Mon, 13 Apr 2009

New Hosting Provider

Over the weekend I moved and a few other sites I maintain over to a new hosting provider.

While the old hosting provider (GoDaddy) was an "OK" web host, (my main beef with them was that all of the administrative emails to manage my domain were never getting to me because they insisted that they needed to point their MX to a CNAME to scale up their servers to send "billions of emails a day", which I can guarantee you is a gross overestimation of the amount of email they have to send, and begs the question about why it's "required").

They told me I needed to convince my email provider to accept email from domains who point their MX to a CNAME. I pointed them to RFC 2181, but apparently RFCs are just "a lot of simple tricks and nonsense", not anything that domain registrars are expected to know, not to mention follow.

So within a few days my domains were moved to, and my websites remained at GoDaddy where a friend was graciously hosting them.

The Web hosting, I don't think, wasn't too shabby, but we were likely on one of GoDaddy's entry level virtual server hosting plans that only had 256MB of dedicated RAM assigned.

Now, 256MB of RAM is probably plenty, except the denizens of the hosting platform were heavily depending on MySQL, Apache, and PHP-based blogs. Your classic LAMP stack, but on very limited RAM.

My new hosting provider is They use the Xen "paravirtualization" package to create their virtual instances, and each node has a minimum of 360MB of RAM, 12GB of storage, and 200GB of bandwidth each month. They're not the cheapest, but their website is one of the clearest, most straightforward I have seen. They have a great support/wiki section, and their admin console to start up your Linode is pretty straight forward.

Since I don't rely on any databases to serve my blog (the biggest "application" on my site), the principal consumer of resources will be apache, and 360MB is plenty sufficient for that, as is the disk space, and network bandwidth, but they have bigger instances you can buy if your needs exceed the basic plan.

Set up was a snap, moving the data was the most time consuming part of the affair. After verifying the site worked with nearly zero modifications (+XBitHack had to be turned off for the default Apache 2.0 install in one of my .htaccess files), I moved the IP address over and my sites were migrated after a quick manual regression. I monitored my log files, and before long I was convinced everything had gone quite smoothly.

So far, the administration console, dedicated virtual private server, Xen setup and administration, as well as the helpful staff on the Linode IRC channel, have all been to or exceeding my expectations.

So far, two thumbs up! If you are in the market for some virtual hosting, and use the link above to get there, I'll get a $20 credit on my bill.

Khan Klatt

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