Ok, I finally bit the bullet and signed up for a slicehost.com account. For those of you unfamiliar with SliceHost, it is not your typical shared hosting site. You get a bare virtual server to start, with root access, that you can actually both hard and soft reboot. For anyone doing development, it’s a huge win because you can get right in there and muck around with anything you want, from enabling ports to setting Apache’s configuration. And you get guaranteed amounts of cycles. So far, I’m very impressed. It’s wicked fast (as we say in Boston) even though I only have a 256 meg entry-level slice. You can upgrade at any time and the prices for a dedicated server are really, really good compared to the other providers – only $20/month for the minimum level slice.
And so far, support has been good. This may be due to the fact that there aren’t that many customers on it yet, but I was pleasantly surprised to log into the support chat room yesterday (a Saturday) and find one of SliceHost’s developers in the room. He answered my question quickly and with a minimum of questions. How refreshing! I also had occasion to use the support email line, and got a fast answer to a really stupid mistake on my part (duh). You see, I’m a born-again linux newbie. That’s because I’ve been away from unix-style development for literally decades. It’s really fun to be back in it again, and things have come so far in the intervening years! Software like aptitude that can intelligently install *and* uninstall packages right from the command line is great. And it’s so refreshing to work on a system that is, at its base, so simple. Take apache, for instance. All the configuration is right in one text file. No screwing around with dialogs that go 5 levels deep for IIS. It’s all right there. And with PHP, you just plop the files in the right directory and they get executed, no searching for hours for the right dialog option to turn on to get the server to process scripts.
Yes, it’s a lot of fun being back in unix-land again. I think I’m going to like it!!