New Webhost

I have now finished the move of all my websites from Hostgator to WebFaction. I’ve been with Hostgator a while now, and while they have been okay, it wasn’t until I set-up the Insimnax website that I noticed how slowly they actually served content; I let it be for a couple of months before I decided to move.

I considered getting myself a cheap VPS, something I had done before but was left a little unsatisfied with. While I was looking around I came across WebFaction, they essentially manage to provide shared hosting which is very VPS like. While you don’t get full access to the server, you do get SSH access and the ability to install pretty much anything considering the sheer amount of applications they have available.

I had been pretty frustrated when I set-up the Insimnax website that I had to use three different pieces of software (Pixie, MediaWiki, and MyBB) to get all the functionality from the site that I wanted, I would have much rather just used one thing and be done with it. To this end, when I set-up the site again on WebFaction, I just used their one-click installer to create a Ruby on Rails application and installed Redmine. Now not only is the site significantly faster than it was before, but all my content for the Insimnax website is hosted in a single piece of software which makes it easier for me to maintain and manage.

In addition to being able to create a Rails application, you can also do some other nifty things with them. Is your website running slow because it is trying to serve a lot of static content through Apache? No problem, with WebFaction you would just create a nginx application to handle all your websites static content, and then use your Apache application to only handle your dynamic content. What’s more, because you have SSH access to all your applications, you can tweak the configuration files for them to your hearts content just like you could with a full VPS or Dedicated server. This to me actually makes WebFaction better than a VPS, since the actual OS and server installation is handled by them (including updates) which leaves me to just worry about the things that these applications are serving.

My next plan with this new account is to create a Subversion application and migrate my Assembla SVN repository for Insimnax to WebFaction. This will offer me several advantages; firstly it will allow me to integrate my SVN repository into Redmine; secondly it will allow to me to let others view my current trunk, because; thirdly it will allow me to give specific access to just the parts of the SVN repository that I want to be seen by the public. This is something I will be able to do since I will have access to the SVN users configuration file, something that is hidden from me at Assembla, and since Assembla has yet to implement per-directory access rights on their SVN repositories, something I simply cannot do with Assembla hosting.

I will leave you with this piece of information. While I was waiting for my DNS information to propagate, I could traceroute both servers and I found that they were both hosted at the same data centre (The Planet), and both gave me the same ping of ~162ms from my location here in England. However the WebFaction server was the one that gave me the fastest response to my requests, and since the network statistics for both were the same, I can only assume that is because the WebFaction servers are; better configured, have less load, or both.

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