Getting out of the hosting business

Posted on Jul 25, 2006

Let’s see:

  • IMAP server, check.
  • SMTP with TLS, check.
  • HTTP, with PHP, etc., check.
  • Wordpress, check.
  • WEBDAV, check.
  • Spamassassin with Vipul’s Razor, check.
  • MySql, check.

Yup, everything seems to be working after my server’s upgrade to Dapper.

But, I wonder, why am I doing this? Providing email, web, etc. services for a people is something that has mostly “just happened” over time. Originally it was for my own email, then web, then family, a couple of friends, more family, … Now if the server sitting in my loft goes down I’m running around to avoid inconveniencing a bunch of people.

When this all started it seemed like the only option - there didn’t seem to be a good service provider who had all of the pieces and a clue how to use them. But with offers like this, why am I still running a service?

Of course, it wouldn’t be as flexible, there wouldn’t be as much disk space, some features would be missing, but it would “just work” - no more worries about how hot it is today, whether the backups actually worked, …

I quickly looked at buying some kind of virtual server - the poor man’s version of co-location. It seems that £15 per month is about the cheapest, and then I’d still be the sysadmin. Over three years that would be over £500 - cheaper than building and hosting a machine myself, but more than the $499 Mixed Grill (which is a one-off payment).

Some services would need to stay at home - a couple of hundred gigabytes of storage and flexible telephony are still not easily and cheaply available from an online provider.

Perhaps most importantly, it was interesting to setup and run these things a few years ago. It’s just boring now.

What is everyone else doing?

Now playing: Tout Est Blue by Jean Michel Jarre.