(and not one with some .com site based on adverts, or with your geek neighbour)
https://network23.org/ was down for about a day and a half, a few days ago. There were problems with blogs hosted with n23 but with their own domain, like occupybristol, or fareshares. An issue with security certificates that issue a very nasty warning if they are not validated by some state-and-corporate-sponsored authority that does not understand community projects not based on money.
Still, I’d rather endure a few days of outage than a lifetime of uptime sponsored by google. And I’d rather all bloggers did that too. Especially those working for positive social change.
Unless you have your blog server under your bed (and even if you do, actually, but more on that later), you are not in control of your blog, your site, your words hosted on it and broadcast to whoever requests your pages. There are infrastructures that will always be maintained by outside agents – internet cables, servers, electricity. Cables and electricity are more difficult to get around. But, able to choose between something as corporate as google or wordpres.com and something as alternative as n23 or noblogs, there should be no question as to who we should trust our blogs. Once an audience is built, if and when some authority or libel threat decides that your blog should be no longer, guess who you wish you had put your blog with – with some one who would stand up for your right to have your content online, or with a company that will not even contact you before pulling the cable?
Then is the issue of how it is funded. If you are not paying for a service, what is the product? Your words are the raw material, which you are providing these companies for free, and which they convert into a product – read audience – that they then sell to advertisers.
Before networks like noblogs or network23 were created, the only alternative was to have a geek friend who would lend some space on their server. Or who could even set everything up for you. But some of us keep on wanting to work in groups, and now alternative blog platforms exist.
So your blog would be best off hosted together with other blogs, entrusted to a whole bunch of volunteers – whom you can even join in the maintenance and administration – working on it, part of a wider network. Which has the additional benefit that if the sole editor of the blog decides to go on holiday indefinitely without leaving contact details, some one else can take on easily.
The day or so that the n23 site and network were down, it was a combination of a few glitches put together and some one being away. A network being a network, the combined efforts of every one else brought the site back up. Plus, the experience has ensured that something like this happening again is a lot less likely.