Surrendering to tech giants; seeking new home

Warning about site security certificate

I hate to admit it, but I’m giving up the battle. Tech giants won this round. Again.

I’m seeking a new home for my writing. This isn’t the first time technology ran me from a site. It probably won’t be the last. What happened? (Article continues after photo.)

Site security warning
This is the message you get if you click on the triangle in my browser bar where my SSL (think padlock) should be.

As you may see when you attempt to read here, Google’s Chrome browser (and others) now send you a warning about my site. “Your connection to this site is not secure.” If you click on the triangle by the browser bar, you’ll get three different options on the dropdown menu. One has to do with my security certificate.

I paid for one. If you clicked on my site in the past, you’d see a padlock up there in the browser. The cost for this is roughly $100. If you don’t do it, and if you’re an indie site, your traffic will definitely be affected.

Over the years, being an indie publisher has become far more difficult than it used to be. In the beginning, I was required to have a business permit from my local county (approximately $70). You could opt to write at a content mill where your work would be given away for free, or you could sign up with a hosting company and go it on your own. Originally I did this at a startup called ‘Squarespace.’ Tech did me in there too.

I ended up with GoDaddy, and although the customer service reps are very nice and eager to help, my site is still pretty screwed up. In an effort to get a newer version of PHP, we had to upgrade my hosting setup to a different panel. Here’s the info about that in my Site Health Check:

“PHP is the programming language used to build and maintain WordPress. Newer versions of PHP are faster and more secure, so staying up to date will help your site’s overall performance and security. The minimum recommended version of PHP is 7.4.”

Naturally, this cost more too. Somewhere in the neighborhood of $300.

Now my Jetpack setup—I use this for widgets among other things—is telling me my WordPress version is too old.

Back to the security certificate. On Feb. 16, I was notified my site could be down for three days while my old certificate transfers to my ‘new’ site. The site isn’t new—the hosting panel and package are. This one of course is more expensive.

It does a small publisher brand a vast amount of harm when a reader sees that warning pop up. I have no ads or spyware on this website. Any cookies or other elements are from WordPress, not me.

All this comes on the heels of a totally bizarre screwup with my PayPal account.

I could bore everyone with the minutiae of all this, but it’d be pointless. I realized a day or two ago I could be a webmaster or a writer. I choose ‘writer’ every time.

I’m looking for a setup where I can write a column but where I don’t have to maintain a full website. I can’t give my writing the attention I want to if most of my time is spent fixing ‘whichits’ and ‘whatchits’ I don’t have expertise about.

I have a line of interviews and columns waiting to be written. What I’ve done every day this week involves a whole lot of work and very little time for writing.

I’ll keep everyone posted on what comes next.

Meanwhile, if you’ve shared my work or donated to the site, I am eternally grateful. I plan to migrate some of the columns I’ve done here and archive them wherever I end up.

So. Yes, this is a surrender to the complications tech titans have levied on indie publishers. But no, I won’t be silencing my voice.

Ironically, the Florida Lottery website also has that ‘not safe’ triangle in the browser bar. That is strange.

Notice the broken graphics on this page? For some reason, the images I snipped aren’t showing. I rest my case.

(Kay B. Day/February 18, 2021)

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