Reducing my personal hosting complexity

Have you ever put off a task because you felt like it would take you far too long so you just procrastinate and simply never get it done? I do this all the time. And, for the most part, when I do finally get around to getting the task completed I find out that my fear was unfounded and I was able to get it done much more quickly than I thought.

For at least 5 years my personal website has been hosted on a droplet on Digital Ocean (referral link, which gives you $200 in credits). It had worked fairly well so when it came time to find hosting for The Watercolor Gallery (the site is currently under massive construction) shortly thereafter I fired up a new droplet for it too. And later when I needed a place to host Unmark I, again, reached for a new droplet and fired it up.

At the time I didn’t think that I should (or even could) host all of these sites on a single droplet. For many years though I’ve been planning to do exactly that – consolidate my droplets, reduce complexity, and reduce my hosting costs. Every time I would think about moving all the content, databases, files, SSL certificates, DNS, etc. I would feel overwhelmed and put it off.

This year, however, my websites are getting far less complex. I no longer have databases to worry about for any of my sites. I no longer need to keep multiple server applications up-to-date. Or patch a bunch of security holes or worry about poorly written plugins taking my site offline. So I thought “this is the best time for me to make this move”.

Digital Ocean makes this far too easy. When I spun up a droplet for CCBUILT (which, I haven’t announced here formally on my blog yet, but I plan to) I did so with the plan to move all of my personal websites to it. It is a simple droplet with just what I need and nothing I don’t. Last night, I moved this site and The Watercolor Gallery to it. My other static websites for Stripe Transfer, Stupid, and my wife’s as yet unstarted rustic + lace are all free “apps” on Digital Ocean and so they do not require a droplet. I was then able to delete my droplets, backups, and snapshots from my previous setups.

The hosting for my personal projects is far less complex today than it was just a few days ago and I couldn’t be happier.

A note about Stripe Transfer: I’m thinking of moving this to my main droplet. I have ideas for a slightly more robust website for this project.

A note about Unmark: Unmark continues to be hosted on its own droplet. I do not know for how long though. I haven’t worked much on this project in the last several years. It is showing its age. I’m thinking about turning it over to someone else. If you’re interested in taking over this project please let me know.

A note about The Watercolor Gallery: I had been putting off moving it to static for far too long. The database was crashing every few days for reasons I could never figure out. I do not think it was WordPress’ fault at all. It was likely a plugin or a memory issue on my droplet or something. But the log files – to my eye – didn’t reveal the issue. So I gave up. This move will force me to move more quickly and get that site back online as a static site. So expect to see that soon.

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