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One year of self-hosting!

One year ago today I announced that I would be moving my site here over to a new hosting provider. Me.

Therefore, today marks the one year anniversary of this hosting arrangement! I’m very happy I’ve had an opportunity to do this. I have learnt a lot about running a server and all the different things involved with it and doing everything myself gave me complete freedom and control over every aspect of my personal site.

There have been issues along the way, but most of those minor. A brief security scare (which I now am pretty sure was nothing, but it was all reinstalled just to be sure), a hard drive failure and one occasion where my database backups failed for a couple of months without me noticing, to mention a few!

Overall though, I’m really glad I did take the step to self-host. It is undoubtedly more work, but it is rewarding as you get complete control and I have gained very useful experience of doing things on the server end with Linux (or Unix in general).

Sadly, it’s not 365 days uptime, but as of writing the server reports “up 49 days, 3:41” which I think is pretty good.

Here’s to the server. Hopefully much more service from it to come.

Also before I go, I’d like to thank everyone back last year who updated their links over to the new domain at the time. Your prompt action in taking that step allowed me to climb back up Google with formidable pace!

One month of self-hosting

Today marks one month of running this site from my own server! It really doesn’t seem that long to be honest, and apart from a couple of minor hiccups (which I’ll go into later), it’s been a very successful setup.

I’m very happy with the setup actually, but unfortunately recently we had a couple of issues. First of all, on Thursday my ISP decided to have connection issues with our local exchange, bringing the connection – and the site – down for several hours.

The other problem was that yesterday I woke up, checked the server’s Tripwire logs as I always do and noticed something very strange. Tripwire was reporting that something had modified all the system critical binaries and several libraries too (everything in /bin, /usr/bin, /usr/sbin and /sbin and most of /usr/lib). I couldn’t find a reasonable explanation for the modifications and had no idea what had happened, so I spent a large portion of Monday reinstalling the OS and porting the data back over.

Everything’s running fine now.

I don’t know whether someone broke into the server (I can’t find any evidence of a break-in at all looking at the dump I did of the filesystem) or whether it was just some quirk in Tripwire or some change CentOS had made. Still, I didn’t want to take any chances so I reinstalled clean.

Still, I’m bemused. If anyone can shed any light on the issue or wants to help me analyse the data I have, give me a shout.

Anyway, back to the festivities. Woot! Here’s to the next month of self-hosting!


If you tried to get on the site yesterday at all, depending on what time you tried to visit, you probably didn’t get here.

Unfortuantely my ISP Tiscali experienced some heavy downtime yesterday, so I had no connectivity (and neither did the server). From looking at logs, I can estimate the downtime period was between around 2pm BST yesterday and 1am this morning.

Very frustrating for me, as it has been the first major downtime on the self-hosting setup (almost a month now) and there was nothing I could really do about it.

It also meant that last night I was unable to get any development done on The Project.

Ah well, never mind.

W00t, it’s working

It’s been online with this domain name for several hours now, and things seem to be working good. I’m extremely happy with how things have gone and I’m looking forward to doing some really cool stuff with my new dedicated server.

So, how does it work?

The server is my spare PC. It’s an AMD Sempron 2600+ (clocked at 1.6 GHz) with 1.5 GB of RAM and it’s running CentOS 5 Linux. It has a 40 GB drive which has the OS and the data on it, and also attached is a 160 GB drive for backups and any other data I need to store.

The relevant ports are forwarded on the router to the server’s internal IP address (which is static).

The clever bit is the bridge between the router and the internet. Our ISP gives us a dynamic IP address, which makes running a server a little tricky.

I bought the domain name yesterday (damn those squatters who already got the

I also bought the Custom DNS service from DynDNS. I let DynDNS manage my DNS. The router updates DynDNS with our IP every time it changes, and DynDNS then updates the relevant DNS records so people can still get to the site. Also, DynDNS sets the DNS records to a very short time to live (TTL), to prevent caching which might mean the IP would be out of date for some users.

It’s a pretty nice system and it seems to be working thus far. Hoping it holds out!

Despite a downgrade in connection speed, you should get the pages a little faster, as you’re getting the full 1.6 GHz grunt of the Sempron, not CPU time shared with many other people.

And I get complete freedom. Now I need to get one of those “I am root” t-shirts. 😛

I’m working on putting together a ‘Server Status’ page, which will hold possible downtime alerts (not that anyone cares particularly about my site, but I want to document the evolution of this setup) and some statistics too. Will blog here when it’s up!

Sorry for feed duplicates, but the migration is going well

You should be reading this courtesy of the new server as this post only exists in the new database. The migration appears to have gone fairly smoothly thus far, apart from some strange DNS name server delegation conflicts at the start. I’m hoping that problem is now solved.

I must apologise to everyone reading in feed readers, you may see a set of duplicate posts from the feed. This is a symptom of switching the FeedBurner source feed over and shouldn’t happen again. Once again, sorry everyone for that.

For those interested in my new server setup expect a post coming soon – I’m still enjoying a moment of post-migration elation. I need a quick break as well, been working quite hard to get things sorted over this weekend (I kept it secret quite well, didn’t I? 😀 ).

Feel free to comment on this post to test that comments are working properly.

UPDATE: please please please update any links to my site to The old domain should redirect for the short-term future, but it would help if you’d update your links as soon as you can to the new address. Thanks!