What a lovely surprise! A T-shirt arrived in the post from the folks at Gandi.net
Gandi are the company that provide all my domain names and server hosting for work and play, including the hardware behind this blog. I've been using them since 2009 and they've always super. If you need domain names or hosting, I can recommend them with confidence.
They are always improving things and the side effect is small errors on the web site admin interface. Mostly, that means they've forgotten to translate a French word into English (eg, it displays Serveur instead of Server). One of the recent improvements to their web site was to allow a table of information to show how much memory each of my servers was allocated, but it was showing the maximum amount that could be allocated. A small error, but as always I sent an email with the details. Not only did they fix it and say thanks, they sent me a Gandi T-shirt in the post. Nice :-)
Speaking of Gandi, they are always improving things. Today, I've just been switched to their new IaaS platform (Infrastructure as a Service). The previous platform style was to have VPS (Virtual Private Server) shares. So my one rackspace dedicated server back in 2009 became 8 Shares of their VPS platform (actually, the VPS had more power, but could be scaled up and down on demand). Over time they've increased the power. Couple that with some software improvements to my web sites and yesterday I was running on 2 VPS shares (which I had set as two servers) with a little extra memory as an extra and a 'SimpleHost' instance. Hosting is a lot cheaper today then I when I first moved to Gandi.
The new IaaS allows a more fine grained control of the resources allocated to my virtual servers. On the old platform if I needed more than one processor it would have to come with more disk space. Now I can just allocate more processors, or more memory, or more disk, all independently. The change also means they'll be charging me less for the same resource as before. So it's still a virtual server, it just costs less.
The other new feature is a 'web accelerator'. I haven't played with this yet, but I think it will work like a Varnish Cache in front of my servers so that pages can be delivered faster with no alteration to the servers themselves. That will also mean I can reduce the power of the server and save more money.
This blog is hosted on the 'SimpleHost' platform they offer and has been since November last year. Essentially that's a virtual server that they set up and control and has a lot of restrictions on what software will run on it, which version, and so on. Its other restriction is that it can only process two simultaneous requests at a time (on the cheapest package that I have) but that really isn't a problem. As the pages don't change very often, the built in varnish cache has probably delivered the page your reading so the server never even got the request, and there's no limit or delay in responses from the cache. Here's a quick fact: In the last hour 73% of the requests that reached the server were robots or spammers trying to post. Even then, there are nowhere near enough of these to block both processes to real users. I have other web sites on the simplehost server as well as this blog (just like you would a virtual server) and for the simple sites simplehost is great.