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Moving hosts for exercise.cafe

At the end of August, I began thinking about a Fediverse instance focused on fitness / exercise. Last month, in September, I created a Code of Conduct, and then opened registrations just over a month ago on September 13th.

It’s gone well so far, with over 30 registered users, three of whom are called Doug! (I absolutely recommend having 10% of your users with this name, as it is the best of names that can be used as both forename and surname) ūüėČ

I ran into issues with the first managed hosting solution we used but, true to their word, they made it easy to transfer to Fedi Monster, who took over the reins last weekend. The transition not only makes things slightly cheaper (for now) but gives admins access to more functionality and features. We’re also now running a version of Pixelfed which is compatible with the (beta) official iOS app and third-party Android app.

I’ve created docs.exercise.cafe which will grow to house all documentation relating to the site ‚ÄĒ¬†from the Code of Conduct through to onboarding/offboarding information for admins. I hope to add to the moderation team soon, once I’m back from the conference in France that I’m currently travelling to, and next week’s family holiday!


PS I have no design skills at all, so if anyone’s interested in creating a logo for Exercise Cafe, please do go ahead! Once we’ve got donations up-and-running (and we’ve got enough surplus on top of server costs) we may run a logo competition. But that’s probably a while off…

My sites are now hosted in the European Union

I host my websites through Reclaim Hosting. I’ve been with them for a few years now, ever since they were known as ‘Hippie Hosting’ and an offshoot of the amazing work done by Jim Groom and team at the University of Mary Washington’s Division of¬†Teaching and Learning Technologies.

Companies often talk about their commitment to customer service, but I’ve never known anything like that which receive from Reclaim Hosting. It’s insane. For example, in the last six months, amongst other things, they’ve:

  • Responded within a minute to a query about my wiki being down, and had fixed it for me within five minutes.
  • Worked with me to rectify a persistent spamming problem on my sites (that was my fault, not there’s)
  • Migrated my sites from US servers to ones based in the EU within 24 hours of me tweeting that I’d like them to do so.

On top of that, they charge me a very low price. I’m a huge fan, as you can tell.

The last of the bullet points is an important one as President Trump continues to rip up the good work carried out by his predecessors. For example, earlier this month,¬†The Register reported on a joint letter sent by Human Rights watch and the ACLU which outlines in detail how Trump’s executive orders are underming the US-EU Privacy Shield. Bloomberg reckons that the EU are ready to pull out of it.

It’s 2017, so it seems strange to be talking about things that seemed more important in the early days of the web, such as where your¬†server is located. But, of course, given the nationalist turn we’ve taken in the west, these things matter.

They matter because he location of your server is still of vital importance, despite¬†recent protestations, that data in transit through the US makes it subject to US law.¬†What you put on your own web space isn’t just the front end stuff that everyone sees, it’s the backend stuff as well ‚ÄĒ family photos, private emails, and the like.

Some people have asked why I’ve chosen to host my data in Germany, rather than in the UK. Well, for a start, I still consider myself as more¬†European than British, despite ‘Brexit’.¬†Second,¬†Germany has stronger privacy laws than the UK (and certainly the US). Finally, and more pragmatically, it’s the EU option offered by Reclaim Hosting (mainly, I believe, because Digital Ocean offer block storage in that zone)

I perhaps spend more time thinking about these things than most, but that’s because it’s something I deem important. Ironically, most of my readers are in the US, so this move actually adds a few milliseconds to their page load times. Sorry about that…

Image CC BY Jeff Ddevjet

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