Medium is Bringing Back Custom Domains

Ev Williams, writing in Medium:

Speaking of portability, it’s always been possible to get an export of all your posts and other data in Medium. And by default, all Medium publications and profiles have RSS feeds (e.g., blog.medium.com/feed) – full text, except for metered/paywall stories.

We are now bringing back another option for portability – and brandability – namely, custom domains. Not that they ever went away entirely. Medium hosts tens of thousands of publications under their own domains. However, we paused setting up new ones a couple of years ago. Among other reasons, we needed to fix some cross-domain bugs and revamp our system for registering SSL certificates. We have now prioritized that work so that we can scalably offer custom domains again.

So soon you’ll be able to take advantage of Medium’s new publishing tools and tap into the Medium network – assuring deliver of your content to your followers – while showing up under your own brand/domain and confident in the knowledge that if you ever want to move off Medium, that’s fully in your control.

The web removes many of the barriers that keep us from becoming publishers. If you have something to share with the world, it’s easier than ever to publish your writing. It’s also easier than ever to own your own platform. If you take publishing seriously (as you should,) you should aim to have some degree of control over where your content shows up. This doesn’t mean that you need to hand-craft web pages from scratch or manage your own web server. But at a minimum, you should aim to publish in a domain name you control.

This site (jarango.com) has run on WordPress for many years, initially in an instance hosted in a third-party web host. Eventually I got tired of having to maintain the thing (patches, updates, etc.) and migrated to WordPress.com. This service has met my needs well. However, recently WordPress switched to a new post editor called Gutenberg that adds lots of features I don’t need at the cost of more complexity and unwanted changes to my HTML code.

A few years ago I started double-posting to Medium to see what it was about. Some of my posts were picked up by large publications, which gave my writing a wider audience, at least for a while. I also enjoyed Medium’s editing interface, which is both beautiful and well-suited to how I write. I liked it enough to toyed with the idea of migrating my blog over to Medium.

I only considered doing this because Medium allowed users to publish on the platform using their own domains. This meant that if I eventually wanted to switch away from Medium, my writing wouldn’t be trapped in a medium.com subdomain. However, Medium eventually removed this feature, souring me on the idea of moving my blog over. Eventually, I decided it was too much trouble to keep double-posting, and discontinued posting on Medium altogether.

The announcement that Medium will once again support custom domains, coupled with my frustrations at WordPress’s changes, has me once again rethinking my plans for this site.

What’s Around the Corner for Medium