Please pardon the downtime.

A quick explanation for why the blog has been down a lot over the last few days.

On Monday, I discovered that my WordPress installation had been hacked again.  I spent a few hours cleaning things up, and then I got really frustrated with the Sisyphean nature of the whole process.  Because of that, I decided to move my site from a self-hosted WordPress installation to WordPress.com servers, so that constant vigilance against hacks and software updates would be Somebody Else’s Problem(tm) for a change.

The annual fees for WordPress.com hosting were, I thought, well worth the one night a month I would gain in not having to clean out my blog’s infection and reset everything.

The last two days during which the blog was completely down were due to a failure in my nameserver change from Dreamhost to WordPress.  This failure is ongoing and Dreamhost support is working on it-  I’m actually using an http cloak to load the WordPress site directly without properly mapping the domain name.  It’s a kludge, but it will at least bring me back up for the time needed to resolve the real problem.

As a nifty bonus though, WordPress.com hosting does a few things natively that it took me several plugins to get working on the self-hosted variety.  Things like the direct connections to Facebook and Twitter to notify of new blog posts.  The only functionality I lose is the LiveJournal crossposting, and I have a different solution for that once this is all sorted out.

The downtime is not the fault of Dreamhost, although their initial communication infuriated me because they misread my question three times.  The downtime is also not the fault of WordPress, although their documentation could be a little bit more clear.  The real fault for the downtime is a combination of my poor understanding of DENIC’s strict rules and an as yet to be determined problem with Dreamhost’s third-party registry vendor, Logic Boxes.  That support request is ongoing.

Technical Note (If you’re bored by the technical stuff, skip this paragraph): DENIC, the registry for .de domain names, has very, very strict rules about things.  It requires that you have a valid zone file on the name servers you want to change to, and this was not clear to me at first.  I realized yesterday, after I discovered an “unexpected RCODE failure” on their nameserver check at http://www.denic.de/en/background/nast.html that I needed the zone on WordPress servers to make this happen.  WordPress is used to this, and they get support requests to create zones manually all the time, so this was a piece of cake to fix once I knew that it was needed.  However, the nameserver change is still not going through because the Dreamhost panel thinks this domain name isn’t registered.

In any case, there may yet be some additional hiccups to the DNS here, but once this is all sorted out I’ll get back to posting about life outside of the command line.