server migration, phase 1

The last couple of days have been a little hectic, as I recently started a long-anticipated effort to migrate all of my websites to a new server.

It’s still the same host – InterServer has been very good to me over the last decade and I have absolutely no reason to seek hosting elsewhere, but I discovered a couple of months ago that in addition to the shared hosting plan that I’ve been on since I first moved Just Laugh to InterServer back in 2002 (?), they also offer what they call a Virtual Private Server (VPS) that is kind of a step up from shared hosting, but with prices that are still a lot more affordable than an actual, full-fledged dedicated server.

For me, the biggest selling point is getting away from the shared environment and into one that’s officially dedicated solely to my needs. A lot of people don’t realize that even though their host may offer Unlimited Bandwidth, there’s also usually a provision stating that your account can’t monopolize the server and put undue strain on its resources, meaning that “unlimited” in reality is actually far from the fact because chances are even with a cap of 1 terabyte per month, you’re likely going to eat up such a huge chunk of the memory and processing power of the server with that much traffic that you’ll be “asked” to upgrade or leave long before you ever actually hit that upper limit!

Now mind you, I’ve never really hit that point with any of my sites before, but Just Laugh itself still pulls a surprising amount of bandwidth each month all by itself even after sitting dormant for 8 years, so as I continue to build new sites and take on new projects, it’s definitely always been something that sits in the back of my head – in the event that I do publish enough things that go viral and start getting passed around the Internet like pictures of kittens enjoying delicious sandwiches or something, how much would it suck to find that 12 hours in my account got suspended for tearing up all of the resources on the server that I share and that all of the rest of that traffic just fell flat on the floor???

That’s kind of what I like about this new VPS thing – it’s dedicated, but it’s still a virtual environment, meaning that I technically still have a section of a shared server partitioned off for me, except this time it’s solely for me. I pay for a specific amount of memory, disk space, CPU, and bandwidth, and the cool thing is – if I get an alarm that one of my sites went viral and the server is maxing out, I can call up InterServer and just pay for some more resources and they’re allocated to help with the demand in a matter of minutes … rather than it being purely reactionary where I’m either a) hunting for a new server after the fact, traffic lost; or b) begging my provider to reinstate my account AND upgrade me to a new server, traffic still lost!

Anyways, overall it’s going to be a good thing because it’s a more reliable environment, it gives me a chance to consolidate another hosting account that I have hosting a couple of things off on the side, and not to mention, it’s also just kind of fun playing with the technical stuff of migrating files over and getting to see a new side of the control panel that normally was reserved exclusively for my host. Maybe I’ll write a little more about the technical side of it later – so far things have been more or less smooth, but I’ve also been able to focus on low-key stuff that nobody ever actually sees as test transitions before moving my actual sites (i.e. this site you’re on right now is still on the old server and will probably be for another week or two).

More later – back to trying to remember unix shell commands…  😮

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