Moved to Linode

I haven’t been blogging for quite some time. There has been much transitions in this couple of years and it distracted me greatly. Blogging is something I miss doing but the missing occurs when I’m in public transport where it’s least convenient.

Previously this blog is hosted at Rackspace Cloud. They’ve provided decent services but Linode has more competitive pricing. Nearly all my websites are moved to Linode. Once every thing’s migrated over, I will shut down the instance in Rackspace Cloud.

Oh yes I switched to nginx too.

Why I joined Media Temple 2 years ago and now am leaving

I previously set up a blog with one of those cheap web host that probably stores like a 150 websites in one server. The price is low and the service I got is alright, typically a one day response time which I am fine with. It was until that low-cost web host start insist on me having one of those VPS plans that I started to turn away. I couldn’t afford the VPS back then and I wasn’t that keen to let them suspend my account due to high activity.

So I was pretty determined to get a good host and stay there for the next few years. Changing hosts is such a chore. Media Temple has a lot to offer:

  • Professional looking: A professional made website with good design and nice pictures of servers. I gotta admit that at one point of time I actually thought their servers look like that.
  • Supports large websites: Media Temple hosts multiple huge websites that I go to. Today they host 9rules and Django Project. And they load pretty quickly. Of course those are under their premium plans but I thought that they would offer me something roughly on par.
  • Marketing gaga: I’m totally into the marketing term “grid”. Even though Media Temple’s Grid Service is not the same grid computing I later understand, the term “grid” was a key deciding factor. Back then I did not understand the term. It just sound like one of those plans I should be having.
  • Designer control panel: Media Temple actually has a wonderful control panel. I’m sick of CPanel and was looking for something fresher. Media Temple’s control panel is almost like a designer panel. And well, the demo control panel also loads quite quickly.
  • Transparency in hosting: Media Temple also has this RSS feed where they reveal incidents of their clusters. This is a huge plus to me. I see the transparency of the hosting provider. I like that level of transparency and they keep updating their customers with rather detail ongoings.
  • Customer centricity: Media Temple has generally positive reviews and does a lot of damage control around the web. This appeals to me. It appears that they’re listening.

So I signed up for Media Temple’s Grid Service thinking that it’s the end of all my worries. But it rarely is the case as I explain below:

  • So what if it’s professional looking: This just means Media Temple hire good designers and have the revenue to do so. A good design invites people but is hardly representative of the level of service they provide.
  • So what if it supports large websites: Media Temple is likely to have place much of their technical resources in these large websites. Media Temple has a stake in maintaining the online time of these websites as they placed their logos on these sites and has become closely associated with them. If you ain’t going to be paying for some of their really expensive services, I doubt you get anything close to that level of dedication.
  • And yeah I believed the marketing department: Well, the word “grid” is totally meaningless. In fact I feel kinda stupid believing it was the holy grail or something. “Grid” turns out to have lots of problems and these includes slow database access which mattered greatly to me.
  • So what if there’s a designer control panel: Designer control panel that is slow, may I add. I found it crawling. When you really need something like accessing the database with phpmyadmin, you will realized how many clicks it takes to reach there. You can’t open a control panel page into a new tab also and that’s bad usability. Control panel takes longer than it should and I pretty much given up using it. The demo control panel does not reflect the speed of your control panel.
  • So transparent but no improvement: Sure they post lots of issues and are still rather transparent. But it just took too long for them to fix their problems. Having an RSS feeds detailing the server faults makes customers slightly more forgiving but what I want to see is a change. It’s almost like someone recognizing his/her mistake and apologies but commits the same thing all over again. After a while, I realized no news is good news. Media Temple have some issues with their vendor Blue Arc and somehow these issues affected a portion of their customers. They took a long time to resolve. I am not sure to what extend it has been resolved.
  • Customer centricity non-existent: I wrongly assumed the level of support from Media Temple judging on the way they perform damage control. Media Temple support is rather poor. They take long to reply and complained that my database activity is too high on several occasions. The database analytic tool that they provide reveal no spike in activity. I mailed them and they insisted that I should check their analytic tool to resolve issue. Want to know how it feels like talking to a wall? Try Media Temple.

Ultimately, what mattered more than webhosting support is not having the need to request for support. Today I hardly request for support because I just don’t need it.

And that is what I call great service.

[If you are interested in Slicehost, consider using my referrer link. Thanks!]

Things got really bad with Media Temple

The slowness in speed is almost unbearable. I couldn’t access most of the time. I got so sick that I stopped blogging on my other blog. I finally decided I had enough. I sat in front of my computer for 2 hours painstakingly backing things up. There are just so many things to migrate over to the new host. But it just had to be done.

Yesterday my ad provider complained that I fail to put up the links to the advertisements. I checked and found out really it’s just not there. In fact my whole front page is not there. That’s just great, I wanted to troubleshoot it only to realized it’s just too slow to even SSH in to the server. I will stop paying Media Temple. I still have credits there but I’ll just let them have the money.

I migrated to Slicehost (visit with my referrer link). During May, I plan to up the Slicehost account to 512 MB RAM. I don’t think I’ll ever return to Media Temple. It’s got a nice homepage but it’s got just a nice homepage. I was using their Grid Service to host one blog.

Slicehost got acquired by Rackspace

My web host, Slicehost, has been acquired by Rackspace.

Big news – Rackspace and Slicehost

What an amazing day for Slicehost and our customers! Our acquistion by Rackspace has been announced and we couldn’t be more excited. Jason and I started Slicehost two years ago and it grew beyond our wildest dreams.

We believe that Slicehost and Rackspace are fantastic complements to each other. Our technology strengthens their position in the cloud hosting world. Their expertise, experience and resources enable us to improve our product and continue meeting our customers’ needs. Fear not loyal Slicehosters, we promise to keep doing what we’ve always done – listening to you and building a product that solves your problems. (Source: Slicehost)

Who is Rackspace Hosting?

Rackspace, now 10 years old, is one of the most respected companies in our industry and are now on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE: RAX) after recently going public. Rackspace delivers computing-as-service, striving to make it reliable and affordable. One of the reasons we like Rackspace is because they think like we do… they value their customers above everything else.

I think it’s good news. I’m happy for Slicehost. Rackspace has been reputable in server offerings. Acquiring Slicehost betters Rackspace’s developer relationship and is inline with their cloud hosting ambitions which would compete directly with mights such as Amazon.

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Slicehost will be a subsidiary of Rackspace. At the upcoming Rackspace Cloud Hosting event, Slicehost would be announcing larger slices and a price reduction.

Autorenewal is so evil!

I’m so traumatized by the fact that my US$5 is taken away from me through this GoDaddy auto renewal service. It is of a service I don’t want and I did not know it was auto renewed till when it was auto renewed minutes ago. Oh that’s so great.

Parting with my 5 bucks – the worst day of my life. I don’t remember setting it to auto renew. I guess it’s in this labyrinth of checkboxes that I did not notice. They like to put a bunch of bright graphics and that always distracts me from the form controls, i.e. the check boxes and radio buttons.

You know this GoDaddy is reputed for all the wrong ways. I haven’t heard good stories except that they have pretty good Super Bowl advertisements sometimes. That asides, GoDaddy as a online company is poor. The web site is slow. The support is slow.

When requesting for email support it says the expected time to revert to me was 3 hours on the website. It’s just for show. After I reported ‘the incident’, they send me an email immediately:

Your question has been received. You should expect a response within 24 hours.

This is your Incident ID: BLAHBLAH

Thanks,
GoDaddy.com, Inc.

Please do not reply to this email. Emails sent to this address will not be answered.

You should never ever ever tell your customers not to reply an email unless it’s a bloody newsletter and the mailing software did not support it. Okay, happy thoughts, happy thoughts.

20% chance SingNet users can’t view this page

SingNet doesn’t like Slicehost too much. I’ve been having some troubles connecting to the host. There’s a 20% chance that the request would time out. It’s like 1/5 of SingNet systems aren’t working.

Other Singaporeans like pkchukiss and Jeremy encounter similar problems with we earlier discussed in Slicehost forums. Both of them mentioned they mailed the technical support so I guess I’ll just wait and see.

Basically, there’s some problems with the internet backbone (probably the C6 cervical vertebrae or something). After randomly tracerouting and pinging here and there, it appears SingNet’s machines aren’t properly configured to a SingTel node.

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When with Media Temple, this blog takes ages to load, but at least it loads. With Slicehost, this blog loads quickly and that is if it actually loads.

Are there any other Slicehost users in Singapore?

[The problem appears to be resolved.]

I’m switching host

It’s been a love-hate relationship with Media Temple. I’ll move this blog to another host. Blogging is a chore here with all the wait. Things aren’t really reliable here. My new host is slightly better though not a lot better. It’s VPS now. The whole Grid Service thingy? Just marketing.

Been kinda busy too, I’ll probably blog more when I clear up my work.

[I switched to Slicehost.]

Today is the most amazing day

I’m honest! ‘Cause today – especially today – the blog actually loads faster than usual (i.e. all the yesterdays). Usually people write in to their web hosts to make complaints, saying this don’t work that don’t work. And when it works, they keep quiet.

I tell you what, later I’m going to write a short note to commend my web host (Media Temple) for their great work, erm, for today. And hopefully, for the many days to come too.

Google App Engine pricing announced

Google App Engine pricing announced.

Free quota to get started: 500MB storage and enough CPU and bandwidth for about 5 million pageviews per month:

  • $0.10 – $0.12 per CPU core-hour
  • $0.15 – $0.18 per GB-month of storage
  • $0.11 – $0.13 per GB outgoing bandwidth
  • $0.09 – $0.11 per GB incoming bandwidth

(Source: TechCrunch)

You know… It would be totally kickass if Google can offer web hosting services. I’m sure there’ll be lots of people interested.