Update 11 July 2010: The move was a lot more painless than I had anticipated, and is already done. If you’re reading this, then your DNS has updated and you are accessing the new server. Hooray! See below about user accounts if you missed the original announcement.
Sometime later this month, Nerdland will be moving. The content and URL of the site won’t change; only the hosting provider will. The new host will be a Rackspace Cloud Server. This probably doesn’t affect you directly unless you are one of the people to whom I gave a Nerdland “user account” with web hosting space and e-mail over the past eleven years. If you are one of those people, please read the next few paragraphs.
As part of the move, I’m going to take the opportunity to clean out a lot of cruft that’s been building up on the Nerdland server over the past half-decade since the last hosting change. Most of the user accounts that I provided for friends and relatives aren’t being used anymore, and aren’t linked from anywhere on the Internet, so there’s no reason to migrate them. Rest assured, nothing will be permanently deleted. I’m an incorrigible data pack-rat, so I’m of course going to archive and back-up everything, including what I don’t move to the new server. If you had data stored on Nerdland, you can always contact me in the future, and I will gladly send you a copy of your old files and unretrieved e-mail, or restore your data and account to the server.
If you do still actively use your Nerdland web hosting space and/or e-mail address, please contact me as soon as possible and tell me that, and I will ensure that all of your data is moved and set you up with an account on the new server. Otherwise, I will only be migrating data which is linked from elsewhere on the Internet (according to Google’s index) or has been accessed recently (according to the server logs).
The primary reason for this move is that there is a project that I’m currently working on (that I will post about soon) for which I am going to need a server, and the shared hosting service that Nerdland is currently running on is not up to the task. In particular, it requires custom software (which isn’t possible on a shared host to which you don’t have SSH access, let alone root access), and it requires faster response times than this frankly oversold server is capable of. But since my project’s server is not going to require all of the resources available to me on a Rackspace Cloud Server VPS instance, I figured I may as well save a bit of money by hosting Nerdland on the instance as well. Hopefully, as a result, Nerdland itself will also load and respond faster.
To be honest, I probably would have done something like this a long time ago, if only just to play with it, had I been aware of the Rackspace Cloud before last month. Until I began researching hosting providers for this service that I’m writing, the only dynamic VPS provider that I was cognizant of was Amazon EC2. Not that there’s anything wrong with EC2, but it’s minimum instance size is 1.7 GiB of memory and 160 GB of disk space, which is far more than I would require for experimentation or a personal project, and it comes with a price to match. Rackspace’s VPS instances can start as small as 256 MiB of memory and 10 GB of space, at very reasonable prices, which will allow me to pay for more as I need it without having to lay out a fortune just to start.
Aside from having the resources I need to host my project and my website, it will be a lot of fun to have root access to an always-up server with a fixed, public IP once again. It already reminds me of the bad old days of the late 1990s and early 2000s, when I hosted Nerdland from Osric, a spunky little computer under my desk connected to the @Home Network (I still remember the IP: 184.108.40.206). Before @Home collapsed and I lost my static IP, I experimented with installing and running just about every sort of server under the sun on that dusty old box.
Dynamic DNS just wasn’t the same, and these days, electricity costs alone make it a bit silly to run a separate computer on a consumer-grade broadband connection rather than just paying for a real server. So finally, with the advent of affordable cloud-based VPS hosting, I can regain all the benefits of a real server once again. And now that I’m a more educated and accomplished programmer, I can instead experiment with writing my own software to run on my shiny new (virtual) box.