This afternoon, I was in the process of trying to set up a new Google Hosted Apps account when I discovered something had changed. Apparently, Google is selecting people at random to try out a new verification method. In the past, your choices were:
Add a new CNAME record to your DNS zone file
Upload an HTML file to your server
Add a meta tag to your home page and/or site template
The other day, I was talking with my friend Aaron (@riddlebrothers) about all of the various e-mail addresses we have and how we use them. At one point, after discussing the virtues of using Yahoo! Mail, I mentioned that the e-mail addresses I have hosted on my own servers are often unreliable. I told him that I rarely give out anything but my Yahoo! e-mail address, because a lot of messages get lost in cyberspace with my other accounts.
He asked me if I had looked into using Google Apps for my domain-based e-mail services. I honestly hadn’t thought about it before (in fact, I made a post a while back about how strange it was that everyone was moving to Gmail). However, his suggestion made sense. Following are some of the advantages I see in moving your e-mail over to Google Apps:
Rackspace, one of the leading managed, dedicated Web server hosts in the world, experienced a rather major power outage at their Dallas-Fort Worth (TX, USA) data center.
Around 4:15 this afternoon, our Web site at work (which is hosted by Rackspace) stopped responding to requests (at first, I was a little freaked out, because I was running a back-up and thought maybe something had gone awry). I then tried visiting the MyRackspace customer portal to submit a support ticket, and found that it was not responding, either.
I called our point of contact and asked him to look into it. Around 4:40, our Web server was back up and running. Rackspace, however, was still down for a while longer.
Rackspace is keeping customers updated on their blog. At this point, they are saying that everything is back online.
For the last two weeks, Rackspace has been performing tests, upgrades and maintenance to their back-up power utilities because of “anomalies” they’ve encountered. I wonder if this power outage was a result of those anomalies, a result of the upgrades, maintenance and testing or if it was completely unrelated.
When you are looking for a new hosting account, it can be extremely tempting to look at some of the very inexpensive packages that claim to be “unlimited.” For the most part, they are telling the truth. While some hosts still arbitrarily restrict the amount of bandwidth or server space you utilize, others have moved on to limiting other resources that are not even mentioned when viewing the “details” of their hosting plans. In those cases, as long as you are not taxing the server resources (memory, CPU, etc.) terribly, you can use up as much space and bandwidth as you want.
However, the one big gotcha you have to watch out for is the “inode” limit. Of the four popular hosts I examined (three of which are offering “unlimited” plans), none of them mentioned any limits (other than the bandwidth and space limits mentioned on Penguin Hosting’s page) on their “details” pages. From the “details” pages, all of them appear to be offering something too good to be true. In fact, they are; but you have to examine their terms of service in order to find out what the limits really are.
I recently had occasion to consider whether to use XML files or a traditional database when constructing a Web-based application at work. It took a lot of careful consideration and research to decide which way I was going to go.
In the end, I chose to use XML files, and I will explain why.