Life is full of new experiences, let’s be honest, it would be a fairly dull time if it wasn’t! With the (still) pending move of this Blog to a new server I have been able to learn how things work on the backend of the Internet. Not the real backend, as in, nodes and relay stations and all that, but the servers which, once the information has been uploaded and installed and they are connected to one another, form the backbone, the life of the Internet. Perhaps we take it all for granted now, since the Internet has been around for a complete generation and some of us, me included, hardly know a time when the Internet wasn’t there in one way or another.
It’s not just a case of putting a bit of software onto a computer, installing it, writing something and then going online. I was amazed, for example, to discover that the average server has a storage space of fifty Gigabytes. How many home computers, laptops and notebooks are on the market today with less than two hundred and fifty? And the question arises, if a server can get by with such a small (!) amount of space, why can’t our home computers do the same?
However, that isn’t what I wanted to write about today, it was merely a passing thought.
I have discovered that the basic size of my Blog, what you are looking at now, when downloaded comes to about one hundred and seventy-five megabytes. Added to that the databank is about fifteen megabytes. Most of my space is taken up with the many photographs that I have stored and linked, a little more than half in fact. And that’s with them compressed.
Now comes the interesting stuff, for me anyway.
To set my Blog up on the new server, which has a different interface to the old server, the webmaster needs to download all the installed files. That itself is not a great problem. Then comes the databank. This gets downloaded and saved as a sql file. But, since it is fifteen megabytes in size, it can’t be uploaded to the new server since the new server only allows a databank upload of eight megabytes. It needs to be packed into a zip file. Also, not a problem.
The downloaded databank file has to be opened first, the command to create a new databank has to be removed, and then it has to be saved again. The new server doesn’t allow the straight creation of a new databank from an imported command. Create new databank, import changed file.
Since the databank is new, all the configuration files have to be changed with new databank names, users and passwords. The new server assigns a databank and user name rather than allowing self-creation. Another down point.
All of this is due to take place tomorrow ready for the new server to come online Saturday afternoon.
Added to which, the mail addresses all have to be recreated.
Then there is the question of where the website, when it comes online again, is. This one, as you will have seen, does not use the www prefix which, these days, is outdated and unnecessary. I want to keep it that way because the many thousands of links to my Blog all point to the site without www. That means that the software needs to be installed outside the www folder already created on the new server. Also not a problem. Except that there is nothing pointing to the www site, which also comes online at the same time: two sites for the price of one! In theory I could produce two completely different sites and have them both online at exactly the same time, one for www and one without www.
That means that we need to create a redirect from the www site, since there are still some people who insist of using www, to the real one. On the new server there is no DNS access, unlike the old server which operated with Plesk 10. So, a script, once the whole is online Saturday afternoon. We have to wait until then because, most annoying, the site once uploaded cannot be seen until the change. There is no preview function on the new server. Likewise, we cannot see if the mailboxes are correctly configured and cannot put all the necessary details – such as return address, sender, address book and so on – in place.
Most annoying for the webmaster is the information he was given by the host. There are no servers with Plesk or php 5.2.3+ available unless he takes a root server, which he doesn’t want. Except: another user near here has confirmed that he has a V server – not root – with Plesk 10.4 and php 5.2.6 … from the same host.
For those of you who are used to all this stuff, who have their own servers or a bit more knowledge of the inner workings than I do, this probably seems all quite normal. For me, though, as an introduction, it was fascinating. Now you know why I am so happy just sitting in front of my small computer and letting other people do all the work!
Still, just a couple more sleeps and we’ll see whether it has all worked or not. Happy 29th everyone!
Love & Kisses, Viki.