New site hosting

13 January 2023
After just a bit over thirteen years of using the same service provider the hosting of this site has needed to move to a new server. Long story short the previous hosting company has ceased trading which according to the closure notice was due to competition from the cloud, although this looks like an excuse rather than a reason and their recommendations seem suspect. The closure has involved me losing five months of paid-up fees and to make matters worse the closure notice was sent out late in the evening of the 19 December which being the Christmas and new-year holiday season barely gave enough time to take a proper backup. It is only today that this site is live once again.

Overseas hosting

The site had Canadian hosting since 2009 since back then was the dying days of the then Labour government who had a track record of bringing in improperly thought-out regulations and as it happened a few years later I was myself also overseas and remained so until about 18 months ago. At some point back in 2013 while still living in New Zealand — most likley around June but would really need to go digging to find out the exact date — the server needed rebuilding so I opted for Slackware 13.37 which ran until the hosting company finally closed down, and this really does show how well Slackware installations age. It might have just about pipped 566 days of up-time and this is far from the first time it would have chalked up runs of uptime north of a year. For replacement hosting a VPS in the Netherlands that was originally obtained for VPN use had just started offering Slackware 15 so it was repurposed for hosting my main websites. Originally the UK VPS that was hosting some tombstone sites but unfortunately also became non-functional a few months ago was earmarked as the new server since I am less bothered about the UK's idiotic attempts at internet regulation since I now back to living in the country, but instead decided to do a bigger rejig of all my hosting.

Site cleanup

The previous Canadian hosting still had a lot of files that while no longer linked to from the site itself were still on the server but were not included in the local master copy of the site I kept on my workstation. Most of these were pictures and videos from university I had removed years ago although there were also some large files I felt should no longer be online, and the result of this was the last-minute backup of the site being 2.4GB but the freshly uploaded copy only being 140MB. During lockdown back in 2021 I had started the process of migrating my website repository from Mercurial to Subversion and in the process did a lot of clean-up, so much of the clearout had already been done. The server config also underwent a much-overdue refresh so that it used standard Slackware packaging rather than the custom builds of Nginx and PHP used previously

There were quite a few micro-sites still hanging around as virtualhosts, and not just on this server, but it was time for them to finally be culled. The UK-based server that underwent a total loss a few months ago hosted a few tombstone sites which I'm sure I've got a backup of somewhere — although it would be less effort to just recreate them from Wayback Archive snapshots — but decided they were not worth even the fairly minimal effort required to get them back up. Most of the associated domains I had decided to cancel as part of a long-running culling of my domain ownership


It is a pain when a server goes with little or no notice but this sort of thing happens every now and then, and I had already started a process that sooner or later would have required a server rebuild like this. Sometimes it takes disaster-recovery to finally force seeing through changes that have been made because the path of least resistance changes. I just wonder whether this server rebuild will last as long as the previous one did.