Holy crap it has been a long, interesting week. As you probably figured from the title of this post, my new dedicated server is now up and running. After a long time doing research and researching software, I had finally settled on a configuration I liked and went and bought my Mac Mini. The Mini was shipped out on Monday and it arrived in Wisconsin at Mac Mini Vault‘s datacenter. It arrived around 9AM and was up and running within 30 minutes of arrival. The compilation and configuration of all of the software wasn’t too difficult, and the configuration of the system for colocation was even easier. Overall, the most painful part was fitting the address of the datacenter onto the FedEx shipping label.

While we are on the subject of web servers, I would like to take this time to talk about some awesome software and services that have saved me a ton of cash.

The first, is Pingdom. Pingdom offers a free service for monitoring web server uptime, and has the bonus feature of also pinging the server to provide uptime. Setting up Pingdom to monitor a server is super easy, all you need to do is tell it the IP address of the server and you’re good. Pingdom has iPhone and Android applications for monitoring your web servers uptime easily, and it will even notify you if your server is down from those apps. (This is convenient because the free service only offers a total of 20 text message alerts before you must buy more)

iStat app monitoring my web server's statistics

The second, is iStat. iStat offers a remote view of your server statistics such as load, memory usage, hard disk usage, network usage, temperature, fan speed, and uptime. Setting up iStat is extremely easy. All you need to do is download the iStat server module (this is a version for Linux as well as OS X) and run it. (Linux server must be compiled.) From there, iStat server will run at system boot. Once you have downloaded the server, just purchase the iStat monitoring app from the iPhone app store and link the phone to the iStat server by entering the passcode. $1.99 for this functionality is a steal. Seriously. (If you don’t have an iPhone you won’t be able to use iStat.)

I have even set up a remote backup solution leveraging Amazon’s S3 service and a script for automatically backing up to it. To say the least, I feel really accomplished. Running my own web server has always been something I’ve wanted to do, and now I am doing it. The best part, is that I am going it properly.

Go me!

At the beginning of this week, I mentioned the benefits of a dedicated server. One of those benefits I mentioned was speed. I have noticed that the website now loads a lot faster. On LaughingSquid, the website loaded a bit slow due to the slowness of accessing a hard drive from a cloud environment. On this dedicated server my website loads super fast, I underestimated how fast it would really be. I am happy that everything is working.

I will blog some more later on, probably Saturday. Tomorrow Levi and I are going to hang out with some friends at a bar so I won’t have a lot of time that night to blog. Its going to be my first bar experience over the age of 21, so I am kind of excited but I don’t really know what to expect. We will see.