Friday, January 30, 2009

HOST SWEET HOST

I am a person that needs a home on the Internet. That is, a place I can call my own, a place where I have root. This has been the case since about 1995, when I registered my first domain. I went from home to home since then, relying on associates and friends to provide data centers or machines. There was always some quid pro quo, but it was never in the form of hard cash.

Then, about ten months ago, my home was gone. My living arrangements changed very suddenly and I was homeless, out on the Internet street. I needed to do something and it looked like actually paying for hosting was going to be necessary. I was at a loss.




My new high rise Internet Apartment



I looked at "managed hosting" options and found them surprisingly cheap, which was encouraging. Then I looked again and found them very limited which was disappointing. For me it just isn't home when there are rooms in the house to which I don't have the keys.

So, clearly I needed "unmanaged hosting" (this is an unfortunate misnomer, like "fuzzy logic", in that it implies something is lacking that is not). I turned my attention to dedicated servers, but found them to be too costly. Asking around among trusted friends I quickly discovered that one name appeared more than any other: Linode.

Linode is a brilliant enterprise offering Linux VPSs (Virtual Private Servers). A VPS is a VM (Virtual Machine) hosted on a larger, physical machine. A VPS looks, for every practical purpose like your very own host. When you "rent" a Linode they give you the master key, you get root. Linode is like an Internet Apartment, or maybe a condo, but unlike these Linode has no contract. You pay, pro rata, month to month. Move in any time, move out any time, you decide.

One of the very best things about Linode is the community. You can get much more help than is reasonable in the forums and (more importantly for me) on the #Linode IRC channel on the OFTC network [irc.oftc.net]. The channel is a great place to get help with configuration and you'll even make some friends if you are so inclined.

I encourage you to consider becoming my neighbor. And, if you sign up here, I will get credit for letting you know about it and a free month's service which I will certainly appreciate.

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