Tuesday, July 11, 2017

Considering WebHosting

Subtitle: Marcus and Agata need another Webserver

We now have moved to England, but the supposed pre-requisite was a working Internet connection.  A high quality fast Fibre connection.

It is no understatement that our we have experience of IT projects so the initial estimate for delivery of January 2017 was taken with caution.

We thought this

- Allow 3 months for cockup
- Then another 2 for the actual connection.

This took us to May 2017 and still no connection.   We managed to lash up multiple temporary 4G connections for home use but we have to think about how to host our Webservers elsewhere,  because a range of issues to do with NAT (Network Address Translation) make current hosting impossible.

Our Requirements
- Minimum 20 Mbit/second sustained uplink speed
- Equivalent to 5.2 TB / month traffic (at least)
- Ability to have an Individual Virtual Machine or at least a customisable Web Server
- Ability to run PHP
- Some sort of webpage creator would be nice, or at worst we can install our own custom HTML
- 300 GB Disk Storage
- Sitemaps would be nice

Microsoft Azure Pricing
Using a MS Virtual machine the price came to about 380 GBP monthly the bulk of the cost was the Bandwidth cost which was over 85% of the total.

IBM Softlayer

Softlayer have a nice virtual server configurator  which I found would mean 88 USD per month for a 25GB Disk  Virtual server.  This is about 1K USD per year and allows you to install your own OS onto their Virtualised Server.   Not only is this too expensive the disk is way too small.

It goes to say that obviously Bare metal servers i.e. you get a Physical box not a part of one i.e. Virtual Server is even more expensive.

Easily Hosting
We already use easily.co.uk for various services and we made enquiries. Their max Virtual machine is 30GB so useless to us.

Amazon Web Services AWS
Amazon has various services even a Free Tier  but it does not meet our requirements. Using an EC2 style service it looks like this

Blue Host
We remember BlueHost from Brian Ibbots excellent Podcast Coverville  It was time to see if can save the day and well, yes rather,  they have:

- 30 MegaBit upload speed measured

- Cost is about 300 USD per year

- SSL i.e. HTTPS web certificate and domain included for first year

- There is some sort of webmail

- There are no metered limits. Very important. If users takes many GB or TB or downloads I will not end up with a large bill.

- Static IP address

- I have my own login to a restricted Linux command line.

- Shared http server so you can't custom configure any part of httpd.conf

- However you can (of course) carry out some configuration via .htaccess files

So Far Then

- I created an additional domain with a mirror of my primary website, which is basically alive, but operating at a speed 500 times slower than in Switzerland. I am not kidding!

- I went with Bluehost as a Web Provider

- Before leaving Switzerland I pushed about 400GB of data upto Bluehost.  On our infinite Swiss connection was done in less than 1 day.  Ah, I will miss that.

- So far, whilst the Bluehost site does quite not have the speed I would like, it does have the storage capacity and the ability to perform some basic webpage tailoring

- Also I really so get my own command line. I can hardly bloody believe it!

- I can do a rsync between my barely functioning server, over some tin can temporary Internet (in England) to the Bluehost in North America.

This kind of command
rsync -avuzh ./local_data   userid@website.org:www/

rsync compares the 2 sides , i.e. each of the 300GB datastores and transfers the changed files i.e. additions, changes, deletes over my tin can internet upto Bluehost.

It is painful but works, slowly but surely.

We are still waiting for Fibre, but overall BlueHost has rather saved the day and for a cost which is about 20% of the cheapest competition.