From WordPress to Ghost
Warning, this post will be more focused on those frustrated with WordPress.
Note: This is my first Ghost blog entry. The older blog posts are imported from WordPress. The layouts may be wacked. I may fix them in the future. Emphasis on the word "may".
You will notice a new look to this blog. I finally migrated it fully from WordPress to Ghost. For 15 years I have been running this site on WordPress. I really enjoyed this blogging platform but now it is starting to show its age. In 2013 Ghost was released as the new standard in blogging. Though it could not take on WordPress from the starting line, it still won the hearts of many web developers and content creators. I tried making the move in 2013 but it was not until last year that I finally gave it a try.
It is about Content and Style
WordPress has become cumbersome to run and manage after 15 years. SaigonNezumi published nearly 3000 blog posts. An amazing feat but trying to edit, update, move, etc., these posts became burdensome. I had used nearly 10 different themes and over 30 plugins, at the most, during the life of using this site with WordPress.
Content is very important to me. That is what gave me the name as a blogger during the heydays of blogging in Vietnam from 2006-2010. SaigonNezumi is how I met many of my online friends in Vietnam. Several became long time friends. The peak days of SaigonNezumi are gone now. 2010 was the year that ended the popularity of blogging. By 2011, most local users in Vietnam moved to Facebook. I could still get traction from Facebook but most of the visitors were Muslims, many Malaysians, interested in the halal scene in Saigon.
2016 WordPress Plugin Hack
2016 was a bad year for SaigonNezumi. In April, 2016, as I flew to Shanghai, China, for a recruiting trip, the server hosting this blog was hacked. All I could was shut the server down until I could return back to Kazakhstan. Once back, I restarted the server and Linode helped me find the malicious code that was sending out hundreds of thousands of spam. We thought we found it and let the site run.
By the Summer, 2016, I decided to move SaigonNezumi to DigitalOcean with integration to ServerPilot.io. Once SaigonNezumi went live again, the malicious code returned. This time support for DigitalOcean helped out. We narrowed it down to one particular WordPress plugin. It turned out this popular plugin was never updated. It had found a hole that allowed it to gain root access to my Mariadb database server. It would take another year until I was able to completely clean the server.
This hack gave me a bad feeling about WordPress. When I did a security audit of my blog, my friend and I found that it was nearly impossible for me to keep any of my WordPress sites secure without using the security WP plugins. This was when I decided to move to Ghost even considering going headless.
JAMstack + MERN/MEVN = Heaven
The heading says everything. I have been running a LEMP (Linux, Nginx, MySQL, and PHP) fullstack server 2011. SaigonNezumi switched to a LAMP server from 2016 until a week ago. Now it is running on a MERN/MEVN server at DigitalOcean. I no longer run a LEMP stack and will never run a server with PHP every again.
I was introduced to JAMstack back in 2012 when my Indian friend told me I should switch from WordPress to Jekyll. The popularity of WordPress among developers was starting to wane at this time. Unfortunately I did not understand the concept of static site generators then but I had started using Zurb's Foundation framework instead in 2012. I loved it and several of my websites moved from WordPress to the Foundation framework.
Luckily, I was re-introduced to static generators 2018 at my gym. I started using NuxtJS in 2019 and teaching myself to use Next.js now for 3 projects. By 2021, yes it took nearly 3 years, I finally fully embraced JAMstack (I will save this for another post later).
Back to Blogging
Hence, I am back to blogging. You will see me blog more at Matsunaga's Odyssey but I know some friends want me to continue here. I will continue to blog at SaigonNezumu until I finally leave Vietnam. Yes, the day will come, most likely this year.
In the meantime, enjoy the new site logo (see the top of this post). Great Nezumi as well. :-)