Tag Archives: webfaction

Ditching Webfaction for a Linode VPS

A few months back I moved our websites off of Pair.com to Webfaction in search of better performance.

I still haven’t cancelled my account with Pair, but I’m already planning on leaving webfaction. The performance is there, the reliability is less than I’d like.

Our sites were down for something around 12 hours a few months back. I couldn’t even get to their support website to file a trouble-ticket and I never saw any explanation or even acknowledgement of the problem. More often, I’ll get a “bad gateway” error because the backend apache server running my sites failed and hadn’t restarted yet. This has hit my wife particularly hard because it keeps happening in the middle of writing posts for her blog, and she’s lost work.

So, I’m going to get a virtual private server from Linode.com. I avoided this in the first place because I didn’t want to deal with system administration, but truth is, it isn’t going to be that much work, and its going to be more expensive. The upside is that I’ll have complete control to tweak things.

Update: Shortly after posting this, someone at Webfaction saw my post and emailed me, offering to help with the bad-gateway problem.  I’ve been giving it a try.  It seems potentially better, but it has eats more aggressively into my memory allocation.  We also went back and forth about the downtime I had at the end of may, but I still don’t have an explanation I’m satisfied with.  I am satisfied though that they are going to make their support offering more robust.  I’ll see how it goes.  I’d already paid for a month of service at Linode, so I’ve been tinkering with getting a VPS set up to see how it performs.

Webfaction beats Pair.com

It’s going to take a while to cut-over, but I just flipped the switch on moving this blog from being hosted on pair.com, to being hosted on webfaction.  This comes after spending a bunch of my weekend one December trying to optimize things on my old host.

I already see a big performance improvement. Webfaction’s server finishes processing a page in about the same amount of time as pair’s server spends just loading up WordPress. Most of this is down to the fact that webfaction uses eaccelerator, a PHP opcode cache so that it doesn’t have to spend as much time parsing the wordpress code on every view.

Webfaction also has their webserver set up to automatically compress responses so they download quicker. I’d gotten this going on Pair, but it required some plugins for dynamic pages and some rewrite rules and scripts to serve precompressed javascript and stylesheets. The new arrangement is simpler. There are fewer things to break and fewer steps required when I install an update.

Pair has been really reliable for what is closing in on a decade. We’ll see how Webfaction does, but they have a good reputation, and they did well with a little experimental site I tried a year ago.

I’m going to see how this goes for a few days, if there are no red flags, I’ll move our other blogs over. Then I have to figure out what to do with Pair, they just automatically renewed my service for another year at the beginning of the month.