A brief history of this domain’s hosting

Here’s a little bit of history about the hosting of this domain.

Caffie

For the longest time, the files of this domain were hosted on Kieran Menor‘s server, “Caffie”. I would like to thank him for allowing me to host my files on his server. Recently I had to move my files to a new host as Caffie finally got decommissioned.

Raspberry Pi 4B

I decided to set up a LEMP stack on my brand-new Raspberry Pi 4B. It took me an entire weekend to have it set up; I had no experience with Linux and with some guidance from p4plus2 I managed to set up a server with multiple sub-domains.

After that, some pages required fixing. For example, https://smas.ersan.io/ required migration from mysql to mysqli so I had to go through all the source code files. I also locked down all forms because I don’t intend to use that page anymore, so it’s essentially archived.

This blog also required a bit of updating, as the menu was outdated and I was missing the most recent post so I had to publish that again.

It had worked out quite well: This blog could be served to the internet without any problems, and my connection could handle the minimal/nonexistent amount of incoming traffic. I also didn’t have any huge files hosted anywhere so bandwidth wouldn’t be a problem. Finally, the Raspberry Pi uses minimal amount of electricity (compared to traditional desktop computers) so having this makeshift mini-server running wouldn’t cost me a lot either.

You know, back in the days on SMW Central’s IRC server, I sometimes used to joke about Kieran tripping over the server cables when Caffie (and consequently, SMW Central) went down.

This week, karma decided to come after me: My cat tripped over the cables of the Raspberry Pi 4B, having it plummet mercilessly to its inevitable demise, corrupting the contents of the SD card on the 28th of November.

I should’ve seen this coming.

I should’ve made backups of this setup.

I should’ve known that cats could reach the unreachable.

Thankfully I still had the files I had backed up from the now long gone Caffie, although at this point they were severely outdated; the files were over 6 months old. I couldn’t get my Raspberry Pi 4B to work again so I decided that I should settle for a stable, permanent solution while lamenting my carelessness.

The Cloud™

Introducing The Cloud™:

Who knew this video would be so very relevant today?

I decided to rent a Virtual Private Server (VPS) during a Black Friday discount and once again set up my LEMP stack there. I had to go through the same “fixing” process like I had with my Raspberry Pi 4B. This time around, I did make a backup of all my files after setting up my LEMP stack.

A VPS is essentially an isolated virtual machine hosted in a datacenter somewhere. By renting a VPS rather than hosting my own machine in my own house, I’m relieved of several burdens:

  • Electricity costs
  • Hardware costs
  • Procuring suitable hardware and software
  • Ensuring server availability (internet, power)
  • Physical presence (noise, heat, placement of the server)
  • Cat-proofing the server (physical security)
  • General maintenance of the hardware and software

I remember that years ago, one would have to rent a ‘webserver’ where you were completely reliant on the host. I remember that the host of SMW Central actually took SMW Central offline because it had “too much traffic”, hence the birth of Caffie. An excerpt from SMW Central’s IRC logs:

irc.caffie.net, #smwc

[00:28] <Smallhacker> it was our host before they decided that our website got too much fucking traffic
[00:28] <Smallhacker> so they shut down our hosting, which is why Kieran hosts it himself nowadays

Now there are all sorts of services you can rent for various purposes. And when I look at the datacenters of tech giants, such as Microsoft, AWS and Google, I feel like hosting solutions have come a long way. Datacenters are truly a very impressive piece of work.