I have been installing, developing and maintaining my websites for the past 18 years. I am a hands-on type of person that wants to know how everything ticks. The amount of time required continues to grow but the amount of time I can allocate decreases.
My dilemma for the past couple of years is when I should hand over the reins to someone else like a SaaS provider. The main website is www.brianchristner.io. But I have several more which also consume a considerable amount of time. The time maintaining these sites is distancing me further away from the projects which I want to focus.
It is a hard proposition to consider to no longer to have full control over my websites. I'm not sure if it related to my advancing years or trying to be more resourceful with my time (I hope the latter). As more of my projects and new technology investigations continually put on the back burner, it became increasingly apparent something needed to change.
Last week, my decision process kicked into high gear. I had the unfortunate experience of this website going offline for approximately 48 hours. It was a painful experience unwinding the SSL issues that knocked me offline.
Once everything was stable, I started reviewing all my options on how to prevent such an episode in the future. Instantly I took the view of trying to solve this technically. What's interesting is I made myself take a step back and analyze my situation without emotions or interest and pure Pro versus Con.
This review took me down the path of weighing in on several factors like time spent with maintenance, price per month for hosting and what is the focus for each site.
It turns out the amount of time I spent reviewing deploying new patches and upgrades for each website was almost the same amount of time which I spent writing articles. It also became blatantly clear that I was moving away from my focus with each passing day.
This site along with several others run the Ghost content management system (CMS). When I first started using Ghost, the new versions were made available at a regular cadence but manageable. However, this year I have noticed the velocity in which Ghost releases new updates and features. This pace became almost unmanageable for me and my websites. It is great for users of Ghost but for maintaining, testing, and deploying at this same pace is challenging.
Finally, I decided to cut my losses with a few sites and did some spring cleaning(In October). I decided to cut websites which I just don't have time to manage or update and were not bringing any value. They are gone, but I still kept their databases if I ever get back around to them. I had a couple of sites utilizing WordPress which is a security nightmare as I was getting bombarded every day with notifications of security issues or hacking attempts. Gone!
The SaaS Solution
Software as a Service (SaaS) is becoming more of commonplace than most people realize. SaaS solutions now make up the most significant percentage of consumer applications by consumers. SaaS consumption is surprising for some, and most people don't even know they are using SaaS.
In the case of Ghost or WordPress, they both offer SaaS solutions as well. They will take care of the infrastructure, security, hosting and updates. The Ghost SaaS solution is almost the same price in which I pay to host myself. Switching to SaaS seems like a no-brainer.
The Pros of going SaaS outweigh self-hosting in my use case by a landslide. I can now focus on delivering more content and worry less about maintenance, configuration, or the platform as a whole. Now, I can sit back and relax. Oh wait, now I have more time to write...no more relaxing!