If you’ve ever been confused by the number of different options available when considering how to host your next web project, we can definitely sympathize. Can you get by on shared hosting? Is a VPS too difficult to take on? It’s not always easy, and to help us answer the question, we’ve brought in the community manager from Northstack, Jeff Matson, to share his experiences in the industry.

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Hello, and good morning and good afternoon and Good evening, everybody. You’re listening to the drunken UX podcast. This is episode number 43. And we’re going to be demystifying all of those weird and confusing words that surround everything related to hosting tonight, we brought a special guest on with us to help us with that. I’m really excited to share all of that stuff with you. But first and foremost, I need to make sure I remind you all that I am your host, Michael Fienen.

I’m your other host, Aaron. Hello, how you doing Michael?

I’m doing all right. I’m almost through my first class of scotch already. So I’m getting a quick start this evening. And I’m gonna have to with what we’re going to start off talking about so I think that’s only fair. Folks, if you want to check us out, be sure to dig in over at Twitter or Facebook at slash drunken UX or on Instagram at slash drunken UX podcast. If you’re really really interested in us you can come and talk to us on slack just hit us at drunken ux.com slash slack and you can get right in there like an instant invite Let’s EN I don’t check anybody at the door. Publishing card them though, right? The card me I did card you and I’m

on the show.

I you’ve got this little like little kid goatee so I’m not entirely convinced you’re of age yet. Oh, keep hoping one day

it’s it’s facial hair I can grow.

That’s scary but okay.

Well you grow enough for the both of us. I do

and it’s it’s my brand. What can I say? What do you got your nice frosty glass there, sir.

I got a gin and tonic Tango a specifically.

Right I’ve got some gin in my bar. I think it’s Bombay. The blue bottle is that Bombay Bombay is good. I hate Jen. I hate gin.

Let’s do mix it with tonic.

I know I tried to mix it with nothing because I hate it. I’m drinking a open tonight. I picked up a fresh bottle of that and cracked it open. It’s pretty much my go to it’s a Highland scotch. It’s beautiful. It’s like the perfect middle of the road scotch. You can drink it in the evening. You can drink it with a meal. You can drink it for dessert. It doesn’t matter. It’s just good all the time. That’s drink it with breakfast. I mean, yeah, but I don’t admit to that.

I saw Jeff had something his bottle there.

I do. So I was drinking water. But I felt like I had, I should join you. And so I got grabbed a little bit of Captain Morgan private stock that was on my news already. So a little bit of bottle of that and don’t have a glass up here. So I was drinking bottled waters.

So Aaron, Aaron, you heard the news.

Didn’t until today, sir, before this show.

I didn’t plan on killing him this quickly. But apparently that’s how it works. So

okay, so like the topic which will share it a moment is hilarious. But the title of the article. dominoes is locked into legal battle over the future of web design.

Well, if their vision of the future of web design is anything like their pizzas, I think we might be in a little bit of trouble. But hey, go them. Yeah, if you haven’t seen the news, I think most web circles have shared some iteration of this story, if not recently, then in the past few months as well, because this is the continuation of a story that’s been going on since 2016. As happens, dominoes being a big brand, they got sued by a blind user who couldn’t order pizza through their website or through their app. And they sued them under the ADA saying you’re a place of public accommodation. And I’m public and you aren’t accommodating me. And dominoes. Originally, the case was not thrown out isn’t the right word. But like they, they didn’t do the case. Basically, whatever, whatever that word is. The the back end, Joe January, January. The ninth circuit, I think took up the case and said, Oh yeah, no dominoes, you are a place of public accommodation. Just because your website isn’t a physical location. It’s still accommodating the public as a business with a brick and mortar presence. So you need to apply those same basic standards and said you have to make your site compliant. And Domino’s said, Yeah, but we hate people. And we don’t want them to give us money. So we’re going to fight this. And they want the Supreme Court to now decide if the ADA applies to websites.


so there’s a lot to unpack there. It’s a you know, I mean, it’s a fight that’s been going on for a while, right. Like we’ve we’ve seen variations on this lawsuit for years now.

Have the previous judgments just been settlements.

So good example, Amazon got hit with this 2018 there was a class action against amazon for not accommodating blind people for for purchases. And that lawsuit never saw the light of day because it was settled.

Right? I think we just we discussed a couple of those that are accessibility episode, right?

Um, yeah, I’m sure we probably did. And Amazon’s also got an interesting case, because originally, Amazon would have had the argument that because they don’t have a physical location, that the public accommodation standard doesn’t apply to them. But now that they own places like Whole Foods, right, it kind of actually changes the dynamic in a very strange way.

Football of unintended consequences.

So I’ve got it I got to read from this is an article at Fast Company, there are several others, The Verge and a couple others had carried it as well. It says websites and mobile apps do not become public public accommodations, simply by virtue of providing access to the goods and services of a brick and mortar enterprise. The pizza chain argues the ADA does not demand full accessibility for each and every means of accessing the goods or services the public accommodation provides to the public. What they’re effectively saying is, yeah, the websites not accessible. He could pick up a phone, though. That’s, that’s the underlying argument of that they’re making their that, yeah, we make our brick and mortars accessible, the websites aren’t and they don’t have to be, because we have taken steps to make it available elsewhere.

What they’re saying then is that the accommodations are that telephones exist, and that this person presumably has like a, I don’t know, the ability to make phone calls.

Right. And it’s a very I mean, this is this is an argument that has been made the world over if you go and I caution you, if you go to any like non tech website and look up the story, don’t read the comments, you will absolutely lose faith in humanity because of in general, don’t read the comments that the comments are always just kind of gross and make you feel ugly. That is an argument, though, that you hear a lot that well. And I’ve made that argument. And I’m I’m as guilty of that, as anybody of saying, you know, I’ve tried to take something as far as we could in one area, we have other means until such time as we can catch something else up. Usually, though, I’ve made that argument in cases where like, I was the only web person on a site that was 100,000 pages. And so it’s like, it really was a case of I can’t get to that stuff. Unless somebody looks me hire more people or whatever. So there was a legitimate argument to say we we have other means Domino’s does not have that excuse as far as so that they this article, or I don’t remember this one or another one. But the the basic consensus was that it was going to cost Domino’s $38,000. To make their site accessible. They throw away $38,000

Oh, Domino’s could light $38,000 on fire and like take a shit on it and nobody would miss it.

I’m pretty sure they throw away that much pizza.

Right? Exactly. Like they guarantee you they throw away way more pizza than that. make it accessible. Yeah,

this this area, because it is it’s one of those things and people say well, dominoes retains lawyers. So because people are like, well, don’t they? Isn’t it going to cost them more and that and they say dominoes remains lawyers for this stuff? Yeah, they do. Those aren’t constitutional lawyers. Those aren’t lawyers that go before the Supreme Court, they’re going to have to hire those lawyers to do all that. And they’re going to definitely cost more than 38. Grand. And it’s a weird argument because it’s it’s that kind of argument that they’re basically saying, this is a bad example, because of course the ADA does apply. But if I’m going to build a three story building, I’m not going to put an elevator in it. I shouldn’t have to because wall carry somebody upstairs if they need it. Like that’s a real asshole way of putting it.

But that is the art that there’s a phone. Anything you can do from there.

Like I order a pizza on my phone, but it’s on an app. Like I don’t call if if there’s a place that doesn’t have a website or an app. I just don’t order pizza.

I I know that feeling. Are there mobile, like mobile only specials? Like are you missing out on any offerings? If you don’t use the mobile app? Absolutely. McDonald’s does it?

Yeah, I know. Pizza Hut used to I don’t know if they still do, but there. Now a lot of them would did that originally, especially to get people to use the mobile apps. Like I’ve noticed. Donald specials aren’t nearly as good as they used to be. Not that I use McDonald’s a lot. I don’t ever eat a McDonald’s. What are you talking about? I’m a healthy guy. I work out like every other day. Come on, man. What don’t accuse me of this. This is not a fair. I’m going to talk about web development.

that they’ll come to our other co host, Michael Fienen. The

the weird argument that Domino made to and this this is the one where I’m just like, yeah, these guys literally don’t have a clue what they’re what they’re trying to do is they they made a comment about how the moving target compliance standards make it difficult to make a an accessible website at their scale. To which I just want to make sure everybody knows we had 2.0 came out in 2008 11 years ago, we take two point O was released. And granted, we got two point O is not you know, it’s not a panacea. It’s it it does not solve all of our problems. And it definitely is falling behind 2.1. week I do point one came out in 2018. It took 10 years for that update to happen. So I don’t know what they are talking about when they say these, the standards move too quickly. Yeah, the web moves quickly. Yes, it does. But the standards don’t.

I don’t know what to make of that. I think I need to hire some people who do literally anything with it.

I want to frame some good out of this. Because maybe there is some weird, good guy approach that dominoes is taking maybe at the end of the day, they’re saying, you know what, we’re going to fix all this stuff. It’s going to take us some time, we’re going to spend the 38,000, we still want the lawsuit to go forward. Because underneath it, the question is a valid question that they are saying, which is that there the ADA does not clearly apply to websites. And in a legal sense, it’s questionable. Only the courts have ruled it both ways. And and so what they’re saying is, hey, we need the Supreme Court to say whether or not the ADA applies to websites. It’s it’s something there’s a

shareholder sitting there going here, let’s go through this lengthy court battle and spend spend a ton of money on it, just so we can help people with accessibility issues. Unknown Speaker No, that’s not happening. No, one goes.

Sorry, I tried. I I wanted, I want to give them the benefit of the doubt. I do think, though that I think it is a good fight. Because a they’re gonna lose. I mean, they’re gonna lose. If they don’t, even if they

don’t lose. They do. You hope they do? I said, I hope they lose. Oh, yeah. Like, I don’t know, for certain that they will, I don’t know, things are weird right now.

And it does, underline again, this idea that we are behind. Yeah, Congress needs to step up, Supreme Court needs to step up, we need to update our rule set, you know, there, everything hinges on this definition under Title three of public accommodations, places of public accommodations, and what that constitutes, because there’s a list. And it’s a finite list. And it gets interpreted by the courts to either mean, your physical place, or a place in an abstract sense, like a website, a website is a place. But even in that sense, the ADA is very vague on what accounts for, you know, quote, unquote, reasonable accommodations under the law. And so even though we can absolutely sit here and say, just make your your damn site accessible, section five away gives you you know, the basic outline how the federal government does it, that’s all you have to do double a standard week tag, it’s easy. Do it, spend your money, do the work, you’re fine. They can do it or not do it. But I think we do need to catch up our infrastructure as a whole at the same time, because we need to remove some of that ambiguity.

Just to build on this, what if they win? Like, what if the Supreme Court rules that the ADA doesn’t apply?

I think you will see a move to update the ADA.

Okay. That would be a good consequences, I

suppose. I think that and that’s why I say like, there, there is good to come out of this. I think even you know, not not even tongue in cheek, like there’s good to come out of it. Because it will motivate a large group of people who yet maybe dominoes won’t care. But it will motivate a group of people to go to Congress people and say, accessibility generally gets good support across the board. And this is one of those things, areas where and we’ve said this on the show many times. Accessibility isn’t hard, good. Accessibility is just good web design.

As someone who as someone who was going through Ada retrofitting tickets, and my job right now. It’s, it’s very challenging there. It’s I’m enjoying it a lot. There’s a lot of stuff that I’m learning. It’s really cool. And I’m excited about it. There’s a lot to learn. Yeah,

it’s there’s a ton, right, there’s, there’s there’s a ton to learn. But the thing is, though, is that I’ve talked to various accessibility people. And the thing is, is that most people don’t care necessarily, if it’s initially not accessible, it’s more so that you try, you know, never going to be perfect, yet at least say, hey, there’s a problem here. Okay, let’s try to fix it. Right,

right. Have a plan. You know, when somebody raises the question, if you can say, yeah, we know about this stuff, here’s, here’s how we’re playing, approaching it. And understand, you know, these are problems that existed for five years, and it’s going to cost us time, money, etc. But we’re committed to it. That’s enough to make a lot of people happy.

I think the only Wrong answer is like, Yeah, no, fuck you. We’re gonna go to the Supreme Court.

That is, yeah, that is like the wrong answer. That is the ultimate Wrong answer to that question. Oh, good. Catch your breath. You probably heard another voice chiming in there. So I want to introduce you guys all the way from our eastern coast of Virginia. Although Virginia isn’t all on the coast. I don’t know which part you’re from actually. But we have Jeff Mattson coming to us. Just been working in as a hosting and education evangelist since 2012. He currently does community management for North stack and is one of their leads for education and documentation at page Lee. He’s a super smart guy that’s going to help walk us through all things posting related. Everybody say hello to Jeff Mattson. Hi, Jeff. I was first first thank you class.

So the Yeah, the the exact location of where I am is in Chesapeake, Virginia, which is right next to Virginia Beach. Yeah.

So that is on the coast. So you just hear about

Virginia Beach, like aptly named or is an ironic name.

I know it’s a beach. It’s a big beach, too. It’s I mean, it’s I think it’s one of the largest public beaches out there. I think it’s the longest Yeah, it’s a nice beach. And so it’s a nice like family place. It’s not you know, your typical party area that you may see it, you know, vacation beach spots, and everything’s got a few hotels actually, you know, there is it was just the something in the water festival over here, which is the big forever Williams thing had like all kinds of people coming. Was there

something a shark?

No, it’s called something. Yeah, I know. I get something in the water. Like this huge concert on the beach. Massive music by the whole thing went really well. So hopefully, we’ll do it again. And then Virginia Beach will be more of a place.

Nice. How far are you from Asheville?

Asheville is let’s see, I’m actually friends in Nashville. I think it takes them maybe two, three hours. Okay. Little Oh, wow, entirely sure. But it’s not too far. Like we’re like three hours from Raleigh.

Because Asheville is like right by Tennessee.

Look maybe a little

longer. It’s pretty close to the border between North and South Carolina. I know I asked. cuz I’ve got that’s my whole office is is in Asheville. So that’s where all the people who I sit. So

I was just out there last year, we

got to be a lot farther than I asked my friend how far how far she dropped. Like bunch of kids and stuff for like,

I’ve already from dc,

dc is about three hours.

Okay. Okay, I was just gonna take

a little bit faster drive last week very

fast. Cool.

So tonight’s topic is all about hosting web hosting, specifically. Because there are a lot of words that surround this stuff. We’re going to talk about managed and managed hosting, we’re talking about shared hosting, VPS, cloud, all of these things, to help you get an idea about the different types of hosting that are out there. And which ones are right for which use cases and what the challenges are between some of them at different points. So that you know, you know, what you should be thinking about using for, you know, your next project or whatever the case may be. Because that can be challenging at times, there’s a lot of variation, there’s a lot of overlap in some cases. So we wanted to kind of like break it down and help establish sort of what goes into that decision making process. So I thought, Jeff, would be a good kind of addition to this. He’s kind of you’ve been embedded in the hosting world for God, what, seven years now?

Yeah, a little bit. So I originally live in Charlotte, North Carolina for a little while, and I moved up here to go work for in motion hosting the do tech support for the for a while, and then that so that was my kind of first foray into working for hosts, you know, he said, used hosting for quite some years. But uh, when I moved up to Virginia, it kind of threw me into this world of hosting, where I went from support and then I and then I started doing a lot of community evangelism and writing docs. And then that kind of led me to Gravity Forms, which I wrote docs for them for a while. And then now I’m back in hosting, doing doing the stuff for page layer, and as well as North sac,

what kind of stuff to people, like, put up on those hosts. So

so in motion was was kind of across the board, they did a lot of share hosting. So it was a lot of really small mom and pop shops.

So let’s start with I want to go through their two words. And the end, these two words are directly opposed to each other, but you hear them a lot. And that’s managed and unmanaged. I want to start with those, because you’ll hear them applied to the rest of the things we’re going to discuss in different contexts. And so I think it’s good to kind of kick that off, when it comes to the words I think are fairly self explanatory in that managed means the company that you are paying is taking care of a lot of the background stuff for you. That’s updating things like, you know, if you don’t ever want to worry about what version of a boon to you’re on, you don’t have to worry about it because they worry about if you don’t have to, or don’t want to worry about whether or not encrypt has been updated and patched for the latest security patch, you don’t have to worry about it, because they’re going to worry about it. That’s what managed means in the so it’s like

broad sourcing anxiety. Yeah, anxiety is a service.

It’s taking all of these things that make a website go whether that’s Apache, PHP, at CGI bin, you know, Python, any of these things

to people’s people’s to do people stay do that on purpose, there is still a CMS that

I use, I built my very first website and it is still out there and still running and it is all CGI based. unmanaged, on the other hand, basically means self service. And that can be self service at sea panel or can be self service, like complete server DIY. But unmanaged basically means if you have a problem, it’s your problem. And you know it. And I also kind of lumped in with when we’ll talk about shared hosts, a lot of shared hosts are unmanaged, you can submit tickets, and they will occasionally help you with some of that. But generally speaking, you’re getting like tier one support that the they’re not helpful. They don’t Okay, wait, wait.

So having used a few different hosts, managed hosting would be where you’re pretty much not ever SSH into do stuff, right. And under managed hosting is when sometimes you have to SSH in to do things. But you can also submit support tickets.

The biggest The biggest difference really is that, you know, you’re unmanaged. So you have like, there’s kind of a different, a few different tiers of manage versus on Manage as well. So you have your cloud VBS type things where they’re unmanaged, you know, blank, VPS, somewhere, you in the OS is installed, you maintain everything else, right. Okay. Um, that’s traditionally usually what’s looked at on managed, obviously, share hosting can find a little fall into that since since a lot of times, you know, they’re managing the server, right? They’re making sure it’s often they’re making sure you know, usually a poor job anyways of doing it right here hosting, but, you know, there are at least managing, you know, your basic stuff, but they’re not going to touch your app, they don’t care, they’re not going to get like, you know, custom configurations where you have

to install WordPress yourself, right?

Or it’s not even that light, like you just like you need passion. Or you need like, for example, a custom cache key or something where you want this specific thing cached, whereas managed is more so doing those things. It’s that concierge type stuff. Because more of the more of the I have WordPress, and these are my own unique challenges. So for example, what we do at page Lee is we do cater directly to enterprise stuff. So when you say, hey, I want to deploy a WordPress site, we go all right, well, how does it run? What does it do? What kind of stuff? Awesome stuff? Do we need to create these custom hash keys? For you? Do we need to make some custom deployment for you, we will make all that stuff in tune and help you tune your app. So it’s like June our servers

like DevOps? Kind of right.

So that’s the difference right here. Are they telling you there’s a problem with your site? Are you telling them?

It’s a very sort of white glove approach? Right? Oh, I like that idea of having that person who is there to cater to you and, and take care of all the things.

Okay. Okay. Okay, I think I got it.

So that’s, that’s at a high level. And there of course, like you said, Jeff, there variations kind of on those approaches. The next section about this, it breaks it down, as you’ve kind of got a almost a life cycle of a developer. So a lot of developers will start out on shared hosting, it’s the first thing they get into, usually, because it’s very cheap. And then they’ll start looking at VPS hosting, because it gives them sort of that next tier of power. And then somewhere in this mix, also, Cloud Hosting comes into play, which is sort of a blend of these. So we’ll start with shared hosting, you’re going to know the names as host gator as dream host as Blue Host as in motion. You know, GoDaddy does it unfortunately. It these are the folks that you when you jump on their site, they’re like, yeah, we can get you a website up for $4 a month, we’re going to give you your domain, we’re going to give you SSL this, and it’s unlimited everything.

The thing, okay, so I I don’t really use shared hosting anymore. I did, I used to AC stream host. But the thing that I like about shared hosting, it’s a very nostalgic thing. But this is like kind of a real throwback to hosting back in like, the 90s and early 2000s, where you have like your account is a user on a Linux Unix server somewhere. And then you have like control over your home directory. And then that’s basically Yeah, like whatever other inroads they give you. And there’s something like I find very charming about that. Even if, like practically speaking, most people need more than that eventually. But it’s still like, as a special place in my heart, though.

Shared hosts that you know, they are cheap. And it feels like when you look at one, you’re like, man, $4 a month and I get unlimited everything. And they’re giving me all this, it sounds like a good deal. So people start there, and that’s fine. It’s perfectly fine. And we’ll talk about why exactly, you would use shared hosting. Generally, the the other sort of telltale sign of shared hosting is it’s a you’ll when you go because I said earlier, you know, when you do like shared hosting a lot of it, or if it’s unmanaged hosting, you tend to have a lot of self service. And so the way shared hosts do this is they go install see panel, which is a piece of software that basically is designed to house web services and list them out and make it so you as the user can go in and with a button, click and do something, whether that’s look at a database, install WordPress, you know, set up DNS for a new domain, whatever the case may be, but it’s designed to make you do everything. And that’s what shared hosting looks like when you’re on the inside.

Back Back on episode nine, this is way back the love at first sight one where we’re talking about our first websites. That’s the kind of hosting we were using back then right would be like shared hosting.

Yeah, I started out I don’t even remember the name of the company now. First company, I went with dollar 99 a month. At I got 10 megs. It was fine. it you know, it did its job, at least at that point in time. And that’s, that’s why I was I was a kid basically, I could afford them. And that’s and for a lot of businesses to you’ll end up there for that reason. So that’s that’s what shared hosting looks like shared hosting is all about offering cheap hosting, because they have a bunch of servers, and they’re going to try to get as many people on them as they can think of it like an airplane right? Or coach or Eve or an apartment building. Economy Class. Yeah. Economy like,

yeah, your basic your human luggage, essentially,

when you show up to the airport, and you’ve got the the whitelist you know, the people who are on. That’s what happened. And that’s, that’s what shared hosts usually do is they will tend to over provision their sales for the servers that they’re on. And that’s why they say, well, everything’s Unlimited, because they’re counting on 90% of the stuff that’s on them doesn’t probably get any traffic.

Yeah, that’s, that’s, I mean, that’s the case, right? Like, a lot of times it is small sites that don’t get any traffic. The problem is, is that since you’re all on one physical box, then you have that one site that does get big and kills everybody else’s. It’s like, it’s like, the airplane analogy like you had but instead of if the airplane didn’t have seats, and everybody said to cram in there as hard as they could, and then you have that super huge sweaty guy that’s just like on top of you. You know, you can’t do anything about it. You just got to kind of deal with it. And either change planes, aka change hosts, or, or just kind of deal with the smelly guy every once in a while kind of

kind of getting into last moment that I was really glad we brought Jeff on tonight show. You’re like a shark. The the next step up from there is VPS. This is virtual private servers. This is similar to shared hosting in the sense that your host has a big server farm and they are carving out pieces of it for you. This is what shared hosting does VPS Generally, if you have a good reputable host, there are less reputable ones that will push this but a good VPS host is going to say you’re renting, you know two CPUs and eight gigs of RAM and 500 gigs of storage. And that’s yours. You’re paying for it and it isn’t provision for you.

I got it. I got it. shared hosting is like renting a room. And BBs hosting is like renting the whole apartment.

Ah, there there is I shit you know there was there is part of my emotion hosting training that explains what is shared hosting you know for like building people that have never liked don’t know anything about hosting. Typically. They’re like what is shared hosting? And they’re like, well, shared hosting is like having a room in Oh. And then GPS is like having an apartment. That’s part of one thing and then a dedicated is your house. Do that analogy works perfect. I really does.

It works really well. Amazing. So put

this in motion. And whoever wrote that training, Aaron’s yelling at me because he sees me waving my hands and getting exasperated as if something is going on with the conversation. The reality is I’m watching my new kitten trying to jump from guitar to guitar hanging on my wall. We’ve entered the terrible twos phase of kittenhood.


yeah, so we’re ready. So the thing about VPN hosting Is it the nice thing about at least for me, so I use Digital Ocean, I run a few droplets I’ve got I use spaces, I do all this stuff. The thing I love about VPN is it is almost as cheap as shared hosting. A droplet starts out at five bucks a month for Digital Ocean. And so you’re only you’re you’re barely a step up from shared. And I should point out when you see those like 395 a month, that’s introductory pricing, it’s like the cable company, that’s 395 to start, that’s not what you’re paying next year, when you re up just yeah, just be aware, at five bucks, five bucks a month, you get a your own server on Digital Ocean, it’s not big. It’s not great for anything huge, but it’s a starting place. And they can make it that cheap. Because at that scale, and you’re you’re literally doing everything yourself. So whereas shared hosts, part of what you’re paying for is you do have access to see panel, you do get one click application installs, you have one click access to PHP, my admin, all of these nice things. On a VPS you get a server, that means you’re installing your operating system, you’re installing PHP, my admin, you’re installing Apache, you’re doing all of that yourself.

You’re maintaining your firewall and setting up fail to ban and preventing the random people with just scanning IP ranges.

When something’s going wrong, you’re not calling support, you better call Ghostbusters, because it was non existent.

Yeah, it’s it’s a higher ceiling, certainly, because the other thing about VPN is is you can usually scale them up. So as your site grows, now they’re dynamic usually like, again, when you sign up for them, you provision so many resources. Yeah. And that’s yours. They are more than happy to say, do you need more CPU? Do you need more RAM? Do you need more storage, they can always scale them up, scaling down is usually harder.

And I know Digital Ocean says they won’t go back. Yeah.

Now that’s a little bit of a salesy talk, for the most part, they won’t, but not necessarily for technical reasons. But it is it’s It is designed to be able to scale with you. And we’ll talk here in a little bit about some other options that do scale with you. But for VPS, if you are building something that is designed to start small, and you think you’re going to grow over time, you can start with that $5 a month plan. And then when you get bigger, you get bigger, go to the $10 month plan, go to the $15 month plan and make your server bigger over time as as your needs dictate. At that point,

I I also use Digital Ocean and I can net we say for them. And I think the other VPS is like via node and

Rackspace, easy to Yeah,

they’re all very reasonable about scaling the price. Like I never felt like the prices were trying to force you into a particular SWAT, you know, like you go for five hours, 10 hours, you roughly get double the capacity. And

some of them I’ve noticed like with Digital Ocean, this has happened to me where I’ve had a server running for a year. And it’s like one of those things like you set it and forget it, the servers just been there running doing its job. And I noticed that, hey, I can just up the resources on this box. And it’s not going to cost me anything because they have updated their whole pricing model. Yeah, by that point. That’s happened to me a couple of times, but happened to me, what you’re also going to realize is a lot of shared hosts offer VPN services as an upsell to, which can be nice if you have a site already hosted on somebody like Host Gator, and you want to move it up, you know, you realize you start seeing what we’ll talk about some of the pros and cons of this stuff. If you start falling susceptible to some of the problems of hosting. For them, it’s you know, a button click basically. And you can migrate that over to a VPN and grow it that way, which can be a nice, different avenue of growth, but it is an option to keep in mind. And it’s partly why they offer that. For what it’s worth.

I know that we said that the cost basis is very similar. And it may seem like you know, like, Oh, well, if I start at 395 or even 595 a month with shared hosting, I should just like graduate into VPS. But the the cost Greg grades upwards. But the required skills is more like an exponential curve. Like to go from shared hosting where at most irresponsible, like the hardest thing you might do with shared hosting is like change directory changed permissions on one of your directories or maybe like use curl or w get to download load. I don’t know something to your, your shared instance, when it gets the VPN like chickens real real fast?

Well, depends on it kind of depends on your PBS host too. So there’s like the you know, you have like the Digital Ocean ally node or, or whoever kind of bps is, and then you have like your manager like, like emotion offers have ups, right? And it’s not like they’ll handle it’s just running see panel. So it’s the same kind of, you know, you get the same experience really in that in that aspect of a BBs. Obviously, that’s a completely different price point. But, um, but, you know, you you you actually get root access to those boxes, unless you specifically requested Hmm, yeah, so it’s, it’s, it’s kind of a little bit so there is like a jump up from because a lot of people that do the shared hosting as well do bps very similarly, they do that kind of it’s like a shared, but you still want at least on your own little container there. But of course, once you once you if you need root access, you need to do something cost them and you go all I need to do something here, they’re like, all right, well, you have read access sign this paper that says, you know, break something, it’s you so it you know, there’s there’s, there’s a very difference, obviously, there’s a huge, huge huge knowledge increase on the, the unmanaged, you know, kind of cloud VPN stuff. But that’s where a certain kind of people, right, like I run those kind of boxes to. And then the reason for that is because I need like a private get lab instance, real quick, or I need like this other little micro service or something like that. And I just chuck it on a box and call it a day.

They definitely give you enough rope to hang yourself with. Oh, that’s a

Yeah, that’s a very good metaphor. Everybody’s doing great with the metaphors this evening I array. And I presume Jeff, too, is that partly also what you handle a lot of in terms of documentation, education and things like that? Is that what’s in your wheelhouse there as far as helping people learn how to do these things? And how to figure out what, what tools to use four different applications?

Yeah, so the way that the way that we do so we do managed hosting, in essence of you don’t you get you get have ups. But we fully managed for you basically. So we say here’s a WordPress installation, do whatever you want. Now, you still get SSH access, access if you want SSH. But there’s, there’s, we’re in the managed aspect of what we do, you’re very closed into what you want, unless we do it for you. So if you want this custom, crazy stuff, most of the time, no problem, we’ll do it, we’ll just do it for you. We won’t necessarily allow you to do it, because we want to make sure that your site stays as stable as possible that we can maintain every single package that’s on there. All those sorts of things, we want to make sure that

if your stuff goes down,

that, you know, it’s absolutely our fault, not yours. And I know I there’s it’s a very rare case that you know, something does go down. But if the does, you know, we want to make sure that, you know, at that point, it wasn’t something because of something that was running on the box or, you know, it wasn’t something that we can completely control.

There’s a one in between state and I won’t dig real deep into this. But there’s what they call cloud hosting. And I don’t I don’t love this term, especially in the world of VPS hosting, because to me, what we used to call VPS hosting was or was cloud hosting, that was kind of the way it was viewed.

Yeah, I’m not

sure what. So Cloud Hosting is sort of this weird hybrid between shared and VPS. In that you generally end up with the benefits of VPS. As far as having some scalability and power with regard to access to tools and resources. You can go up and down as your needs require occasionally, the one that I go to, and I’m going back, I’m digging into my my history here. So if they don’t do this anymore, I apologize. But I used to host some sites with media temple and the way media temple they had the service called grid. And what you did was you bought into the grid, and you paid for GPUs, which was sort of this abstract idea of how much power you were getting with this system.

It’s like, like her Roku, Dinah Yeah, yeah, little bit. Got it. So this would be like, like cloud post, it would be like Roku, or elastic, yeah, sock, or any of those things where you technically have hosting. But it’s like, you have to go through a very specific and proprietary pipeline, to deploy your things. And there’s like, maybe like weird incantations and restrictions to I can interface with it.

yet. I don’t love the phrasing or the model, because I think it does it, it gets into weird gray area. And I think I would, I would rather advise people to either say you shared hosting or use a VPN, those are very black and white and fairly clear, Cloud Hosting gets weird, because the feature sets can be very different between hosts, yeah, your your access can be different.

It’s almost like that stuff was kind of a precursor to server less almost like, obviously, we’ll go into service in a minute. But it’s, it’s like, you know, you have a certain amount of resources, but it’s still like you’re paying for, it’s a very specific amount of power. With bps,

you pay for eight gigs of RAM. And, you know, two CPUs and all this with cloud because they abstract all that away. And they say, well, like it with media temples case, GPU is a calculation of how much server time you utilized over a certain, you know, factor, how much RAM you were using all this. So it made it very hard to know like, where you are. Now, it’s, it is a weird kind of metered approach, like you are, in some cases, paying for a metered approach to it, which can be very beneficial at low scale, at high scale, it can not be great, to say the least,

I, I know some sites that use either Roku or Elastic Beanstalk. And it’s it’s really nice when you don’t want to have to worry so much about dev ops. And like that, I guess that would be like, really real dev ops as a service, because you’re, you’re not even, you’re barely even touching any of the deployment pipeline stuff. And a lot of times they’ll do the, like continuous integration or continuous deployment for you. It has its nice features, like I can definitely see the benefits of using it. And I like how much how it scales easily. But also, like it’s a weird commoditization of like the, of the GPU things. Yeah, or GPUs or dinos or whatever. Amazon call,

whereas VPS you are buying resources. This is this is Yeah, what you get in like Digital Ocean space, you go up, you don’t go down. The cloud hosts usually go up or down.

One thing I want to kind of call out the the PPS, and you know, the X number of CPUs and X amount, or is what kind of CPU is it? And what kind of RAM is it? Like, am I am I Yeah. Is there a ZAD in the background? That sort of thing? Like, what is going on here? So tell us right, like, and maybe they don’t, maybe maybe a lot of times, like there’s the general is like, Well, I’m not going to tell you because, you know, you can fluctuate from GPS to GPS, or, you know, it’s a certain amount of very specific dedicated resources across, you know, a several number of CPUs or something, but like, just say something, right, like, is it? Is it fast Ram? Or is it you know, standard GDPR? Ram? What is it?

I’m not sure they know anymore, you know, a lot of these places, they’re so big now. And your own machine can move around from, you know, physical place to physical place without you noticing? Honestly, I, I don’t know, they can know, you know, Amazon. And if anybody wants to go look it up. There’s this really, there’s some neat articles on how Amazon does a lot of the AWS infrastructure, they bring in shipping crates that get shipped over from China or wherever, that are fully integrated inside the shipping crate. And their server farms are just those shipping crates plugged into each other. It’s wild and incredible to see how they do it. But they’ve got

building a youth leaders inside of containers.

Yeah, Amazon’s nuts with their stuff. It’s crazy. Like, like, I mean, we’re talking full on, like fail overs between power grids. Yeah, it’s nuts. Like they’ll have they’ll have one data center that’s near and other one that’s on to death, two separate power. Great. So if one fails, it fails right over to the other one. That’s like, in the exact same deal. Okay,

yeah, US East one goes down at least once a year and takes half the internet with it. So figure that one out.

I forget where I read this. But I remember hearing about, like one of Google’s server farms in the in the Googleplex, or wherever one of their server farms are located. But there’s, they have people whose job it is to just walk up and down the server farms. And then when drives go bad, like their light turns green to red. And so they just have to pull the drive out popping the drive in, and then just keep walking down the things. And this happens often enough that like, it’s, that’s their, that’s their job, you just swap drives, thank you walk around with a shopping cart and just pop out drives pop in new ones.

So there’s another type. And this one’s not worth spending a lot of time on, it’s dedicated hosting. Dedicated, is very easy, because it’s at the high end of the market. And it’s literally what it sounds like, if you go to racks space, this used to be Rackspace, his business model basically was and why they’re called Rackspace, quite frankly, if you went to them, and you said, I want to rent a machine from you. And that’s what you do with dedicated hosting, you are literally renting a physical box and that is your box that sits in a rack somewhere. They build it out the way that you know, some of them do it by you know, very specific build out, some of them let you customize it. But you are getting a dedicated machine that is all yours and is taken care of. It’s in the area of also, and I’m not gonna we don’t talk about this in the episode. But colocation is kind of similar that that with colocation, it is technically your hardware in their location, but it’s still you’re talking about physical hardware is now yours, as opposed to virtual, as opposed to a container, as opposed to something that sits on amorphous hardware, but represents a real amount of capacity.

Dedicated as a dedicated, you know, dedicated, dedicated, is a box somewhere and, and, you know, if you break some, if something explodes, it’s probably your fault.

And it’s the datacenter going down. And it’s the difference between 395 a month, and like $150 A month ago, there’s a giant amount of scale there, you know, when you’re getting into dedicate, and that’s why I don’t wanna spend time on it, because most people won’t deal a lot with that. Now, Jeff, when we were planning out this episode, you threw one out there that I’d hadn’t anticipated that was great. Which gets into this, this word that people here that I hate, I hate this name, server lists server list, because it’s not server list.

No, it’s not. There’s, there’s I mean, there’s definitely physical servers there. There’s no, there’s no such thing as an actual, like, magic that happens that just beams a website down.

This is different from the cloud, which is literally in the cloud,

literally, in the cloud. There’s like, if you look look up really closely, all those little like raindrops, they’re actually a data. That’s just

Microsoft raining down. It’s Yeah, the internet is

also a series it seems

fun back then a good thunderstorm, you actually get bandwidth of something like 14.8 terabytes a second. That’s crazy.

Not as long as that water hits my fiber line coming into my house. Unknown Speaker Oh, yeah.

Yeah, the metaphors are on point today.

Yeah, so server lyst. Server list is is the way that I kind of explain it is that your, your list of concerns is servers, right? Like there’s, there’s at no point, do you think about the server that’s running your website, you think about building your app, whether it’s and WordPress, or node or dad, or Jekyll, or Gatsby, or whatever it is. You think about what you build, and then you hit a button and send it up somewhere, and then it doesn’t sing and serves all of your users. And just like you were talking about with the Reddit hug of death, that’s situation that absolutely can’t happen that that server lyst fixes. So the thing is, is that if you’re having

one hit a month,

then you may not need to pay a whole lot, right? Like you may just not need a whole lot of resources, yet a little tiny site probably be fine on to your hosting. And then you get hit front page of Reddit and your site explodes. And then it immediately goes down where if you’re on shared hosting your host kicks you off and suspends your site. It will absolutely happen to you if your traffic spikes like that. You’re suspended. Yeah, that unlimited doesn’t take you very long, unlimited unlimited. Yeah, it has a limit very, very quickly when it comes to taking down a server. And, and the same thing with the BBs right, like it, even if you can scale a cloud VPN up, you still have to take that server down to scale it up, you still have to, you still have to shut that box down to increase the size of that box before you can turn it back on. So you just lost traffic right there. So the idea of server list is that you can go ahead and have one one hit a month or a million hits a month, and that there’s literally nothing else you have to do. And you can grow from point A to point B,

no. verification, there’s nothing you have to do except write that check.

Yeah, yeah. And that’s the thing that happens, right? Like, obviously, a person that’s paying one hit, that’s got a one hit a month is paying a whole lot less than a million hits a month. But at that point, you’re getting that much traffic, it doesn’t entirely matter.

Okay, so this would be like lambda, right? Like lambda services, but like, but it sounds like there’s other kinds of service also. Because lambda is really specific. Its its use case of how it works. So but what other ways other words are there to do server with

lambda is like a branch of server list? Okay, so your, your, your individual, like lambda functions and stuff like that are are things that can exist on the server, but they’re not necessarily server lists. Okay, I’m server lyst. More just exists in that you, you have this massive infrastructure. And you say, here’s my app, here you go, make it online. And that’s what server whistles.

We’re building a tool right now that is going to have an API associated with it. So as we sat down, we were talking about infrastructure. We were trying to think, how do we deploy the API, because we need to be able to post it, we need to be able to get from it, we need to do these things, it has to talk to the database, we didn’t want to have to manage the operating system, all the packages, all you know all everything that’s involved in managing a server, we just wanted a simple API, and lambda was our solution for that. And so we’ve set up you know, we’re setting up our CI and everything, we deploy all the stuff to lambda, and it runs these little tiny micro services that just say, here are all the endpoints you can hit. And it handles all of that, you could get a VPS and install Node and make all that happen that way too. But this just lets us write our JavaScript, send it to lambda, and just say, hey, pointed over here, and it just works. And I don’t have to think about the server piece of it at all. So how

is server was different from Cloud Hosting?

Well, cloud hosting, you’re typically have your you have a dedicated amount of resources. So usually I can seem to be the definition that we use earlier was a little different. So it was like you’re not necessarily paying for dedicated amount of reason, you’re not paying ahead of time, right? With with server less, you’re kind of paying as you go. And as you use. So say this month, you use this much you do this, you’re not necessarily dedicating those resources aside,

cut hosting is more like like a stair step, increment of power, and server less is just more like a smooth curve. It’s the what you’re paying is a direct function of how much you’re using it.

Yeah, so I typically, I typically equate cloud hosting with your your unmanaged VPN sites, like it’s usually your Digital Ocean type stuff, where you have a set amount of resources, you make your box, do your thing. And then you kind of manually scale up so as your so as your site uses more resources, then you go, Oh, my, my stuff running slow. Or I realized that starting to increase my resource utilization, I need to scale up, kind of have to do those things ahead of time where a server list will handle those things automatically for you, such as AWS lambda is exactly the same as a service platform. The only difference in that is that there’s like the lambda functions and stuff, which, which makes your application talk to SDK and stuff like that, right? Well, the the general server lists way of doing things, basically just means build your app, grow it up some more,

it gets into this idea that when you talk about shared hosting, VPS hosting, you’re really talking about putting a whole website up, whereas several this architecture is more about making it possible to do the individual tasks, you want something bigger to do, which, in the old days, we would build a hold server for we would build a server that handles all of the requests and does all the things server list is great, because you can make it do the individual thing. So unlike in my case, we’re looking at this API, we’re building an each individual piece is one lambda function. And each one of those if if, if we get a million requests, but we only put 20, it scales that entirely appropriately, appropriately for those needs and charges us as a consequence, as opposed to thinking about, you know, well, I need to have a server, you know, I, I don’t know how many put or gets I’m going to get

Yeah, it gets I mean, it gets a little crazy, right? Yeah. Or, you know, there’s there’s the accounting for various different services, right, you may have your front end, you have your API layer, you may have another data layer that’s handling, you know, interaction with the database, like rocky wall or something. Yeah, a bunch of different pieces. And, and that is absolutely a great way, it’s one of the best ways to build it is because if your API consumes too many requests and explodes, your front ends already got everything cached. And people hitting the site can already get their static content or whatever.

Server This is where you go, when you get to that really next level of saying, I need to build something that does a quantifiable number of certain actions. But I don’t know what those will be. And so I want to be able to know that this apple always working always, you know, be there available to my users, that’s where that really goes, as opposed to just saying, I need to put a website up that just serves a page.

Well, the crazy things I’m gonna use a little bit of a shameless plug here. And and say that, that’s what we’re doing, what we’re doing with North stack is kind of bringing all those things together. So North stack is our new our new server lyst solution from the guys over page Lee, and one of the things that I do community evangelism stuff for, so of course, you know, and, and so what it does is it kind of bridges that gap. So it kind of takes all those things together and makes it super easy to use. So with, with North sac, for example, you have a CLA. And obviously, you will have to learn how to just jump into a terminal and type in a command. But you build your app, and it handles all of your build processes for you. So it handles all your ci stuff, and all those different things. And so you hit deploy on a directory on your on your site, and it uploads it and runs your site builds, it puts it all together, it’s up, it’s doing its thing, you never touch it again, unless you need it update.

So as a whole, most folks will generally deal with two of these out of most of them. And that’s the shared hosting and VPS hosting. That’s where most people will land at one point or another. So let’s start digging into a little bit of that detail to sort of round out all of this discussion. I want to jump in first to the shared hosting. And while it sounds and we kind of Pooh poohed on it a little bit in the first half of the show, absolutely has use cases, it has a place. There’s a reason why it has existed for the last 20 years, and why it will exist long beyond us. It’s

I would say there’s a reason why you should consider using it too. Absolutely. Yeah.

First off, it is cheap. Mm hmm. You know, that 395 a month and I joked about it earlier, you have to watch it because it will go up. That’s generally the introductory price. And so it goes up to like 695 795

Yeah, we’re not talking like $80 a month or something. Some

of them ago, I’ve seen it, I’ve seen it go from the junk usually be pretty substantial. So it’s usually like, it’s like three, four bucks a month on our promo, and then you drop in, and it’s like 25 bucks a month. Oh, okay, that’s.

And what sucks is that what they do is at 395. That’s a great promo price to convince you to pay for the year up front, so that when the next year comes up, they charge you that full price for the entire year of hosting, and then you’re stuck. And you can find it you can try to get prorated refunds and whatnot, but it’s a pain in the ass.

Yeah. But usually every, like 30 days, keep it.

If you know what you’re getting into it, you pay attention to that, make sure you look at the pricing. And know if you’re getting a promo pricing, it is a cheap way to get a site launched and set up very quickly. The domain will be included in that you can take that domain with you when you leave if you choose to leave. It’s a pain in the ass as well. But you don’t do it.

But you don’t have to do the domain through them. You don’t you don’t have

Yeah, yeah, no, the thing is like what I set up and I said having an account with Host Gator, I still use them for some small stuff, because I’ve had them forever. And it’s a great place for me to throw a bunch of just small stuff that, you know, I’ll charge a client, you know more than what I’m paying. And it’s to them, it’s still not much, it’s enough for me to keep it running at that point. But it is generally a good place to throw stuff. Like if you’ve got client work, if you got something like that, that you that you’re taking care of. for them. It’s a perfectly good place to throw a lot of that. Generally speaking,

if you’re if you’re like a small business, or entrepreneur or like a single employee business, like if you have a service, let’s say you’re like a car washing business or something, and you want to have a website shared hosting is like the best way to go to start out because it’s super cheap. And you can get started up like super fast. Yeah. And then later on, you know, move on to something more perform

until North stack reaches to the public.

It generally speaking like a shared hosts habits, habits problems, but they are good, a good starting place, usually. And it’s just a matter of paying attention. And as long as you do a Google search, type in best hosts for 2019 best shared host 2019 somebody who’s written an article, go look it up and pick somebody that has a decent record. pick somebody that’s been around for a while. I generally I have no problem recommending you know, green host Blue Host Host Gator. These folks are have been in the field for years. They generally have good reviews, they don’t try to like beat you up on the cells too hard. So they’re, they’re worthwhile. Con number one, it your your stuff gets mashed together in a very strange way that I would never recommend anybody ever like yeah, like that’s that’s not how you run websites.

If you use a shared hosting thing, like one of the companies we mentioned, like it see it as like, this is what I’m doing to bootstrap my site and get it up and get it going. And not as like, this is where my site is going to live forever. Because I can pretty much guarantee that if your business or your site is successful, you’re going to need to move on to something else.

The other side of shared hosting is a lot of shared hosts will market themselves as managed. But that’s not true. By any normal sense of that phrase. Like they they are only managed in the sense that they manage their own hardware and and server infrastructure, but not necessarily to your benefit. Like they only throw stuff up in the panel, and then you are in charge from that point forward. And I had said earlier like you can put in a ticket if your site goes down. But you may or may not get actual service in some cases.

Yeah. So I did I did the tier one support thing for a little while back when I worked at emotion for the first for shared hosting. And will I did Chino shared BBs and dedicated but you’re, you’re that that is the thing. It’s like, it’s like I’m having this issue. And I need to cash this a little differently, or I need to access the database a little differently or put this custom piece in here. And yeah, it’s like, no, here’s, here’s, here’s, here’s your default web server. And here’s your default PHP version of all those sometimes HB achievers and some stuff at least. But they’re like, here’s this and here’s that. And here’s exactly how everything set up. Here’s a folder, put whatever you want in it. But other than that you’re on your own.

The next part of shared hosting that you need to watch out for is depending on again, and all these like some of these cons very much depends on who your host is. But a problem I’ve ran into is backups are very limited. They will backup based on nodes or entities. And they will say Well, yeah, we backup your account up to say 100,000 entities, which sounds like a lot. Unless you’re running a caching plugin and have three sites door there, in which case, you’re three times over that limit between all the little fragments because it that’s backing up everything that includes all of your email folders that you may have stored with them, all of the additional images and and when you upload something to WordPress, upload one image and it renders three thumbnails, that different sizes, all of that stuff adds up and you’ll discover that that number erodes very quickly.

So wouldn’t even consider you having backups just yet. Backing up to find a different solution. Just don’t have your own.

Yes, like even if they’re even if they’re handling backups for you, because a lot of times to with especially with the men with the with the with the share host they’re going to backup one version, right? It’s going to backup that backup roles every 24 hours. And so say you realize that you have an issue like two hours after backup runs, you can bet that your storage two hours ago, that’s not gonna help you problem. So yeah, usually the backups roll. I always even even if you have the greatest backup system in the world keep a local copy somewhere.

Yeah, I think if you read WordPress, there’s like backup plugins or something, right? You can just Oh, yeah, like like every once a month, just like run that download the file. Even if you have no idea what to do with it. Like having the file at least means you could pay someone to make it work for you.

There are benefits and this this entirely depends on the the user’s ability and things. But you know, a lot of times you want to put your stuff on version control and stuff like that. So of course, make sure that you can roll back to any you know, revision. Yeah, you need that that serves as your backup obviously people local backup, keep backups everywhere, you know, stick a flash drive in a case. Do whatever you gotta do to make sure that you have a backup that doesn’t get touched.

Any black man to guard it?

Yeah. I mean, back caveman, caveman, or cheap, you know,

just work for me.

And they don’t know even know what to do with your flash drives. They can’t run off your data.

That this is getting weird.

Our metaphors, man.

I like it. My Twitter before you came on.

The next day thing to keep out for that we talked about already a little bit is unlimited. Isn’t unlimited. That’s a lie. Like, yeah, that’s that’s one of those things nice. I use that phrase carefully. Because I don’t know how they can even really get away with it. Except that, you know, how many times have we looked at cell phones and internet service plans and all this where they say, Oh, yeah, that you have unlimited stuff. But

no, it’s actually a big negative, because what happens is, is that they say unlimited. There’s an asterisk next to it links to their terms of service,

there are 17 asterisks next year.

And if you if you use more resources than they deem allowable, which can be any apps, they’re not going to tell you, it’s going to be entirely

an arbitrary number. It is 100% arbitrary. If you start

using too much of whatever disk space or bandwidth or just generally CPU or anything like that, they will suspend your son, like, right up, you get it really hard, they will just hit the suspend button and then call you about and

everybody’s ran through this once when you’ve been looking at a new site. And you’ve seen an article that you’re like, Oh, that looks great. And you click on it, and you hit the page. It’s like this account has been suspended. Contact, blah, blah.

I think that if you if you say Unlimited, it should mean unlimited with like, without with limits.

Yeah, I absolutely. Oh, unmetered is another term that they’ll use to Yeah, metered. It’s like we don’t watch it until we watch it. Well, that’s that’s the way that it usually works. The unlimited stuff anyways, right? Like, they’ll what happens is, is a server spikes, and then they go and they go, all right, what caused the spike? Oh, it was this site, they just got listed front page on Reddit or whatever. And then they go suspend server stable again. Yay. And then they just put out fires. That’s, I mean, that’s Yeah, it’s it’s nothing against them. It’s the business model. But it’s technically not metering because they’re looking at meters, they’re looking at logs. Yeah, they’re looking at the meters when something goes wrong. And that’s about it. It’s like rock

scotch, it’s technically alcohol.

Technically, alcohol. That’s like, I was thinking I was right there with you. Which, but is a good point. Because one of the things with any kind of shared host is anytime speed or performance, our needs of whatever you’re building, shared, hosting is not a good way to go. Because they aren’t built for speed or performance. They’re built for packing as many people onto a server as they can get away with. Most people are serving low enough traffic that if it takes three or four seconds for a page to load, they don’t care. That’s true for a lot of mom and pop pop shops, but for other people milliseconds matter. And we’ve seen the research on that.

I know that we use the analogy earlier that shared hosting is like renting a room. But I kind of think that shared hosting is a little bit more like renting a bed in a hospital. where like, your room has like maybe four beds, or maybe eight beds, or maybe like it’s like an army barracks, and there’s like 20 beds in there. I don’t know. Yeah, it’s just the whole shit ton of beds ever has beds as far as beds all the way down forever. And you have one of them. And if you want to have a party, the person who runs the whole floor is going to be like a your bed. You can’t stay here anymore.

Sorry. But is that the other side of it, though, is that you know, like, if you’re just trying to pass through and you only got a couple bucks. Yeah, exactly. It absolutely makes sense. Because all you need is a bed to sleep on. You don’t necessarily care about the rest of it. And that’s why I think we want to make sure that that that people don’t necessarily as much as we’re trashing shared hosting, they don’t really give them the credit as like, if you’re a tiny lawyer, you’re a brick and mortar massage parlor, like your website does not really matter other than somebody doing a quick Google search for you. Like, there’s, there’s, you’re not you’re not rely on if you’ve

got to try walling company, and you just need to have like an online business card for now until you like make it big and become like the biggest drywall or in your county or whatever. Yeah, 100%, like shared hosting is totally fine, you won’t have any problems with it until you become the biggest rival or the county. And then you’ll need them I do like a different host.

The last thing that I’ll focus on with shared hosting is limited access, limited access to debugging tools, that’s logs. That’s anything that helps you figure out why something broke. And it’s limited access to tools, shared hosts love throwing WordPress up, or Drupal up or simple and PHP, and not at all weird and interesting. asked him to host a Ruby app asked him to host a Python tool. Yeah, man, good luck.

I can speak from personal experience, I have attempted to install a Rails app on two different shared hosting instances. It’s technically possible, just like rocks is technically alcohol. But oh my god, it’s, it’s a fucking nightmare.

It’s technically possible the horrible Holland arcade machine with a like a 92 civic, but you don’t want on your roof?

Yes, I see. two very distinct risks. One is that when one user is compromised, it potentially compromises every site on that server. And I say that as somebody who suffered from it with a website,


that there was somebody was hosting a website on our shared hosting, their site kept getting compromised, and we kept getting notifications from our host. Hey, by the way, check out whatever on your site, look at this stuff. And I spent months cleaning up time after time after time, because somebody else kept screwing up. And it was giving a user access to our files.

If someone picks the locked here, to giant hospital room,

were jailed pretty well with kind of like modern stuff, right? Like you got like a Jeff essence actually, Agent best guy deprecating or something. But like, a lot of the panel stuff runs cloud Linux, which will at least allow you to isolate between, you know, shared user accounts, but who knows, right? Like maybe there’s a privilege escalation, exploit exploit in the wild, and the site’s not against zero day, and there’s no patch for it, oh, everybody’s hit. And

the reality is, if you’re paying under $5 a month for hosting, you don’t know, it is the bargain basement, hosting, and you have to be ready to not know what you’re getting in those cases. The other side of it is badly optimized scripts, if somebody upload something to their website that is written badly. And not even that on purpose. Like it could be a plugin or something that they just don’t know. But it starts chewing up resources on the server at that impacts you because you’re all sharing those resources. And so if their script pegs 98% of the CPU, and there are 50, websites shared on that 49 of them get 2% of the CPU to share until somebody shuts Sit down. So that’s all of the the pros, the cons, the risks of looking at shared hosting. So let’s do the same thing for the PS hosting. First and foremost, when you think about VPN hosting, you can get it managed or unmanaged, which is really nice. If you want to do everything, you can do that if you want to find somebody who will handle all the stuff, but just load your app on it, that’s also a thing that you can do. And so it’s just a matter of knowing what it is you’re after. And there is somebody out there willing to do that model for you. The real thing about it is, it’s a lot of affordable power, though. You get into you think about easy to you think about Digital Ocean, you think about line node, any of these folks that offer good high quality VPS, you know, it’s relatively affordable for the amount of stuff you get out of it, where I shared hosting, you’re fighting with your neighbor for the scraps of meat, bps is guaranteeing you a certain amount of of infrastructure that you know, you can use and utilize. And that gives you a lot of overhead if you’re actually trying to build, you know, a real website or real tool at that point.

It AWS is requires, you know, find some online learning courses for how to use AWS management because there’s like all kinds of weird shit, you got to know. And they have a million different options. And so it can be really overwhelming. However, I had a training class at a previous job on it. And it’s amazingly easy to set up two instances of an easy to with a load balancer between them. And it just works. And it’s like a million times easier and faster than doing it manually. So Amazon is pretty chill about. If you suddenly spike on traffic, they’re like, it’s cool, man just pay us more money.

We want it to be right like you spike in traffic, you’d rather you you pay a little bit more money than because obviously you’re spiking the traffic, you should theoretically be making money anyways. So

there’s definitely a lot of VPS is all about do it yourself. It is it is that evolution of I want to become better at all the things I’m doing. And so if you like that great, but it is definitely the kind of thing that most folks aren’t prepared for, I think from setting up your own SMTP server to making sure Aaron you mentioned you know, get failed a band installed, know how to set up things like Sudoku and all of these things so that you’re not logging in as root. There’s so much that goes into that that is a very, it’s not even that it’s hard. It’s just that it’s a lot more than I think people are prepared for. And in some cases, a lot of them are unknown unknowns. They don’t know to do private key authentication, because they’ve never used private key authentication in their life. So it’s just not a thing they’re familiar with. And we would advocate for that, if that’s what you’re going to do. But it the the learning curve there. And there are, I think great resources in terms of how you make that move and how you figure it out.

Digital Ocean has does have a really decent knowledge base. It’s

you still have to you have to know that the known unknowns, yeah, you have to know the questions to ask Yes. And make use of it. That’s that’s what I was looking for. Yeah,

digital oceans. Got some of the Best Docs out there. Thoughts are really good. Yeah, really good. And as somebody writes docs all day, I can absolutely tell you, they’re really good that

their docs are good, even if you aren’t a Digital Ocean customer.

Yes. And yes, I will agree with that, too. I will say I think that if you’re going to do VPS, with like a Digital Ocean, or by node or one of those services, it’s kind of those are kind of like the journeyman level. Whereas like shared hosting is like the apprentice level. You want to have someone who can mentor you, through this, like have a more experienced web developer or sis admin or someone who knows Linux really well. Because you’re going to have questions, and it can be really great when you get stuck in a bind, like Oh, shit, like a bunch of China IPS are like hammering my server. The fuck do I do? Yeah, having that expert on hand is gonna like save you a lot of headaches. Even if you’re pretty competent already. I think that it’s wise to have like, get find someone who can mentor you. That’s that’s I guess that’s what I’m saying.

Yeah, even if you The other thing, even if you know what to do. If all those IPS are hitting your your server, do you actually know that they’re hitting there? That’s the other half to right. Can you maintain that server? You run it? You can set it up? Anybody? I mean, it’s it’s anybody can follow a doc into point.

What and security brings us to the risks early, which is one of the things that I keep trying to tell people is, you are not as good at security as you think you are. I mean, there’s no, no two ways about this, that figuring out you may be the greatest web developer in the world, you are not a Server Admin, you are not a DevOps person. And you can learn those skills. I have no doubt when most folks go into that very unprepared for what that actually means. We’re not as good at security as we think we are. If you’re a web developer, you aren’t committed full time to dev ops and somebody who is is good be better than you. Yeah. And you have to decide if that is worth the trade off. If that’s the route you want to go for hosting. We talked about this a bit on episode 12. with Chris, we’ve been we’ve been Wakeman.

I love that guy. It’s one of my close friends, weirdly enough. Oh, yeah. Really close from it.

All world

shed? Well, I mean, there’s no like no sites on hackable. So like, the The trick is, you want to get, you want to get your site difficult enough that you’re like above that threshold of being an easy target so that they go elsewhere, because there are plenty of easy targets out there.

Yeah, you want to just prevent yourself from the blanket attack, because a lot of times the attacks come in, and they’re just, they’re just let me try this same vulnerability against everything I can find. And, you know, most of the time, you’re fine. There’s most of the time these these are not complex things you can you can get around them no problem.

And regardless of if it’s WordPress, if it’s a memory leak, if it’s an attack, if you run into a problem, you are completely on your own. From a support standpoint, if you’re doing pure VPS type hosting, you have been granted access to a server and that is your server. And unless you are paying a lot of extra money for support, that problem is yours. And if you break your

server graduations, yeah.

Good for you. I hope you have backups. Go for it.

Yes, yeah. Yeah, you have to do your own backups, too, by the way.

Yeah. Do your own backups, do all the things and that’s true. There’s no better advice and always backup your own stuff. Don’t trust the host. Don’t trust your your manage server, don’t trust your VPN. Trust yourself to backup your own stuff. I

absolutely tell our customers No problem, you know that our backups are always there. No problem. But I still tell them backup stops. Yeah.

So the last area and and I didn’t actually list this earlier. But I want to talk about things like managed application resources. And I’m going to bring up the phrase managed WordPress because you see this a lot. Managed WordPress is a, a niche that you will see. And you see it with others. You’ll see it with Drupal, Aqua does it with Drupal, there are certainly other platforms as well, where you’re getting sort of this hybrid solution, where folks are giving you managed services that are higher end that are application specific and give you access to both a lot of resources you wouldn’t normally use and ability that you don’t maybe have on your own. And I’m going to say I’m really glad to have Jeff on tonight because of this exactly. So whether you’re looking at WP Engine, whether you’re looking at Pantheon, you’re looking at page Lee, these are all folks who have basically made their mark is saying, we are going to set up a server infrastructure that is designed to host your website, in the tool that you want to host it in. And we’re going to do it better than anybody else. You can go out there, you’re not going to go to host gator, you’re not going to go to Digital Ocean, you’re going to come to us because you want to use this tool.

Yes, your managed WordPress is is is something that they’re they’re not just managing necessarily just the server a lot of times they’re managing your WordPress instance. So your updates so WordPress update comes in, they’ll apply that for you. If you do you know if there’s a plugin update available a lot of times will do that for you, you know, they’re there. They’re managing your entire year. They’re managing your entire application. You’re they’re managing WordPress space. And that’s what we do over at page Lee, we actually created managed WordPress for the very first word managed WordPress hosting on the planet back when we came up this like very, very long, it’s a long ago. And and the idea is, is that you are somebody who you want WordPress and you want to put it somewhere, but you want to do absolutely nothing else. You don’t have to worry about to care about security vulnerabilities. You don’t have to worry about you know, if a certain plugin is necessarily going to always going to work that you need to configure caching or anything like that. brute force logins to WordPress, because these people in managed WordPress, know WordPress, right, they know everything about things that are running on a WordPress site. And being fully managed. They’re going to handle all of those things for you. So whether it be PHP versions, or whether it be gateway level caching, or maybe even some kind of custom configuration that you’re looking for, you’re going to be able to have somebody manage that for you. And that’s exactly what we do with page Lee for the enterprise level of things. For the for the medium sized enterprise, depending on who that right. But yeah, so they’re going to manage everything for you where you don’t have to necessarily touch what you know what what may be going on in the back end, they’re kind of watching your back and

what what can’t you do on managed WordPress?

Um, I mean, if you need to do like some, you know, you need to put a larval app on or a note app on on WordPress, you can’t quite, you know, manage WordPress, you can’t quite do that. Can you? Can you? Can you do child themes and like edit Earth? Yeah. I mean, you can do the exact same thing as you can add any other any other WordPress instance. And it’s going to be the same sort of concept.

If you want to do like payment processing with what does it ion? What was the one that was the hotness? Oh, wow, I forgot. But there was like a thing where you had to like, like, go into your home directory and like change the permissions on this file? like is that can you do that managed WordPress? Or did they provide solutions for that?

Absolutely, I do. At least you can with us. I don’t necessarily know I can’t speak for all managed WordPress host. But you still do have like a level you still have SSH access to BO Ok, change file progressions, if you really need to, or anything like that. Generally, we just handle your your WordPress installation. So we will automatically update you for automatically update you and and make sure that your your file system integrity is good and that your database is running and everything is tuned for WordPress, because there are different kinds of tuning that you’re going to want to do generally.

But and where you guys come in, and like these folks who do manage, whether it’s WordPress, or Drupal or any other application, that the real trick is, you step in where shared hosting would shut you off, if there is a spike in traffic. Most managed services are like, No, we can accommodate that. Like it, there are buffer zones. And I think there are still caps in built in there in some cases, but usually like that, they’re going to just cut you off, if you over, you know, go over 10,000 hits a month or something like that, like, if you go over your limit, what they’ll do is they’ll serve the pages, and then send you you know, one of those notes that says, hey, you maybe consider upgrading, there’s sort of, there’s a much gentler hand that goes towards the provisioning of resources, where if your site is bigger than the plan you’re paying for, how they manage getting you, you know, through that process,

yeah, a lot of managed managed WordPress host. So pay attention your stuff ahead of time. So they’re constantly watching, and they’re kind of like, all right, you’re kind of hitting 80% of your, you know, of your container usage. So will, you know, it’s, it’s a proactive of, Hey, we don’t want you to have any issues. So just let you know, you have this running. And then a lot of cases with us, since we’re the more high end thing, then what we’ll do is say, hey, you’re using a little bit more resources, you know, you might be, we might actually be able to tune this a little bit better on the server side to get your app running faster, so that you can use less, because we don’t upset. So we will as much as we can, we’ll try to get your usage down and try to tune the server as much as we can. Obviously you can’t do much if you if all of a sudden, you know traffic is through the roof and and it doesn’t matter, it’s at a certain point doesn’t matter how much your application is tuned you using resources. But if at all possible will generally tune tune your stuff as much as possible or say hey, look, this plugin is unit reading up a lot of resources, you know, try this or, you know, whatever the case may be, but generally will let you know ahead of time. And either a help you tune things on your application side be will tune some stuff on your server side or see will say all right, yeah, you might might want to move up to this to kind of account for that that level of traffic. Yeah,

the other thing they’ll do and from my experience they’ve with like WP Engine, for instance, I’ve had good luck with them on security scanning. And not just like the the proactive stuff in terms of making sure that the plugins you’re installing, you know, meet certain bars victory. But also, you know, we have internally certain security measures. And, you know, we have to run pin tests, occasionally, things like this. And they’re able to meet all of those needs just by saying, Hey, we’re going to run a pin test, you’re going to see a surge of traffic from this IP address, and just know what’s happening, and they will whitelist it for a certain period of time and take care of it. And also on the backup side, we said earlier, like in terms of shared hosting, most shared hosts limit the backups you get. And that can be limited by file size by package size, whatever that may end up being. With most managed WordPress, backups, they say, well, we will save 30 days of backups. And it doesn’t matter what size it is, they back it up every day, you can do automatic backups, whatever the case, may be that you need. And those are where you start seeing those real differentiators. And when you need that kind of availability when you need that kind of resiliency in your website scheme that makes all the difference in the world in terms of knowing if that’s worth it or not. That’s real turnkey WordPress.

Yeah. Yeah, it was so like and there’s even things like that are very specific to WordPress security wise to that are like for example, we I just wrote a doc the other day it was on. That was what happens if you get insecure login rejected error message, which is something we just built in that we started just black holing. If you’re using the password of password, oh my god, you don’t like really obvious dumb stuff. Like if you’re using password 123, even if it’s a valid password a lucky. And the reason why is it not necessarily just completely lucky, but it’ll say, hey, you need to fill out a capture. And also you need to reset your password. And the reason behind that is a we don’t want that user’s account to get hacked, because it could be an admin on some massive account that’s just dumb and uses a bad password. or most of the time, it’s a brute force attack. So the password they’ll come in, they’ll run through a list of usernames with a bunch of bad passwords, usually, and so any of those bad passwords will just black hole out. So that a you’re not having to use, you’re not having to use your system resources, because even a failed login is still using resources on your system. And be you’re not as worried about getting compromised.

So I hope that was useful. I hope we helped folks understand the difference between all these different things. I know there are different use cases. And the best thing I can offer everybody is if you’re still confused, or you want some feedback or anything, send us a Tweet. Let us know if you have a question. We’re happy to answer that. Go move that over for a minute. We’re going to take a quick break and we’re going to come right back after our sponsor message and we will wrap things up right after this. The drunken UX podcast is brought to you by our friends at New cloud. New cloud is an industry leading interactive map provider who has been building location based solutions for organizations for a decade. Are you trying to find a simple solution to provide your users with an interactive map of your school, city or business? Well, new clouds interactive map platform gives you the power to make and edit a custom interactive map in just two minutes. They have a team of professional cartographers who specialize in map illustrations of many different styles and are ready to design and artistic rendering to fit your exact needs. One map serves all of your users devices with responsive maps that are designed to scale and blend in seamlessly with your existing website. To request a demonstration, or to view their portfolio, visit them online at New cloud.com slash drunken UX that’s in you cloud.com slash drunken UX. Jeff man thanks for sitting down with us. I know that it’s getting late in terms of Virginia time because in Kansas we don’t believe in clocks. We don’t believe in electricity most of the time as it turns out. So take a second you’ve got the microphone tell us where you’re at where we can find you and if you’ve got anything going on that you want folks to know about

and what’s in the water what’s in the water

Oh, there’s something in the water we don’t know what something just something lots of creatures. So you can find me on on twitter at the Jeff Batson I’m usually also behind North stack Twitter account if you poke around there sometimes I’ll respond to you there other times it may just be somebody else. You can also find me at Jeff madsen.net the site that I do not ever update

with we all have that website.

Oh yeah. Well, I don’t think people come to me fill my form everyone’s I think it probably still says I worked for gravity. But you can find me there usually on Twitter is the best place at once again to be Jeff Matson. grabbed me on twitter there. Feel free to ask me any hosting related questions. I try to stay as unbiased as possible. Obviously, if you ask me, managed WordPress hosting is I’ll tell you the absolute truth, which is Paisley. What, uh, you can also find me there. And then of course, check out check out North stack right now we’re doing a promo for $50 off your stuff. And you’re really nice to me on social media, which includes data to

what’s the site first north,

North stack.com Thank you. Awesome.

What’s a so be sure to to give us the questions. a.com slash Twitter and Facebook, colon, drunken UX.

That Are you sure that’s the right the right address?

I said but I said,

Okay. Making sure.

Instagram, colon comm slash drunken UX podcast. And then drunken UX. com slash slack. If you want to go with us,

so weird out true. I’m gonna let you get away with it though. Folks, if you’re listening to us, I don’t care if you’re on I Heart Radio on Apple podcast, Google podcasts. If you’re on Stitcher, wherever you are, make sure to hit the like button, hit the share button, do the things. let folks know that you enjoyed us leave us a review if you feel the need. If you don’t want to, you know, let us know you are going to fill out the form at our website drunken ux.com. And we will take your anonymous information as well let us know if we’re doing good or bad or if you want to hear a topic covered. Otherwise. Jeff, thanks for spending night with us, Aaron, I think you should need a nap because Boy, you sound a little bit weird. Otherwise, the only thing that I have left to tell all of you kind folks out there and this is one of those things is nothing to do with hosting. It has nothing to do with anything except making sure that you’re doing the best job you possibly can. And I hope that you’re keeping your personas close and your users closer bye bye

This episode of The Drunken UX Podcast brought to you by nuCloud.