mv wordpress.com WordPress (self-hosted)

This blog was hosted on wordpress.com in 2013-2023, and displayed at koalie.blog since 2018. This setup expires –and will close– in July 2024.

These are my notes for future me and whoever may be curious.

Blogging software

I’ve been blogging offline since 2005 (I used a local instance of Blosxom as a diary which I kept for myself via a terminal on my laptop) and online since 2006 (on my friend Amy’s blog Dullicious where I blogged as Barbie-dull for several years, and on My Opera). My previous migration in 2013 moved my blog from My Opera (which Opera shut down four months after) to wordpress.com.

All this time my website koalie.net was hosted for free on a shared server in one of the machine rooms at MIT and I could not easily get any blogging software installed, so my blog had to be separate from my website.

But last year’s infamous Gandi dick move was both a curse and a blessing. Ditto an internal decision at work that free hosting for personal websites was ending by year end as a result of W3C moving out of MIT in January 2023.

Domain name, email, Web hosting

In June 2023, Gandi announced that the free e-mail service included with domain name rental was becoming a paying subscription by year end, as well as a general increase of their prices the following month. For email, I was using 2 boxes (for me and my son), so that meant paying an extra € 115/year. So I resolved to get email elsewhere and set up a redirect on Gandi mail. For domain name rental, I had renewed it for 5 years in January 2022, so I’m all set until February 2027.

I chose to register in July a free email account at Infomaniak (more than one in fact –for me, my son, my dad), and then the day after Christmas subscribed separately for € 82,80/year the Infomaniak Web Bundle hosting plan that offers 250 GB storage, for up to 20 sites, and the ability to install and manage over 100 web applications and CMS. I’m sharing that space with a colleague of mine. In February 2027, I’ll rent the koalie.net domain name with them too.

I activated ssh and was able in minutes via rsync to move my website content from the external hard drive it lives on, onto the web hosting.

I figured I now could at last unite my blog and my website! My wordpress.com subscription for the Starter Plan costs € 42/year and the koalie.blog domain name rental costs € 22/year, so a total of € 64/year (since I signed up for it in 2018, it has cost me € 320+)

So I painlessly installed the WordPress web app on my Infomaniak space.

Exporting from wordpress.com

I was able to export a lot of my wordpress.com data (a 6.3 MB XML file once unzipped) and import it in the self-hosted WordPress app I installed on Infomaniak as a sub-domain of koalie.net: 495 blog posts and 150+ comments.

That’s not everything, though. I was dismayed that the media items aren’t part of the export. They remain hosted on wordpress.com and the blog posts that reference them continue to link to the files on wordpress.com. Similarly, themes settings and blog settings aren’t exported. Finally, all links in blog posts and pages are absolute. In my case, I had a mix of links to coraliemercier.wordpress.com (2005-2018) and koalie.blog (2018-2023).

Importing and fixing my blog

I exported my wordpress.com media items (3.06 GB for about 1300 files sorted by year and month). Then I spent many mind-numbing hours (over 80h) uploading them post by post.

In addition to adding back the media files, I wanted to write the alternative texts (wordpress.com is very bad at nudging bloggers to write any alt text and even if you think of it, the blogging workflow makes it difficult, I found), to check and fix the links (so now most if not all of my blog links start with / and don’t include the domain name), and remove all of the posts that included media from the Instagram account I deleted many years ago.

At the moment I’m using the same theme I was using in wordpress.com: Twenty Fifteen. For the theme settings and the blog settings, I put two windows side by side and compared the pages to click through the options and fiddle to replicate what I had. There are a few differences but nothing that bothers me.

It’s costly to leave wordpress.com

I used my Christmas vacation to make a dent in the massive undertaking of re-uploading my media files and then checking each post for quality assurance. That’s the first intangible cost: time.

The second cost is intangible as well: the loss of the wordpress.com network effect (ability to find new blogs from fellow wordpress.com users, and for them to find and “follow” min), and of wordpress.com’s SEO (which only can explain that my blog had consistent hits every day.)

On wordpress.com that blog had 156 subscribers, and received 46,112 views (4.6K/month on average) from 28,123 visitors. Its most popular day was April 29, 2020 with 772 views. The visits picked up near the end of 2019, so in the past 5 years, the average views were 5.3K/month.

I don’t care that much but I’m pretty sure that after 10 years of being used to these figures (however artificial they are), I will feel the difference!

Screenshot of the wordpress.com stats interface showing a grid of the total views by months and years between February 2013 and January 2024.
koalie.blog all time total views by months and years

The third cost, which I chose not to incur, is the tangible cost of redirection of a wordpress.com blog elsewhere on the Web. It costs € 13/year.

What I did instead was to trash all of my posts on the wordpress.com end and replace that blog with just one static page as homepage, and a blog post, announcing that the setup was going to expire and close in July 2024.

Screenshot of a static page showing an illustration of people carrying cardboard boxes next to a message with my picture announcing the blog has moved
koalie.blog static page as homepage

Looks of my blog over the years

Screenshot of a wordpress blog with Twenty Fifteen theme in white and light grey
My self-hosted wordpress blog using the Twenty Fifteen theme in white and light grey

Exercising: 2023 review

2023 is the fourth year in a row I’ve been exercising daily. This is a review post of my exercising year 2023, similar to the summaries I wrote for 2022, 2021 and 2020.

2023 was another good year where I got a lot of fulfillment out of exercising. I’ve worked out everyday except 3 days, discovered new sports, purchased a new e-mountain bike (the one I would have purchased last year if it had been available!)

Raw numbers

Collage of three screenshots tallying exercising

Highlights of 2023:

  • 488h of exercise (= 20 days)
  • 509 workouts (1.4/day)
  • 1716 km on feet (4.7/day)
  • Walked under 300 km
  • Ran under 70 km
  • Cycled nearly 2800 km (233/month)

Monthly challenges

This year again I earned all of the monthly challenges suggested by my Apple Watch. They are determined based on recent activities and are meant to either keep you at the same level or elevate you a bit, so that at the end of the year you have improved your fitness.

  • 14x 4.08 km
  • 14x 67 min exercise
  • 5x double “move”
  • 27x close 3 rings
  • 14x 564 kcal
  • 4x outdoor cycling
  • 4x double “move”
  • 14x 613 kcal
  • 14x walk/run 3.95 km
  • 14x 80 min exercise
  • 10x double “move”
  • 14x walk/run 3.93 km

New gear

Me on my new e-mountain bike doing the peace sign. There is motion blur around me.
Me riding my Nakamura eSummit 950s (picture by Daniel Dardailler)
Screenshot of my furthest cycling activity: 67 km around Sophia Antipolis, Grasse, Auribeau.

My furthest cycling this year was on 15 December: 67 km (which my Apple Watch recorded as 69 km).

I rode with DanielD and Pascale around Valbonne and then continued solo for more time on the bike and followed the canal as much as I could from Plascassier to Peymeinade, and then headed around Mount Peygros and down to Auribeau, Pégomas and back home.

69 km, 5h15, 13 km/h average, 1265 m elevation.

Aside: car vs. bike usage

I drove 2800 km in 2023 (less than 50km/week on average) and bought 150 liters of fuel (3 tanks).

This year, out-of-the-ordinary drives included going to see Isabelle for a few days last Summer in her husband’s house in Vaucluse, and driving to Marseilles with my brother so we could attend the funeral of our father’s sister.

Instead of my car I used my bike 55 times in 2023 (equivalent to once a week on average), covered 620 km and it took me 31 hours.

That includes cycling to the office the 8 times I went there this year (I usually work from home), and cycling back and forth the 5 days of a mandatory training in Grasse last November.

Activity map

Screenshot of the area map showing in orange my cycling tracks, in green my walking tracks and in yellow my running tracks

This map of the area shows my tracks:

  • Orange: cycling
  • Green: walking/hiking
  • Yellow: running

Repeating tracks are indicated by a more contrasted colour.

Year in sport 2023 (Strava)

Collage of my year in sport 2023 showing the 362 days I've been active: every day but two days at the end of February and one day mid March.
2023 year in sport: days active
Collage showing that my top workout types are 30% and 13% yoga, HIIT, functional strength, flexibility, 18% walking and hiking, 14% cycling and 8% weight lifting. Total time of 417h and 31 minutes. Time broken down per month with the most activities in August with 48h and 45 minutes. Illustration that I am among the top 2% most active on Strava this year.
2023 year in sport: workouts and times
Collage showing a card for my longest activity: 69 km by eMTB which is 57.6% longer than my average. Total distance of 3243 km and this is broken down per month with the month with the furthest distance covered being November with 547 km. Total elevation of 55,832 meters, broken down per month with the highest achieved in November with 8,776 meters.
2023 year in sport: longest activity, distance and elevation

More graphs

Collage of the 2023 average per day Exercise minutes bar chart and comparison with 2022: 80 vs 113 min/day
Health graphs: exercise minutes
Collage of the 2023 average per day energy burning bar chart and comparison with 2022: 618 vs 747 kcal/day
Health graphs: active energy
Collage of the 2023 average per day workouts time bar chart: 1h9. Another snippets shows that I walked on average 4.7 km/day in 2023 vs. 8 km/day in 2022. Finally the last snippet shows that today I took 3,300 steps whereas I usually take 5,600.
Health graphs: workouts, distance on feet, steps
Two graphs: the 2023 average per day workouts time bar chart: 1h9 and the 2023 average per day cycling distance: 34.4 km.
Health graphs: workouts and cycling distance
Two graphs: the bar charts for the move, exercise and stand goals which show that the bars aren't varying by a big margin. The other graph is the weight: average of 63.12 kg for the year with min around 62 and max around 65.
Health graphs: activity, weight
Two graphs: heart rate ranging from 33 to 173 in 2023. The other graph is the resting heart rate one and shows an average at 51 bpm with max at 53 and min at 47.
Health graphs: heart