Hosting with a Virtual Private Server

This page links to a commission-paying link for a service I’ve used for years.

You can get web site hosting dirt cheap these days.

If you’re looking at dirt cheap hosting, it’s most probably shared hosting. This means that you’re sharing the server with lots of other sites, and you probably don’t have access to configure any of the services offered to you.

VPS (Virtual Private Server)

If you’re a bit nerdier like me, though, you’ll probably have fun running your own VPS. This is a whole step up from shared hosting – you basically run your own server.

The only catch is that your virtual “server” is sharing the same hardware with a few other virtual “servers”. This virtualisation allows you to run a fully self-contained server, while not paying for using all the hardware.

When I say you get a server, I mean that with a VPS you can:

  • SSH to your server to control it at the command line
  • Fully configure Apache, MySQL through config files, log files, custom timeouts – whatever you want.
  • Guaranteed RAM and CPU cycles.
  • Install git for version control.

Why I went for Servint

I’m not a Linux command line pro. Actually, I felt a bit lost there at the beginning. Instead of going for a blank canvas approach such as Slicehost, I opted for Servint which is a fully managed VPS. This means that if something goes wrong, if I mess up Linux or Apache, their 24/7 support guys will fix it.

Try out Servint if you want more than just shared hosting. The page you’re reading right now was served by that VPS. It takes a bit of server juice to serve all those dynamic pages, especially at peak times.

Get hosted with Servint VPS hosting (affiliate link).

Sweet. CMS+Blog on WordPress

To set up WordPress for both CMS and Blog:

  1. Create a Page and call it “Home”. This is your default home page.
  2. Create a Page and call it “Blog”. This will show in /blog/.
  3. In Settings/Reading,
  4. Set to show “Home” as the static page for Pages
  5. Set “Blog” as the static page for Posts.
  6. In Settings/Permalinks, change the “Common” rule to /blog/%postname%.
  7. Ta da! Your pages will be created as mysite.com/page/ and your blog posts will appear in mysite.com/blog/post/.

After 7 years of using handmade PHP pages on LearnIrishGaelic.com, I finally moved the site over to a WordPress installation.

What this means is that I have one of the most mature web application at my fingertips. Adding a new page no longer means creating a new PHP page, and worrying about how to update my navigation menus.

What’s better, I read Brian Yerkes writing about how to use WordPress both as a CMS and Blog. This means that the main part of your site can be static pages, while WordPress still handles /blog/ as a blogging application. Follow the settings above to get your own CMS powered by WordPress, while having a blog section.

Taking doubt out of the checkout process

PNG learn-irish-gaelic
[PNG]: http://www.learnirishgaelic.com/teachme/

Handing your hard-earned cash to to an online vendor can be hard to decide on, especially if it’s a small site you’re not familiar with. I’m always highly suspect of a site promising to ship something out to me.

So I was thinking about how to optimise the visitor’s process on LearnIrishGaelic.com where I sell some language learning software.

I’ve made a small change online. Instead of guessing when you’ll receive your order (“within 10 days”), I’ve added “Next dispatch date” and “Your order will be delivered by…” date to the shipping information.

Hopefully just another small bit of information that will help you decide to splash out on a learn-at-home Irish language product 😉