For many years now I have been hosting this site henrikfalck.com as well as all the other more or less useful web sites that I run at a company that was called Aleborg Solutions when I started using it, but is now known as Binero. They came highly recommended among web hosting services in Sweden at the time when I signed up with them.
However, as things have changed I have now decided to move all my web activities over to the humongous and well known DreamHost hosting service. Moving it all has been extraordinarily boring, but at least it’s finished now so I can concentrate on making new, fun stuff for the web instead of worrying about my hosting, since I’ve known for about a month that I had to make this move. This three day weekend provided a good opportunity to move things over in stages to prevent a total meltdown of all my sites at the same time (which happened quite a lot when I hosted with Binero). That last remark brings me to why I’m changing to DreamHost. These are the reasons:
1. A more stable hosting service. Binero used to be very good and all, but at some point they just started sucking. This peaked last month when I found all my sites being broken due to changes made by Binero (without informing me in advance) three times in one month. That is just a bit too often for me to tolerate. I’ve had my sites broken by Binero in the past too, but not that often. And once it took them two weeks to fix a simple problem introduced by one of their changes, by which time I had of course already worked around the it.
Binero’s tech support has always been very quick to respond, but usually had some snide, unnecessary remark in the response as well, and usually blamed me for problems caused by them randomly changing stuff. I’ve been a customer with them for a long time, so even if they’ve been telling new customers how to set things up correctly for the last five years, that doesn’t mean I know it automatically without them telling me about it. It’s not good when being a loyal customer is used against you. So I definitely can’t recommend Binero to anyone who’s thinking about getting web hosting somewhere.
Lately they’ve started hyping a new system they call Binero 2.0, which is exactly what I don’t want – even more changes, bound to break stuff if I know Binero correctly. On the other hand, the sysadmin at work has had sites running at DreamHost for many years without any breakage or changes. That kind of stability is what I want. I also like DreamHost’s attitude that you can essentially do whatever you want as long as it’s not a security risk or malicious. Binero on the other hand disabled sftp (encrypted) access, allowing only ftp (unencrypted) access for security reasons, according to their tech support. That is about as stupid as it gets. Besides, they also disabled ssh shell access (of course, unannounced), which is a pain in the ass when you need to fix something quickly, besides being just silly.
2. Better located hosting for faster response times. When I started making web sites I lived in Sweden and most people who accessed the sites were in that area as well, so it made sense to use Sweden-based hosting. Now, however, I live in Japan and most of the people accessing my sites (whatlanguageisthis.com is by far the most accessed one now) are in North America, Japan, or India, as well as from all over Europe with no country in particular standing out. My ping time to my sites on Binero’s servers was 300 ms, but DreamHost has 125 ms ping, which is a very noticeable improvement. DreamHost’s servers are located in California, which is the center of the physical Internet, unlike Sweden, which is about as far out on the fringe as you can get except Russia and Africa. (For example, Internet traffic from Japan to Sweden goes via the US, not via Russia, and all Asian countries are connected via the US west coast.)
3. Get away from Sweden due to FRA. If you don’t know what FRA (“National Defence Radio Establishment”) is, would you believe me if I said that the Swedish government/military intercepts all Internet traffic crossing the border? Hopefully you wouldn’t, since you’re thinking that Sweden is a nice, modern, democratic society that doesn’t need to spy on its citizens nor the Russians, since the Cold War is over by now. Unfortunately, that’s what they’re doing, and Sweden seems to be moving in the wrong direction in many other ways too now when it comes to information privacy. Not nice. Since I’m in Japan, and stupid Binero didn’t allow encrypted access, that meant the FRA could intercept anything I uploaded to my sites. Not that I would upload something sensitive without encrypting it first, but still, it’s just silly. The US is a better place to host web sites, so score one more for DreamHost.
Anyway, that’s the end of this rant. Finally the move is over, and I’m looking forward to not having to wake up and find my sites being broken much often any more. I’ll also be writing more interesting stuff on this blog now that I’ve finished both the moves to a better blogging platform (WordPress instead of Blogger) and hosting service (DreamHost instead of Binero). No need to procrastinate any further now that the boring stuff is done.