Monday 11 May 2020

NZ Rail Maps Project Development Report [2020F]: Website Hosting Options [1]

Good morning. Here is our sixth project development report for 2020.

We spent the last day looking at possible web hosting options for NZ Rail Maps This meaning that there would be a paid site instead of wholly free ones, although some free hosted content is likely to remain. There are a number of possible options ranging from sites specialised for various types of content, through to full web hosting.

At the moment we are going down the specialised track, which is of course the simplest to set up by far, but does have some limitations, naturally. For example if we chose to stick with, we would have the problem that to get a photo gallery plugin to be used in our site would require us to purchase the most expensive hosting plan. Or another example, we are currently on 14 day trial with SmugMug (the company that purchased Flickr). Their hosting is reasonably low in cost, and easy to set up, but would require us to continue hosting the development blog and PDF files on another site such as WordPress.

Going down the full website route, it could be moderately easy to set up a WordPress site but there is a lot of work involved. We have had sites previously hosted with a particular company in NZ before now and their fee of $15 per month is probably quite reasonable for a site with WordPress available, although a gallery plugin could have an extra cost associated with it. We also have had sites previously hosted on TrainWeb, and still maintain an empty site there. It is possible we could continue to have the blog hosted on WordPress (replacing this Blogger blog), some content appearing on TrainWeb (PDFs) and the image based maps appearing on SmugMug. The latter would be the only paid site hosting. We would have subdomain redirection to the three sites in operation, but the SmugMug site would be the only site that would remain in-domain when accessed, the other sites would redirect to the local free site domain when the domain based URL is selected.

It had been hoped for some time that TrainWeb would convert their site to be a WordPress host, which would have allowed us to continue hosting content on the TrainWeb site and done away with the need for a separate site as we have now, but TrainWeb have not made any progress with the WordPress conversion idea.

So for the next 14 days we will be trialling SmugMug and might well continue with it after the trial as a paid option, unless a better option comes up before then.