The good old blog with a new name

I bought a domain name -- an address, a virtual place to call it home. The what, the how, the why and all those details for the curious.

TLDR; The URL of this website would soon be fluid.quest

Today, on the thirtieth day of August 2021, as rain continue to shower on Stockholm nearly every day, marks the end of my hunt for a succinct domain name. For a long time, I was not convinced to spend a good handful of money on a virtual asset. That changed recently.

After jumping ships from Blogger, to WordPress, to Tumblr and finally to GitHub pages using Pelican static-site generator, I thought I was done. I had full control on the content and the site generation. It was made using open-source software, which means there was no way the toolchain will not work in the foreseeable future. Therefore, in short the internals were intact. Moreover, my precious visitors to my blog then do not get served ads, cookies or third party tracking scripts.

Everything seemed fine. Until Microsoft bought it. Just because it is a free service and has a large user base does not inspire any confidence that it might stay like this forever. I recall how I used to adore following other blogs on Google Reader until Google swung the axe, decided it was not profitable enough. However, feed readers were easy, they continued to exist, and it was still possible to find alternatives (server based and server-less). In fact this is not an isolated incident. Large corporations always change services, buy new ones, shutdown old ones on their whims and fancies. They would come abruptly, and I should be prepared for this.

In fact, blog and email servers are like Hotel California (You can check out any time you like, but you can never leave) as long as you care about others to be able to find you.

By buying a domain name, you get an address which stays the same, irrespective of where you host it. The host could be GitHub, Gitlab, Codeberg or even a small server powered by a Raspberry Pi! The readers will still be able to find you. And as a bonus, you can choose a domain name which represents your interests better.

Talking about interests, did you know there are a lot of TLDs (top level domain names) right now. Dull .com, .net TLDs of yore are old-fashioned. The prices can vary a lot! And there are a lot of gotchas to be considered in choosing the "domain registrar". Where to buy can be confusing to a total beginner.

Doing the pre-purchase research

The research that I did was a bit of informal hearsay in the interweb. For instance the following comics by Julia Evans were really useful1 .

choosing a domain registrar whois protection can TLDs subdomains

And this one on receiving emails which I will think about later. Self-hosting emails is not an easy feat.

On the choosing the domain registrar question, I got a excellent tip from Jan Lukas-Else who had good experience with Porkbun. Therefore, I went there and there were many good deals going on.

How I bought the domain name

No single correct or optimal answer exists to which domain name one should buy -- given the plethora of TLDs in the market! The prices are nearly fixed for a given TLD. This caught my eye, and I decided to scrap the table for offline brainstorming.

The result was a small domain-name-search Python tool

By doing so, I was able to check availability of different combinations of domain names using whois and visualize costs in an interactive plot. Of course, it was not perfect, a few domain names which were available were up for premium registration (prices often exceeding thousands of dollars). Which were not for me. Once I had a shortlist done, it was easy to reduce the options.

And thus I registered fluid.quest

Why fluid.quest

For now, I can say that:

  • It is an ode to the skill that I have been trained in for nearly a decade, Fluid Mechanics.
  • The quest post Ph.D. still continues

What happens next?

First I will archive a snapshot of the landing page and this post, in case someone runs into the blog years later with the old URL and receives a 404 error message, wondering what had happened.

I will soon a register the apex domain / subdomain to point to this very website via the new URL. Hopefully, all visits to the current URL ashwinvis.github.io would be redirected by GitHub as long I continue to use their service.

Over a longer period of time, I can turn to a different host with more ethical business model such as Codeberg.

Update

The move is now complete to fluid.quest.


  1. Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International licensed zines CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 

Ashwin Vishnu Mohanan

About the author

Ashwin Vishnu Mohanan, Ph.D. in Fluid mechanics

Posted by on in Blog. updated
#meta #software

Interactions

Below you can find the interactions that this page has had using WebMention.

Have you written a response to this post? Let me know the URL:

Do you not have a website set up with WebMention capabilities? You can: