Free at last

In October 2013, I woke up one day to the news that my hosting provider, MediaTemple, had been bought by GoDaddy. That set off a furious search to find a new home for my web properties. I moved all my hosting away within a few days, but I only moved my domains away after they expired.

Except for two, I just kept getting lazy when the renewal time happened, and at $15 per year (versus $8.92 with my new registrar) it wasn’t a big deal to leave things as they were.

Until last Friday. I got the notification that both WordsByBarbara and ScriptsByBarbara were coming due for renewal. Continue reading →

My VPS Journey

When I began my web journey, oh so long ago (it was 2009), I was somewhat naive. At the time, I was looking for a solid performance, a provider that seemed competent and professional, and made it easy for someone who knows just enough to be dangerous.

Shared Hosting

At the time, shared hosting was the rage, and there were several options, even then. I settled on MediaTemple as a provider, and I was happy. They made no promises about “unlimited” things like disk space and bandwidth, and the few times I needed support, they were great. They weren’t cheap, ad $20 a month, but they worked. Continue reading →

AWS Experimentation – WordPress basic installation

This weekend, on a lark, I decided to do some experimentation with Amazon’s AWS services. I have been using their S3 for backing up my home Mac for a while, but since I use Arq it was really not a serious dive into the AWS infrastructure. However, when I started down that path, I had to do some interesting things, like create an IAM user profile, and the like.

Then I saw some tutorials that looked interesting, including one on how to setup a WordPress instance on an EC2 virtual machine. Since I have setup many WordPress sites, on a variety of hosting solutions, I thought why not give it a throw?

Fortunately, for the first year you are a customer, you have access to a “Free Tier” that pretty much allows you to run 1 VM solutions up to 750 hours each month. More than enough to play without paying.

The TL;DR answer: Is isn’t difficult, but there are some extra steps that AWS brings into it than using a major hosting site, even one where you start with a plain VM (like Digital Ocean). It gets you closer to the iron, and you can’t help but to gain an appreciation for the background processes that are in play. Continue reading →

Upgrade Shenanigans – 16.04 LTS

For a few months, every time I log into my droplets I get a banner advising me to upgrade to the new ubuntu 16.04LTS. I had hesitated as I worried that there would be repercussions.

My first attempt, on a very simple droplet with an nginx webserver with a simple Ghost blog installed. It was a flipping disaster. nodes.js failed, the install broke the nginx, and after 4 hours of messing with it, I punted and restored the snapshot I took.

Before the second attempt, I created a new droplet and built a fresh Ghost instantiation, and installed it from scratch. This time, I learned the proper install and setup. How to configure nginx properly, how to setup and install the Ghost package, and the big change in linux, the systemd.  Continue reading →