Server build!

I had spent almost a week trying to get this site to work. I desperately needed a new blog site, at my last check I had like 4 different blog sites (teaching, development, personal, the development I didn't want students to find) and it was driving me crazy. I try to make it a rule that whenever I build a site I try something new, so I went searching for a good CMS framework to build around.

That's when I found Grav. It uses a twig, markdown, scss and a filesystem instead of DB. It also has a truly beautiful admin panel:

Grav CMS example
Look at it, beautiful

I built the template pretty quickly, abused a lot of the default options since it was pretty nice looking already. It only took about 3 hours until I was ready to push it to my server. But it took me 4 days.

It was here that I gave up on trying to make my server work. To be honest, I had been having trouble with the shared hosting for years, but always just found work arounds. I didn't have much control over it, so things like PDO were disabled, I couldn't alter many settings, my https was always just being a shit and my FTP constantly dropped out. Plus I couldn't really do anything fun with it? I really wanted to play around with node.js online, and that wasn't going to happen on this plan.

Wait... if I got a virtual private server... I could just... do whatever I want...

Mind freak

I had been avoiding this for a while. VPS cost something like an arm and a leg, the company I was already with was asking 100+ per month for a window box and windows was all I knew. However, a couple of big vps providers had new servers in singapore, and that was close enough to get some decent speeds out of. Sure, it was linux, but I needed to learn at some point. It was time to get my hands dirty.

I bought a server at linode, and excited at the prospect of having my own server I followed their guide to installing ubuntu on it and connecting to it. I found myself at a ssh terminal, staring at a command line. This was a new territory and I had no fucking idea what I was doing.

Cat staring at tech
Realistic example of how I felt

Ok, this isn't so bad. There are tutorials out there. I quickly had apache, mysql, php and node all installed on the server. I muddled through creating a new site and how the hell .conf worked. I got my site connected to my dns provider and within a day I had my own, privately hosted website. Oh happy days!

Things were still tough, I had no clue about setting up SSL authentification on it. But I got there (turns out self signing certificates, while sounding like an easier choice, are shit and not to be trusted). So welcome to Callie Co!

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