For those not in the know, Eduspaces is/was a free, social networking and blogging service built on the Elgg open source platform. It used to be called elgg.net but was changed to Eduspaces when it became obvious that the community came mostly from the educational sector. I’ve used Elgg for some of my clients and have had an Eduspaces account, but my main site has always been here. I pay for my hosting, own the data, and use an open source platform so that I can export my blog in the event that I want to move to a different service provider.
Anyone who asks me about blogging or setting up a community on the Web using wikis or some other application is given pretty well the same advice. If the site is important and the data are of some significance for the long term, then:
- Use an open source platform from a stable and functioning community.
- Own your own domain, and have a Service Level Agreement for your hosting.
Using open source gives you freedom from vendors and ensures that you are not handcuffed to your technology provider. Having your own domain name and paying for a service provider (or hosting on your own server) ensure that you have control over your data.
The users of Eduspaces are in a much better position than would be those of Blogger in a similar event. At least the Eduspaces community can migrate to another Elgg host. There is no other Blogger platform to move to.
If I had to move a large Eduspaces account, I would find another Elgg installation. I migrated from Drupal to WordPress (which I don’t regret) a couple of years ago, but it’s a heck of a lot easier to stick with the same platform.