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.Mac Isn’t Your Only Choice


Blue HostMurphy uses Bluehost. There are tons of hosting services to choose from. But Bluehost has always boasted big numbers: tons of storage space and bandwidth for a reasonable price. They also offer what has become a standard set of features for web hosts. What’s missing? Some of the customization .Mac has built around iLife and OS X. But in general, Murphy hasn’t run into any walls with the feature set. More on that in the screencast.

When a host provides this kind of bandwidth skeptics are quick to question how the servers hold up under intense demand, like when a site gets plugged on Slashdot. Murphy can’t answer that, our site hasn’t been around long enough to get really heavy traffic. Quick – everyone Digg this story and we’ll find out!

The guy at the Apple store worked pretty hard to sign Murphy up for a .Mac account when he bought his first Mac back in the PPC days. The salesman insisted he wasn’t compensated for signing up users – in that weird way that makes you almost certain he was. Murphy said no then and would still say no now.

For the price, Murphy considered .Mac quite limited. A tiny amount of storage space, limited bandwidth for your videos, and an extremely finite feature set. When you crank out a cool video with iMovie you don’t want to worry that too many people will watch it!

Still, there are some cool features in .Mac – like Photocasting and simple iWeb publishing. Photocasting would be great, but to get the full bang you need to know people with a Mac. Murphy has too many friends who haven’t seen the light yet.

For some reason, Apple married .Mac to their backup tool. That doesn’t make any sense. Backup is too important to leave out of an OS as bait for selling add-on web services. No OS should ship without some basic form of backup – it sends the wrong message to new users. Furthermore, you don’t get enough space with a standard .Mac account for backing up much of your stuff online.

Bluehost might not look fancy, but there’s a lot under the hood. You can install online photo galleries, blogs, databases, polls, and shopping carts. Guided installs of new components are very straight-forward.

Using a Linux based server like Bluehost makes you appreciate OS X’s UNIX core too. Murphy uses Terminal to copy files up to the server automatically. A quick SSH session facilitates editing and backing up files.

With 200GB of storage you could probably upload your entire music and photo collection. Storing these files online makes them accessible when you’re away from home and you suddenly need access to a snapshot or a song.

Using a tool like rsync you could back up your entire home folder. Only files that are changed since the last sync get written, so it won’t take too long either. Looking at other hosts? Make sure they allow SSH access if you want to use tools like rsync.

If you prefer a gui interface, Bluehost provides a file manager that facilitates uploading multiple files all at once, creating directories, renaming and deleting files, and making copies. You can even unzip files with a click after uploading archives.

For anyone who wants seamless integration with iLife and OS X, .Mac is the way to go. I can’t emphasize that enough. .Mac makes iWeb publishing a breeze and enables extra features. And it also syncs your Address Book contents, your Favorites, and keychain items.

But if you want full control of your web presence look around. A year of Bluehost costs about the same as a 200GB hard drive. But you get a lot more for the money. And you still get the 200GB of storage space.

If you decide to sign up, please do it from a Murphy Mac link to Bluehost. You’ll be helping support the site as we consider ways to reduce the number of ads on our pages.

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12 comments to “.Mac Isn’t Your Only Choice”

  1. No webdav though.
    .mac users may be unfamiliar with ftp, so webdav file trasfers and iCal syncing may be of great benefit.

  2. Another great article from Murphy Mac, keep ’em coming. I’m actually very interested in this one personally, thanks.

  3. Awesome to hear, if you get a chance maybe you could leave a review of bluehost for my site?

    Or the direct link to submit a review is:

    Nice article and good points!
    thanks, Ben

  4. thanks alot for this. really helpful.

  5. So, I go to to look at the site and, waddya know, there’s a serial killer on the front page!

    Okay, maybe not, but the guy who is supposed to be happy about his service looks like he’s going to kill somebody!

    The link to the pic of the guy is:

    My Mac-Tipping Blog

  6. So we made our site in iweb and paid for bluehost 2 years. Seems like only half my site works properly. I have no menus(navigation), and no slideshows (we’re a photography bussiness, this is a must). Any idea on how to get the entire site to work?

  7. The link in your comment doesn’t work.

    iWeb slideshows should work fine. How are you getting the content to Bluehost?

    Too bad you didn’t sign up for Bluehost through MY site!

    There are plenty of iWeb sites working just fine on iWeb and Bluehost. I’m sure it can be fixed.

  8. How do I add a comment feature using bluehost? My iweb won’t enable it unless I use .mac. I tried to used intensedebate for their snippet, and it worked last week, but this week, it does nothing. I’m so frustrated.

  9. Hey –

    I would look at something like this:

    I haven’t dug very deep on this, but it looks like no iWeb blog comments without MobileMe.

    And depending on how you’re updating your blog you could be wiping out customizations (to enable comments) with each update. You might need to look at an updating method that only uploads changed files to Bluehost.

  10. I figured out how to do it. I was able to copy the intensedebate script and used the “insert html widget” then I cut and pasted the script in the grey pop up window. Then I pushed apply. I was able to publish it and it is working fine! Yeah!

  11. I found this very cool thing…
    you guys should most definitely check it out. I mean customization and all is OOTW!!

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