Family Tree Web Hosting

Family Tree Web Hosting

If you're a fan of Gigatrees, but are not setup to host your own family tree, Gigatrees has you covered. Gigatrees now supports web hosting as part of the bevy of services available to subscribers. If you are a subscriber, you can now upload your Gigatrees generated family tree database from the The Gigatrees Dashboard. Your family tree will be immediately available for browsing. There is no wait time needed. You can also delete your tree from the just as easily. Uploads are limited to 100 MB. You can zip your file to reduce its size if necessary. Smaller files do not need to be zipped. You must set the Server Database Filename in your configuration to 1.db. No other names are allowed. The Server Database Path can be left blank. Your database file will be stored off-server, will not be backed-up and will not be downloadable. To update your tree, simply upload a new database file. It will overwrite your previous one. Once your database has been uploaded the first time, the website URL will be generated and a link provided in the User Tree panel. You should use that link when setting your Metadata Domain field in your configuration. You will also need to make sure you've provided a Website Title since that field is used to provide the link to your tree. International users may use the translation features of Gigatrees to create their family tree in their native language.

"Dashboard: Web Hosting Panel"
Dashboard: Web Hosting Panel

Gigatrees will not publish a link to your tree on its website unless you check the box in the Database Upload panel indicating your permission. This allows you to keep your tree relatively private. Gigatrees makes no attempt to prevent access to your tree from anyone, so it is not truly private. All trees should therefore be configured to hide living individuals, copyrighted material and sensitive data. Gigatrees provides internal support for privitization and hiding living persons, so please make use of those features. I have no way to enforce adherence except with the Usage Policies, so please read through them first and check the box in the Database Upload panel indicating that you have done so and that you agree to those terms. I will not be moderating trees, but will address violations when notified. The Usage Policies apply to all tree content including comments left using the Disqus plugin. You should configure your Disqus settings to moderate comments. Pro subscribers can also configure Gigatrees to include an integrated blog. This is a great way for genealogists to publish their genealogical arguments and discoveries. Again, I have no plans to moderate blog content, so if you decide to turn your blog into a vacation photo album, have at it. Just be sure to adhere to the Usage Policies. The Sortable Photos and Before & After plugins are also enabled for online trees, so your blog can make use of these as well.

Gigatrees does not host other types of files such as photos or scripts. All photos will need to be hotlinked using external URLs such as Flickr or Amazon Photos. See the sample file for examples. Gigatrees uses a common header and footer, so there is no option for adding external scripts. If you have an external script that you think other users may find useful, let me know and if I agree, I may include it.

The Gigatrees Dashboard also provides a Vistor Log under the Gigatrees menu item. The Visitor Log will show the date, time, ip address, url and referrer for all page visits. There are also logs showing the most popular landing pages and most popular referrers. Together these logs provide the analytics necessary to understand your website's global impact. If you go to the Gigatrees Dashboard without signing in, several web hosted sample trees' Visitor Logs can be viewed from the Sample Gigatrees menu item.

"Dashboard: Gigatrees Panel"
Dashboard: Gigatrees Panel

Web hosting is in beta and probably will be for some time. It could be wonky at times while I try to figure out the best way to manage online family trees without constant moderation. I may need to occasionally remove trees when and if database structures change. If your tree disappears, you can restore it easily by downloading the latest software, rebuilding your database and then reuploading it. Inactive trees will also be removed periodically, so if you are not updating it reguarly and it is not being visited, it will probably be disposed of eventually.

There are plenty of additional features that can be added, but whether or not I do so will depend in large part on whether and on how much the service is used. One of the reasons web hosting is in beta is that I am not entirely sure how many subscribers will use the service. I think most genealogists are fine with using .com, .org, or any of the other free online family tree services. You do get what you pay for, however. I use those services as well, but only for their shakey leaves and for DNA matching. I do not claim those trees are accurate. Gigatrees provides me the confidence and ability to demonstrate the reliability of my database. When I point users to my family tree, it is always to my Gigatree. Unfortunately, family tree hosting at Gigatrees is not free (it's also not very expensive and your subscription does not expire). Charging a subscription fee ensures that the number of users who upload their tree will be limited. Maintianing a small user base should allow the web hosting service to expand without too many growing pains, at least that is the plan.

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