Autarchy of the Private Cave

Tiny bits of bioinformatics, [web-]programming etc

    Which Hosting Control Panel to use for a Debian server?

    27th September 2008

    To cut the long story short: for the final evaluation, I had this line of control panels:

    SysCP: looks good to me (though demo isn’t functional), has customer billing module. Unsure as to where it is used, but most probably sponsors are also the users of SysCP. Majority of support forums are in German.

    DTC: has no demo, only some screenshots. Has a set of packages for Debian lenny (which is a huge plus for maintenance and future upgrades). DTC is being developed by GPLHost, and is also used by GPLHost – so this is a live (used) distribution. Seems quite feature-rich.

    Virtualmin claims to be the “world’s most powerful and flexible web server control panel”. Virtualmin offers 4 means to control it: Web, mobile device, command line, and remote API. There are both screenshots and demo. Has both GPL and Professional versions. GPL version has a number of limitations, comparing to Pro version. From what I’ve read about Webmin (all three – Virtualmin, Webmin, Usermin – are just different “layers” of server control), it is a framework with a number of “interface scripts”, which allow to control various services. As such, it is easily extendible, but is not monolithic – in the sense of module inter-dependencies and action triggers.

    RavenCore was a promising CP.

    GNUPanel is a year-old control panel, but has a news item on the front page (dated August, 17) promising new, completely rewritten release somewhere in October. By the feature list, looks promising. However, I need the panel right now, and even in October, that will be quite a rough release, not really used/tested anywhere, so not a good option as well. But GNUPanel is a panel to check in half a year for progress.

    As the final choice, I had ISPConfig (which seems to be the best by people’s comments), and which is also quite widely used, and is easy to install onto Debian (at least the Perfect setup: Debian Etch says so), and DTC. I discarded Virtualmin (for the poor functionality of the GPLed version), RavenCore (for the lack of current descriptions and non-functioning demo), GNUPanel (which just isn’t ready yet), and SysCP (because ISPConfig seems better ;) ).

    As DTC has Debian packages (and will be easier to maintain/upgrade), I decided to try it first. I already have it installed (that’s easy, esp. if you first read the DTC Debian Express Setup). Later I might post my impressions from using DTC.

    Update: DTC is indeed easy and pleasant to use. I had problems allowing FTP and SSH access using MySQL authorization, but at least FTP was an easy one to fix (SSH access with MySQL authorization is still unconfigured, but that’s a low priority for me). There is a minor concern about the files and directory permissions setup, but thanks to chrooted environment that is only minor concern. Use of a single Apache installation for hosting admin and serving user sites might be a sub-optimal decision, but it works. Traffic and disk space accounting are plain superb! Server memory use for the dtc-toaster installation is troublesome, but for a powerful RAM-my server that is not a problem (I now have about 800-900MiB RAM occupied, but that includes the XCache’s cache, quite big MySQL cache, and loads of Apache and PHP modules).

    But I’m still willing to try other control panels. As I expected, GNUPanel hasn’t released anything yet; Ravencore‘s online demo is still unfunctional; ISPConfig has recently released RC (and their demo is working as it should and as it used to); SysCP is also up and running fast. If my little hosting service starts pouring in some cash, then I’ll try SysCP on my second server – to compare it with DTC, and choose one of them for further support/extension/localization.

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    Posted in *nix, Notepad, Software, Web | 17 Comments »

    AN Hosting affiliate program

    31st March 2008

    I have just joined AN Hosting Affiliate Program – you can tell by the new link in Web Hosting section in the right sidebar, and by the real huge banner on the blog hosting page (so huge actually that it won’t fit completely with smaller resolutions like 1024×768 and less). I do not yet know if this affiliate program is worth the trouble, but I did find good feedback for their hosting on Drupal forums (here and here and search for more), so that really was the initial reason to put the links to them.

    I would be interested in AN Hosting feedback, as I do plan to try their services one day.

    P.S. A Small orange (direct link) also has lots of positive feedback.

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    Posted in Affiliate programs, Links, Web | No Comments »

    GoDaddy: undocumented 20-second CPU time maximal execution limit? (python, ELF, etc)

    16th October 2007

    Today, setting up a relatively serious (in CPU resources needed) web-system, I ran into a weird problem of python scripts ending prematurely. After some investigation, it looked like any process which uses up more than 20 seconds of CPU time, is automatically killed. To verify this, I wrote an infinite loop in C,

    int main () {
    unsigned int i;

    for (i = 0; i < 2 ; i++ ) { i = 0; } return 0; } [/c] compiled it and executed several times on the GoDaddy shared hosting server. I did observe the program running for the maximum of 20 seconds of CPU time, not a second more. Please note, that 20 seconds of CPU time can be much more of “real” time, if the script isn’t using 100% of CPU, which often the case for shared hosting. Thus if you have in your php.ini max_execution_time set to, say, 60 seconds, your php script may actually execute as long as one minute; but I’m pretty sure that if your script has lots of CPU-intensive procedures, then as soon as it uses 20 seconds of CPU time, it will be terminated (however, this statement still needs checking – anyone?). To verify, I also created a cron job with the same file. It ran for 30 seconds CPU time. Strangely, this behaviour is not documented anywhere. This limit may also explain a number of other problems, if you have heavy web-applications: they just might be killed before they are finished, causing errors. I do understand the reason for this limitation, and am sure similar limitations exist in other shared hosting environments. The only important thing here is that this limit should have been documented and even put upfront somewhere in the hosting plans descriptions. I also wonder if the limit is the same for all godaddy shared hosting plans, or if it differs. 20 seconds when executed from PHP, and 30 seconds when executed as a cron job were observed on the Deluxe Linux Hosting plan. Extensions, additions and comments are welcome.

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    Posted in *nix, Misc, Programming, Web | 22 Comments »

    GoDaddy shared hosting: too slow?

    12th March 2007

    Note: have a look at other hosting options.

    Update 7: I’m now quite satisfied with page generation times. See other updates at the end of the post and comments to find out more.
    Update 8: this blog is not at godaddy anymore for the reasons which have nothing to do with speed.

    I’m currently using GoDaddy shared hosting plan. I noticed that my blog, as it grows in popularity and visitors, displays a wide range of page-response times. The best I had seen so far was below 3 seconds of page generation time (note: _not_ page loading, but page generation). If it were the average, I would be happy. However, much more frequently observed times are in range of 20-30 seconds per page. Sometimes pages even timeout, as my uptime tracker service is reporting (For February, there were 100 minutes of unresponsive pages, for March – already over 10 hours!!!).

    For example, today around 16:00 GMT the following statistics were reported by my blog:

    22 queries.
    33.416 seconds.

    Evidently, this is unacceptably slow.
    Read the rest of this entry »

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    Posted in Misc, Web | 56 Comments »