Upgrading to VPS (from Shared Hosting): Rad's Rear-view Perspective on Virtual Private Servers

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WiredTree Virtual Private Servers (VPS)Biggest problem I had moving the site (to our new VPS server) .. was the blog not working.

Readers could still view pages/entries, but the blog-interface (which allows me to create new entries) would not load.

Instead of launching the interface, the master script-file (mt.cgi) prompted a *download*. ("Would you like to download, open or cancel?")

That suk'ed .. cuz I make much use of the blog .. to help keep the home-page lean-n-mean.

(Tho I create these entries in Dreamweaver, cuz it's a far superior tool to what you find in the MT interface, far as web page creation goes. Then I copy-n-paste into MT. That's why the blog entries always come after you see/read it on the home page.)

Normally I have a plenty of tools in my Troubleshooting bag-of-tricks, but this problem left me scratching my head.

I'd never seen this type of behavior. And neither had anyone at the Movable Type forums. (I use the new Open Source version of Movable Type » v4.1.)

Not being able to use the blog was a major bummer. Fortunately, I found an article that offered a solution .. even tho it appeared to address a different problem.

••• today's entry continues below •••

The fix involved editing 13 *.cgi files .. to tell Movable Type exactly where it was located on my server (inserting what is called the "absolute path" into the "use strict" section).

You might think (as I did) that the program/script should know where it was residing .. but something about the move to VPS must've confused it (both v4.1 and 3.35, but not 2.63).

Anyway, glad that's resolved. Cuz I was starting to worry. "What if," questions kept haunting me. "What if I can't use MTOS?" .. the dream-program I've been waiting for .. since summer. It would've put a serious damper on the move to VPS.

I must admit, I didn't really think the fix detailed in that article would work .. but I was desperate (willing to try anything). Was so happy to see that interface pop up. Woohoo! My whole mood changed.

I'm still learning the ropes of this new VPS, but I can now say I enjoy working with the web site much more .. cuz it's significantly faster (more responsive, snappier). I like not having to wait. Wish I would've upgraded to VPS long ago. Definitely worth the extra co$t (in my opinion).

On the WiredTree VPS page (listed under heading Enterprise Hardware) you'll find the following:

WiredTree strictly limits the number accounts to ensure all environments are highly responsive.

Our VPS servers use only the highest quality server-grade components. Every VPS server uses dual-core Intel Xeon Clovertown processors (8 CPUs). Combined with 12GB+ fully buffered DDR2 memory and server-grade SuperMicro motherboards, the performance and reliability of the hardware is unmatched.

This kind of talk makes me salivate. I have traded dozens of emails with WiredTree support .. to inquire exactly how their VPS servers are managed, and how resources are allocated. (That sort of thing interests me.)

Along these lines, I should mention that I stayed up late last night (again), trading emails with WiredTree support, trying to get a handle on our new VPS, talking to a tech (named Zac), who I've never dealt with before.

This morning, while browsing the page listing WiredTree's Key People, I noticed the name of the person who was helping me last night .. listed as President of the company.

Anytime you have the president (who cares enough to be) that closely involved, you're bound to produce a superior product. And WiredTree has provided me with the best support I've ever had. The reason I learned so much about computers is cuz I hate dealing with support people.

In the morning (after I woke) I asked Zac if he had been there all night, and what the president was doing providing support on the night shift. He replied:

Yes. But only for another 15 mins. I still do some support shifts, because it's a good way for me to keep my finger on the pulse.

One of the other techs said:

Yeah, Zac is really hands-on for being the President.

At Lunarpages, I sometimes got the feeling I was interrupting them from doing more important things (than providing me with support). Whereas at WiredTree, I get the feeling they genuinely *enjoy* helping and providing answers. Either that, .. or they're all doing a good job at faking it.

I mean, I ask a *lot* of questions. (Bet I've sent over a hundred emails already.) They've answered every one, no matter how confrontational (or stupid) the question.

Growing up nuclear has instilled in me an appreciation for professional competence (cuz I know how much it costs). These guys are nuclear grade. You know you're a geek when your Fab-4 are named Joe, Jake, Adam & Zac. =)

Did I mention that WiredTree moved the site for me (after I created the back-up).I gave them my account log-in at Lunarpages. They moved the site, and restored it on the new VPS server. I didn't even have to ask. They offered.

Every time I was presented with an option, I always took the more difficult path. (That's how I learn.) For example, I could've used WiredTree's name servers (ns1.wiredtree.com = easier), or create my own (ns1.radified.com = harder, but better).

The hardest thing for my to do was get shell/root access with a command prompt (using PuTTY). I got error » Shell access is not enabled on your account. For shell access to be enabled please contact support. Zac said, "You will need to either log in as root or enable shell access in WHM." "How do I enable shell access?" I asked .. cuz that was harder.

I share some of the things I learned in a thread titled » Resource Usage at New VPS Server. Also wanna write a Rad guide on » Moving from Shared Hosting to a VPS .. while it's still fresh in my mind.

I learned much in the process, and feel this is something that would benefit anybody contemplating such an upgrade. Like I said, had I known it would make this big of a difference, I would've done it years ago.

WiredTree does not (yet) have an affiliate program. If you decide to go with them based on what you read here, tell them you heard about them from Rad .. and to give me a free month ($45). It won't cost you anything extra.

The bad thing about all this website stuff (such as moving the site, and upgrading both the forum and blog scripts, which we did in an effort to decrease our use of server resources) .. is that I've had to put my learning of learning of CSS on hold.

I have one more thing I need to do before returning to my CSS studies » style the new MTOS blog (darken it, so it's more like v3.35). MTOS currently still uses the default styling (bright white hurts my eyes).

For more along these lines, here's a Google search preconfigured for the query » vps hosting virtual private server wiredtree

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About this Entry

This page contains a single entry by Rad published on February 24, 2008 10:30 PM.

VPS Upgrade Necessary? Dedicated Server Required? was the previous entry in this blog.

Finally Able to Relax + A Letter from the Inbox is the next entry in this blog.

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