From managed to VPS

I spent most of last year re-learning javascript properly and getting used to working with node.js. As my experiments with node come closer and closer to looking like production-grade web apps, I've run into a problem: my current web hosting service plan won't allow me to install custom apps.

The only solution is to move to a more node-friendly host, or switch to a virtual private server hosting plan. I didn't find a node friendly host that gave me the freedom I wanted - specifically, I knew I still wanted to be able to use the LAMP stack for some of my domains and run others from node instances. Moving to a VPS seemed like the logical choice.

I have been running an SSH proxy, LAMP, and file server off an old Celeron desktop PC I've kept in a closet for the last five years. It's been running one version or another of the Ubuntu Server LTS without complaint or major issue, so moving my production hosting plan over to a VPS isn't that intimidating an exercise.

In the last 48 hours I have:

  • reconfigured sshd for extra security
  • disabled root login
  • reconfigured iptables
  • set up a node-http-proxy script as reverse proxy to direct traffic to node apps or apache as necessary, dpendent on the subdomain/domain queried
  • built node from source
  • installed and configured apache, mysql, and php
  • installed and configured a ghost instance (this blog!)

Done exclusively through the command line, since the VPS hosting package I'm using doesn't include the convenience of a web frontend like cpanel.

I regret that I don't have a complete email solution put together yet but frankly it's not a high priority at the moment. I don't use more than a couple custom domain emails and those special cases are all forwarded to a gmail account.