Almost two years ago, I decided to get my own virtual server to host websites. At that time, shared hosting was OK for certain clients, but other clients were having some issues that are common with shared hosting – emails being blacklisted and slow website loading times, to name two. I did a good bit of research and decided to rent a “managed” virtual server. This server would be located in Texas and be managed for me, but what I thought “managed” meant and what it actually meant lead to a good deal of frustration and stress on my end. I didn’t know that at the time, though, so I plunged ahead, set up the server, then started migrating clients to my server. Over the next year, I’d migrate about 40 websites to my server.
Things were going relatively smoothly, until I had my first issue and my server went down. There was a brute-force attack on my server (a group of computers just banged on the “door” of my server trying to hack into it and, while they didn’t succeed in breaking into my server, they hogged all of the resources and effectively shut my server down). This wasn’t a targeted attack on my server, specifically; it happens all the time in the website world. But the difference was that I was the one responsible for dealing with these attacks and getting my server back online after it went down. This attack happened late at night and I was up late working with the company that hosts my server to fix the issue. This was just the beginning. Because I hosted email on my server, I’d get requests to reduce spam, fix email issues, reset passwords, etc. None of these requests are abnormal, but I hadn’t thought about this kind of thing when I decided to host websites.
Running a server basically meant that I was doing way more tech support-type things than I wanted to. I love to develop websites and I thought offering hosting would be an easy way to help my clients get their businesses online without having to deal with a third party hosting company. It turns out hosting a website is way more involved than I ever thought. Hindsight is 20/20, right?