Web Hosting Hardware Upgrades

This week we are beginning hardware upgrades to our hosted sites on our Apache server, affectionately referred to in-house as “SO5”. E-mail will not be impacted. During this process your site(s) will be moved to new machines.

It has always been our goal to provide solid, reliable hosting services. The server on which your site is hosted has reached it’s 5-year mark and it’s time to upgrade to a more robust hardware solution. No downtime is expected and your hosting charges will not change.

For most of our clients you can stop reading here – this is all you need to know. However, here is an in-depth explanation of what is going on:

We will be moving hosted sites to our new Virtual Private Servers. Our VPS solution will allow us to make future hardware upgrades without having to move to a new machine. There are other benefits include hardware redundancy, solid state hard drives, replacement of the Apache web server with nginx and faster CPUs. Our VPSes are hosted on our own private cloud-backed infrastructure with datacenters in San Diego, CA, Newark, NJ, Atlanta, GA and Dallas, TX.

Our VPS servers are built to the exact same spec of our dedicated servers. The current server was built five years ago and a few things have changed. For example, we now use the following approach to building new servers:

  • Upgraded OS – We will be using CentOS 6.5, which will be supported through 2020.
  • Better backups – Backups will continue to run once weekly and incrementally the other six days
  • Better reporting – We have replaced our server-side stats reporting with AWstats. We also get a better look at the machine from our administrative interface.
  • Faster web server – We have replaced the Apache web server with nginx which is much faster (See our post on the comparison: I love LEMP: Apache vs. nginx somewhat simply explained)
  • PHP is decoupled from the server – nginx and PHP run separately resulting in lower overhead (in layperson speak: PHP handles the apps then hands it off to nginx, which acts only as a web server — think of it as a restaurant: instead of having one person cook everything (Apache AND PHP) there are six cooks, so you get your food faster).
  • Solid State Drives (SSDs) – The current server has plate-based hard drives which contain moving parts. Moving parts wear out.
  • Redundant power supplies – Our current server has experienced a power supply outage; the VPS has redundant power supplies.
  • Malware detection – a nightly application that runs on the server to detect malware.
  • Intrusion detection & prevention – applications that detect any intrusion on the server will ban anyone who fails to access the server after a few tries

How will this impact your web site(s)? Not much at all. If we handle your DNS the changeover will be smooth. Otherwise we will coordinate a DNS changeover with your DNS provider.

This is a significant upgrade and improvement to the current system on which you are hosted.

This is a huge decision – we get it. As always, please send us any questions you may have.

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