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Metal (Technical)

Weeeee’re back!

You may not have noticed, but my server crashed a while back (I did get one unprompted comment, so I’m not completely writing into a vacuum). Since it no longer runs anything business-related, and I had been looking for a cheaper server, I wasn’t in any rush to restore it.

I had already got an account with GreenGeeks. My motivation to move wasn’t that I was unhappy with Asergo (previously Easyspeedy), where I’d been hosting happily since 2006. It was simply that having a sports car to putter up and down the driveway isn’t the best use of resources, and a much cheaper Golf Cart would do just fine.

GreenGeeks state that they have been running since 2008, and contribute back 3 times the power they consume into the grid in the form of renewable energy. I’m already hooked. And starting at $2.95 per month, rather cheaper than what Asergo are currently asking for a dedicated server, it seemed a no brainer.

Except that, by the time of the crash, I’d been running both in parallel for a while already, so was in effect paying $2.95 more than before.

When the server crashed, I thought it’d be a good time to move.

Except that the experience wasn’t particularly fun. Used to running my own server entirely, where I know what to do, and can freely access and customise what I need, I found the limitations of working through cPanel immensely frustrating. I needed to contact support multiple times to allow me to ssh into the server (no fault of theirs – it automatically deactivated when unused for a certain period of time), but when, after months of delay, I finally set aside the time, to be unable to even ssh in wasn’t a great start. Through cPanel, I couldn’t find out how to access the server error logs for the secondary virtual host. The primary logs were accessible through the interface, but nothing else. Accessing an error log on my server would take seconds, and I could find and fix the actual error. Now, after fumbling around for way too long, support would have to be contacted, and an evening wasted.

I have no complaints with GreenGeeks, but time is a little more important to me these days, and the thought of wasting endless hours on stupid obstacles like this became too much, and I returned to my trusty sports car.

Besides, any day now, I could be releasing the next Twitter or Zoom, and unless it uses Silicon Valley levels of compression, running it from a $2.95 server is not likely to happen.

A clean install was a chance to run some up-to-date software, and it now runs the latest version MariaDB 10.4 and PHP 7.4, up from the dated MySQL 5.5 and PHP 5.6 releases I was running previously. I had to do a bit of rewriting to get everything to work with the latest PHP, making me realise a) how rusty my coding is b) how ancient some of the scripts living on the server are, but it was soon running smoothly again.

Still, it’s up, and like a new toy, you may see more posts than usual for a while. And for the one person that noticed my absence, thanks for watching!

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Image from Wikimedia Commons

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