Tag Archives: Hosting

Rackspace is Shutting Down Slicehost

Customers of the well-liked VPS service Slicehost will be shutting down sometime over the coming months. Rackspace, the company that acquired Slicehost back in 2008, says that this is because of the difficulty of managing “two brands, two control panels and two sets of Support, Engineering and Operations teams,” and that the impending transition to IPv6 will be easier with only one infrastructure to coordinate.

Slicehost customers will be given the chance to move onto the Rackspace Cloud Servers platform. The pricing is good, though. You can get the equivalent of the “256 Slice” plan for a little more than half the price, excluding bandwidth.

Of course, there are still other options for affordable VPS plans. Linode is a popular choice, and I’ve been using VPS.net for awhile now.

Rackspace to Shut Down Slicehost [The Next Web]

Host Static Websites With Amazon S3

Amazon S3, the inexpensive storage service, now can be used to host entire static websites. Though the service will accept any kind of file, which makes it great for keeping large or frequently-accessed data (podcasts, software downloads, JavaScript widgets, etc.) off your server, until recently it didn’t support index files. You could point a domain to an S3 bucket and upload HTML files, but visitors would get an automatically-generated listing of files instead of your index.html content. That has now changed. Amazon now allows you to setup custom root and error documents.

To get started, open the Amazon S3 Management Console, and follow these simple steps:

1) Right-click on your Amazon S3 bucket and open the Properties pane
2) Configure your root and error documents in the Website tab
3) Click Save

It seems like a good way to throw up a quick traffic-resistant website, though I imagine it could get expensive pretty quickly if it were, say, submitted to Reddit.

What are Some Good Places to Find Linux Server Tutorials?

Are you planning on moving from shared hosting to a more robust hosting platform, such as a VPS? It’s easy enough to find a provider, such as VPS.net, Linode or Slicehost. But that’s just the beginning. You have to learn how to set up and maintain your new server.

Here are a few resources to help you figure things out:

  • HowtoForge — All sorts of Linux tutorials. They have guides to setting up server configurations on the various Linux flavors, as well as basic  introductions to Linux.
  • Slicehost Article Repository — Even if you aren’t a Slicehost customer, you will find some invaluable guides and tutorials here.
  • Linode Library — Much like Slicehost, Linode maintains a collection of useful tutorials.
  • Official Ubuntu Documentation — Select your version of Ubuntu and look for the “Server Guide” link.
  • Google! — Search engines are your friend. If you don’t know what something means or you want to learn how to do something, search for a tutorial. The chances are good that someone else has already written something on the subject.

If you really get stuck, try leaving your question on your host’s forum or on Server Fault.

Google Storage for Developers: An Attempt to Compete With S3?

I just happened upon an interesting new Labs service from Google: Google Storage for Developers. It’s very much like Amazon S3 in concept, but from Google. It’s a cheap, pay-as-you-go file storage service that could be used for anything from backing up data to hosting podcasts to serving images.

Google Storage for Developers will cost $0.17 per gigabyte per month for storage, plus transfer fees. It seems slightly more expensive for the month-to-month fee, but the bandwidth charges might be cheaper. For the duration of the preview Google is offering “100 gigabytes of storage and 300 gigabytes of bandwidth per month” at no cost.

It’s also worth noting that Google offers App Engine, a cost-efficient cloud hosting solution for Python/Rails/Java applications. Amazon has a similar service as part of their impressive AWS suite. With either provider, Google or Amazon, you could cheaply run a large web application more efficiently than if you were having to manually deploy physical servers. Reddit awhile ago switched from running their own servers to using AWS and has had nothing but good things to say about it.

It’s nice to see some more competition in this area. Hopefully it will lead to lower prices. :)

No Support Linux Hosting

We ignore the support questions and pass the savings on to you. Not lazy. Efficient.

That’s the slogan for No Support Linux Hosting, a company providing ridiculously cheap web hosting. You pay $1 per month for shared hosting with 1GB of disk space, a 10GB transfer caps, 3 MySQL databases, cPanel and 25 email accounts. Just one dollar.

It seems like a great deal for small websites or, as they suggest, someone looking to resell to clients. You pay $1 monthly to host a client’s website, charge them a few dollars, and handle the support yourself.

The billing system is interesting as well. You pre-pay a certain number of credits through PayPal, and No Support Linux Hosting dips into your pool of credits as necessary. The initial registration is free, as you don’t need to pay for anything until you actually start using the service.

$12/year for hosting is a pretty good deal. Couple it with $8.99 or so for a domain from your registrar of choice, and you can launch a website on a very tight budget.

Bandcamp: Sell Your Music Online

Are you a musician looking for a way to sell your work online? Bandcamp is a new and appealing solution. They provide a website where people can stream your albums’ tracks, and then buy them for the price you set. Bandcamp takes an uncompressed upload of the music and transcodes it into MP3, AAC, FLAC, Ogg Vorbis, ALC and numerous other formats, giving buyers a choice in their download.

At the present, you get 100% of the money from each sale. Bandcamp may take a small percentage in the future, though. You can either set your own prices, or let your fans name their own price in the style of Radiohead and 2D Boy.

I stumbled across the site a few weeks ago and thought it might be worth sharing. Their FAQ looks promising.

Where Do Bad Hosting Reviews Come From?

I have a review of VPS.net, the hosting provider I use, which I wrote several months ago. It’s given me a chance to observe an interesting occurrence. Despite my positive review of the service, a disproportionate number of comments are decidedly negative in tone. I know plenty of bloggers who are at least as happy as I am with the service, so this struck me as odd.

I decided to examine the incoming search keywords for the page. The top ones, predictably, are variations of “vps.net review,” with the interesting addition of “vps.net sucks.” Surely enough, my post ranks well for the terms.

This raises an interesting question: why are so many people who think the service “sucks” searching for reviews of the company? Are they looking for a way to vent their frustration, and spite the hosting provider simultaneously?

Maybe I’m cynical, but could some of the commenters be astroturfing for rival companies? I’ve noticed that the same sort of behavior occurs with reviews of other hosts, on other websites.

Are former customers searching for places t0 malign companies they had unpleasant experiences with, or is there something more devious going on?

It’s a Hosting Issue, Not a WordPress One

There has been some misinformation going around about an alleged security vulnerability in WordPress 2.9.2. A bunch of websites were recently compromised, and some people have tried to assign the blame to WordPress. The issue, however, comes from shared web hosts not taking the proper precautions to prevent users from accessing configuration files they shouldn’t have filesystem permissions for.

The exploit, in essence, involves capturing a WordPress blog’s database details from wp-config.php by having a hosting account on the same server, and building malicious script to open files outside of the zone that should be permissible. (Think along the lines of ../../other_users_files/wp-config.php.)

Some misinformed publications are claiming that it’s a WordPress vulnerability stemming from wp-config.php’s plain-text storage of  database passwords…something that every database-using script has to do in order to function. Any reversible encryption scheme is just as easily reversible by someone who can access you filesystem, and the one-way hashing used for users’ passwords doesn’t work in this sort of situation. The file should never be directly accessibly by anyone other than the creator on a properly-configured server.

A new post on the WordPress development blog is attempting to clear-up the misunderstanding.

VPS.net Increases RAM and CPU Allocations

VPS.net, the web host that I have been with since September, is celebrating their first birthday by increasing the RAM and CPU allocation for every node, for existing and new customers.

Over the past few months we’ve been preparing for this celebration by sliding new hypervisors into place with an additional 50% in RAM – and now VPS.NET*is happy to announce that this week we will be increasing the RAM per node – every VPS.NET node for both current clients and new signups will go from 256MB to 375MB per node – every node will also receive an additional 200MHz in CPU (600Mhz per node). This is all given to you at absolutely NO cost.

No worries – we’re still not overselling. . It’s taken a few months (and we’ve somehow stayed quiet on this!) but we’re finally almost ready to roll these upgrades out to you.

For those of you who haven’t heard of VPS.net, they take a “cloud” approach to managing their Virtual Machines. A VPS can consist of as many (or as little) “nodes” as you wish, a node representing a fixed unit of computing power. As your needs grow, you can instantly order and activate new nodes, and your VM dynamically expands. A 119MB increase in RAM per node is a very welcome bonus.

Happy birthday, and keep up the good work, VPS.net!

Blogger to End FTP Publishing Support

Blogger has announced that they will be discontinuing support for FTP publishing of their users’ blogs. They say that a mere 0.5% of Blogger users opt to have the static HTML files hosted on their own servers, as opposed to the Blog*Spot servers. The costs outweigh the return, and developer team wants to drop the legacy feature so they can move on to a more modern infrastructure, unhampered by a feature used primarily by the earliest Blogger sites.

Three years ago we launched Custom Domains to give users the simplicity of Blogger, the scalability of Google hosting, and the flexibility of hosting your blog at your own URL. Last year’s post discussed the advantages of custom domains over FTP and addressed a number of reasons users have continued to use FTP publishing. (If you’re interested in reading more about Custom Domains, our Help Center has a good overview of how to use them on your blog.) In evaluating the investment needed to continue supporting FTP, we have decided that we could not justify diverting further engineering resources away from building new features for all users.

FTP support goes dead on March 26th, 2010. If you’re part of that 0.5%, don’t panic! A migration tool will be released in late February, and a blog dedicated to helping people transition is now online.