From VPS to static hosting
All good things must come to an end. VPS hosting paid for by my former university is no exception! Ever since the University of Madeira-provided credit card paying for the account expired, I began wondering whether it's worth paying for a VPS that I hardly use. Combined with two consecutive 10-minute stretches of downtime last week, I had my answer.
I run this blog, my mother's site and a handful of mini-sites, all of which are inherentily static content. Today, I moved them all away from my VPS completely. I migrated the relatively complex sites to the lightning engine, and updated the engine with a couple of nice features: fixed content links in list pages and feeds, and support for publishing to S3.
In my early Linux days, I ran an AMD Athlon server off my parents' internet connection. I took pride in configuration, maintenance, administration, endlessly recompiling updates and dealing with broken dependencies. I enjoyed the challenge and got very good at it. By sinking enough time into any problem, I was confident that I would ultimately solve it. Sometimes I contributed an ebuild or two to portage. I learned a lot, and eventually my web server outgrew my parents' internet connection.
So I turned to managed hosting. Several years later, sick of the crappy management UI, and yearning to flex some sysadmin muscle, I jumped on VPS opportunity for performance reasons. While clearly overkill for static sites, it was appealing from a "what if?" perspective: what if suddenly I wanted to run a complex webapp? No problem, VPS was ready!
Except system administration sucks
My VPS slice was running Ubuntu 8. Since Ubuntu 12 was released, I was greeted with a "48 packages are out of date" message upon logging into the machine.
Long ago, this message would have sent me down a rabbit hole of emerging all of the outdated packages, resolving dependencies and rewriting config files. It was gratifying to be on the bleeding edge, to have a clean system with all of the daemons dancing to your tune in perfect harmony.
These days, I could care less about being up-to-date. In fact, I actively dislike upgrading. An upgrade is a risk, likely to lead to something breaking, likely without me noticing at first. So rather than the "ooh, new shiny" feeling I used to have when Apache needed an update, I actively dread needing to update anything. I don't want to need to tweak configurations, especially because I've forgotten a lot of the domain-specific config languages.
S3 for static hosting, PaaS for everything else
Happily, all of my sites are currently static. Blogs and mini-sites all lend themselves very well to being hosted on S3.
Being a sysadmin is not a part time job.