Recovered from the Wayback Machine.
This weekend I have the very real pleasure of shopping around for a new host, thanks to the generosity of friends. I am blown away by the support I’ve received, and hope you all won’t regret it because the fire’s back and I’m feeling hotter than ever.
I won’t be staying with my current host for a couple of reasons: space and technology support. There has been some performance problems with Hosting Matters in the past, but these seem to have originated primarily from the NOC (Network Operations Center) that HM was using. The company has since started the process of switching to a new NOC, and since I was moved to a new server at the new NOC, I’ve not had performance or downtime problems, and the support has been good. If it weren’t for space and issues of technical experimentation, I wouldn’t move.
All those photos I upload eat up disk space as well as bandwidth at a fairly quick pace, and I do so love taking photos and sharing them. In addition, I want to start experimenting around with technology again, including running Java applications through a Tomcat server and my current host doesn’t support this. Dorothea knows me so well when she wrote:
On the up side, an email from Jonathon indicated that the Burningbird campaign is going well. Could always be improved upon—especially given Bb’s tastes in server hardware—so ante up, folks.
Well, you did. Beyond wildest expectations. I am all agog with the dama…urh, new things I can do now in this year you’ve given me. And I solemnly promise to share whatever I come up with, including finishing my online C# book and the RDF Semantic Web Poetry Finder, and PostCon (yeah!) and a blackbox experimentation my evil twin is tentatively calling RSS Buster. Hee.
Ahem, back to technology requirements. Few plans offer Java support because of the potential for problems as well as the resource burden. No shared hosts allow for root access to allow new software installation. Based on these two requirements, I’m currently looking at several Virtual Private(Dedicated) Servers (VPS) at several companies.
A VPS is having root access to a server as well as dedicated CPU, bandwidth, and space, but without higher costs of a completely dedicated server. Software such as that built into some FreeBSD installations, and provided by Ensim literally partitions a machine’s resources among the VPS installed, preventing one from taking resources, or causing problems, for the others. By the use of this technology, I can do something such as run a BrownSauce RDF Browser for my experimentation and it won’t impact on resource use of other clients on the machine. Or I can create a Perl CGI script that goes insane and only worry about taking my own system down. Same with the other clients — they can’t touch me, my CPU, bandwidth, or space slice. Best of all, I can customize the software install without having to ask the host — something that pretty much eliminates software experimentation. One might say that shared web hosts really would prefer that their clients not experiment.
Among the VPS hosts, I have to find ones that provide high bandwidth and disk space, but also provide DNS (Domain Name server) support for multiple domains and sub-domains, with little or no additional costs. I still have multiple domains such as yasd.com and dynamicearth.com, and I want to park them pointing to burningbird.net without having to pay a DNS setup fee. The odd thing is that shared hosting plans such as Hosting Matters provide this service for free and make DNS management a snap; while companies that support VPS, such as Interland and possibly Web Intellects, and which one would assume would have more need of this type of service, tend not to provide this type of support, or only with a fee. Go figure.
I can use free DNS servers, but DNS management is a bear, to be honest. I’d much rather have a quick and dirty form that has me type in the domain and a process automatically adds the proper DNS records. I like to experiment, but not with DNS.
Anyway, I’m looking at several companies that provide VPS (suggestions welcome!). There might be a day or two overlap when the site ends at Hosting Matters but I’m not finished at my new host. If you can’t see this site May 1, be patient, it will be back.
I am having so much fun looking for a server, getting my current sites backed up for moving, figuring out what software to install, what new project to try first, and getting applications I have on my personal machines ready for re-load to a server; and all of this fun activity is thanks to your generosity. You are all steely eyed missile men, and very good people.