A New VPS and Prestashop Rambles

Okay, here we are with the same ol’ stock WordPress theme. Eventually we will tinker with it, but for now Prestashop and our new VPS are consuming all the time available. (we’re even too damned busy to make the links affiliate links).

We stuck with Pair Networks for around 15 years. They were perfect back in ’96, and as far as I can tell, they still are, pretty much. They’re just way too expensive and don’t offer all the add-ons that the new kids on the hosting block are coming up with. And a lot of the add-ons they do offer are expensive, while the new kids offer them for free. But enough of that; they’re a good host; I just moved on, maybe I got bored.

The first host I moved to was Cloud Web. Actually, I’m still there. They use a “cloud based software” on their servers, which as far as I can tell, your site is spread over several servers, possibly in virtual environments. If something crashes a server, your site is still up. Basically, for my money, their quality is great, their support is top-notch, their price is cheap and my sites are always up. It’s still a shared environment, but what the hell? It “just works”.

My larger site (2000 products on static pages) seemed to work fine on Cloudweb, but I was nervous that it was just too cheap for such a big site. I was rebuilding the site in a subdirectory using Prestashop, and I worried that I’d end up with a slow database full of 2000 products on a shared server. They offer very inexpensive VPS packages, but they’re unmanaged. Not that I mind “unmanaged” when it comes to my office servers (uh, I’m the manager) but for my main business site? Yikes.

So for the larger site, I took a queue from the Prestashop forums and tried out a fully manged VPS on Hostgator. The name “hostgator” and the tacky gator cartoons turned me off in the past, but in the Prestashop forums, everyone seems to like them for a Prestashop host. What the hell; I use “godaddy” for my domains. So what? I’ve gone tacky; (I used to just be sleezy).

Anyway, I’ve got 30 gigs of space, 2.4 gigs of processor and .75 gigs of RAM for ~$50/mo. I actually tried their business package first, around $11/mo with a Free SSL Certificate (!!!) but I got nervous about the shared server thing. So now I’m on a VPS. I’m root (the power, the power), I can create new sites with new cpanels and we be super fast. My other smaller sites are doing fine on Cloudweb, so I’m leaving them. My big site’s got a big fast home. I should mention, and this shocked the hell out of me, both Cloudweb and Hostgator will move your sites from your old host to your new one for free. I guess that might be standard with hosts these days, but I’m used to having to do everything myself from the command line. Weirdly enough, they moved all my databases and they still worked!

So we’re about a third of the way transferring 2000 products to Prestashop in the subdirectory. It’s easy enough that employees can help, so I figure another month or so. I like a ton of things about Prestashop. For one, it’s the first database e-commerce system I’ve seen that didn’t look god-awful commercial. Designing your own look is fairly easy because all the designing is CSS and all the complicated stuff comes from modules, most of which are already developed and either free or somewhat inexpensive. Why move such a large static site to database? Because it’s only getting larger, putting off the inevitable, and the third-party shopping cart I am still using until September (Americart) has few of the features my customers want. And their support is iffy. (If they know the answer you’ll get a response.) For $300/year.

Furriners. We like furriners. We like Euros. Prestashop (a European shopping cart solution) easily translates your entire site to a bunch of different languages. I’ve even got a module that tells where a visitor is from and automatically switches the site to that language. Assuming I have it set up. In other words, if you’re from Somalia or Nigeria, I hope you can read ‘murican. Actually, I think I have Prestashop set up to keep bad countries full of con artists and terrorists out. Uh, like go away.

That’s enough for now. I just moved this site to the new VPS just to see if I could do it. Yep, it worked, even the wordpress database. Fun is over, work beckons….