This site (and my other site in Danish) have been hosted on a cheap shared hosting site a few years. As shared hosting platforms go, the service and features at GigaHost was quite reasonable, but their servers seemed continuously overloaded and the site had a few issues from time to time. I’ve been moving everything from the shared hosting platform to the smallest available VPS server at DigitalOcean.
Why the move?
- Performance on shared hosting platforms never seems to amaze.
- Limited set of features – no shell access, dummy selfcare interface, reasonable features – but limited.
- Was dirt cheap when I moved in, but not as much – the VPS is actually priced lower.
How did I move the site?
The various parts of the move will probably be described in details in further posts on the site in the foreseeable future, but basically the steps included:
- setting up an account on Digital Ocean and creating a droplet.
- setting up a user acount, getting a firewall up and running, securing a few items.
- installing a webserver and mysql.
- moving the data from the shared hosting platform (databases and code) to the new webserver.
- testing everything works by hacking the local hosts-file.
- redirecting DNS to point to the new site.
- deleting all stuff from the shared hosting platform once everything has been verified to work as expected.
What comes next…
Running my own server opens a lot of interesting new possibilities. I’m no longer running Apache (which was mandatory previously). Now I’m running nginx which seems much more light-weight. I’m also running NewRelic which seems to provide amazing insights into how the server resources are utilized.
My first experiments on this server, has been focused on getting the old stuff up and running. You might notice, that the site is running somewhat faster (and I’m still tweaking things).
I expect to be able to use this server to experiment with node.js, ruby and other interesting stuff… and the Comunity help pages at Digital Ocean seems quite amazing.
Caution: Here be dragons!
Running your on server (virtual or real) is slightly more complicated than being just another guest on a shared hosting platform. While I do feel reasonable fit on a Linux platform (and run it as my daily desktop), I’ve been blessed with a hints and help from a friend throughout the process which made the move considerably faster (and the settings far more secure from the outset.
I’m sure I’ll run into some trouble along the way – I even managed to -amost – shut myself out of my virtual server once, as I only allowed for SSH access, but seemed to have deleted all public keys needed on the server to allow my self to get back in.