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Finding a new web host / game host

June 21, 2008 Author: Lasher Category: Game Admin 14 Comments →

It’s time to find a new host. Our contract on the T1 expires in August. At the time we originally bought the T1 in 2003 the hosting situation was terrible. Mudservices had just gone under. We were at a point where standard server specs at the time struggled to keep up with the MUD so we needed to jump on every hardware upgrade at exorbitant prices.

It also seemed like a great idea to have the server right there, if anything went wrong with it there would be no waiting for a tech somewhere to decide to take a look. It was a great idea then, but now, having a 4 year old, I’m away a lot more. If you’re away for the weekend there’s no tech you can call to take a look at a server problem.

Then let’s look at the weather. In 2004 we were down for 2 full weeks after Hurricane Charley because power was out across most of Orlando. We would have been down again for 8 days then 5 days if we hadn’t temporarily moved the server to a backup provided by Dale at Wolfpaw. Anyone watching US news this year knows it has been a crazy weather season already.

For both security and performance reasons, I refuse to run anything but the MUD itself on the server itself. Because of this, we require multiple servers. This is main reason I didn’t go with hosting last time the contract came up for renewal - it gets expensive. We’ve reached a point where the machine specs you get for the price means we can get 2 more than adequate servers for not much more than the T1 cost, so that’s another reason to move ahead.

So, the server is moving. I’ve spent a lot of time researching web hosts, reading forum posts and got it narrowed down to LiquidWeb and SoftLayer. (Sidenote: if you ever have to do this, ignore the “top 10 host” type sites, they’re worthless. They’re all paid links and the highest bidder goes to #1). Players have been pinging these providers on and off and, in terms of ping times, they’re both about even. They’re also generally both much more responsive than the current link which makes sense; a fully redundant data center should beat a single T1.

As we’re going with two servers anyway, and the MUD / Website already run on different domains (Aardwolf.com and Aardmud.org) I’m going to get one server with each of these providers - one for web, builders/test ports, email and the second for the live MUD server itself. This means there should never be a time when both the website and the mud are unreachable. Moving the test ports in the next week or so and we’ll see how that goes…