New search method from Google

Sometime ago I moved to a new server because my previous Host just didn’t support my use of Moveable Type. They severely restricted the program to where it was useless to me to have on a regular basis.

I moved to a new host who I learned didn’t restrict the use of MT scripts and especially didn’t after I bought a virtual server.

A few months into the new arrangement my blogs started going down on a regular basis. The server would crash so bad that it didn’t exist when you tried to visit. I upgraded the memory 3 times and was still getting crashes.

The problem is mt-search.cgi file in the base install of my MoveableType v3.36 I used the script for Tag searches on the site. What happens is some yahoos run a script that crawls the site and hits every tag which causes the script to fire. The overhead would build up and crash the server.

I immediately disabled the mt-search script and the crashes stopped.

The problem is a blog is really not whole unless a visitor can search it. It would especially make the Tag feature useless since tags are just a search keyword that serves up posts with that keyword.

I looked for another solution.

One I tried was a PHP whole text search plugin that was suppose to be fast but after following the instructions to the letter and spending several hours, I still couldn’t get it to work with my blog (although the basic version did work with Doug’s Views). The basic support for the script was lacking. I kept having an issue with mod_rewrite exceeding the max redirects with Moveable Type’s base htaccess file declaration for dynamic publishing – which was needed for the plug in to work. No dynamic publishing no search.

I found a solution that didn’t require a phd in computer script programing and server mechanics.

Google has a product called Custom Search Engine. You use your current Google account or get one, and CSE allows you to create a custom search – you can host the form and results on your site, use Google for the results, place your own ads on the results, limit the search to certain pages, include more than one site. The one downside is you have to put up with ads on the results page.

Once you setup the base search engine then Google provides the code to put on your blog to display the search box and results. I haven’t figured out how to host the results myself yet but Google will serve the results for you.

The cool thing is I can still have Tag searches by writing a URL that will pass the info to CSE as if you used a search box. Here is the example of my code I use in my MT templates:

"a rel="tag" href="<$MTTagName encode_url="1"$>&cx="your value will very here"><$MTTagName$>"

Now when I click on a Tag in the entry or on my Tag Index it brings up a Google search results page with hits on that Tag.

Tooting my own horn

I wanted to post about updates to two of my blogs.

iHumanism – narrowly focused on Humanism. Available since 1999, it was previously a standard HTML based site but has now been converted to a blog using WordPress. Content includes articles, essays, and commentary on Humanism, which is my life stance.

Most recent post talks about something called “vague theism” that is causing issues within the Humanist movement.

The Review Geek – basically a review style blog. It offers commentary on media offerings from TV to music to film and culture. I use the new Movable Type version 4.

Most recent post talks about the show “Feasting on Asphalt 2: The River Run” showing on the Food Network.

I really have no social life and am quite pale, so check them out if you have time.

New home for this blog

This is the first post on this blog since I moved it to a new server.

I want to say that my previous host – – was a good host. They were easy to use and provide a good package with unlimited e-mail boxes and several mysql databases. In the approximate 4 years I was with them, I had only one real technical issue and that happened early this year when one of my databases went down due to the server going down. It was fixed in few hours after my I put in a ticket.

The reason I’m leaving is because they had severe restrictions on running scripts and since I use Movable Type, my blog is mostly scripts. I understand that in a shared hosting environment that resources need to be shared but I was paying for the top shared package and it was getting to be useless.

And before various fanboys point out that I am using dead technology etc… I know that some others have passed MT by (like Wordpress) but I spent literally hundreds of hours on this blog and I don’t feel like learning new software. However getting a glimpse of MT 4 currently in Beta may change my mind – it seems at the start too much like Myspace or Vox and I like old school blogging. If I wanted 1500 pictures of people I really don’t know to clog up my web page then I would be based on Myspace. Send your fan mail to my contact page.

Any way, my issue with 1and1 started slowly, I would get 500 error messages that I never had before and rebuilding my pages would get slower and slower before crapping out altogether. I tried all the tweaks and hacks I could to squeeze out the rebuilds. At the end I was working on slices of 5 pages at a time and it would take an hour and half to rebuild my pages if I made any changes to the structure. I think the problems got bad when 1and1 started offering a blog feature.

The other issue I had was that 1and1 has had issues with spammers. I found that out when my e-mail to a friend at AOL bounced because the 1and1 mail server was blacklisted. I had also heard some stories that 1and1 had an issue with hosting spam sites and not booting them out quickly enough.

My contract was coming up so I decided to find a host that was more Moveable Type friendly. Six Apart, the makers of MT, has a partner page that listed some hosts that 6A recommended. That’s how I found NEXCESS.NET

For about the same price I was paying for 1and1’s top shared host package, Nexcess had an entry level VPS package.

VPS stands for Virtual Private Server. It is a bridge between shared hosting (many accounts on one server) and dedicated hosting (you are the only one on the server). VPS has two or more accounts on a server with separate resources and the big feature is that I have root access to my server. I also have my own mail server and name servers.

This has allowed me to put each of my blogs in their own accounts, separate from each other.

It is so nice to be able to rebuild my blogs without any errors and it finishes in a reasonable time.

The downside is I know next to nothing about running a server.

Wish me luck.

For more info:


MovableType Hosting Partners

Moving Day

You may have noticed a change in the look of Doug’s Views.

I am in the process of moving the blog from to my own server using Moveable Type.

I have the basic look and converted the previous postings to the new the version. I did move the comments but turned off additional comments on old posts until I get everything settled.

Over the weekend I will start tweaking and adding more graphics and static pages based on the stuff I learned in developing my first Moveable Type blog Secular Left. The look may change as I work so don’t be alarmed.