You may remember that but a few short weeks ago I bitched about hosting my own website and all of the technical difficulties that entailed. Subsequent weeks have been spent wrapping my head around the ins and outs of getting a website up. Two days ago I’ve finally felt happy enough about the way my site was set up. I was ready to stop being a site administrator and to start being a blogger. Alas, it was not meant to be.
You see, I have finally bothered to read the “terms of service” of my hosting provider. And by “read” I mean spend more than 2 seconds it takes to scroll down to the end of the ToS page and blindly click the “I Agree” button. To my absolute horror, I have found this in the “PROHIBITED USES” section:
“Profanity. Profanity or profane subject matter in the site content and in the domain name are prohibited”
As any other rational and self-respecting blogger, my immediate reaction to the above was: “What kind of fucking bullshit is this?!”. I can’t decide what language to use on my own blog?! What if my fictional character is a foul-mouthed alcoholic ex-cop? What if one of my readers comments on a post and says “OMG ur so fucking funny i just literally died laffing, LOL”? Before you ask – yes, all of my fictional characters are action movie clichés and all of my blog readers are teenagers who watch Jersey Shore to improve their IQ and cognitive abilities. Bottom line: I cannot possibly be expected to monitor not only my own posts, but also any discussions on my site.
“But surely these guys won’t just shut down your site for using a few swear words here and there”, you may be thinking. That makes you both reasonable and dead wrong. They have done this numerous times and have even allegedly shut down a guy’s website just for discussing poker. Why? Because fuck him for talking about card-based fun! They also have an anti-nudity policy so strict that if you want photographs of people in your blog they better be wearing a hazmat suit or Easter Bunny overalls.
Also, the “no nudity” policy effectively rules out links to all pop music videos, since the boundary between pop and porn has been crossed well before Janet Jackson had her famous “wardrobe malfunction” incident. I don’t want to speculate whether “butt” is considered profanity every time I post. If I’m reviewing Dirty Harry movies I don’t want to wonder whether I should write that Clint Eastwood cocked his gun or, ahem, roostered it.
My hosting contract had a 30-day “money back” cancellation policy, which was good. At the time I’d realised this I was on day 28, which was less good. I had two days to pick another host (and make sure they had a more liberal content policy), register another domain name (I wanted a new one), move my whole blog to it, then remove it from the previous host and cancel my contract. If it sounds overwhelming, it’s because it freaking is. Especially when you have a full-time job.
Moving site content is an easy and relatively painless process…provided you know how to create and backup MySQL databases through your cPanel, export data to and from your FTP, and correct queries in your HTML, CSS, and WTF code. And we all know that stuff is taught to us in kindergarten, right? Since I wasn’t tech-savvy enough to do all of that, but OCD enough to give a damn, I had to manually recreate my whole site from scratch on the new host. This took up exactly 127 hours of the free time I’ve had in the past two days.
But I’ve made it! I have a new and fancy “nest-expressed” domain name, a liberal host, a shiny new blog, and social media pages to market it. So now all I need is YOU, my readers! Because let’s face it, laughing at your own jokes is pretty damn sweet, but laughing at your own jokes a bit too often gets you a one-way trip to an asylum. With that said – go read my stuff, subscribe to my blog, and help spread the word. I even have fancy “share” buttons to help you do so, right below this post. So go ahead! You don’t want me to end up in an asylum, do you?