Webmastering for the Finnish Language School of Silicon Valley

I volunteered as webmaster for the Finnish Language School of Silicon Valley non-profit. First I needed to renew the domain, which was just about to expire. I then took a look at the current hosting provider, doteasy.com. They don’t offer a lot, but the hosting is free without banner ads on your site, and you also get an email address. The downside is that they require you to register the domain through them, and this is at least 2-3 times more expensive than domain registrations elsewhere. All in all, not too bad but I thought I could do better.

Since I host at Dreamhost myself and I am reasonably happy with them, I asked if they had discounts for non-profits. Turns out they offer free hosting for non-profits, and I believe this also includes free domain registration. So off I went, faxed the needed documents and finally got email informing me the account was set up.

At first I set up various email addresses (unlimited number available, basically) to manage the site, and created the old contact address as well. I then set up a Subversion repository which automatically pushes changes to the live website, and sends out a commit message to me as well.

Compared to the old setup, Dreamhost offers secure shell access via ssh, unlimited accounts, more disk and bandwith, backups, and overall more tools to manage the site. And with the Subversion setup, any change can be rolled back, rather than relying on daily backups from Dreamhost. Not to mention that the commits list alerts me to any changes (via Subversion at least).

The major issue at this point is finding some free cross-platform WYSIWYG HTML tool(s) that can edit the simple HTML files via WebDAV folders. All major OSes can now mount WebDAV folders, but I was bummed to note that Kompozer does not support WebDAV (it does not even seem to help when a WebDAV folder is mounted). It is also somewhat a hassle to deal with SSL without paying for a dedicated IP and certificate, because what Dreamhost offers for free is created by them; expect warnings about unknown CA and mismatched domains. Better than nothing, I guess.

Now that the infrastructure is in place, including DNS updates, I can concentrate on updating the site content, and eventually migrate the domain registrar to Dreamhost as well.

Update: The non-profit hosting plan actually seems to include some free IPs as well as a free certificate, so I’ll need to take a look at enabling that.

Update2: I found out Seamonkey Composer supports WebDAV upload, so I am all set with open source, cross-platform WYSIWYG HTML editor that I can recommend to my users.

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