I have to say that having ubuntusatanic.org kicked off Streamline.net’s [un]limited servers was one of the best things which could have happened. It’s forced me to get off my arse, put my hand in my pocket and move the site onto a dedicated virtual server. The journey I’ve gone through in the last week has been an interesting one and has uncovered a surprising number of small projects run by enthusiasts providing cheap services for sysadmins who know what they’re doing. It’s taught me that if you ignore the first few pages of Google there are plenty of operators out there who give you a lot more for a lot less.
First up is bitfolk.com. I stumbled upon their link on the Xen WIKI. They’re pretty much a one man operation, offering nothing but Xen virtual servers running Linux. There’s a raft of distros to choose from, including Ubuntu Hardy beta. Even the big boys weren’t offering that at the time. The sysadmin is a very friendly and knowledgeable guy called Andy Smith who had my Hardy server up and running within a day. Apparently I was the first person to choose this option.
I had the box secured and a LAMP stack installed within a couple of hours and it was a lot of fun. I’ll post a tutorial on this shortly, but I was left with an extremely speedy and secure website, and one over which I have complete control.
The only thing missing was a DNS server. I could have set one up on the box, but the less services running and ports through the firewall the better, so I opted to let xname.org host my primary DNS – completely free. It was configured and working in ten minutes and all I had to do was point my domain registrar’s zone file to the new DNS servers.
Talking of domain registrars, here’s another area where you can save a packet if you avoid the big hitters. sackheads.org provides very cheap registration and seems to have a pretty large and dedicated following. I’ll definitely give them a look when my domains come up for renewal.
The only problem I have now is the sheer volume of downloads which Ubuntu SE is generating during the Hardy release period. I currently have a predicted monthly bandwidth usage of 223 GB for the month. As I now pay per GB its popularity is getting quite worrying…