Moving further into the cloud

August 4, 2010 by in category Texo Blog with 4 and 0

This weekend we’re going to begin the process of migrating our shared hosting clients onto a new hosting platform. For the past three months, I’ve been developing, testing and refining an advanced shared hosting system which runs on CloudLinux, uses Nginx as a frontend to Apache, together with many other tweaks and additions to ensure that your website is stable and performs even better, without costing you more or requiring you to upgrade to a VPS.

CloudLinux?

CloudLinux is a new Operating System (OS) based on CentOS. The OS is the software used to run a server, exactly like Windows or Mac OS X is used to run your PC. The advantage of moving to CloudLinux is that it solves one of the biggest challenges of shared hosting: ensuring that a few heavy users don’t degrade the experience for everyone else by hogging the server’s resources.

“At its core, CloudLinux was developed to ‘crash proof’ shared hosting infrastructure providing increased stability and infrastructure reliability.
CloudLinux CEO and founder Igor Seletskiy

Shared hosting, by its very nature, means that your All-in-One or Shared Reseller accounts have to share the server’s CPU and RAM with every other account on the server. If one or more accounts start using more than their fair share, either because they’re seeing a spike in visitors or because of badly-coded scripts (like a dodgy WordPress or Joomla plugin) or for many other reasons, then this can slow the entire server down, cause it to stop serving webpages or even crash.

CloudLinux overcomes this problem with its innovative Lightweight Virtual Environment™ (LVE) technology which isolates and limits resources to a specific process or account and creates a separation between websites on a shared server to prevent one website from affecting its neighbours.

Each hosting account runs in its own “virtual server” and cannot be affected by any other account on the server. This ensures that you will always get your fair share of the server’s resources and also means, for example, that 20 Apache processes serving a heavy site will use the same amount of CPU as one Apache process serving a smaller site.

Nginx?

Nginx is the super-fast webserver which powers sites like FaceBook, WordPress.com and our very own WordPress MAX servers. Our new CloudLinux shared hosting platform has Nginx installed as a proxy in front of Apache.

This means that when serving your webpages, Nginx will serve all the static files (images, CSS, javascript, html files etc) and will pass on requests for dynamic pages (like PHP pages) to Apache.

Nginx is lightning fast at serving static files, and uses very little of the server’s resources (CPU and RAM) which means that Apache has less work to do, and more resources to do it with. The biggest problem with Apache is that it is a memory hog, and loads up the entire PHP environment even when serving a static file.

This change means that the server requires far less resources to do the same work, and this should result in snappier, far more responsive sites, especially if you’re using a CMS like WordPress with a caching plugin, or if your site is entirely static and doesn’t use PHP.

Other changes

Texo’s CloudLinux hosting platform will also fully support R1Soft Continuous Data Protection (CDP). CDP makes a backup of your entire hosting account (including all website files, emails and databases) every hour, and stores two weeks’ worth of hourly backups. This means that should disaster strike, or if you accidentally delete anything on your account, we will be able to restore your entire account, or only a single file or database, from any point within the past two weeks.

CDP will be made available to existing clients, once they’ve been migrated to the new CloudLinux platform, at a reduced launch price.

The new CloudLinux servers will also have better security measures in place, including stricter ModSecurity rules, automated malware scans and a few other measures designed to keep your website safe from hackers which we won’t be announcing publicly.

Next step

The first server to be migrated to the new hosting platform is Spring. Starting late Friday (6 August 2010) night, all the All-in-One hosting packages (not the All-in-One PLUS or All-in-One PRO packages) will be migrated to the new platform, and we expect the move to be completed by Sunday night. There will be no downtime, and your site will be thoroughly tested before and after the move to ensure that it functions correctly.

Your website’s IP address will change, so if you’re using the server’s IP address in your email software for the POP and SMTP server settings, you will need to change this to mail.<yourdomain>.co.za
If you currently have your FTP software set to connect to the server’s IP address, you will need to change this to <yourdomain>.co.za

If you don’t know if your website is hosted on Spring or not, please log into your Client Area, click on My Products and Services and then View Details to see which server your website is hosted on.

All-in-One PLUS and All-in-One PRO accounts have been discontinued, and will be replaced by our new All-in-One MultiSite package. Once your All-in-One PLUS or All-in-One PRO account has been converted to a MultiSite account, it will be migrated to a CloudLinux server.

If you are planning changes to your website this weekend, have launched an advertising campaign, or have any other reason why you would prefer not to have your website migrated this weekend, please send an email to support@texo.co.za so that we can exclude your website from this weekend’s migration.

Comments or questions? Please post them below.

4 Comments

  • Crosby
    on August 4, 2010 Reply

    Looks and sounds awesome – be in touch soon..:)

  • Ant101
    on August 4, 2010 Reply

    Awesome changes Steve!
    Best of luck with all the migration this weekend and hope the silver lining is worth it.

    • Steve Venter
      on August 4, 2010 Reply

      Thanks, Ant – it’s going to be a very busy weekend, but we’ve prepared for the first migration very thoroughly so it should be smooth sailing all the way…

  • Stuart
    on August 11, 2010 Reply

    Sounds great, there is no reason for me to believe that it won’t be an improvement all around. I
    look forward to see the changes. Thanks for the great service that you provide.

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