Ross Makes
A collection of projects.

Why I stopped trying to manage my own server.

Over the years I’ve had many projects, one of my favorites, and most time intensive has been Scoot Nashville. I started with the idea of a user created social network to plan rides and events involving the scooter community in my hometown. I started with a WordPress blog, but later added Buddypress. The idea was to set up message boards and groups so the community could organize their own events in addition to 2 or more events that I would organize. I didn’t have a full grasp over the resources my little community of a hundred users would take. Eventually, my shared host started throttling my account because my project was straining the other sites on that machine. This of course was less than ideal. It would take seconds to load pages, and minutes to actually post anything. In short, my site wasn’t user friendly. It was barely usable.

I tried caching plugins, but those didn’t work too well with user created posts. A cached blog post is one thing, waiting for the cache to clear out when someone added a comment to a thread was something completely different. I started looking for a new solution, and learned about VPS servers. This would allow me to have dedicated resources and a lot more control over certain aspects of the system. For example, I use Gsuite for the email for that domain, so using resources on an email server was wasted. I found some great deals on Low End Box that made my shared hosting costs seem like a fortune and quickly purchased a VPS.

This started a learning curve with using Terminal to login, install and configure an OS, and installing a control panel to easily manage my server. That snowballed into sleepless nights of tweaking settings, worrying about resources, and finally settling on the realization that being a system admin in addition to my daily work was more than I wanted to handle. Having control and learning is great and all, but it was almost turning into a full time job.

Since then, I’ve migrated all of my projects, including this one back to shared hosting of one type or another, and haven’t looked back. The additional monthly costs have far outweighed the time loss and stress of that extra control.

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