When a blog expires

Last month I mentioned a date when daily uploading to CabbieBlog would cease, and it got me thinking about just how long those regular musings would remain available on the Web.

In short, one day this blog is not going to be here. I don’t just mean I’ll have stopped writing new stuff, but the stuff I have written will have vanished.

When my WordPress subscription expires and the blog is hosted for free on their corporate platform, it’ll eventually slip away, either degrading over time or with the plug pulled in a single extinction event. Even if its content was still languishing on multiple servers somewhere in the world, the means to access it, with the URL transferred elsewhere or just extinguished, would mean the death of CabbieBlog.

Much as we take for granted the internet today, over time millennial online protocols begin to change, much as VHS, floppy disks and 8-track tapes, CabbieBlog’s ultimate published legacy is potentially zero.

So I thought I’d run through some of the larger risks concerning the future existence of this blog, whether I’m around to see them or not, and consider not just where its content might still exist; but whether future archivists will still be able to access or read the posts.

WordPress takes issue with my blog and deletes it

WordPress’ terms and conditions state: ‘We have the right (though not the obligation) to reclaim your username or website’s URL due to prolonged inactivity’. So should I metaphorically cease to put pen to online paper they can delete me from the cyberverse.

I keep an archive of the blog in Word documents, but whether the device or program will be readable in many decades time is doubtful.

I take issue with my blog and delete it

I can’t think why I’d want to, but WordPress does have a self-destruct button. Protocols have to be followed, but not many after a few drinks…

Or a hacker could gain access to the blog and cause havoc.

I once used Last Pass to store my passwords, but after reading recently it had security issues I now don’t use the platform and have increased password security. As for drinking, a laptop and beer make uneasy companions.

WordPress decides to withdraw supporting hobbyists in favour of commercial customers

WordPress has been up and running since May 2003, just three years before I started blogging on a different platform. Over these past two decades countless other websites, services and platforms have fallen by the wayside. When WordPress released Gutenberg it was obvious they were aiming at the commercial customer, rather than hobbyists, so I’ll be looking over my shoulder for the online Grim Reaper.

If I’m still active I could transfer the blog to an alternative platform, Google’s Blogger is the obvious solution, but it’ll take some migrating, with thousands of posts, photos and links to other posts on CabbieBlog, and that’s assuming I’m still in a position to achieve this Herculean task.

Internet protocols degrade

It happens slowly but inexorably, something everyone can read one year becomes something nobody can read several years later. Text, photos, embedded maps, videos and sound clips are subject to being superseded by new wizz-bang coding, not to mention HTML commands that new browsers no longer understand causing a carefully-coded table to fall apart in an unreadable splurge. One day a page is going to fail to load because something on it is no longer understood.

Don’t do too much fancy stuff. As I mentioned before, a lot of additional risks would stem from my death or incapacitation, and many changes to services and protocols can be mitigated if I’m still around to deal with them. But if I’m not here then nothing can be done and those problems would gradually mount up over the years until they are no longer readable in their existing form.

WordPress introduces new features that I cannot understand

WordPress has form on this, occasionally introducing some new way of doing things that I have to find a way to work around, and Gutenberg is an example, many of us can’t get our heads around the new protocols. Most shouldn’t affect already-published posts but some future changes might, for example, if they decided that everyone had to upgrade to a bespoke mobile-friendly template and I wasn’t around to do so. This one is an odds-on favourite to happen one day.

If I’m able, to try to learn new ways of doing stuff, my absence makes the demise of CabbieBlog inevitable.

The hosting servers fail to access CabbieBlog

Looking towards a few decades hence and the means of keeping the blog online will progress to the point when the website is not accessible.

Saving CabbieBlog for posterity, it might be wise to consider devising a Blog Legacy Strategy, poised to kick in after my death, so that this blog stays live for as long as possible. But I’d need to trust this chosen person explicitly who has access to vintage servers. Alternatively, the British Library is archiving everything, as part of its long-term UK Web Archive project. They’ve been taking snapshots of this blog, most recently on 1st February 2022, which should mean you’ll always be able to go back in and read through my archives if you really want to.

In conclusion

What I’m saying is to enjoy flicking through this blog while you still can. The navigation works, the comments exist and all the posts and pictures are still accessible, as indeed they have been for the last 15 years. But one day, whenever that may be, it’s all going to fade away and disappear, much like its author.

My thanks to diamondgeezer for much of the technical jargon here.

11 thoughts on “When a blog expires”

    1. CabbieBlog was at one time self-hosted but I was hacked twice despite paying for protection, plus yearly cost of https and hosting I went back to WordPress after leaving it 11 years ago. Thanks for your comment and your humerous SOS website.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. “I sometimes imagine that the souls of the lost are compelled to walk through London’s streets perpetually. One feels them passing like a whiff of air.” – William Butler Yeats .


  2. Anything “in the cloud’ , as is all of our lives now, is eventually going to be lost..yes, be they hackers , cyber warriors, failure of the electrical grid, new owners and operators. Just as the fragments of parchment, recopied monastic scrolls, even clay tablets, are all just tiny bits of our past. Even the charcoal scratchings in caves and huge stones standing on the plains, …..so blog and ponder for us now and don’t worry about if future generations can sort it out.


  3. I pay for the Premium upgrade. Once I die, and that is no longer paid, my blog will revert to the ‘Basic Free’ version. That will wipe out almost all of the photos and images, as well as shrinking the word content. As I see it, ‘My blog dies with me’.
    Best wishes, Pete.


  4. I did once almost delete my blog, during the ‘Block Editor’ fiasco. I had opened a second bottle of red wine in a grumpy mood, and my finger was very close to the button! WordPress changes are the thing most likely to make me press it one day. 🙂


    1. When I self-hosted I actually deleted much of CabbieBlog and had to spend the weekend rebuilding, never again will I self-host, I’d get a headache trying to learn the protocols. Weekend tip laptops and wine don’t mix!

      Liked by 1 person

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