Sunday, May 17, 2009

1 reason not to host jQuery by Google

There are tons of articles on the web that tell you why you should load JS libraries from Google. All of them are based on the trust that Google never goes down, never fails. It's a true assumption - they have so many data centers in so many places around the world that if one of them goes down next one will just pick up traffic and users will not notice anything.

This week this belief was turned down. On Thursday, May 14th Google services were very slow or inaccessible for at least two hours in the morning. Some experienced this for even longer time. Some felt like apocalipsis is here - the Great Google is not working...

Basically we could survive without some of Google services - at least there's Yahoo.
But for those who had their sites depend on Google it was a big disaster! Forget about Google Analytics that almost everyone has on their site - this is usually loaded in the bottom of the page code so it didn't have much of impact on performance. But if you have used one of Google Ajax Libraries - you'd probably load that one in the header of your page. Or Google Ajax Search which is usually located on the top of the page. This is where things were going wrong! Lucky people like I had a high chance that their page will never load because browser locks all processes on the page while any JS script is loading....

What did we learn from here? There's no ideal service that doesn't fail. Until this Thursday I could barely understand why my company would not go for Google hosted code - "If we fail there's not much you could do. If Google fails - you're f**ked up!". It's better to depend on yourself and have your page load 50 miliseconds slower than have it not loaded at all...

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

My Workspace

So here comes a pic of my current workspace (carefully cleaned out two days ago). Included: a hooked up laptop Dell Inspiron 1420 (bought in Jan '08), monitor Acer AL1917W (Jan '07), Microsoft Bluetooth Notebook Mouse 5000 (if MS does something very good - that's mice!) and some 4 y/o speakers Creative (from Staples).

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Web Hosting experience overview

Updated in less than one hour after posting - dreamhost'ed website is down again. Down, i.e. not accessible from anywhere!

Here's a list of web hosts I've ever dealt with:

Bluehost (ref link, why not?) - Shared Hosting

4 years with them. Were questionable in the beginning due to thin network pipes but over the time they've built trust to them. These days I track them with Pingdom and they provide average uptime of 99.9% on a medium-to-high trafficked site. They come out to around $100/year which is cheap. Although they give you everything unlimited, you are limited to one IP address ($30/y) and one SSL certificate ($45/y from Comodo).

One of great things about them is their Live Chat and Phone Support - you can get most questions answered within 5-30 minutes and most things done withing 30-60 minutes. Unfortunately recently I started noticing some rudeness from time to time but it's still livable.

Other well known human beings on Bluehost - Frum Satire - the guy is on Wordpress and it seems he didn't optimize his set up well so his website is slow sometimes.

Server Beach - Dedicated Servers

My first official employee used them for Win based platform. They give you everything you want - private network, private IP addresses and so on. Very good connection in NY. Not so expensive to start in any level

Media Temple - Shared (GS, Grid Servers)

Not cheap, but highly praised by many customers. They are truly a temple - many people using them are as religious as apple users... I tried them but having a very low trafficked domain only fir testing ended up in slow access time.

Noticeable features - great custom Control Panel with great support for iPhone, Urchin software for stats (free for shared Grid Servers, gotta pay for DV - Dedicated Virtual). Very flexible. Ticket system is not very fast or at least for non urgent questions you have to wait for few hours to get reply sometimes.

Rochen - Shared Hosting

Give less give better - i think it's their headline. You get just 300MB for $8/mo but this is promised to be on Raid 10 - not bad for shared hosting. And you are limited to 1 domain! But do you really need more? Get 500MB and three domains for $12. There are few more options, if you are interested you can find it out by yourself, i'm not going to do full advertising for free :) Anyway I was with them for few month but have never launched there anything high loaded to try them out. Good memory anyway except i couldn't figure out why I had problems with file permissions.

1 and 1 (ref) - shared hosting and other options

Wanted to set up a blog for my friend. Something what would be independent from my movements from hosting to hosting and to make it all under her name so in case of something. Back then they were giving options for less $2/mo + free domain what was more than enough for her. I didn't like the way some things were arranged and managed in their system, but in overall I was satisfied. Never heard complaints from my friend either

Other human beings using it - Moshe. I spoke to him, he sounds happy

DataPipe - managed dedicated and colocation

Hosting provider at my current employee. Nothing much to say but IMO they are another example of old school overpriced a bit stagnated service.

Linode - VPS

There are companies that gain your trust somehow without these loud words anywhere. This is the case. For $20/mo an up you can get as much as you need. They give you self-managed system - on a given space you can build in minutes one or many of given systems. You are free to do almost anything including breaking your things. They've got data-centers in couple of different places in US so you can often choose the most closest and appropriate location. Good place to start with your VPS.

Dreamhost (ref) - shared and VPS

I used to think of this company as a very good service which has earned so many praises from their users for good. Recently I was looking for a hosting option for my shul's website. I couldn't host it on my main account because it required own IP address and SSL. On erev Yom Tov Pesach I somehow end up on dreamhost's frontpage where they offered first year for less than $10 (code 777). Obviously I went for it because I've read many good words about them from people who used them. Unfortunatelly two weeks later the server site was hosted on went down. Obviously shared hosting doesn't provide you email or sms notifications so I didn't know about this issue until on friday I was told to check website. All what was there - "It works" - one of standard apache pages. They have status blog but the last update was from the day before that they are working on backing things up. I filed a ticket and was replied backup process is still running. So I decided not to touch anything although it didn't make sense that backup is taking that long. Ok, it's Shabbos soon and I can't do much from work anyway - all backups are only local at home. Motzei Shabbos first thing I check website and find empty index of files in the top directory of website. All I had to say was "Mo*Fu*ers". No updates on my ticket. Coming home I checked out their status blog - updated lately on friday night all it said was sorry for lost data you'll get a message about refund. Great! Thanks for not f-ing up something more serious with thousands of visitors even on saturday. I file another ticket and only about 15 hours later I get reply saying that their backup was running broken and it's for good that it happened. Now I'm still in thought of switching from them...

Just few hours later after their last reply I notice that website is down again. Not accessible from anywhere, no pings, trace route, nothing helps. Soon after filing ticket with highest priority things went up again and I'm again in deep thoughts of wasting few hours to switch to another host. Because I'm not a kid to play Up and Down games anymore.

From good side they've got some interesting options in their custom Control Panel, easy set up for SSH, IP address and SSL. Many other options. 50GB of dedicated space for backups (managed by you, access by FTP) on another server. DB is also on another server - in my case DB was left untouched and I didn't have to rebuild it.

Hostings I'd like to try:

  • Mosso - cloud servers - sounds not expensive to try. From $11/mo and up. Backed up by Rackspace, sounds impressive... Who knows...
  • SliceHost - another not expensive self-managed VPS. Also backed up Rackspace
  • MediaTemple - middle-priced managed VPS from a highly praised company, still eager to try.
  • PinchHost - they followed me today on one of my Twitter accounts after I complained about dreamhost. They look like a not expensive but so far they have there some trust. I don't know why.
  • Yahoo Hosting - large company that gives some trust, but only when they switch to PHP 5. Come on guys PHP 4 is dead!!!

I'm going to add more stuff here when there will be something and update this post from time.
What if you change your mind and the way you of a person after every conversation with them? Not in a bad way, but just like your talking to a person you don't know and get a first impression of them, but here it's someone you know for a while and it's still like someone you don't know at all?

Friday, May 1, 2009


it doesn't really matter what text in russian say here.