Saturday, 14 January 2006
MovableType on Yahoo Web hosting
This is not a blog about blogging, or a blog about blogging technology. Please skip this article unless you are interested in both. I've posted the information below solely as an aid to other bloggers, potential bloggers, and people who work with blogging software:
I've been experimenting with trying to migrate my Web site, including this MovableType (MT) blog, to "Yahoo Small Business" Web hosting. (For privacy's sake, I would still keep my mail server separately in Canada.)
Unfortunately, the Yahoo MT installation and configuration process seems to be set up for a newly-registered domain name and a new MT installation to contain a new blog. There is as yet no migration guide from Yahoo or SixApart.
It would be premature to draw any conclusions, but here are a few notes for others who may be considering or attempting MT migration to Yahoo:
As soon as you sign up for Web hosting for a domain with Yahoo, Yahoo will add the domain to its DNS servers, including a locked CNAME entry assigning "mail.domain.tld" to Yahoo's mail servers. You can't use other DNS servers. You can change the MX records to use any mail server(s), but you can't put it at "mail.domain.tld". (Why? I don't know. It took me six rounds of e-mail back and forth with yahoo support to find out that this is their policy, not a bug.) Yahoo also requires a wildcard CNAME record for any subdomains you haven't explicitly defined, mapping "*.domain.tld" to Yahoo's servers."
Since Yahoo's DNS is immediately active, and can't be disabled (unlike Plesk or most other Web hosting control panels that have switches to enable/disable DNS and mail services), mail from within Yahoo will immediately start being blackholed by Yahoo's mail servers until you either set up addresses on Yahoo's mail servers or change the MX records.
The current general MT release is MT 3.20010; the Yahoo MT customization is MT version 3.20011. So don't be alarmed that Yahoo MT runs the "MT version upgrade" script if you import a new MT blog database from anywhere other than Yahoo. (This adds some extra Yahoo tables to the database.)
Yahoo's Web hosting control panel (but not any of the advertising by SixApart or Yahoo) identifies MT on Yahoo as "beta". MT on Yahoo is not yet reliable. It's sometimes very fast, sometimes excruciatingly slow, and sometimes doesn't respond at all. Rebuilds sometimes fail silently; I haven't yet been able to complete a rebuild of my largest blog.
I have support tickets open with both SixApart and Yahoo, and they seem to be trying hard to resolve the migration and deployment issues. I remain hopeful that once Yahoo MT it is out of beta, it will be faster and more reliable and scaleable than other MT platforms. But it's still in beta.
Yahoo says they do not support MT, and that support for MT on Yahoo is available only from SixApart. But existing MT support licenses from SixApart are not valid for MT on Yahoo, as below (although thus far SixApart has been trying hard to help me anyway). Be aware that if you migrate your MT installation to Yahoo, you won't get the support from SixApart for Yahoo's MT installation that you may be entitled to under any existing license:
Subject: Response to Movable Type support ticket 'migration to Yahoo'
From: Movable Type Support
Date sent: Wed, 11 Jan 2006 08:59:55 -0800 (PST)
This bug [MT rebuilds fail silently] was identified and fixed prior to the Yahoo launch, but a code freeze had to be enforced at a certain point prior to launch, so that fix was not there when that freeze was enforced. We're working with them on a timetable for when they plan to implement the updated code, but ultimately, it is under their control as to when that will happen.
On behalf of both Six Apart and Yahoo, I'd like to apologize for the frustration you've experienced due to this issue, and assure you that we are working with Yahoo to get the updates implemented as soon as possible.
I also do need to let you know that your current Movable Type license does not include support for your Yahoo hosted installation, as they are separately licensed products. We will be offering a support package specifically for Yahoo!MT clients who wish to receive personal support from Six Apart for that version. (We do have it available for purchase now if you're interested in adding it to your account, it's just that the purchase process is a little rough around the edges currently - so if you are interested in that, please do let us know and we'll work with you to make the purchase.)
[Addendum, 18 January 2006: SixApart continues to try to help me, despite continuing to say that my MovableType license doesn't entitle me to support for MT hosted by Yahoo. SixApart has distributed a patch for one of the most widely-reported bugs in the MT customization for Yahoo. Unfortunately, it doesn't help with my problems. And I've been contacted directly by Jay Allen of SixApart in response to my posting a version of this article to the MT developers network mailing list. According to Jay Allen:
"A big goal in our integration with the Yahoo Small Business offering was to provide the fastest and most enjoyable Movable Type experience on the web. If this is not the case, we obviously want to investigate. At this point, we are not aware of ANY performance issues on YSB [Yahoo Small Business hosting]. If you can isolate the problems you're having so that we can reproduce them, we will address them immediately.... We will be launching a support package for Yahoo Small Business Movable Type users. It would have been launched weeks ago had we not stumbled into some issues that needed to be solved first. Suffice it to say, this is a very high priority for us. I will also check with our team to see about transferral of licenses for existing MT customers who switch over to Yahoo. We'll iron out those details before we launch the support package but we definitely want all of our paying customers to have the support they paid for."]Link | Posted by Edward on Saturday, 14 January 2006, 10:28 (10:28 AM)