nickpegg.com
Doing it Right Posted on 2009-11-26

Well, I finally bit the bullet and got a Linode account. So far I'm pretty happy with it. I figured that with the costs of power and bandwidth, I was almost spending $20/month to run my old server on my own hardware. Incidentally, the lowest-grade Linode VM costs that much and is enough to suit my needs.

So now that I've been setting up a webserver from scratch again, I'm doing it right this time. I'm setting up some monitoring software to notify me when things go down, I'm no longer relying on myself for DNS (no more dynamic IPs!), and I'm also branching out and trying an alternative webserver.

The webserver in question is Cherokee which claims to use less memory and perform better than Apache. It sure does use less memory, but as a down side it doesn't have a native PHP module, so I'm required to use FastCGI for that purpose. Right now, there's five php-cgi processes running each using about 25-30 MB. This wouldn't be a problem except that I've only got 360 MB of memory to play with. On the plus side its got a pretty sweet admin interface with wizards to help you set up things like WordPress, Drupal, Ruby on Rails, Django, etc. and you can setup some pretty complex rules for what and how files should be hosted.

On the monitoring side of things, I'm using Munin to monitor the various stats on the server, Piwik for website visit statistics, and I plan on getting Monit going for service monitoring. It's a bit more important now that I keep and eye on memory and data transfer now that I'm limited on that. Also, if some process goes wild and starts using crazy amounts of CPU power and memory, I'll be able to catch it.

Unfortunately when you move servers, you have to move everything that was running on them. I'm still in that process, but it's been going pretty smoothly.

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