On Internet Hosting

How it all began...

I've worked for two ISPs in the past, so at various times, hosting Internet services was no problem at all - I'd either use their infrastructure, or get free colo from them and do it on my own hardware, but in their datacenter. But I quit those jobs long ago...

Mail and DNS

So that was when I moved my mail hosting to Google. I don't regret that at all - other than that I'm letting Google read my mail. But seriously, not having to run my own mail server is so nice. Maybe I'll move it from Google at some point, but not any time soon - especially since I don't even have to pay them anything for it.

I also started using my domain registrar, GoDaddy, to host my DNS. That one's not so easy to justify. I've been hosting domains with GoDaddy for like 10 years, and they've twice now messed things up. Maybe that's not the worst record, but I hold grudges. Once, they transferred several of my domains away from me to the account of one of my jobs - while I got them back, it was a wakeup call that, at least at the time, they were sorta fast and loose with their policies. Then when I cut over to my current web hosting I had to modify DNS to point to the new server, and half their nameservers started returning the new records, and half the old ones. Their support was pretty inept. I got it worked out, but I'm left thinking that they're really not very bright - but free DNS hosting with a domain is still better than having to run my own public DNS servers, right?

Web Hosting

I used to be a Speakeasy customer when they offered residential service. Then they got bought by Megapath, and stopped offering residential service, and I upgraded to a business line. I ran all the services I wanted, including this website, from that line, and it was nice. But it was ADSL and I was paying ~$160/mo for 8mbit/1mbit service - and while it was sure nice having 8 static IPs and permission to run services, I just couldn't justify paying that much for that kind of bandwidth - and after Linda and I moved Comcast was our only option.

So now at home, I'm a Comcast customer. Their service is actually pretty stable and I never notice issues with bandwidth (at least, once they worked things out with Netflix), so I can't complain about that - but I still don't like them as a company. Anyways, I don't pay for business service, and my IP changes often enough that I don't try to run any outbound facing services from it - not to mention that Comcast doesn't allow me to do that under their terms. So, the most that I bother with is running an SSH daemon for remote access.

I had been considering getting an account with one of those Linux container services - Linode, ramnode, etc - but even paying a few bucks a month for what I understood to be pretty bad service seemed like a bad deal - so I never did that (and my site was down because of it).

So, when Google announced an always free tier for their cloud platform, I jumped at it. That's where this site is hosted now, and frankly an f1-micro instance with 30GB of storage and 1GB of monthly egress is pretty great when all you want is a website consisting almost completely of text.

So that's what I'm doing for now - my MX records point at Google, GoDaddy is my registrar and DNS host, GCE runs a VM that hosts this site - and most everything else I care about is in my house. And it doesn't cost me any extra money per month for any of it.