If I’ve done my job correctly, this will be transparent to everyone. Mossor dot Org has moved from a hosted environment to a Hosted VPS! … (cricket noises). Yeah, I know, me too, for the most part. Let me explain.
Mossor dot Org has always lived on some hosted service. This means it lives on someone else’s computers, which means if the power goes off at my house, the site is still available, which is useful and relieves me of some responsibility on that front. However, it has limits as well. So long as I don’t want anything custom or out of the ordinary, it’s an okay solution. The other factor is cheap. My hosting solution was $5/mo (and you get what you pay for).
When I wanted to do some custom coding I discovered after a fair bit of heartache that the version of a particular tool (python) that they supported was over 10 years old and they had no interest in updating it. The only alternative they offered was a much more expensive hosting solution and, frankly, my site doesn’t make money, so I want to do this on the cheap.
What I eventually settled on is what’s called a VPS Host or Virtual Private Server, still hosted by someone else, but basically I can do anything I want on that sever because it’s mine and mine alone. If I bugger it up, I only affect me and I can just create a new server and start over again. And, I could get one of these VPS for about $4 a month if I prepay for a period of time. However, as with all things, there are trade-offs. For that cost, it’s a pretty tiny and not very powerful server. Fortunately, my server needs to do maybe three things:
- Serve up Mossor dot Org and this blog
- It provides mail forwarding so I can use emails that are easily blocked/rerouted if abused. For example, if I can get a free burrito by giving Chipotle an email address, I can give them ‘firstname.lastname@example.org’. They win (they get an email address to bombard) and I win (I forward all those emails to my personal email and then use filters to route them to a folder called BizClass which I can review at my leisure)
- I can fiddle around with web technologies on the site to keep learning
So, I get all the control I want, at a reasonable cost, but it’s a pretty underpowered solution. As the Genie says in Aladdin:
Genie: It’s all part of the whole genie gig: PHENOMENAL COSMIC POWER … itty bitty living space.
But, it’s sufficient to meet my needs for now.
On the whole “Learn a thing, Do a thing, Teach a thing” front, I certainly learned some things in the last couple weeks. I wrote up a 12 page transition document on what I learned as I set up my new server. Much of it was fiddly stuff, some of it was just to capture how things are set up in case I have to do it again, some of it around setting up the blog and hosting it myself. There’s not much on the Teach a Thing side. I’m not expert enough to speak with any authority, but it was satisfying. One of my characteristics is that I love setting things up. Building them. But, once they’re set up and running, I’m ready to move on to other projects.
So, here’s to hoping no one notices the change in a negative way. On the positive side, it means I’m a bit more unfettered in playing with some new stuff which will mostly likely be seen on the site.