Change of web hosting

Sunday, May 20th, 2007 at 9:25 pm

(If you are reading this you are seeing the new host.)

I have just changed web hosting provider. Astute readers would be aware that it is less than a year since I last changed hosts. Although I haven’t mentioned anything, I was growing unhappy with the service:

  • There was a period of a few days at the start of May where nine out of ten requests to my sites were getting a zero sized response. The problem was also affecting the support site which made reporting it difficult. Eventually I just emailed them and the next day I was informed that the servers had had to be rebuilt with higher security which was breaking a number of things. So why didn’t they send out an announcement.
  • The same server rebuild upgraded the version of cPanel they were running to the latest version. However this introduced some new ‘features’ that messed up how I manage my email forwarders and the online file manager no longer listed my .htaccess files. These weren’t show stoppers, but they were adding up.
  • The final straw was that they ran out of disk space for MySQL which caused WordPress to complain that it got error 28 from storage engine. It did get fixed after I reported it, but as I type I can see that it has reoccurred.

At a couple of melbourne.pm meetings Kirrily has mentioned that she uses DreamHost if the conversation turns towards web hosting. So I decided to check it out.

After looking through the plan overview pages I came across their wiki which is where I ended up doing most of my research as it contians a lot of useful information. Although I couldn’t access a demo of their configuration panel like I had seen at other web hosts, I was able to see enough from the wiki to know that their model of managing multiple domains on an account was exactly what I wanted. Addon domains under cPanel are just stupid as it messes up your main domain.

There are probably thousands of web hosts that use cPanel (and WHM) to configure their servers. DreamHost does not, they have written their own panel which is why I like their model for multiple domains. This also raises the question of who would have more technical expertise, those who install an existing tool or those that build their own tool. I am happy to admit that someone who uses cPanel doesn’t also have the expertise, but to be successfull with your own tool it is critical that you have the expertise.

Once I saw that DreamHost runs PHP as a CGI instead of as an Apache module I wrote them off. But then I started wondering if that was really an issue:

  • The first site I have it this one. Most of the content is through WordPress which would be fine, a few tweaks here are there to have my theme continue to work. The next big chunk of content is my computer collection, most pages in that run through a template that builds up each page. Again a few tweaks here and there. After that there is probably about a dozen other pages that would need to be tweaked.
  • The next site is Amusement Ride Extravaganza which I built and host for a friend, he (irregularly) maintains the content. For a long time now I have been meaning to reengineer this to be driven by a database, WordPress and Gallery2 are one option. Doing that will avoid my requirement on mod_php.
  • The final site I have on my hosting is for another friend. theatreperson is purely WordPress driven with a standard theme so that will not be an issue.

So after signing up late last night (sorry Kirrily, it was beter for me to use a promo code instead of quoting you as a referrer) I have spent about five hours to copy my site over, including the tweaks to not rely on php directives in .htacess files. Although most of the changes I made were to remove unused code. Why do I need to load phpFlickr for every page when only one uses it?

Time will tell how it goes…

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One Response to “Change of web hosting”

  1. Dammit. If I’d known, I would’ve told you to say I sent you, so I’d get the referral bonus ;)

    K.

    Kirrily - June 2nd, 2007 at 10:03 pm