Thursday, June 16, 2011

iWeb and MobileMe's Going Away: What This Means to Your Website.

MobileMe's going away!
IMPORTANT UPDATE AT THE BOTTOM OF THE PAGE!


As sure as Christmas comes once a year, and on the same date every year, you can be sure that because Apple’s MobileMe is changing to iCloud, iWeb will also change, if not go away entirely. They’ve done it before; they’re likely to do it again. And just like Christmas, since you know it’s coming, it’s best to be prepared ahead of time. For those who procrastinate about their holiday shopping, you can’t say that you weren’t warned about iWeb and MobileMe ahead of time. You were, you are. Right here.

MobileMe's home screen will disappear next year.
What’s iWeb and MobileMe?
iWeb is Apple software that’s used to create web pages and is part of the former iLife software package. MobileMe is where Apple hosts these pages in cyberspace. If you didn’t use iWeb to create your web pages or don’t use MobileMe to host any of them, then you can stop reading now. This doesn’t pertain to you. Of course, don’t start using them now because then this would be important information for you to know.

But for those who do use iWeb and MobileMe to host your pages, the following information could be really important to you, so keep reading, and perhaps even bookmark this page so you can easily refer back to it later.

iCloud's coming!
The impact of iCloud on MobileMe website hosting        
When Apple’s new service, iCloud was announced in early June, there was no information released about how websites hosted on MobileMe would be able to migrate to the new cloud computing environment. This had one user so concerned that he wrote to Steve Jobs (iconic Apple CEO) with his question, "Will I need to find an alternative website builder and someone to host my sites?" Mr. Job’s one word answer was “Yep,” and as a result, the whole Apple blog universe went on alert. Even this article is the result of that one word response.

OMG! What should I do?
Since this won’t happen until June, 2012, you have a whole year to prepare. (You also had a whole year to prepare for Christmas, but did you?) If your site comes down when MobileMe goes dark, it will have a much greater impact on you than not bringing Uncle Harry a gift last year. Ergo, start preparing now.

HOW?
iWeb software is a “WYSIWYG” type of app. This translates to “What You See Is What You Get,” and what this means is that you can easily design and format your web pages without needing to know complicated software code to create it. Nifty! And just as nifty is that you could seamlessly launch it on MobileMe and have a functioning website in no time at all.

FIRST, THE SOFTWARE
Losing iWeb means that first you’ll need to find new WYSIWYG software with which to recreate your web pages. Rapidweaver and Sandvox are two that deliver many of the same functions that you already know how to use from iWeb, and they’ll launch on non-MobileMe sites. If you’ve been using iWeb 3, below is information about transporting your pages intact to another website host. 


(UPDATE: Here's a link to a chart that compares the top 5 (ignore iWeb since we know it's going away) Mac web software building programs. To see it, click here.)

The new software might even provide you with a good opportunity to redesign your site to make it more effective, attractive, and interesting.

NEXT, THE WEBSITE HOST
If your pages were designed using iWeb 3, you’ll be able to use iWeb software to move them in their present format via FTP (File Transfer Protocol) to another traditional host. Most of them accept FTP, but you should know that some of the standard iWeb features including password protection, blog and photo comments, blog search, and the hit counter won’t work when you use FTP for publishing. Also, this should be considered only a “temporary” long-term solution since it’s inevitable that iWeb won’t be supported in future releases of OS X.

FREE HOSTS
If you don’t want to pay for a web hosting service, and your site isn’t that large or frequently visited, consider using Dropbox to host the pages. You’ll need to download their software and set up an account. Detailed instructions and a helpful video can be found on their web site. In lieu of that, here’s a helpful blog that will walk you through the steps:Here’s How to Use Dropbox as Your Host.”

Another free site is Posterous. You’ll need an email account with them because you’ll be able do a lot of your posting just by sending emails to a special Posterous address. They have many cool features, including iPhone and iPad apps so you can post to your site while on the go including uploading your photos and even videos into the post. This is an especially good service to use if your website is more personal than professional.

Needless to say, there are many other ways to put your web pages and blogs on the Internet for free. WordPress (which has two very different versions, so caveat emptor), Blogger, and Tumblr, are just a few of the most popular.

NOT FREE HOSTS
If your site is large with frequent visitors you’ll need a different kind of host as a replacement for MobileMe. Like Christmas shopping, this can be challenging or easy, it just depends on how you approach it.

There are hundreds of website hosts, and may even come bundled as part of your TV cable / internet / phone service, like Comcast (aka Xfinity). Check with your local cable provider to see what they offer. Top 10 Website Host is a website that gives you an excellent comparison chart of the top 10 website hosts (duh) with links to each of the sites as well as descriptions and reviews. The prices vary considerably, as does how easy they are to use, so browse around, and do your homework.

IN CONCLUSION
While time is still on your side, doing this is a task like all others, so it makes sense to assess your needs, do your homework, and then take action. Don’t wait! Christmas will be here before you know it, and just a few short months later MobileMe will pull the plug on web hosting, and your website with it if you don’t migrate it to another website host.


Having said all of the above, here's a link to my next article that has to do with data storage which is different than website hosting. This is useful information if you're using iDisk as your data backup location because this service is going away too.  This article includes descriptions, reviews, and a comparison chart: "Disaster Proof Your Data by Storing it Off Site." 


UPDATE: June 24, 2011
Apple's definitive answer about what will and will not be available on iCloud (formerly MobileMe) after June, 2012. Read and prepare yourself. Read it here.


And here's another link to Apple that teaches you how to migrate your MobileMe pages to another host. Read it here.



The information contained herein is for guideline purposes only, is not intended as an endorsement of any product, and is no guarantee of the results.

Images courtesy of Apple, safebusinesstore.com, buildingwebsites,
Copyright © The B. Hammil Company 2011




2 comments:

  1. Thanks so much for this Beryn. You've made a very confusing subject "readable". I'm still not sure I'm going to go for another website. It think I may be "blogging it" in the future since it seems to suit my business just fine and actually, I think is more advantageous for me anyway.

    Great information. I'm passing this post on :-)

    ReplyDelete
  2. Smart cookie, Donna! Blogging is the trend to replace web sites as they're more active and search engines like them better.

    ReplyDelete

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