Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Managing services as cheaply as possible

Okay. After paying $120/mo for a co-located server at a local datacenter, and after the server crashed, it was finally time to simplify and lower the costs. I started migrating services to cheap or free replacements while I checked the hardware to see if I could ressurect it, and ended up leaving services to reduce costs. And here is what I have come up with :

  1. I moved the registrar to a cheaper registrar (Register.com thinks they are the end-all solution, but are more trouble than they are worth - I even had to fight to be able to transfer my domains from them, because a couple of times they refused to transfer them).

    This did a few things for me:

    Using the GoDaddy "park domain" option while the actual hardware was checked introduced me to their "Total DNS" tool in the domain manager, which allowed me to control the A, CNAME, MX, etc records and point the mail to another service.

    (B) This allowed me to resurrect services a little at a time without the original name servers in place.

  2. Next I set up a free mail service and pointed the MX records over there. It's called "Google". They actually have a Google Apps for Businesses that utilizes mail, calendars, sites, etc., and it's a handy tool to have. They have instructions there. Cool thing - you end up using a gmail interface, or an IMAP client (or POP), and it's free.

  3. After this, I had basic services running for keeping the site, and thought I should explore the option of NOT co-locating the server (the co-location agreement kept me sitting at 5Gb/week for bandwidth, too), and started checking out virtual server options. I ended up settling on a VPSLink.com "Link 2" virtual host for the website (it's a small one, 128Mb RAM, 5Gb disk space, 0.5 CPU [Xen], with better bandwidth). It's perfect for a small website that isn't visited often. The cost for a "Link 2" option was $140 - for a year. I will upgrade at some point to the next level, but it will still be a cheaper option by far.
My costs have been reduced from $1,473.00 per year (registrar and co-location costs alone, not including management costs), to approximately $148.00 per year. What's not to like about that?

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