Behind the Scenes at super-structure

I know that it looks like almost nothing has been happening on this site for the past month. But, actually there have been some changes behind the scenes. Okay, I’ve also been kind of lazy and not posting as much as I’d meant to. But let’s focus on the positives.

Even since I moved my site’s content into WordPress about four (!) years ago, it had been hosted by my good friend Jason J. He had plenty of bandwidth, hosting space, WordPress knowledge, and — most importantly — was willing to share all of that. I’d been paying him a small amount monthly in exchange for this. However, if one were to add up all the time he spent via phone, e-mail, Skype chat, etc.; I was getting some really cheap tech support from a guy who isn’t known for having any free time.

Add to my sense of guilt the fact that the hosting account which all this was on was one that JJ wasn’t planning on keeping (he’s got some more advanced needs and found another hosting provider to better suit them). So, I needed to get my own hosting plan for our household full of domains. After looking around at various plans, I decided that staying with Dreamhost would be best. It basically came down to these:

  • Familiarity: Basically no learning curve as I’d been already using them for the past few years.
  • Green: Dreamhost offsets their carbon emissions.
  • Software: They have really great one-click installation for the server-side software (that is: WordPress & MediaWiki) that I use. Further, they keep their software current with new releases.
  • Price: The monthly price break down was reasonable. Further, they also don’t charge extra for making my domain who-is information private. They also allow me to have as many MySQL databases as I want (each WP or MediaWiki install needs its own).
  • Class: They don’t constantly barrage me with attempts to up-sell me on new services. Sometimes I need to do work instead of see a price list, you know?

So, after picking JJ’s brain some more on how to back up and restore MySQL databases last month, I began moving my files over to a new server at Dreamhost via my own account. This also gave me the opportunity to clean up some of the database organization. I’m also using the opportunity to clean out a lot of un-used files on the server as well, which should all making back-ups faster.

I finally got around to pulling the switch last night. It is very un-nerving clicking "delete" on almost five years worth of writing. It certainly brings out the procrastinator in me. Thus, there hasn’t been any action around here in the past month; so I wouldn’t have to constantly back-up and replace the database over and over. Once I did get around to doing so, though, the DNS TTL gods showed some sort of favor upon me. Despite having to delete the old sites entirely first and then re-instating the domain name to point to the new server, the sites were down for no more than for a couple of minutes each. I’m still scratching my head over how that happened (normally, this takes more like an hour or more).

In other behind-the-scenes news, the latest version of WordPress is a breeze to upgrade. It is literally as simple as clicking a link within the software. No more needing to log in via command line and using SVN commands. The plug-ins have had automatic upgrades for the past few updates, and this is very welcome to someone who maintains several WordPress installations.

So, all of this is (or at least should be) absolutely transparent to anyone who is just visiting this site. That being said, I do have some plans for changing the style and organization of this site in the next few months. I’ve been kicking around ideas for some time and hopefully that will happen sooner rather than later.

3 thoughts on “Behind the Scenes at super-structure”

  1. Good job. Here’s to well-maintained hosting. It’s a pain to deal with, but it sure feels good when things work as they should.

    We’ll see you on Slicehost before another 4 years is up, I’ll bet. :)

  2. True. I kind of look at it as a modern equivalent to house maintenance.

    Slicehost? Possibly. I did certainly look into them and I know you recently switched. But, Dreamhost has been good to me and has just what I needed. Remember: I’m not a developer; I just like to act like one. :)

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