Big Changes for All the Pages

It’s not uncommon for me to make changes to All the Pages (are my days).  Some are behind the scenes changes (such as two years the site ran on Drupal before moving back to WordPress) and some are more visually oriented. I try to note the biggest changes here, if for no other reason than to remind myself of what has changed over the years.

Today, I’m announcing an even bigger update. Not only have I changed the design again, but I’ve moved to a new hosting environment.

Let’s set the stage.

In October of 2017, I updated the design and began using a new theme (Imagely Fearless), based on the Genesis framework. Looking through the archives, it appears I didn’t document that change, which was big in the sense it marked my move from comprehensive (bloated) themes like Avada to a more minimal, do-it-yourself theme system.

I found the Genesis themes pretty easy to work with, and was able to create a design that was close to what I wanted. It performed pretty well also, which is important.

Still, I wasn’t completely satisfied. And as I began pondering changing my hosting environment, I also looked into Genesis alternatives.

And that leads to the big news: All the Pages is now hosted on a droplet at DigitalOcean and is powered by a customized GeneratePress theme.

I’m not unhappy with Pair Networks. They still provide my email services and host a number of my other sites. Just last week I recommended them to someone looking for hosting.

While slightly concerned about performance, the main reason for the move is I wanted to try running the site on a platform where I have full control.

Speaking of changes, here is a visual history of the site from mid 2014 until today:

The first two shots are from the Avada theme. I used the 2nd design from late 2014 until mid-2017, with only minor changes.

The 3rd image is from the first release using Genesis. I soon grew tired of the large “hero” image as I’d rather show more of my content.

The fourth and fifth images are basically the same. A refinement of the first Genesis look, with differing backgrounds.

The 6th screenshot represents the site as it appears today. Not a big change from before, as I really do like the “masonry” design for blogs, but I did move the menu to the more traditional top location and added a banner image.

All the Pages: 2014 - 2019
All the Pages: 2014 – 2019

There are a couple of other changes worth noting.

I am using the All in One security package. Wordfence is great, but they are kind of pushy regarding upgrading to their pro package, and there’s a lot of bloat in the database compared to AiO.

I’m also using the WP Rocket caching solution. Nothing wrong with my former choice, W3TC; it was just time for a change.

Also, the site is still protected by SSL, but now I have to do the work of setting up the certificates. Between my professional experience and a few useful links (such as this one on working with Cloudflare and Let’s Encrypt) it took under an hour to get everything working, including DNS propagation delays. It is worth noting that Smoky Valley Photography, now also hosted on this droplet, was added to Cloudflare at the same time, just to make cert management a bit easier and because that was my eventual plan anyway.

Finally, implicit in this update is the fact that my sites are no longer part of a WordPress multi-site configuration. While it seemed to make sense at the time, the lack of flexibility drove me back to separate installs per site.

Enjoy the new site and let me know via the contact page if you notice any problems or have any questions or just want to say “hi!”