Enforced Posting Silence

You may have noticed that there haven’t many (any) posts for a while. This is due to the following email I received from my existing server host:

Thank you for your years of loyalty. We regret to inform you that VPS Unlimited will be closing permanently on November 17, 2014. All customers must move their data off to another provider before this date. This is a hard deadline. All data will be destroyed on November 18, 2014. There will be no way to access your VPS after this date.

Insert your own expletive here.

Given that I have about eight WordPress sites, four web apps and some beta sites all running on that server moving them all and getting them working again in the space of 30 days was going to be challenging and something that I obviously hadn’t planned for. On the other hand I’d had problems with the old server on and off for a while and I had always meant to move anyway so this was just forcing me to get on with it.

The first decision I had to make, where to move to, was pretty easy for me as we have been using Amazon’s AWS at work for a couple of years now and so I was familiar with their setup which would make the change quicker. This did mean moving from Ubuntu to CentOS which is fairly straight forward once you remember the apache user is “apache” and not “www-data”!

On the old server as I had spawned new blogs I just created new WordPress installations. This quickly became a nightmare as I had to update multiple installations so this time I went with WordPress multi-site which would have advantages for management. However, I knew from previous experience that it eats through memory if not configured correctly and so was the case this time. I’ll write up a separate post on how I ended up configuring Apache to lesson the load but it made a huge difference.

The other major change was to move the database and email services off the local server to RDS and SES respectively. While there is obviously an additional cost involved in doing this it does make management easier, increase security and offer better performance on the web server.

So with three days to go I have almost completed the move with just a few bits of tidying up to do, including a massive final backup of the old server because I am bound to have forgotten something.

I wouldn’t have chosen to do the move in such a short time frame but now that it is done I’m glad I did it. And you will be too as the site will be quicker, more responsive and up more often!

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