Moving servers again

Ironic I guess.

So I’ve been learning the Laravel PHP framework for the better part of a year now and integrating it into my professional repertoire little by little. At the same time, I’ve been operating a small company called EPIXIAN with a handful of loyal customers. Part of doing this entailed running a webserver, in part to host my customers’ projects, but mostly to host staging environments and demo sites when I need input from the customer or to make a sale. And to be frank, the hosting income wasn’t really offsetting the amount of time and energy, or actual dollars the server was costing me.

The server itself was being rented from Amazon Web Services, and on top of that, the Plesk software I was using to provision accounts was costing even more each month. But people don’t want to DIY websites anymore it seems, and it was pointless to pay for a service that enabled people to go in and manage their own sites, when most of my customers weren’t interested.

I stumbled across Laravel Forge, which to be honest, looks sleeker and more kitted out from their website than it really is. The documentation is pretty weak, but it does what I want, and the sites themselves seem to be peppier. I even switched back to DigitalOcean in the process.

So there you go. This site, and many others, got, or are getting migrated over to a Forge-provisioned server, and my administration overhead just got a lot smaller as a result.

Moved hosting providers again

In the year 2000, I began patronizing one of the early pioneers of shared webhosting, PHPWebHosting. My particular server was named “cub”. This was where I learned PHP and MySQL, cutting my teeth building homebrew blogging platform with a name I can’t remember.

When I joined the Army in 2004, my blogging pretty much went away, and I didn’t even own a computer for over a year after that. I stopped renewing my domain name sometime later. Not sure exactly why I kept paying them, but there you go.

In 2015, I moved the site over to DigitalOcean. For one reason, $10/mo (which was what I was paying PHPWebHosting) gave me a WordPress instance, root access to the file system, and it wasn’t a shared hosting environment. With the server based in San Francisco and me in Korea, I could even install a personal VPN on it and was able to masquerade as an American when trying to bypass country-wide restrictions on apps in the Android app marketplace.

In 2017, I started using AWS as a hobby, and launched a handful of EC2 instances to help me learn the ins and outs of their API. One instance ran a script that launched other instances by itself to distribute a batch processing workload that never saw production. A year later, I would decide to launch my own business, and used AWS to run a Plesk server that would handle multiple websites.

Sometime in early 2018, the DigitalOcean droplet I was using updated to a newer version of Ubuntu. I never did figure out how or why exactly it happened, but somehow the file system would become unmounted and refused to remount automatically. It ended up taking a number of support tickets to iron out the problem, which seemed to be linked to the UUID of the physical drive.

After that, the database server refused to upgrade. I’m still not sure why or how it occurred, but today I finally figured out the cause: AppArmor was the culprit, denying access to numerous startup files required by MySQL. Once I got the database up and running, I dumped its contents and imported them into a WordPress database running on the Plesk server, and destroyed the old DO droplet.

So here we are. My personal website is now being hosted by my business.