When I got the email that Twitter had acquired Posterous I knew the writing was on the wall and my 4 year old 450 post blog would need to be moved. I somehow believed in the power of free and thought no one in their right mind would shut down a service as awesome as Posterous. How wrong could I have been and with 4 days to go before the big Posterous shutdown reality hit me. I had to move and do it quick.
I chose Posterous four years ago because it was the easiest way to post photo’s form my iPhone first via email and then via their IOS app. It was elegant, simple and didn’t require me to code. I actually moved my blog from a self hosted WordPress.org install as Posterous seemed easier at the time and for a while certainly was. But as they say, if the deal seems to good to be true…It probably is!
Today I migrated my blog back to a self hosted WordPress.org install. The migration process sounded simple and after a few Google searches I got cracking. Here is what I did:
- Logged into my hosting providers control panel (RSAWEB) and clicked on their WordPress installer. Boom, I had a clean WordPress installation on my domain http://www.robgilmour.com. I was on a roll…
- My DNS however was still pointing to Posterous for my domain, so I edited the Hosts file on my laptop to trick it into thinking my domain was hosted on the RSAWEB server and not Posterous. This would help me configure the site while the public are still directed to the Posterous site.
- I then downloaded the Dark Matter theme the guys from Obox have made free and kindly ported from Posterous. I was using the same theme on Posterous, so this made the migration seemless for me and my readers.
- Then I logged into the posterous backend and downloaded a backup of my site.
- I was then under the impression I could import this directly into WordPress and voila I would be done…I was wrong. The Posterous importer is broken for self hosted WordPress and the only way to import your data into a WordPress format is to setup a free blog on WordPress.com.
- So, I setup the temporary WordPress,com blog and imported the Posterous backup. It Worked! My posts were all there.
- Then I exported my WordPress.com blog to a file and imported it into my WordPress.org blog specifying the importer to import and save the images.
- All seemed groovy, my posts were imported and I was about to roll into bed when I noticed the post images were being referenced from the temporary WordPress.com blog. Not ideal as I planned to delete it which would remove all the images from my new blog.
- I then tried a few things but noticed that all of my images were actually imported however the image links had not been updated to the local image files in the posts.
- After much googling I found the wordpress plugin “Search and Replace” that allowed me to search for the old image url’s and update them with the new one. This meant changing about 50 different links as my original images were categorised by the month they were uploaded and my newly imported images were all categorised in March 2013.
After doing the import I added some plugins like WPTouch for mobile users, Google Analytics and WP to Twitter to auto tweet posts like Posterous did. I now use the WordPress IOS app on my iPhone to create posts and equilibrium in my online world has been restored.
This process although painful has taught me a valuable lesson. Always own your content and be in control of the publishing mechanism. WordPress.org self hosted has associated costs but it is no doubt easier and more reliable in the long run when compared to free services that can be shutdown at any time. Adios Tumblr, Posterous…