19 Jul

Running your own VPS kind of sucks

I pay a good chunk of change to Dreamhost every year, I have done since I was old enough to have a credit card. It’s handy. They are a pretty chill hosting provider, by and large. I host about 8 or 9 WordPress sites. Some are mine, some for friends. As I get better at unix’y stuff, I’m becoming more of a cheapskate and am thinking that $140NZ or whatever Dreamhost costs per year is a bit steep for a shared hosting platform. I have trialled their more dedicated VPS offering and while it kills performance-wise, it’s too expensive for someone hosting sites on behalf of others for free…

A while back I got a good deal on Zappie Host, based in New Zealand, where most of my ‘clients’ are also based. It’s a dedicated VPS, 2 CPU cores and a gig of RAM for about $7NZ a month. I am also on a 50% off deal for the first year, so it’s a good deal. I’m paying for it in parallel with DH so I can get my shit together and migrate. Part of the motivation for sorting it all out before my next DH payment is due is financial, as I’m paying for 2 hosting solutions and not getting much benefit from the combination.

Some challenges:

  • Picking a web server (Apache or NGINX?!)
  • Picking a database (MariaDB or MySQL!?)
  • To use a cPanel or not?
  • Security
  • Mail (jeesus christ, email is complex!)
  • Virtualisation/separation of different client sites
  • Backups!?
  • Remote access for users
  • Unknown unknowns
  • DNS
  • Goddamn email
  • Resource monitoring

I think I need a coffee. What I want to do is use this list and knock out some posts detailing the crap you need to put up with to save a few bucks and call yourself a server administrator 🙂

Time for you and time for me,
And time yet for a hundred indecisions,
And for a hundred visions and revisions,
Before the taking of a toast and tea.

– T.S. Eliot (lol)

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