March 19th, 2007 at 06:00am
But only server, not address.
It’s been nearly a year and seven months since this blog moved to paid hosting with Bluehost, but the time has come for me to move hosting company, to the Australian (and seemingly a lot more reliable) AussieHQ.
The move will take place this week, but unlike the move from free to paid hosting, the address will not change, whilst this is a good thing as it won’t break links and email addresses etc, it will cause some semi-downtime while the server change propagates around the DNS system. This will mean that some people will see the new server long before others do, and unfortunately Bigpond users will probably be among the last to make the move as Telstra are notoriously slow at updating DNS.
If you understood the last paragraph, skip this one…the DNS system is what holds the Internet together, it converts domain names like samuelgordonstewart.com to IP addresses like 184.108.40.206, which in turn allows your computer to find websites. Generally your computer will find out IP addresses from a DNS server run by your ISP, and due to the sheer number of DNS servers out there it takes a matter of hours for them all to be updated. Some, like the ones at Telstra, are setup to take longer than others.
This move is the reason there is no weekly poll this week, as the poll relies on the database on the server running this website, and it would be pointless to have two servers running the same poll and receiving votes from a different set of people. Other disruptions this week will occur in comments, once I initiate the transfer comments on the old server will be disabled as I really don’t feel like copying a whole heap of comments between servers. Email shouldn’t be affected as I forward email to Gmail anyway, and will set up those forwarders on the new server ASAP. From a viewing perspective, there should be minimal disruption on this website as I will schedule things to appear on both the new and old servers prior to the migration.
So why am I moving the website? Well I have a few reasons…
Firstly, whilst Bluehost have generally been good, their reliability has diminished over the last few months. I have noticed an increase in the number of times the webserver has not bothered to respond, and the FTP server is getting slower and now seems to be randomly freezing. It’s been a while since this site has gone down completely, but when it does, it does it in style. Bluehost don’t handle this downtime very well either, trying to get information from them about outages is incredibly difficult, they usually claim there is no outage and never bother to inform anyone of scheduled maintenance.
Last time there was a major outage it was due to scheduled maintenance (no attempt was made to notify customers) where they were moving between data centres, or something to that effect. They botched it, and were offline for hours. I’m also not at all convinced that their promised backup generators exist…when the power went out on a separate occasion, so did they, on multiple occasions…they supposedly had enough power for the servers but not the air conditioning, so they didn’t run the servers for fear of over heating. I would probably have done the same thing, but I have to wonder why they only had enough generators for the servers.
Secondly, Bluehost are in the US, the vast majority of the readers of this website are in Australia. The time it takes to transfer data to and from the US might not be particularly long, but for the vast majority of readers, connecting to a Canberra based server would be much faster. I also have reason the believe that AussieHQ’s servers are much more responsive than Bluehost’s, so any extra data transfer time for anybody overseas should be more or less offset by a better performing server.
It is my personal opinion that Bluehost is an example of what’s wrong with the massive super-cheap US hosting industry. When I joined Bluehost they were still relatively small, had a good offer, and kept their promises. The problem as they have grown is that to remain competitive they have to keep their prices low and increase the service offered…economically speaking, it doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t provide them with the room to improve their services or upgrade their servers in a logical manner, instead they are forced to put as many people on the same server as they possibly can.
It’s not their fault, it is the US hosting industry in general which seems to be suffering, but none of them want to publicly admit to it…instead they all (Bluehost in particular) make a lot of noise about how they are optimising this that and everything else in in the Linux kernel and other parts of the server to make the servers run better, but you can only push a server so hard before it starts to have issues. Apparently the server this website is hosted on is one of the more reliable servers…and that’s a worry as it isn’t exactly running brilliantly.
There may be a few minor glitches in the changeover, especially if you happen to be one of the lucky people who use a DNS server which gets the new IP address in first hour or so of the new server being in operation. During the first couple of hours there may be a bit of downtime while I make sure things are working as they should, and finish off uploading everything.
To ease the transfer, the notification area at the top of each page will indicate whether you are looking at the new or old server. I will also schedule a bunch of articles to appear on both servers simultaneously so that the site doesn’t come to a complete halt.
With any luck, the migration will be pain-free, and you will all be looking at the new server not long after it is up and running.
At this stage I haven’t decided whether to start the migration tomorrow or on Wednesday, although I am leaning towards tomorrow.
If you’ve got any questions about this, now is probably a good time to ask them!
Entry Filed under: Blog News