On new unmanaged Linode server and loving it

Posted on Wednesday, October 24th, 2012

After 5 years at the same hosting company and finally being fed up with random downtime, slow performance, and limited server offering (AuraDev), I finally cut the cord and went to an unmanaged server at Linode. The setup and migration took less than a day, and it felt great to be able to set up a completely blank Ubuntu installation and have total control. Linode had excellent instructions that showed me how to install and secure my LAMP stack and set up my domain names, and I took the knowledge I'd gained this past year setting up dozens of Drupal/WordPress sites to migrate my databases and codebases to the new server. I dumped all my databases and imported them in without a hitch, tested to make sure my websites worked (had to troubleshoot via Google and then manually configure the mod_rewrite for Apache to get the Clean URLs working), then took a deep breath and repointed the nameservers. It. Was. Cool. Cool, relatively speaking that is. Got git working, so now I can track changes I make to this theme and other web projects-- and get my money's worth for the long-dormant private repositories I pay for. Even though my job right now is pretty difficult, ever changing, and comes with some pretty frustrating challenges, I'm grateful for how much I was able to learn in the past year. I look back at the laundry list of things I've mastered and it makes every struggle worth it. I am now semi-server savvy, both WAMP (uggg) and LAMP stacks. I can create email templates and campaigns with tricky HTML that are cross client compatible. I've created style tiles, logos, and web style guides for clients who started with only a vague idea of what their companies stand for. I've built e-commerce sites, written Drupal custom modules, and gained some considerable expertise in two major CMS's. All in the past year. That's on top of daily practice designing booths, flyers, brochures, business cards, websites, landing pages, and most importantly of all, working with clients and learning what they need, and solving their problems. That has been at once both the most gut-wrenching and most rewarding thing of all about this job. While it'll be nice to move to the product side of things and own what I do (Enableher, Jessica Chan Studios, my design course idea, and more...), I think working with clients teaches some invaluable lessons about empathy, patience, understanding, and communication. Can you tell I just love to learn??? :) Back to Linode: Can't wait to eventually get Ruby and Node.JS on this thing. And it's SO MUCH FASTER. I no longer have to see my javascript-hidden DIVs flash before my eyes for 2 seconds before the page finally finishes loading. I've been talking to more and more people about Enableher again, and I'm just about ready to give it another go, this time focusing more on single stories and less on trying to get recurring writers. I think the stories took a dip in quality when I tried to push for the same model we use at DailyStrength. I know it's hard for me to get started sometimes, but I do know that once I do I usually get obsessive and can launch within a week or two of starting. That's what happened last time. What's exciting is, I know so much more than I did a year ago, so I'm hoping that v2 of Enableher is going to be so much more excellent. I learned so much from the first launch, so I'm excited to start again.