my blog host: SunSed

(last updated on 29 April 2017...because they guys continue to be awesome)

Programmers program.

Linux lovers tinker.

Dreamers dream.

Writers write.

I am all of the above, and I love being all of the above. But I don't want to be all of the above all the time.

When I started blogging in 2007, I tinkered with both Blogger and Wordpress. I opted for the latter and happily used Wordpress for years. I still use it to maintain a couple of websites for family and friends, but for personal blogging it became too complicated to be fun. Keeping up my blog--a hobby--starting feeling an awful lot like work. So I quit writing.

I'm not alone in thinking that. Medium came along and offered a brilliant interface but little else. A lot of us had high hopes for a simple, streamlined blogging platform, but Medium kind of fizzled for me.

After that came Ghost, which is an wonderful platform--the platform for folks who want to tinker and write. I love writing in Markdown. It's great. Ghost allowed me to import my years of Wordpress posts, is easy to customize, has lots of good themes, and a growing following. But the two-column writing layout (Markdown and preview) had me seeing double, and I couldn't ever quite get past that. Seriously.

Next up was Postach.io. The upside to this platform is that it you write and publish directly from Evernote, where I live all day long. I love Evernote, so this made lots of sense for me. The downside is that there is no way for mere mortals to import from Wordpress. Another downside is that the platform is very slow to roll out new functionality, focusing (rightly) in its infancy on stability. It's a great platform, though, and has lots of potential.

My journey continued to Silvrback. Here I found most of the great writing features I loved in Medium, Evernote web, and Ghost coupled with simplicity and the convenience of a hosted solution. There wasn't as much customization available, but there was nothing to maintain. Of the platforms I'd tried so far, Silvrback was my favorite. The only downsides here were the lack of Wordpress import and lack of as many formatting options as I'd hoped for. Recently Silvrback was acquired by new owners who pledge to continue the development of this great writing platform. Wordpress import is in the works, but I'm not sure about the rest of their roadmap. (early 2017 update: the new owners of Silvrback have made some great improvements and ensure it remains a solid blogging platform. While not nearly as flexible or customizeable as SunSed, the updates to its formatting capabilities ensure it remains a solid contender.)

Then SunSed came along and everything changed. Here was everything I wanted in a blog platform:

  1. Minimalistic, clean design
  2. Excellent post formatting
  3. Wordpress import
  4. Hosted solution (like I said, I'm tired of tinkering)
  5. Insanely good customer service

While some might critique SunSed for not having all the customization options and themes found on Ghost or Wordpress, the themes that are available are simple, minimalistic, and beautiful. They let me focus on writing and you focus on reading. Having been blogging for nearly ten years, I'm mostly over all the tweaking, customizing, and tinkering. While custom templates are available for those who want to customize things, I have a family of six and better ways to spend my time now. I simply want to write on a clean platform. SunSed has it.

The most incredible thing about SunSed isn't technical, it's the people behind it. Customer service and support is lightning fast and responsive. It is light-years beyond any other startup I've ever engaged and even better than more established platforms where users are typically relegated to forums to find their own solutions.

Examples of this brilliant support? Easy. Early on in my trial, I asked @SunSedApp on Twitter about the possibility of word counting functionality--something I really liked in Ghost. No problem. In about 48 hours, they had coded the word counter and rolled it out in prime time. I also wanted to be able to back date and schedule blog posts, functionality that wasn't available. Again, no problem. After a couple of days it was rolled out.

Seriously. Insane. Support.

Bottom line: There are lots of great blog platforms out there, but none of them has this kind of user responsiveness and support. None.

That's why I'm a SunSed user. Why aren't you?

24 Sept Update: SunSed's new theme, Pure, has been released. It has beautiful typography and is inspired by the simple, elegant, and brilliant themes we've grown to love on Medium and Ghost.

26 Sept Update: Changing post dates is now fully functional. The date on existing posts can be changed, and posts can be scheduled for the future.

27 Sept Update: As is the rule with software, squashing one bug creates three more. This morning, I alerted SunSed support about a bug that crept in to the search function on their admin page. In less than 90 minutes on the weekend it was fixed. How's this for an example of insanely responsive support?

29 April Update: It’s been a long time since I raved about the team, but it’s time. Aside from squashing a quick bug on a Friday night that prevented photos from uploading, as I was going back and worth with the guys on Twitter I learned about a capability of SunSed I was previously unaware of—instant template editing and updates. Essentially, using the default SunSed template editor, changes are automatically saved and applied after a couple seconds or whenever you jump to edit a new line. No saving, no republishing, just edit the code and refresh your browser. Added to this you can search across an entire template (i.e., multiple files) at once to see every instance of whatever it is you want to change, like a color. Of course you can edit the template locally in whatever editor you choose, and that is probably the way to go for massive edits, but for tweaks and real-time playing around this is amazing. What other platform has this? That’s right, none.

Photo Credit: wuestenigel Flickr via Compfightcc

Comment on Twitter