A random post

tldr: Add ‘?random‘ to any WordPress based blog to see a random post from it.

I have long wanted this feature to visit a random post on my blogs. It’s a lovely way to revisit the past—see what was happening then, what I was thinking, and how I was thinking and writing at some random point in the past. It’s also a wonderful way of—as Matt put it—breaking out of ‘now’.

For a few years, I have had a todo in my list to surface random posts at a click of a button/link. It’s fairly low priority, so I never got to it.

Today, Matt mentioned it as an aside in his conversation with David Perrell. WordPress has had this feature all along! I was walking in narrow woods so didn’t have much space, but I was jumping in excitement. This was what I’ve wanted all along!

I immediately upgraded the priority and due date for the random posts link task in my app. ‘A random post’ link is already here on Speak Easy (main menu on the left on desktop, click the ☰ icon up top on mobile). I’ll add it to Converge, Middlering and others tomorrow.

The only question I have is ‘why doesn’t WordPress communicate this beautiful nugget way more prominently?’.

Give serendipity and melancholy a shot :)

Goodbye Dreamhost. Hello, Linode + Cloudflare

This week I moved this website from a Dreamhost shared server to a Linode VPS. I then distributed that Linode server through Cloudflare.

It took me a a day and a bit to get it working well on Linode1. Most of the work was
i) backing up databases and files from Dreamhost and transferring them to Linode, and
ii) ironing out the kinks with the WordPress/PHP configuration that I didn’t have to manage at Dreamhost.

I also had to configure the sites on Apache by myself—it was fairly straightforward—and set up some security measures and firewall. I’ve always had separate domain registrar (Gandi now, Godaddy earlier), hosting provider (Dreamhost earlier, now Linode fronted by Cloudflare), and email provider (Google Apps + Dreamhost/Gandi), so configuring DNS wasn’t a bother.

The website was already faster and more stable after moving to Linode. I had been itching to use Cloudflare2 for a while, and decided to give it a try. I switched the other website first. It worked fine, so the next day I switched this one as well.

Switching on Cloudflare was a breeze. No messing with config files or terminal was required (though I kind of missed it3). They auto-detected all the DNS settings from my existing Linode server. I only need to change the name servers at Gandi, and wait for the change to propagate. I’d done a bit of research on common issues people face when connecting WordPress with Cloudflare, and was prepared for them. Thankfully, none of them appeared for me.

With the full Linode+Cloudflare configuration now in place, the website is massively faster than it ever was on Dreamhost. It’s served through a global CDN, the server is better specced, and gets a lower peak load due to CDN caching.

The other interesting bit: this amazing Linode+Cloudflare setup costs me half of what the Dreamhost shared server did.

I am happy 😊

Continue reading Goodbye Dreamhost. Hello, Linode + Cloudflare