The other week in our local PHP group IRC channel, the topic came up of hosting, and someone threw out a mention of these guys: Server Pronto. I checked it out, and they have an amazing deal — for $30/month you get a *dedicated* box of your own that is also colocated. Freak. That is much better than the same amount I’m paying for a virtual server with no swap!
So, I switched. I just barely got it setup this weekend, and they install Gentoo for you as one of the optional operating systems on there. For some reason it took a while to setup my account (about a day and a half), but I could not be more pleased with the outcome. The box they gave me is an AMD Sempron 3000, and it’s pretty darn fast. Not only that, they actually installed some extra stuff on the box for me. Apache and PHP were pre-installed, and the network already setup with my two static IP addresses and everything else. I’m not sure what else they manually configured (and I really haven’t bothered looking, anyway), but that was a nice touch.
It’s going to be nice to finally have a box on a fat network pipe that I can store all my services on, and migrate all my webpages. I love having a server at home, but let’s face it, the upload speed is not that great. It’s Comcastic.
I already named my box, too. It’s going to be Alan One. Another throwback to the movie TRON. Right now I’m still in the process of migrating everything over — my blog, planet larry, space paranoids, and nephi.org. Lots to do really, and it’s probably going to take me some time. I’m thinking about setting up my own mail server there as well, even though I hate the idea of running one, it’d be nice to not have to pay for someone else to host one anymore.
The only thing that scares me out of my mind is that this box is remote, and if I foob it up, I get to own all the little pieces myself. That makes me really nervous. Right after getting ssh’d in for the first time, I upgraded my portage tree and rebuilt glibc and other system deps up to the stable tree, and rebooted it nervously. Normally I wouldn’t be worried, but some times I tend to forget the simple things with Gentoo because I’ve been using it so much. Like setting my root password on a new install. That’s only happened 13 dozen times.
Anyway, it rebooted just fine and came up great. Well this morning I was playing around with the clock settings, and it was way off. Instead of just installing ntp and running the client, I get it in my head to do something else. I modify my clock settings to use UTC time instead of local, and then for some stupid reason I restarted the service. Bad mistake, since that’s a boot runlevel one, and that can kind of screw things up. Well, the init script knew this, and it started shutting down other boot services. I cancelled it halfway, and then for another odd reason decided to just run reboot since that would fix everything magically for me, right? Maybe.
As it was shutting down, I closed down my terminal sessions, and waited about a minute before trying to ssh in again. Nada. So I slapped on -v to my ssh command to see what it was doing. It just sat there staring at me, and eventually timed out. Crap. Fortunately, Server Pronto will manually reboot your computer for you once a month (you can pay extra for more, which is fine, I’m sure most people don’t paint themselves into corners like me), so I shot off a support ticket sheepishly explaining that I was playing around with init scripts and clock settings and that it probably got hung while shutting down.
About five to ten minutes later, I got a response back on my ticket — sure enough, it had hung on shutting down the net lo device. Whoops.
And so, the adventure begins …. me, my new server, remote access, and all the fun that a forgetul Gentoo user can bring. I dunno about you, but I’m pretty excited. Besides, if my SSH connection goes down again, I can just use my identity disc in an I/O tower to communicate. That never fails.