the platform and ended up with some steps that, while well intentioned, caused me extra overhead to manage.

A Change In Life Meant A Change in Hosting For Me

After a few life changes, I decided to re-evaluate how to host this site long term, so I went shopping. I had several requirements for a host:

  • Performance must stay steady or improve.
  • Ease of code or deployment must be on par with current developer experience.
  • Support must be rock solid.
  • Backups at least nightly and easy to deal with.
  • Migration has got to be painless.
  • WP-CLI must be present.

After a lot of conversations and investigations into hosting reviews, I decided on SiteDistrict. So far, they have met every requirement and I really like the approach the team is taking on how to manage sites.

SiteDistrict administrative dashboard

Support and Migration

I got my answer to the migration and support aspects in one conversation where all I needed to do was supply a recent backup of my site. A few minutes later Matt moved the site and I was ready to test and change my DNS when I was ready.

WP-CLI support

The administrative interface gives me the access I want directly as I want it. No need to SFTP into my log files, they are simply there. No need to install a local command line tool, the built in terminal has WP-CLI already present and ready to use.

Although, the fact it is a platform built with WordPress in mind means the integration with the WordPress Admin feature set is pretty fantastic. I have full visibility into my plugins, themes and users without having to log into the WP Admin directly or making a WP-CLI call, which is the main reason I was using WP-CLI in the first place.

Performance

The automatic and effortless (from my seat) CDN integration with CloudFront means my performance is very much on par with what I had before with either Fast.ly or CloudFlare. Running speed tests on both sites was easy because the tooling to run those tests is built into the dashboard.

Development Experience

I have been used to enforced 3 server setup, so being able to work in development environments and move between servers is something that I knew I would have to grapple with. SiteDistrict makes this very straightforward as the clone/staging function is a simple button click. I can even spin the work out into a new site with a menu option if I was going to be making sites for a living.

Part of me was worried I would miss having a command line tool for the platform, but then I realized that with SSH access I have ALL the command line tools for the platform I could ever want. To be honest, I am kinda excited about the possibilities of tinkering with this kind of access and discovering new approaches to automation. Heading

Backups

Last on my list was the need for regular, painless backups. SiteDistrict gives me not just nightly, but periodic automatic backups throughout the day. As a person who has manually rolled back git a few too many times, a one button restore from an hour ago is very appealing.

Even more support

Ongoing support has already proven its value as the team has responded to my requests very quickly and been most helpful with my questions so far. I am sure I will have more as I dig in, but for now, I am super glad I have a new home for my site that is a little better fit for me as a developer. If you are feeling like your site host is constantly telling you ‘no, you are not doing it our way’ maybe it is time to move to a new district, to the SiteDistrict.

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