Jul 212012

The rsync utility has a lot of great uses, such as keeping servers in sync with one another, but sometimes you want it to run unattended. So how do you securely and automatically sync between servers?

Because rsync and ssh work so well together, it’s easy to set up an encrypted, rsync-only link. There are a few different pieces that have to be put in place, so be sure to follow along closely.

First, understand that the method I’m describing is a “pull” rather than a “push”. The backup server connects to the production server to pull the most recent copies of the files. I prefer this method because it reduces the attack surface of the backup servers – they don’t need to accept ssh or rsync connections. They only need to connect to ssh on the production servers. The production servers are also well protected from outside/malicious ssh connections, as you’ll see below.

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Nov 202011

I have read rumors that certain shared web hosting providers assign more than 1,000 users to each of their servers. This implies that the servers will be grossly overworked and the service will be slow. However, you never really know what you’re going to get with a new host, because such numbers are never published. You won’t see the sales pages for Godaddy and Dreamhost list service descriptions as One 8-core Opteron processor, 16GB memory and one 2TB hard drive with 2,000 user accounts per server. Unfortunately you won’t find anything like that on AN Hosting’s pages either, but I did a little sleuthing and have more details for you.

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Aug 142011

AN Hosting recently relocated to a Seattle datacenter. As part of this process, my site is now running on a much more modern server (AMD Opteron 6100-series Magny Cours vs. Intel Xeon 5400-series Harpertown).

Unfortunately, a new server and new install can mean software changes. AN Hosting has tightened up the security settings on PHP. Better security is always a good thing, but it means the Drupal command line utility drush no longer works out of the box. (For those that don’t know drush – please give it a chance. It provides near foolproof Drupal core/module/theme upgrades as well as command-line control of your Drupal sites.)

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Jan 042011

I have been using AN Hosting since November 2010 to host this Drupal site. Finding a responsible shared hosting provider was certainly not an easy task. There are a staggering number of hosts available, along with a huge number of rather questionable “review” websites. I was forced to come up with a list of hosting providers that seemed decent and then individually research them one-by-one. I’m hoping that my experience and real-world performance/uptime report will be useful to others.

This post was last updated 2011-11-20

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