HELP - Self-publish doesn't work!

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  • Updated 9 years ago
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This is my second Yola project - but I've run into some problems with self-publishing:

I started off publishing my site on Yola:
"www.myowndomain.yolasite.com"

This was done in order to complete the site development. Once completed I began the process of moving to my Hosting Server (self-publish).

NOTE: I'd prefer NOT to provide my REAL domain as it's still in pre-launch stealth mode. But I can provide it "privately" if necessary.

I'm hosting this website "Hostgator" (hostgator.com) which supports the basic requirements for Yola self-publishing (Php 5.2, SQLite, etc.).

1. I've completed the documented steps for self-publishing.
2. Downloaded my Yola zip file and uploaded to my Hosting Server.
3. Performed chmod "777" on the classes/work/template_c directory.

Now when I go to my self publish domain website "www.myowndomain.com" -- the entire web page only contains 1 line of text:

"www.myowndomain.yola.com"

The Title on the Browser Page Tab is:
"Placeholder Page"

That's it :-( --- obviously something is not right with the files that was zipped and downloaded since it seems the web page is NOT displaying my content but the Yola placeholder.

What am I missing?? Could it possibly be something in the php config??

mk
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Mk

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Posted 9 years ago

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UK Duke, Champion

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sounds like a DNS issue - placeholder pages mean something not pointed correctly. Sorry i can not be more help, its quite unusual people dont host with Yola.

Someone will know. Good luck
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Marije, Official Rep

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Hi mk,

Thank you for your post - I would like to find out why this is happening. Please could you send an email to us (support@yola.com) and mark it for my attention. We will need more details from you to be able to find out why this is happening.
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Mk

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Thanks Duke - I'm checking with Hostgator now to see if it's something on their end. I'll update here once I get the info.
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Mk

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Okay - problem solved.
Seems you guys call for a "domains.info" file in your script. That file needs to have the proper entry or else it redirects to the placeholder page.

I'm gonna take a closer look at your script files to see if I can figure out what happens when someone first publishes with Yola and then unpublishes.... and then self publishes - since these were the steps I took. Somehow your scripts didn't properly update.

On a side note - I first used your service back when you were still called synthasite.com and although you guys have done a lot of great work on the service - it's become more and more problematic for self-publishers.

When I self-published my first project - it was literally a 10 minute task. This took about 16 hrs. since I was not able to isolate what was causing the redirect. And your php scripts are practically useless unless you're a crack php developer - but then you need to spend a fair amount of time getting familiar with your environment.

Now I'm tracking down a problem with the Blog Widget as I'm getting 404 errors when I click on my "continue reading" links.

I understand that most people choose to publish with Yola - but for the folks who don't or can't -- seems you need to provide a bit more information about how your scripts work :-) or provide more documentation/comments in your php files.

Just my $0.02 -- thanks!!
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Peter

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I think that this is a great post. You mention that for people who can't host with Yola the option of self publishing is a good option. an example could be the "great firewall"

It's a relatively little reported aspect and I can easily understand issues creeping in with further Yola developments being unseen in the process. It's the same thing as users reporting problems with standard issue Yola. The more it's noticed and reported the more likely is the quick fix.

Thanks MK for highlighting this aspect.
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Mk

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Peter

My pleasure and I agree with you. I think Yola is a FANTASTIC service - but it just seems they REALLY want to keep you on their platform. I'm sure for 95% of the folks this is totally acceptable. But the difference from a FANTASTIC service and a GREAT service is being able to address the needs of the other 5% to some level of reasonable satisfaction.

The fact that in the good ol' days of synthasite self publishing was as easy as falling down - now it seems there's a deliberate effort to make it a bit problematic to self-publish. I just think it's the wrong approach. I've read numerous posts in this forum where the Yola folks always make it clear that "you're really better off simply hosting your site with us". That's great if one has the choice of hosting with you - but again there are always exceptions.

If the Yola folks are listening - my suggestion is to provide a basic tutorial on your php scripts and overall logic behind the scripts and best practices for self-publishing. You've already made it clear that you cannot support folks that self-publish (and this is totally reasonable). But by taking that extra step of openness you will create a LOT of good will.

Instead you provide a 7 line README.txt file that gives minimal information on requirements for self-publishing. NOT GOOD - do the right thing and open up a bit, publish a tutorial on the philosophy and architecture behind your scripts - encourage others to publish "How To" or Tutorials for hosting a Yola bred site on another hosting service.

it's obvious you folks have spent a fair amount of time working on your architecture. So take the next step and the remaining 5% of your userbase will be your biggest advocates.

mk
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Hi mk

Thank you for the insightful feedback. While we are not trying to deliberately keep people on our platform, the option to support self publishing does become increasingly difficult as our platform becomes more complex. We do strongly urge people to first consider hosting with us, because some people try to host elsewhere because they simply don't realize that hosting with Yola is free, and they are not prepared for the technical challenges they will face if they host elsewhere. So our first response is always to encourage hosting with Yola. However, if you do wish to host elsewhere we will go as far as we can to support you from our side with the creation and downloading of your site.

The issue you are currently experiencing sounds like a bug and we will certainly look into it and get back to you. If it is something we can fix, then we will do this.

I have noted your request for a more detailed tutorial on self publishing and I will see if something can be done in this regard. We recognize that people have strong reasons for wanting or needing to host their sites elsewhere. If it is at all feasible for us to continue to support this as our platform grows and changes then we will do so.
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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mk: I have made some inquiries and it seems that the problem arises from the domain.info file being included in the zip file when you download your site. We are treating this as a bug and will try to have it fixed soon.

In the meantime as a workaround, if you could delete the domain.info file before you upload your site, this should solve the problem. If not, please let us know.
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Mk

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Monique -

Yes - we figured that out and fixed it on our end. But thanks so much for following up on this. It took us about 16hrs to find this bug since we had to isolate other potential issues on our end such as DNS settings, PHP configurations, Apache settings, etc. I think in most cases we assume that the problem is on the hosting side and not in the scripts. Thanks again for the confirmation - it's much appreciated!

On a similar note - we also have a Blog setup on with this self-published website and yep we're having problems with the blog too. When clicking on any of the Blog post links (or "continue reading..." links) we are getting 404 Errors. It seems there's an issue with the .htaccess file - but since your Blog Widget uses a database for each blog post - we have no idea how to fix this. Any help you folks can provide would be much appreciated. If you like I can email you the actual blog url so your tech folks can see it for themselves.

BTW - We did confirm that our hosting provider (Hostgator.com) supports SQLite 3.x
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Hi mk

I am glad to hear that you could work it out. Thank you for confirming this workaround. I am sorry to hear that it took so many hours of debugging on your end. This is a new bug. A change made elsewhere had an unexpected impact on the zip file. However, now that we know what it is, we can communicate the workaround to anyone else with the problem, as well as fixing the bug, so we appreciate your help with this.

My first question about your blog issue was if your hosting provider supports SQLite, but you have already answered this question. Please email us any additional detail so we can investigate and find out if this is also a bug in our code.
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Mk

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Monique -

I sent a fairly detailed e-mail to your Support folks at the support@yola.com email early last week - but so far I've received no reply :-(.

Any suggestions on what I should do next? I can submit a ticket - but since self-publishing "isn't supported" I'm not sure if it'll just get yanked from your queue. To recap - none of my Blog links work when I self-publish. The date on the email I sent was June 10th.
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UK Duke, Champion

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out of interest - if you right clcik the blog post heading link and click 'copy link location' (firefox) or 'copy shortcut' (IE) then paste it into the ad bar what does it say? - you can leave out your domain name if you like.

Lee.
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Hi mk. I am very sorry that you had no response to your email. Would you mind resubmitting it, and mark it "Attention Monique". I am online right now, so I should see it as soon as it comes through.
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Mk

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The Duke -
the blog link resolves as follows:
http://www.mydomain.com/myblog/my-fir...

I checked in the blog directory and it's empty :-( - but I'm not sure if all I need to do to fix this is drop in the entry titles with hyphens as space delimiters.

Monique -
Thank! I sending it over now!
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Mk

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Monique/Duke -

Correction - after looking at the url a little closer seems the Blog itself and all Blog links are linking back to the "mydomain.yolasite.com/myblog" link - obviously this is incorrect since I'm self-publishing - the link should be "mydomain.com/myblog".

I then checked out the actual link to my Blog that's on my index page and it resolves as follows:

www.mydomain.com/myblog.php [This s the name of my blog page]

So while the link points to my self-published Blog, the Yola script seems to be re-directing to the yolasite.com blog page.
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Thanks for this. Did you send through the email? It hasn't arrived yet. This now sounds like it could be related to the other bug you are experiencing. I would like to get someone to investigate further, and it would be easier if I had your email to pass on.
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Mk

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Monique -

Here ya go - mkstr77[at]gmail
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Thanks. I have nothing from that address. Emailed you so that you can reply and hopefully it will get through that way.
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UK Duke, Champion

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mk - im going to leave it to the experts now - its beyond my expertise - i just thought the actual link URL's might be a good trouble shooting tool - all the best with it - im sure it will get resolved soon.

Your like a pioneer in this subject, im sure your hard work will be appreciated by many in the future.

Lee.
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Mk

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Monique -

Hmmm.... as of 1 minute ago I have received your email either - not sure what's going on here. Just to confirm my email is: mkstr77@gmail.com

The Duke -
No problem and thanks for the helping hand. You're right about the pioneer statement - just wish it was someone else blazing the trial ;-). I will be sure to post a detailed account of my adventures in Self-publishing - hopefully it will save others a LOT of time.
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Definitely sent it to that address. Do you have another I could try? If not I can work with the information you posted here, but I will have to get some technical help, so it could take awhile. (Which would be the case if the email came through as well)
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Mk

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No that's the main one - just drop your updates here (GetSatisfaction sends me email whenever you update this thread). This is REALLY getting frustrating - so any help you can provide would be VERY much appreciated.

mk
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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I can't guarantee a quick fix on this, but I will see what I can find out. I will get back to you with any further information.
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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As a matter of interest, would you be willing to share with me why you are opting to host your site elsewhere? This has nothing to do with fixing the problem - if there is a bug on our end we want to attend to it, but I am hoping for a bit of insight into the 5% of people who you refer to, whose needs you are asking us to meet in this regard. If you don't want to share this here, just ignore the question :)
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Have you got a published version of your site we can look at? If so, what is the URL?
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Mk

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we're pre-launch - so I'm not allowed to give it out in public. I did send it in the email I sent you (that you never recieved :-( ). Seems you aren't receiving **any** of my emails and I haven't received any of yours. :-(

Maybe I can just submit a support ticket with the details?
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Yes, no emails coming from or going to your address for some reason. Please do submit a support ticket either via the help menu in the site builder, or our support page: http://www.yola.com/support.html. Hopefully that will get through!
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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@mk - got your support email and replied. Thanks!
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Thomas Collins

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I am also having this problem but i never hosted the site with yola i just made it and the downloaded the zip to my computer I am trying to host it with godaddy because i bought that hosting and domain name a year ago and need to host with them. There tech was on the phone with me for about an hour trying to help me but said that the problem was coming from yola.
so please help I have been working on the site the whole day
I am getting a msg that says that the torrent files are invalid
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Hi Thomas. Are you also having a problem with your blog "continue reading" links giving a 404 error, or is it something different? Please clarify this for me so that I know if I am working on the same issue or a new one. Also, did you know that you can point your GoDaddy domain to Yola and still host your site with us for free? I am not telling you this because I am trying to force you to use our hosting, but I do want to make you aware of the option because it could be a quick and easy solution for you, while we try to sort out whatever bug or bugs are affecting your downloaded site.
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Mk

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Thomas -
Is this problem with your Blog or your actual Yola spun website? Also provide a **brief** explanation of the problems you are having.

Note - It will probably be best to move your issue to a separate post - but let's get the basic info before we decide if it's actually related to my issue.

mk
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Mk

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Monique -

I just got your email from the Support Request I submitted - thanks. I'll await your updates. By the way I replied to your email - so hopefully you'll get my email message too.

thanks

mk
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Thomas Collins

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it is a problem with my yola spun website I do not have a blog I am also not very technical but the problem i am having is in self hosting the site. every thing was going fine till i finished the site. I download the zip and then up load it to my host and it found lots of problems... the tech side i do not know that is why i used yola to build... I can not open the zipped php files... when i try i get a a msg that says that the torrent files are invalid and they do not upload to my host
Monique could you please tell me if i point my GoDaddy domain to Yola and still host my site with you for free will i have email capabilities and the same domain name?
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Mk

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Thomas,

Not sure if you got this resolved or not - but a few things. When you save your website from Yola - the format is .zip. For self-publishing you should:
1. Download the zip file from Yola
2. Unzip the files on YOUR computer BEFORE you push up to GoDaddy. Note: You'll need an FTP Client program (Filezilla, CuteFTP, etc.), I use Filezilla.
3. Next you'll need to setup the ftp user login details you got from Godaddy in your FTP Client program.
4. Then you'll upload your files to the web root directory specified by GoDaddy. The FTP client will upload the files and keep the directory structure of your zip archive exactly the same as you had in the Yola environment.
Note: There is a BUG I found in the Yola scripts for self-publishing in that the php scripts are missing a file called "domain.info" - seems this file needs to be in your web root directory - this is a text file that has just 1 line in it - the name of your GoDaddy domain name (e.g. http://www.mydomain.com) without this your php scripts my end up pointing back to the yolasite.com files. By adding the "domain.info" it will correctly point to your GoDaddy domain name instead of the www.yourwebsite.yolasite.com

Yeah - I know it's a LOT to digest, but that's why if you don't have a much technical experience in this area it's better to just host on site on Yola.

Hope this helps.

mk
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Mk

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Monique -

One quick point on this issue - after I self published, I checked and the directory structure of my Yola spun website that I uploaded to my Hosting Server and it has the following directories:

- blog
- classes
- definitions
- resources
- templates

Inside the blog directory there is only 1 file:
-blog
- data.db

Obviously this is the SQLite DB file for my blog. I grabbed the actual link that appears on my self-published blog which has the following pointer:

http://www.myowndomain.com/myblog/my-...

A few things to note:
1. There is NO "myblog" directory in my web root - I'm assuming this is a problem since the link is pointing to a directory and file (or resource) that does not exist!!!

2. So I decided to try the following - I created a *new* directory called "myblog" and dropped the "data.db" file that was in the "www.myowndomain.com/blog"
directory. I also set the file permissions to the same as the originals. My assumption was that your scripts simply didn't account for naming my blog something other than "blog". Well the results were the same - still broken links to ALL of my blog posts.

3. If you folks would provide a fully functional REFERENCE or SAMPLE self-published site along with the **correct** directory structure - it would save many of us a LOT of time. Because at this point - I don't even know what I'm looking for!!

The solution to this bug should be fairly simple since you folks know what the *correct* structure and file listing should be for a properly functioning site. Of course I'm assuming that the SQLite database file (data.db) is correct. All I did was follow the Yola directions and now I'm 2 weeks into self-publishing and still debugging a problem that I can't analyze.

Not Good.... not good at all :-(
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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I have passed all your information on to our developer who will need to debug this issue. If the solution includes a reference or a tutorial on self publishing, this will also need to be provided by our technical team. I can and have made the request, but cannot offer you any expectations on what the turnaround time will be. The only promise I can legitimately make on this issue is that I will update you the moment I have any further information. The invitation to host your site with Yola, at least while we are trying to work this out, stands. You can always host elsewhere at a later stage if you wish.
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Mk

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Thanks Monique! And I do **really** appreciate all your help with this. Unfortunately as I stated before - I simply DO NOT have the option of publishing my site on Yola - it simply is NOT possible.

My only frustration here is I spent at least 2 weeks working on the site under the assumption that I'd be able to host it on the server of my choice (as indicated in your FAQ and other documentation - and plus I had successfully self-published another site over a year ago). I also assumed that if I had *reasonable* technical experience I'd be able to successfully deploy my Yola spun site with a fair amount of confidence.

Here's where the problem comes in - the two problems I encountered are fairly obvious - that is - both bugs render the site (and blog in this case) virtually unusable. Now I totally understand the Yola service is FREE of charge and as well as the SUPPORT you folks are providing. Personally I think you folks have been AWESOME in your commitment and support to your users here on the forum - I personally think its BETTER than some of the PAID services I have.

But I do think there's room for improvement - mainly in either changing the FAQ to say "While self-publishing is allowed, Yola can't guarantee that self-publishing will work". That way people will understand the risk involved - BEFORE they invest time in building a site that will not work outside of the Yola environment. The other issue is testing - if you do plan to continue to provide self-publishing, I'm sure there's enough users that are more than willing to help you folks in testing any new releases of your scripts!!

This is being done all over the web and has been for years (where users participate directly in the testing and QA of a product) and is a REALLY great way to insure your product/service maintains its high standard of quality. By simply allowing some your knowledgeable users to be part of the **release** process I'm sure it would have uncovered both of these bugs and saved both your team and **some of us** a LOT of time.

Note to all Yola Self-Publishers!!!!
---------------------------------------------
If anyone else that is or wants to self-publish feel the same way... and would be willing to be part of testing any updates to Yola's scripts (by simply downloading and updating your site with the latest Yola script files) then I STRONGLY suggest you let Monique and the rest of the Yola team know that you support this idea. If you don't speak up now - then you can't complain when you run into problems later!!

regards,

mk
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Peter

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Hello mk,

I have sent an email to Monique in support of this idea and following on directly from the next post. It's reasonably generic I know but concerns possible self publishing of sites for China.
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Hi mk

See: http://www.yola.com/customer-support/...

I have added the following copy in response to your suggestion: "While we provide the option to download your site and host it elsewhere, we cannot guarantee that our downloaded sites will run on other hosting servers."

If you would like to suggest any additions or changes to that statement, please let me know. I think it is a timely suggestion on your part as we are becoming aware of how problematic self publishing has become. We would never wish to deliberately mislead a customer or have them waste their time.

Back to your situation: I understand that hosting with us is NOT an option for you. However, I still don't understand why. If I am missing it, forgive me. I am not asking this to pry into your affairs, but if I had a specific motivation it would really help me out when trying to make the case for self publishing. I want to advocate for you, and other people in your position, so the very best thing you could do for me is to list as many reasons as you can think of why people would need to host their sites elsewhere. You don't even need to tell me which reason is your personal one- just help me build the use case, because right now I don't have enough to go on. I could hazard some guesses, but it would ring a lot truer if it came from a customer :)

I hope you can get where I am coming from - with so many features that we want to roll out as rapidly as possible, and varying levels of risk associated with each one, I am going to have to have very good data if I want to make the case for continued investment in the self-publishing option.

Your offer of user-testing for the self-publishing option is most generous. I will pass this on to our developers to see if we are in a position to take you up on it.
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Mk

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Monique-
Yes I think your wording is quite adequate - thanks for adding it and I think it should prove helpful to others considering self-hosting.

Regarding some of the limitations of a Yola hosted site, I can only share some of the issues I've come across that could either limit or prevent one from hosting their site on Yola:

1. Security or Contractual Requirements
Some Yola users may be subject to strict security policies that could preclude the option of Yola hosting. Whether it is data security or simply their site requires strict adherence to all content sitting behind a firewall.

2 Dynamic Data
Some sites may have requirements for displaying or generating dynamic content (Widgets and Widgetized forms not withstanding) so while they may choose to use the Yola services to build a portion of the site their dynamic data needs will restrict hosting the site (without a fair amount of complexity) with Yola.

3. Performance and/or Scalability
While I'm sure the Yola hosting servers are robust and capable of handling a fair amount of traffic - for some sites the issue of performance and/or scalability may come into play. Dedicated Servers and Cloud Services (like EC2) are specifically designed to provide a highly available and scalable platform at a reasonable price.

4. Access to storage sub-system
Some sites may require direct access to web root - with Yola hosting you have very limited access to your web pages file system.

5. Web Traffic Monitoring and Analysis
While Yola provides some tools for this - some users may require other tools that must be configured within the Server (Apache) or System environment.

I could go into much more detail on a few of these and no doubt there are certainly other issues that could limit the abilty or option of Yola hosting. But I hope the list above provides some context to the issue.

regards,

mk
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Thomas Collins

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Thank you for your help in the end i just gave up and bought the hosting from yola.
Now I am having email set up issues lol I think I will start a new Thread
I hope this is not going to take another full work day... but I have to say that all my questions so far have been answered very quickly by the yola staff not all solved yet but they seem to be there when i need them
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Mk

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Monique -

I received your email regarding the phpinfo() page for my hosted server. I just sent the requested information over to you via the Yola Support Form on the yola.com website.

Thanks again!

mk
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Monique, VP of Customer Support

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Thanks - I have passed that on to the developer. Thanks also for providing the use cases for self publishing. That is what I needed. Hope we will get back to you with a workaround soon. If not we will try something else. If we find this problem I will be sure to document it in our self publishing FAQ page.