Moving and Choosing a New Web Host is Taxing

Time for another long rant. I’m trying to save money by moving to a new host. Media Temple has been VERY wonderful to me that the only thing I worried about was money (hahaha). I worked last year, so paying for the site isn’t so bad. This year, though, I just did a little bit of work for very few clients before stopping completely. I’m in my last semester of university before I’ll be flying back to Malaysia for my last year teacher training (dread, dread, dread!). I like repeating that last sentence. It gives me a reality check aaaalll the time.

I actually have no idea why I’m being extremely picky about choosing a new webhost. Maybe I’m creeped out by the WP-Memory-Usage plugin showing me that on PHP 5.2.6, a very small blog like Caramel Toffee uses at least 20.2mb memory. Imagine throwing two more WP blogs, one Wacintaki Poteto board and one SMF board into the pit. The ease of mind only comes because I know at least 99mb memory is allowed by my current host. On Tektonic, I was always reduced to tears because of the VPS memory issues. On Hostgator, I was asked to either upgrade to a dedi or leave because of memory issue PLUS server load.

Oh, the heck? Caramel Toffee only gets 300 visitors at most per day. On normal days, it’s either 50 or 125 or so. Even Junjou only gets 500 to 1000 visitors per day and our forum isn’t as active as it once was. So what’s killing the memory? Poor scripts?

Oh, back to the memory usage stuff. On PHP 4.4.8, Project Catharsis uses up 15.6mb, but that’s understandable because I’m using NextGen Gallery plugin. I still need to be careful, though because Lax Host only allows 32mb memory limit. I don’t think I’ll move PC from Lax Host. It only costs me $10/yr with the free domain. The only dissatisfaction I have with Lax Host is that I have to manually CHMOD folders to 755. By default, new folders would be assigned to the permission of 775. I realised this when I was trying to get my CGI scripts to work. I kept getting 500 error page. Ugh.

I installed Akismet too late from getting Project Catharsis to accumulate over 1,800 spam comments labeled as ‘Awaiting Moderation’. Thank goodness for Akismet. Got it to check for spams, managed to get all messages labeled as spams and delete them all in one go. I need to remember to disable comments because PC is only using WP as a CMS, not a blog.

Basically, what I’m looking for in a new host and what I need are: Apache 2.2 or Litespeed, PHP 5.2.x, MySQL 5.0.x or 5.1.x, CGI/Perl, SSI, extra bonus if the server supports SQLite. If t supports multiple domain hosting, I want each domain to have its own root, not just an add-on domain where it points to public_html/addondomain. In other words, True Multiple Domain Hosting. SSH is a big plus because I’ll be needing it to do SQL dumps and direct file transfer from good ‘ol {mt} to the new host. From what I’ve read, most free site migration services only extend to sites previously hosted on WHM/cPanel. Well, what the hell? If I’m on WHM, why the hell would I even want to waste time waiting for them to migrate my sites when I could damn well do it on my own easily from the control panel? Somehow, the offer sounds very unattractive.

I’ve been offered reseller accounts, but I don’t need a reseller account. I don’t even need unlimited anything because well, it is limited (inodes, CPU, whatever else – what’s the point of having unlimited storage when you only have, say, 50k inodes?). I only need around 2-10GB of space with at least 10GB monthly data transfer (50gb-100gb at most).

Although paying for a whole year of hosting is money-saving, I don’t think I can do that. This is not about chucking out a lump of money. It’s about satisfaction. I like being able to pay on a monthly basis because then I could cancel my account and look for other hosts if I’m not satisfied (or need more features) after 3 to 6 months. I’m capricious that way. If I don’t like it, I move on.

I was seriously considering going for Vector Level until this evening when I get the glorious Page Load Error message. Their main site was (and still is at the point thentry is being writen) down. So much for still having 100% uptime for July (I checked their Pingdom). Hosts I’m still considering now are: Crucial Paradigm, Site5 and Webfaction. I’ve been considering A2 Hosting too, but then I won’t get the multidomain hosting that I want although their PHP memory_limit is set to an atractive 128mb. Aquarius Storage has 100mb initial memory limit which you can ask to be raised, and Pronet Hosting has the limit of 64mb, but the latter’s offering super cheap 1 year of shared hosting for signups in July – I figure they’re going to get heaps of signups. Then there’s AnHosting and Midphase, Pivotal Web and a bunch others which promise high performance hosting. I also looked at Malaysian hosts like DataKL, Mercumaya and Serverfreak, but of course they only offer yearly signup (like AnHosting and Midphase).

I need something of high performance because I’m developing something (more like experimenting) with RoR (pretend you didn’t hear that from me). Searching the web for something like ‘Top 10 Webhosts‘ is of no help. Most of them are listed as TOP 10 because they offer very attractive affiliate rewards. I believed them, once, and went for Hostgator. It brought me to tears six months later and I started cursing ‘unlimited plans’ like there’s no tomorrow.

This post is getting too long for my liking. I shall go back to lamenting and searching and comparing, then.

p.s/ Webfaction is winning my heart like WHOA at the moment~

A Whiff of Cool Breeze After the Storm

newctprevI used to always divide different main points into parts, so I guess I should try doing it again – for old time’s sake.

New Server: The post title is me making a silly attempt to sound a teeny wee bit poetic, because the rain finally stopped. I couldn’t feel my toes two nights ago while I was slaving away in front of my laptop, moving all files from Tektonic to Media Temple.*points to the left* I’m working on Caramel Toffee’s new layout! I hope I’ll be able to get it down soon. It’s been a long time since I last used layouts designed by myself for my blogs. I keep telling myself to make some, but I always end up being too lazy to start designing, much less coding. This layout will be hopefully be fluid, and XHTML/CSS valid though I’m afraif I fail at 1.1 strict, so it’s going to be transitional instead XD.

I don’t know why people seem to talk shit about Media Temple, though my readings kind of told me that (mt) is slow. Well, I guess I don’t mind much about speed. I’m not running high traffic sites like most of you probably do. It’s still fast for me. I guess if sites like ABC and Tech Crunch trust them, surely they couldn’t be that bad. I just love how they’re using Nginx like WordPress. No wonder it’s fast to load to Account Control centre.

Stubborn, Stupid Cashier: I went for grocery shopping with Mama this evening. There’s this cashier who obviously DID a serious mistake, but had the guts to say “It’s not my fault” to us. She mistakenly combined our totals with the totals of the customer who was ahead of us. We asked her to cancel the scan, and rescan everything, but she totally refused, saying that she couldn’t open the cash machine before confirming to totals. She even dared to say it’s not her fault. It obviously WAS her fault, because she shouldn’t have randomly grabbed our stuff when she hadn’t finished with the previous customer’s bill. In the end, the other customer gave us her money, and we paid with our combined funds. The bloody idiot of a cashier had the nerve to look smug and angry. I guess she doesn’t know the term “Customers are always right” in the business world.

Podcasting: My students requested I do podcasts – podcasts for learning Malay for English and/or Japanese speakers. That’s a rather nice idea, and I love them for suggesting it. When the site redesign is done, I’ll probably be able to add another section to Caramel Toffee called Randomcast or something. I’ll have the chance to work on my spoken English, so it’s all good. It’s about time I stop feeling embarassed if people hear my voice XD

Wow, presenting in parts like this makes my blog entry look really neat! I guess I’ll be sticking to it most of the time.