Hosting Woes

When I decided to resurrect this domain and get back to writing, part of the motivation was to get back to doing “technical” things. I’d completely forgotten that some things, looking at you MX records, can be less than enjoyable and that AWS Lightsail really and seriously abstracts things away which can make it tough if you are cobbling things together in the way that I have with

Running WordPress on Lightsail was my 2nd choice to replace the Jekyll S3 site I’d been “running” prior, I’d first tried Ghost, however, the AMI was outdated and it had an ever so slightly steep learning curve to configure. It was fairly easy to standup, especially considering that I only opened the documentation after several failed starts, which were mostly because I’d been trying to make Lightsail behave like AWS proper. Anyways, I’d stood the site up by intermittently working on it over the course of a day, part of it from my iPhone, which is a real testament to the overall simplicity of things these days.

Except for MX records.

I accept email on and during the last two weeks or so I’ve gotten no email. This ought to tell you how much I check email, it took several physically mailed banking statements, including one that sent a very polite letter asking me to check my email settings, for me to wander over and see that no mail was flowing. I tried a couple of different ways to get MX records working in Lightsail, however, none worked.

To me this is a failure of Lightsail, honestly, it shouldn’t have a separate system and pipeline for managing and publishing DNS records. It ought to be a skin on top of Route 53 and afford you the ability to manage those records in Rout 53 if you want to or need to. When this site was Jekyll S3, all the DNS was managed in Route 53, including MX records. That no longer works if you bring a domain into Lightsail.

My domains are purchased through Google (don’t @ me) and I had been using the custom DNS feature to set Route 53 as the authority. Last evening, I rolled back those changes and I am letting Google handle all of it, an A record pointed to an Elastic IP address for this space and email is flowing again.

This would be embarrassing if I could only muster the energy to do better.