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Get SiteSucker, Sucker

I had followed with great interest the discussion on the Reclaim Hosting Community site about archiving a dynamic, database driven site as static HTML files.  I share Alan Levine’s passion for trying to archive as much of the work I’ve done online as possible, I’m just not nearly as good at it. That said, today I had an occasion to use the Mac tool SiteSucker Tim Owens has been raving about for a while. The app costs $4.99 and takes any URL and packages up the entire site (including images and media) into local static HTML files.

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Reclaim Community Helps Scratch an Old Itch

Been on a bit of a blog vacation over the last two weeks. Between traveling, hiking, entertaining and enjoying some mental downtime the bava was dormant. It has been a welcome break.* I still think in terms of blog posts, and when I go this long without posting I start to feel a bit like what I imagine a sidelined athlete must feel, just not nearly as svelte. I have a lot to blog about, including the novel I just finished by Richard Matheson, but that will be a bit longer affair. For now I want to quickly highlight the immediate dividends the resuscitated Reclaim Community site has paid.

A couple of weeks ago Tim decided to breath some life back into our languishing Community site. He started posting about specific topics and inviting others to contribute. Pretty soon thereafter others, like the great Kristen Eshleman, started jumping in with their own questions. It’s how this stuff works: you target open invites, seed conversation, and pray for rain. Tim also made a call for feature requests, and Tim Clarke from Muhlenberg University (one of Reclaim’s newest institutions!) requested we provide a more prevalent link to Installatron Applications. Tim Clarke had no idea that the Installatron icons in cPanel had been an ongoing issue for us, in fact Muhlenberg’s server has no issues with a broken Installatron icon that others had limped along with for almost a year.

Reclaim Community Helps Scratch an Old Itch

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Get Your Grav On

Get Your Grav On

One of the many roles I have a Reclaim Hosting is keeping an eye on our Twitter account and interacting with folks there. I'm no power-user on Twitter but it's a space I know and I'm happy to support and respond to folks there. On Saturday a tweet came in from a new user, Paul Hibbitts mentioning his beginning explorations with our service.

I like to know who I'm talking to so I took a peak at his profile and ended up at his blog where he's doing some really interesting work bringing content out of the LMS and into his own domain using a piece of software that was new to me called Grav. Grav (which is short for Gravity) is a flat file CMS meaning there's no database to deal with. It uses Markdown for authoring content similar to the ever-popular Jekyll, but what struck me was not only how easy it is to install on a server (you just need PHP to make it run) but also that there were admin tools built in to allow an authoring interface, a configuration area, plugin and theme installation and updating, even backups.

Get Your Grav On

Get Your Grav On

I knew I had to play some more with it so I decided to give it a go. The install was dead simple, just drop the files in, setup a user by going to the site for the first time and creating one, and you're off and running. I figured as easy as that was, you'd still have to wrestle with FTP so why not build an installer for it using Installatron? So that's exactly what I did. In the process I was able move the user setup process out of the first page load and into the install itself by capturing that information and writing it to the necessary files.

Get Your Grav On

In addition Grav offers "Skeletons" which are basically packaged versions of their application anyone can build that are bundled with a theme, plugins, and content to jumpstart a new site. Imagine wanting to setup a Photography site using WordPress and all the steps you might take to get there, this let's you skip all that are start up with an instance that already has everything pre-configured so you can start adding your content and playing around rather than spending hours fiddling with a bunch of settings and finding the right plugins and themes. So I grabbed a few skeletons and made it a dropdown option to choose one during install.

Get Your Grav On

I have to say so far I'm super impressed. Not only is Grav fast since there's no database to make calls back and forth to, but it feels like incredibly modern software. There are some geekier options around the edges for power users (per-page front matter editing and YAML configs to name a few) but the presence of an admin plugin that puts the authoring tools right there on your domain is a huge step that's often absent in most flat file content management systems. And of course the big benefit to systems like this is since all the data lives directly on the file system your entire site is infinitely more portable. Moving to a new host or grabbing a backup is as simple as taking a copy of your files and away you go.

I spent so much time playing with getting the installer right I haven't had time to really dig into the software itself more than just a few quick tests but I have a lot of great plans for it. For one, our current documentation is built using Mkdocs but that requires external editing, pushing to the server, and then running a script to build the site each time a change is made. Converting it to Grav means we could author directly on the site and still push to our GitHub repo automatically and have both be in sync. And wouldn't you know there's an RTFM skeleton that looks heavily based on the ReadTheDocs theme we currently use with Mkdocs and looks perfect for documentation sites.

Get Your Grav On

I'm looking forward to playing with Grav more to see what's possible and I know plenty of folks who have been interested in the idea of flat file systems like Jekyll that could appreciate an easy-to-use system like this. We pushed the installer out to our shared hosting systems over the weekend and I hope to get access for all our institutions in the coming week as we make some updates there. And I'm glad to have been curious enough to read Paul's bio and find out more about what he's up to with it as a starting point for my own explorations with the software. As always, Reclaim Hosting gives back to me as much if not more than what I give it.

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Get Your Grav On

Get Your Grav On

One of the many roles I have a Reclaim Hosting is keeping an eye on our Twitter account and interacting with folks there. I'm no power-user on Twitter but it's a space I know and I'm happy to support and respond to folks there. On Saturday a tweet came in from a new user, Paul Hibbitts mentioning his beginning explorations with our service.

I like to know who I'm talking to so I took a peak at his profile and ended up at his blog where he's doing some really interesting work bringing content out of the LMS and into his own domain using a piece of software that was new to me called Grav. Grav (which is short for Gravity) is a flat file CMS meaning there's no database to deal with. It uses Markdown for authoring content similar to the ever-popular Jekyll, but what struck me was not only how easy it is to install on a server (you just need PHP to make it run) but also that there were admin tools built in to allow an authoring interface, a configuration area, plugin and theme installation and updating, even backups.

Get Your Grav On

Get Your Grav On

I knew I had to play some more with it so I decided to give it a go. The install was dead simple, just drop the files in, setup a user by going to the site for the first time and creating one, and you're off and running. I figured as easy as that was, you'd still have to wrestle with FTP so why not build an installer for it using Installatron? So that's exactly what I did. In the process I was able move the user setup process out of the first page load and into the install itself by capturing that information and writing it to the necessary files.

Get Your Grav On

In addition Grav offers "Skeletons" which are basically packaged versions of their application anyone can build that are bundled with a theme, plugins, and content to jumpstart a new site. Imagine wanting to setup a Photography site using WordPress and all the steps you might take to get there, this let's you skip all that are start up with an instance that already has everything pre-configured so you can start adding your content and playing around rather than spending hours fiddling with a bunch of settings and finding the right plugins and themes. So I grabbed a few skeletons and made it a dropdown option to choose one during install.

Get Your Grav On

I have to say so far I'm super impressed. Not only is Grav fast since there's no database to make calls back and forth to, but it feels like incredibly modern software. There are some geekier options around the edges for power users (per-page front matter editing and YAML configs to name a few) but the presence of an admin plugin that puts the authoring tools right there on your domain is a huge step that's often absent in most flat file content management systems. And of course the big benefit to systems like this is since all the data lives directly on the file system your entire site is infinitely more portable. Moving to a new host or grabbing a backup is as simple as taking a copy of your files and away you go.

I spent so much time playing with getting the installer right I haven't had time to really dig into the software itself more than just a few quick tests but I have a lot of great plans for it. For one, our current documentation is built using Mkdocs but that requires external editing, pushing to the server, and then running a script to build the site each time a change is made. Converting it to Grav means we could author directly on the site and still push to our GitHub repo automatically and have both be in sync. And wouldn't you know there's an RTFM skeleton that looks heavily based on the ReadTheDocs theme we currently use with Mkdocs and looks perfect for documentation sites.

Get Your Grav On

I'm looking forward to playing with Grav more to see what's possible and I know plenty of folks who have been interested in the idea of flat file systems like Jekyll that could appreciate an easy-to-use system like this. We pushed the installer out to our shared hosting systems over the weekend and I hope to get access for all our institutions in the coming week as we make some updates there. And I'm glad to have been curious enough to read Paul's bio and find out more about what he's up to with it as a starting point for my own explorations with the software. As always, Reclaim Hosting gives back to me as much if not more than what I give it.

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Get Your Grav On

Get Your Grav On

One of the many roles I have a Reclaim Hosting is keeping an eye on our Twitter account and interacting with folks there. I'm no power-user on Twitter but it's a space I know and I'm happy to support and respond to folks there. On Saturday a tweet came in from a new user, Paul Hibbitts mentioning his beginning explorations with our service.

I like to know who I'm talking to so I took a peak at his profile and ended up at his blog where he's doing some really interesting work bringing content out of the LMS and into his own domain using a piece of software that was new to me called Grav. Grav (which is short for Gravity) is a flat file CMS meaning there's no database to deal with. It uses Markdown for authoring content similar to the ever-popular Jekyll, but what struck me was not only how easy it is to install on a server (you just need PHP to make it run) but also that there were admin tools built in to allow an authoring interface, a configuration area, plugin and theme installation and updating, even backups.

Get Your Grav On

Get Your Grav On

I knew I had to play some more with it so I decided to give it a go. The install was dead simple, just drop the files in, setup a user by going to the site for the first time and creating one, and you're off and running. I figured as easy as that was, you'd still have to wrestle with FTP so why not build an installer for it using Installatron? So that's exactly what I did. In the process I was able move the user setup process out of the first page load and into the install itself by capturing that information and writing it to the necessary files.

Get Your Grav On

In addition Grav offers "Skeletons" which are basically packaged versions of their application anyone can build that are bundled with a theme, plugins, and content to jumpstart a new site. Imagine wanting to setup a Photography site using WordPress and all the steps you might take to get there, this let's you skip all that are start up with an instance that already has everything pre-configured so you can start adding your content and playing around rather than spending hours fiddling with a bunch of settings and finding the right plugins and themes. So I grabbed a few skeletons and made it a dropdown option to choose one during install.

Get Your Grav On

I have to say so far I'm super impressed. Not only is Grav fast since there's no database to make calls back and forth to, but it feels like incredibly modern software. There are some geekier options around the edges for power users (per-page front matter editing and YAML configs to name a few) but the presence of an admin plugin that puts the authoring tools right there on your domain is a huge step that's often absent in most flat file content management systems. And of course the big benefit to systems like this is since all the data lives directly on the file system your entire site is infinitely more portable. Moving to a new host or grabbing a backup is as simple as taking a copy of your files and away you go.

I spent so much time playing with getting the installer right I haven't had time to really dig into the software itself more than just a few quick tests but I have a lot of great plans for it. For one, our current documentation is built using Mkdocs but that requires external editing, pushing to the server, and then running a script to build the site each time a change is made. Converting it to Grav means we could author directly on the site and still push to our GitHub repo automatically and have both be in sync. And wouldn't you know there's an RTFM skeleton that looks heavily based on the ReadTheDocs theme we currently use with Mkdocs and looks perfect for documentation sites.

Get Your Grav On

I'm looking forward to playing with Grav more to see what's possible and I know plenty of folks who have been interested in the idea of flat file systems like Jekyll that could appreciate an easy-to-use system like this. We pushed the installer out to our shared hosting systems over the weekend and I hope to get access for all our institutions in the coming week as we make some updates there. And I'm glad to have been curious enough to read Paul's bio and find out more about what he's up to with it as a starting point for my own explorations with the software. As always, Reclaim Hosting gives back to me as much if not more than what I give it.

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Importing Installations using Installatron

So I've been writing about some of the great features of Installatron that often go unnoticed like cloning and alternative backup options. Maybe those all sound like things you'd love to use, but you're old school and have an install in your account from long before you knew Installatron was the bees knees. Or maybe still, you have installation somewhere else on the web you'd love to migrate over. Well I have great news for you, Installatron can import applications and take over management of them for you.

Let's start by looking at installs that might already be in your hosting account, but not currently managed by Installatron. You may have migrated your account manually and setup those files and databases yourself to get the application online. Installatron makes it easy to add an existing application from your account. You start by logging into cPanel and clicking on the application you'd like to import into Installatron:

List of Applications

Note: While you may find the application you want to import on the homepage of cPanel if it's featured there, you can also click "View More" to see the full list, and there are indeed a lot.

Once you've found the application you want to import instead of clicking the "Install" button you're going to click the dropdown beside it and choose "Import existing install"

Import Dropdown

Since we're assuming the application is already in your hosting account you'll select "From this account" as the location (we'll cover the other option later)

Import from this account

Now all you have to do is tell Installatron what the URL of the install is and it will automatically read the install information and import it into your account. Once that's done you can take advantage of all the great Installatron features with your application.

Import Finalize

Now if you've been using Reclaim Hosting since the beginning you may not have a need for that, however importing applications is not limited to applications that are already on our server. Assuming you have FTP information for a previous host you can actually import those installs too! Follow the same instructions to find the application you want to import and choose the second option "From a different account"

Import from external account

For this to work you'll have to give Installatron FTP (File Transfer Protocol) credentials to you're old hosting account so it can migrate the information. By providing login information as well as the path to the files, Installatron can assume the privileges of your previous application and grab everything it needs to migrate.

Source Install Information

Destination Install Information

Once your application is imported you'll have a hosted application on Reclaim Hosting powered with Installatron which you can use to automate updates and backups. Moving files and provisioning databases is so last year!

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Importing Installations using Installatron

So I've been writing about some of the great features of Installatron that often go unnoticed like cloning and alternative backup options. Maybe those all sound like things you'd love to use, but you're old school and have an install in your account from long before you knew Installatron was the bees knees. Or maybe still, you have installation somewhere else on the web you'd love to migrate over. Well I have great news for you, Installatron can import applications and take over management of them for you.

Let's start by looking at installs that might already be in your hosting account, but not currently managed by Installatron. You may have migrated your account manually and setup those files and databases yourself to get the application online. Installatron makes it easy to add an existing application from your account. You start by logging into cPanel and clicking on the application you'd like to import into Installatron:

Note: While you may find the application you want to import on the homepage of cPanel if it's featured there, you can also click "View More" to see the full list, and there are indeed a lot.

Once you've found the application you want to import instead of clicking the "Install" button you're going to click the dropdown beside it and choose "Import existing install"

Importing Installations using Installatron

Since we're assuming the application is already in your hosting account you'll select "From this account" as the location (we'll cover the other option later)

Importing Installations using Installatron

Now all you have to do is tell Installatron what the URL of the install is and it will automatically read the install information and import it into your account. Once that's done you can take advantage of all the great Installatron features with your application.

Importing Installations using Installatron

Now if you've been using Reclaim Hosting since the beginning you may not have a need for that, however importing applications is not limited to applications that are already on our server. Assuming you have FTP information for a previous host you can actually import those installs too! Follow the same instructions to find the application you want to import and choose the second option "From a different account"

Importing Installations using Installatron

For this to work you'll have to give Installatron FTP (File Transfer Protocol) credentials to you're old hosting account so it can migrate the information. By providing login information as well as the path to the files, Installatron can assume the privileges of your previous application and grab everything it needs to migrate.

Importing Installations using Installatron

Importing Installations using Installatron

Once your application is imported you'll have a hosted application on Reclaim Hosting powered with Installatron which you can use to automate updates and backups. Moving files and provisioning databases is so last year!

, , , ,

Importing Installations using Installatron

So I've been writing about some of the great features of Installatron that often go unnoticed like cloning and alternative backup options. Maybe those all sound like things you'd love to use, but you're old school and have an install in your account from long before you knew Installatron was the bees knees. Or maybe still, you have installation somewhere else on the web you'd love to migrate over. Well I have great news for you, Installatron can import applications and take over management of them for you.

Let's start by looking at installs that might already be in your hosting account, but not currently managed by Installatron. You may have migrated your account manually and setup those files and databases yourself to get the application online. Installatron makes it easy to add an existing application from your account. You start by logging into cPanel and clicking on the application you'd like to import into Installatron:

List of Applications

Note: While you may find the application you want to import on the homepage of cPanel if it's featured there, you can also click "View More" to see the full list, and there are indeed a lot.

Once you've found the application you want to import instead of clicking the "Install" button you're going to click the dropdown beside it and choose "Import existing install"

Import Dropdown

Since we're assuming the application is already in your hosting account you'll select "From this account" as the location (we'll cover the other option later)

Import from this account

Now all you have to do is tell Installatron what the URL of the install is and it will automatically read the install information and import it into your account. Once that's done you can take advantage of all the great Installatron features with your application.

Import Finalize

Now if you've been using Reclaim Hosting since the beginning you may not have a need for that, however importing applications is not limited to applications that are already on our server. Assuming you have FTP information for a previous host you can actually import those installs too! Follow the same instructions to find the application you want to import and choose the second option "From a different account"

Import from external account

For this to work you'll have to give Installatron FTP (File Transfer Protocol) credentials to you're old hosting account so it can migrate the information. By providing login information as well as the path to the files, Installatron can assume the privileges of your previous application and grab everything it needs to migrate.

Source Install Information

Destination Install Information

Once your application is imported you'll have a hosted application on Reclaim Hosting powered with Installatron which you can use to automate updates and backups. Moving files and provisioning databases is so last year!

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Alternative Backup Options in Installatron

After writing about the Clone Tool I started thinking about some of the other features of Installatron that aren't immediately noticeable but very powerful. One that I love is the variety of Backup Options in Installatron.

Installatron has quite a few options for automating the process of backing up your site. Keeping regular backups is a safeguard against any number of issues that might come up from automatic updates that happen to be incompatible and break a site to malware or even changes made on accident. When you install an application on Reclaim Hosting using Installatron it is automatically set to backup anytime there's an update to the software. However you can also set a few interesting additional options either in the Advanced Options area during the install or by clicking this wrench icon on any of your existing installs:

Accessing Install Details

One of the cool features about Installatron is that you don't even have to backup an install to your own account. At Reclaim Hosting we store backups from Installatron on a separate server that doesn't count against storage quotas, but there are options here to store it in a variety of other locations as well, for instance in your Dropbox account:

Backup Storage Locations

You can also setup automated backups that happen at regular intervals, for example a daily and weekly backup of the account or some other set schedule so you have options to restore from:

Automated Backup Intervals

To demonstrate this I chose Dropbox as my backup location and clicked Save at the bottom of the screen. Upon saving a window prompts me to authenticate to Dropbox so Installatron has access to my account.

Dropbox Access

After authorizing Dropbox to my account new backups will be stored as compressed files in my Dropbox account under a folder called Apps/Installatron

Backing Up

Backup File

This compressed file stores not only all of the files for that installation but also a complete copy of the database so you can take it with you to another hosting provider as well as restore a copy right from Installatron in the future if the need arises.

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Easy Site Cloning with Installatron

All of us at Reclaim are getting into the holiday spirit with what Jim has affectionately referred to as Documentation December. I never know who reads the manual but it never hurts to be able to write out the process of doing some of the more complex things with your account and being able to reference that in conversation with folks. We have a growing list of documents at http://docs.reclaimhosting.com/ and we're hoping to add quite a few more to the list in the coming weeks. I figured I'd start with a lesser-known feature of our favorite automated software installer Installatron called the Clone Tool.

Installing a piece of software like WordPress in your Reclaim Hosting account is a very simple process (hey look, we even have a document on that!) but what's not always as clear is how you might move an installation to a different URL. A lot of folks get tricked into thinking they can just move the files to a new folder and it will work, but in fact WordPress stores URLs in the database that will break your site if you just move the files around. A much easier way to move a site to a new location is using the Clone Tool in Installatron. You'll find it by clicking on your install in cPanel and clicking this little guy right here:

Installatron Screenshot

Installatron will read the existing install and prompt you to choose a location for the copy to go. If you've setup a subdomain ahead of time you can choose it from the dropdown menu for the domain, alternatively you could put it in a subfolder like in the screenshot below:

Selecting a new location

Installatron handles all the nitty gritty work of migrating databases and files so all you have to do to get started is hit the Clone button and you're off to the races. In just a few short seconds depending on the size of the install you'll have a complete copy of the site at a shiny new URL.

Start Clone Tool

Cloning

Clone Complete

Once you've verified everything migrated properly you can delete the former install by just clicking the X next to it. Alternatively I think the Clone Tool is an excellent way of setting up quick development spaces to test new plugins and themes, so feel free to use it to quickly fire up a copy of your site to a development space and play around. With just a few clicks you can have a carbon copy of your site ready to go.