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Thursday, December 8, 2022

Site Updates: The Status of Pirates Prospects Being Under Construction

Pirates Prospects has been free for a few weeks now. That will be changing soon.

A few months ago, I gave an update about how the site was close to going out of business. Drastic measures needed to be taken, and the simplest way to put it was that we needed to find ways to bring in more money, while also cutting down on site costs.

The biggest cost was our server fees. We were paying $530 a month to host the site, which amounts to over $6,000 per year. I wanted to switch the server over during the offseason to a much cheaper option, where I would be handling all of the technical stuff. This is a complicated process at any time, and something I didn’t want to do during the season.

Then our old host said that we needed to move to a new plan at a minimum of $1200 per month due to an issue that was on their end, but which they refused to take the blame for. I don’t want to get into the details, but they blamed one of the site’s plugins for a problem that randomly started happening in July, even though we had been using that plugin for years. We’re still using the plugin on the new server and have no issues, showing that it wasn’t that plugin, but a problem on their end.

Anyway, the $530 price needed to drop. We definitely couldn’t afford to pay $1200 per month, even only for a few months. So I made the switch to a much cheaper option that is going to save several thousand dollars per year. Or, in other terms, we essentially added almost 150 new subscribers each year in terms of the money saved.

The downside here is that the process was forced to be rushed, and as a result was messy. I’m still working on that, while also working on site content and many other behind the scenes stuff, which has delayed things. Here is an update on the process and what needs to be fixed, along with the priorities:

1. All of the user accounts transferred over, but for some reason not all of the details transferred (passwords, other details beyond user name and email). I’ve found the solution to this, and I’m hoping to get that fixed this weekend. Any issues with commenting should be resolved once this is resolved.

2. We also had an issue with the images transferring over, which is more a problem on the back-end of the site for us, and also something I’m hoping to fix this weekend.

3. The site is free right now because we’re switching to new membership software. Rather than import everything from the old software, I wanted to focus on getting the new stuff set up. This will eliminate a lot of the common problems from the old subscription software. Before this is done, the user accounts need to be fixed first (so I can properly assign subscriptions), which is why this is priority number three.

We don’t have a way to subscribe right now. If you bought a gift subscription right before the change, I’ll be giving the codes out when the new subscription software is set up.

4. The app isn’t updating right now, as it needs to be re-programmed for the new server and the new subscription software. We need the new software in place before the app can be updated. The good news here is that the site works fine in mobile browsers. The better thing is that the server change fixed the problem where people had to log in on a daily basis (or sometimes a multiple times per day basis). That was one of the biggest issues people had with the mobile browser (especially on iPhones, which have become my nemesis over the years), and that should be solved now.

Basically the site is under construction. My main goal was getting all of the database stuff downloaded to preserve the old site, and most importantly, saving the media and posts over the years.

This site has been around for ten years now. During that time we’ve switched hosts many times, blogging software once (Blogger to WordPress), have had a few different product software that led to user signups, a few different apps, and then switched from a free site to a subscription site.

Things would have been much easier if we had just started fresh from day one as a subscription site on the current server with all new stuff. Rather than continuing the process of trying to make the old site work with new additions, I wanted to start as fresh as possible. The goal here is to sort of create a new site, while keeping the most important stuff (articles, media, user accounts, subscription info). That’s going to allow the site to run in the most efficient way in the future, while cutting down on costs for us in a big way, which gives the site the best chance at having a future.

If you’re having any issues with the site, please bear with me while I finish these changes. My focus to this point was making sure you could read the articles, and making sure there was still a site where we could post articles. I’m hoping to get things back to normal across the board as soon as possible.

Patreon Article

Back in July we offered different ways for people to support the site beyond just a subscription, mostly at the request of users who offered to pay more than the subscription price. We didn’t want to just get money for free, so we offered up a way where you could pay $10 per month via Patreon and get an extra column. This month’s column will be released later today exclusively over on the Patreon site. If you’re interested in signing up and getting the articles, plus helping the site in an additional way, head over to our Patreon site.

The article that will be going up today will take a closer look at Kevin Newman, Kevin Kramer, and the future at second base and shortstop, with a key focus on next year’s Opening Day roster.

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Tim started Pirates Prospects in 2009 from his home in Virginia, which was 40 minutes from where Pedro Alvarez made his pro debut in Lynchburg. That year, the Lynchburg Hillcats won the Carolina League championship, and Pirates Prospects was born from Tim's reporting along the way. The site has grown over the years to include many more writers, and Tim has gone on to become a credentialed MLB reporter, producing Pirates Prospects each year, and will publish his 11th Prospect Guide this offseason. He has also served as the Pittsburgh Pirates correspondent for Baseball America since 2019. Behind the scenes, Tim is an avid music lover, and most of the money he gets paid to run this site goes to vinyl records.

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