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I have been using Planet SMB hosting for a year or more now, and find them to be an adequate host who give a lot of stuff for the dollar.  I wouldn’t run a high availability application on them, but than again, I am not doing that, so it all works out.  I highly recommend them for any developer who needs a place to showcase stuff and use as a staging site or fee-based hosting site for their clients.  To clarify, when I say high availability, I don’t complain about them having downtime, because I really don’t experience much at all.  The issue I do have is wait times.  For applications to spin up, and the Plesk Panel which seems to always be painfully slow and times out. No phone support, though emails are usually answered in a decent amount of time.

The issue I had with Plesk is that when I setup my domains (I get 5!) an expiration date was set on them.  So today at some time they just stopped working!  WTF!  I know I never set this date, is this some strange default which was set?

I set in a critical ticket to PlanetSMB and it’s been 15 minutes and no reply.  In this case I figured out what happened, but I still want to see how long it takes to reply to my critical ticket.

UPDATE: So this is cool, I heard from PlanetSMB Support (Mike Eldredge actually, the owner) in 16 minutes with a good answer to my issue.  So he was right on it with the critical ticket, Yeah Mike!

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Happy Summer!  The kids are out of school and already bored.  My oldest son though is really into reading this year, I mean REALLY into it.  He has probably read 10 books already on summer break.

His school has a degree program for reading books during the summer.  Basically the students get a star for each day they read more than twenty minutes.  My son has been doing much more than that I thought it would be great to keep track of it.  I am sure looking back at the list at the end of the Summer he would be pretty impressed by the list too.

My first thought is that I would set him up with a blog, and he could type in the books he read on any given day.  He and I have done some basic web page building together, so I thought he may get a kick out of this.

So I added a new blog to my account here at WordPress and picked a theme I hoped he didn’t think sucked.  When I went to add his as a contributor to the blog I discovered he needed an email address to that.  Hmm….

Well I have thought about setting him up with an email address in the past, but never did it as there was really no reason and he is only eight.  So I went to Comcast to set him up with a family account.  The didn’t have the name I wanted, damn.  Well I found one close enough and went with that.  At least Comcast has some parental controls, I’ll have to look deeper into that.

I set him up with a WordPress account and when there to log him in.  When I logged in with his account to verify everything I was greeted with a page of many, many blogs.  Well this is not good, he doesn’t need to be exposed to to this, too young yet, too dangerous.

Going to the next level

As I pondered this in a background processes it hit me, what about setting up a new domain and hosting the stuff myself!?  I checked at GoDaddy and shit, the domain is available, excellent.

$10.67 / year for the domain, not so bad.  $9.99 for privacy, what!  that’s a bit outside.  Then it hit me again, Dreamhost.  Dreamhost has a free domain with a paid subscription and I never used it, perfect.  Off to Dreamhost

I was able to create and host the the domain on my current account and loaded up a WordPress blog in about 10 seconds.  Added an email address and we are ready to go in a more “controlled” environment.

So a simple idea has bloomed into a fully hosted domain with private emails and sites, all for an eight year-old.  I am the Tim Allen of the Internet!

So my son and I went over some of the stuff I put together and he is pretty interested in it all.  As expected he is a bit overwhelmed.  That’s OK, we’ll take it a step at a time in what ever direction interests him most.

The goal of this document is to walk through the installation of a MoinMoin wiki without getting bogged down in any details.  We’ll go through requirements, decisions, and steps to complete, that’s all.  (OK, I did end up indicating what directories are added; I can’t stand when stuff is added I don’t know about.)   I will follow up this post with the details for those who are interested. Once you have completed the steps herein you will have a working MoinMoin wiki on your Dreamhost.com shared hosting account.  By no way is this the only way to set up MoinMoin on an account, or even the best way, but I tested it and it will work.  Lets get to it!

Requirements

  • Dreamhost shared hosting account.
  • A domain setup as fully hosted
  • Shell and FTP access to the domain account

Assumptions

  • Dreamhost running python version 2.4
  • MoinMoin version 1.8.5
  • Understanding of editing files from Linux shell
  • acctname is the accout name you used to access your domain account through ssh and FTPS.
  • ~/ = $HOME = /home/acctname/

Decisions

  • URL to run wiki from (we use sub directory) [We will use: http://hosteddomain/wiki]
  • Private name for the wiki’s instance name [We will use: dhwiki]

Steps

  1. Download MoinMoin wiki tarball from http://moinmo.in/MoinMoinDownload (moin-1.8.5.tar.gz) to your local workstation.
  2. From FTP: upload file to Dreamhost into folder ~/files [/home/acctname/files]
    ** All commands from now on are from your shell access **
  3. cd ~/files
  4. tar -xvzf ~/files/moin-1.8.5.tar.gz [new directory is created: ~/files/moin-1.8.5
  5. cd ~/files/moin-1.8.5
  6. python setup.py --quiet install --prefix=$HOME --record=install.log

    [two directories created: ~/share/moin; ~/lib/python2.4/site-packages/MoinMoin]

  7. Setup environment variables
    1. export PREFIX=$HOME
    2. export SHARE=$PREFIX/share/moin
    3. export WIKILOC=$SHARE
    4. export INSTANCE=dhwiki
  8. cd $WIKILOC
  9. mkdir $INSTANCE
  10. cp -R $SHARE/data $INSTANCE
  11. cp -R $SHARE/underlay $INSTANCE
  12. cp $SHARE/config/wikiconfig.py $INSTANCE
  13. chmod -R o+rwX $INSTANCE
  14. Edit file $INSTANCE/wikiconfig.py
    Find and change the follwing lines:

    1. sitename = u’Your Wiki Title
    2. logo_string = u'<img src=”/wiki/common/moinmoin.png” alt=”MoinMoin Logo”>’
    3. Remove hash (#) in front of: page_front_page = u”FrontPage”
    4. data_dir = ‘/home/acctname/share/moin/dhwiki/data/’
    5. data_underlay_dir = ‘/home/acctname/share/moin/dhwiki/underlay/’
    6. url_prefix_static = ‘/wiki’   [(remove # from line)]
    7. mail_smarhost = “dreamhost smtp server
  15. cd ~/hosteddomain
  16. cp -R $SHARE/htdocs wiki
  17. chmod -R a+rX wiki
  18. cd wiki
  19. mkdir ./cgi-bin
  20. cp $SHARE/server/moin.cgi ./cgi-bin
  21. chmod -R a+rx ./cgi-bin
  22. cd ./cgi-bin
  23. Edit file moin.cgi
    Find and change the following lines.  Please remove the # if they exist on THESE lines:

    1. sys.path.insert(0, ‘home/acctname/lib/python2.4/site-packages’)
    2. sys.path.insert(0, ‘/home/acctname/share/moin/dhwiki)
  24. cd ..
  25. Edit file index.html
    Find and change the following lines:

    1. <meta http-equiv=”refresh” content=”0; URL=cgi-bin/moin.cgi/”>
    2. Click <a href=”cgi-bin/moin.cgi”>here</a> to get to the FrontPage
  26. Go to your favorite browser and enter your wiki’s domain: Http://hosteddomain/wiki

Use these instructions at your own risk.  I extend no warranties or guarantees about the accuracy or safety of your data or website.

These instructions where tested by building the following wiki: http://MMonDH.brettski.com/wiki

All comments are welcome

References Used

Revision Information

  • 11/21/2009
    • Initial post after successfully building a wiki following exact steps
Is this a negotiation, or are you just not interested? I am spending about 40k a month right now on consultants, so I have plenty of money to spend. Culture, to me it’s directly impacted by budget and resources. At the time that we spoke my budget isn’t nearly as high as it is right now. If you are talking about working evenings you do that already.
11/20/2009 8:11:16 PM mikeg1@ephmc.com (E-mail address not verified) Brettski *red+u When we first spoke, I was under the impression you no longer available after 6:00. You underpromised, so you could over deliver. I found out later that you were one of the hardest working guys that I know.
11/20/2009 8:13:30 PM mikeg1@ephmc.com (E-mail address not verified) Brettski *red+u Maybe you don’t want to work that hard which is why it became an issue for you when I was pressing it. When I interview people, I always try and understand where their comfort levels are so I understand their boundries. The way I saw it is you wanted to have dinner with your family and got back on the computer later. Here is what I would ask for you to do.
11/20/2009 8:15:12 PM mikeg1@ephmc.com (E-mail address not verified) Brettski *red+u Look at your last month, and figure how many hours you really worked. Was it 40-50? 50-55? or +55 hours per week? I am interested in knowing because I am guessing your somewhere between 50-55.
11/20/2009 8:18:46 PM mikeg1@ephmc.com (E-mail address not verified) Brettski *red+u When we were in our discussions, you were giving me the perception that it could cause a problem for you at home if you were hoing to have to put in over 45 hours. What I really think is if you could make $110,000 in a 50 hour work week, or you could make $150,000 in a 60 hour work week I think you would probibly work 60. And then figure how you could get it down to 55… and then 52…
11/20/2009 8:21:25 PM mikeg1@ephmc.com (E-mail address not verified) Brettski *red+u And at the same time you were doing that, you would get me from 65 to 58, and 58 to 52, and so on. So at the end of the day, it really comes down to how much my time is worth as well as your time. Which is something you might not be taking into consiteration when you limit your opportunities and not discussing this further.
11/20/2009 8:23:43 PM mikeg1@ephmc.com (E-mail address not verified) Brettski *red+u Currently, I have 3 consultants I am paying 170,000 and they are not as smart as you are. They are down the street and you were down the block. At a certain point, I am sure you can understand that I can only afford to spend so much time in IT. I am ready to discuss dollars if you are. I am willing to discuss the boundries, or we can not discuss it at all.
11/20/2009 8:24:56 PM mikeg1@ephmc.com (E-mail address not verified) Brettski *red+u Hopefully you at least know where I am comming from. Bottom line, I am sitting here writing big checks saying to myself. Would I be writing checks this big and having to invest the time if Brett were here?
11/20/2009 8:27:22 PM mikeg1@ephmc.com (E-mail address not verified) Brettski *red+u I don’t mind writing the checks, what I mind is when I have ot write the checks and still put in the time. You asked me what my commitment to you would be. If we were to do something, I told you I would give you a year of 60 hours a week of helping you acclimate yourself to our company. Thats a big investment of my time. I apprechiated the question because no one had ever asked me before.
11/20/2009 8:29:59 PM mikeg1@ephmc.com (E-mail address not verified) Brettski *red+u So here is what you have to ask yourself… Do I want to pass on the biggest financial opportunity of my life without going to see this man? The question I would ask you, is why would you want to limit your opportunities?
11/20/2009 8:34:35 PM mikeg1@ephmc.com (E-mail address not verified) Brettski *red+u The only thing I can think of is that you would be affraid of the industry, maybe that you were getting dragged into the deep end of the pool, giving up a job that I like that I am currently doing. Also, I did hire a senior level programmer for more money than you were asking for when you were interviewing and I am willing to pay him. Because I see how much value he brings me.
11/20/2009 8:35:27 PM mikeg1@ephmc.com (E-mail address not verified) Brettski *red+u I guess the question I would ask you is would you be willing to work with a programmer that makes more money that you did if he had the tallent?
11/20/2009 8:38:26 PM mikeg1@ephmc.com (E-mail address not verified) Brettski *red+u We have an aggressive agenda, I am looking to bring in top guys to make my life easier. I think you would be a good fit. Tallent costs money, I realize that. Something to consider, the banks are looking to change the comp plans for the Loan Officers and cut what they pay the Loan Officers by 50% of what they pay now. They are doing this as a result of the pressure they are getting from the gov
11/20/2009 8:39:50 PM mikeg1@ephmc.com (E-mail address not verified) Brettski *red+u The insurance companies that own mortgage companies are following suit. Which means that we have hundreds of people who are looking at our company as a result of massive pay cuts across the industry, which we are not participating in doing.
11/20/2009 8:41:18 PM mikeg1@ephmc.com (E-mail address not verified) Brettski *red+u I know you have been looking for that 1 opportunity that you could capitalize on. Maybe this is it? Is it really that far from the relm of possibility?

Twitter has always been a big question mark in my head.  I must admit, I do use it more and more as businesses use it to send alerts, super sales, and general status updates.  And I suppose I wouldn’t of been able to deal with all of this information if it wasn’t for Tweetdeck.  What a good way to organize all the noise.  Personally I have setup a Loud group, for all those tweeters like Elijah Manor (@ElijahManor) and Jeff Atwood (@CodingHorror).  Then there is the main group, for most of the other stuff except for the ones in the last group, alerts.  Alerts are for my ISP and other providers who post system and service update via twitter.   I actually really like this functionality aspect of twitter, as I am watching one feed to get all my information.  In the past (and I guess I still do) I would have to subscribe to many, many rss or atom feeds.

Twitter in one respect is becoming  a bunch of bots following each others tweets.  There are so many apps out there which auto-follow based on keywords or when someone follows them, that you get these clusters of drones passing data to each other.  We should be careful you never know if this may become some AI cognitive network!

For months and months now I have asked myself, “Self, what language next, Ruby, Python, something else?” and has driven me crazy.  Someday I will ask myself why I spent so much time thinking about it instead of just digging in to something.  Well the real truth to that is time.  Sure I have spent time on the Ruby site going through browser-enabled 15 minute intro and some general reading.  It never really sticks until you throw together a couple of apps.

Over the last eight months I have been on a big web front end kick, getting myself up to speed on web display stuff like CSS, JavaScript, and jquery.  It’s been a lot of fun, but I really am not a good page designer, so besides reproducting current layouts there wasn’t a real lot for me to do.  

And there is always ASP.NET MVC which I have been following and learning off and on since August of 2008.  Having the web skills when putting together some learning MVC sites was really useful.  Don’t worry, I wont go on another, “I love MVC…”, rant.

Saturday morning I was in our local library with my two sons picking out movies reading some books, messing around and found myself at the card catalog computer screen.  Hey do you remember actual card catalogs, the rows and rows of drawers which contained cards of all the books in the library.  Here is one area computers help one-billion percent.  Anyway, I did my usual search for ASP.NET, came up with the same books as usual.  A 2008 book I had already checked out (and didn’t like too much) during my web learning, and some older stuff.  Oh hum I thought….

Than I had an idea and started typing

ruby programming

A match, wow a match and a recent book too.  I was was feeling a bit excited.  Okay, let’s try another

python programming

Ah, nothing on that one.  Well that settles it—right, wrong or indifferent, I will start with Ruby.  Well, I have always been leaning this way anyhow.  The exposure I have had, I have liked, now to come up with an app to put together.  Then of course if I get my arms around the language I will have to move on to Rails, and Iron Ruby (Uses .NET’s DLR).

Take control of your social network, don’t let your social network take control of you!

After searching and searching for a new web host who can provide me with Windows 2008 server and decent number of MS SQL databases without breaking the bank (>$20 / mo.), I finally found one to sign up with and try out.  That company is Planet Small Business hosting, wish me luck!

5/1/2009@1600:
First thing to run into, is that it seems account setup is a manual (human-driven) process.  I couldn’t pay and keep going with the setup.  Just for the record, I finished my payment by 1600 on Friday, May 1, 2009.

5/1/2009@1620:
OK, Site was available in about 20 minutes, that is acceptable.  Well as long as it’s automated and I can set up stuff at 2am.

5/1/2009@1645:
45 minutes into this setup, and no email from them about the site.  I do have access to it though.  What are their DNS addresses, I can’t find them anywhere.

5/1/2009@1808:
I sent a ticket into tech support asking about DNS server address and email, and they replied in 10 minutes.  I sent this at 1805 and received it at 0614, that’s good response(!).  Once DNS propagates, I should be good to go.  With n0t getting the email, I wonder if Yahoo! has blacklisted them; it happens.
Well not in this case, the emails where in my junk folder, not sure how I missed them the first time. Oh well, one of these days I will learn how to use an email client.

5/1/2009@2030
The host uses a new version of Plesk.  Pretty easy finding things, speed is tolerable.  Now it’s just taking the time to configure the server and how they run things.  So far it’s looking OK.

5/1/09@2130
Hey cool!  I have been a little bummed over the fact that PlanetSMB only allows one domain (unlimited aliases).  I was wondering how I was going to host all of my domains.  I wasn’t really interested in purchasing separate packages, as it would be a pain flipping between them.  Well I discovered it just now, their reseller plans support multiple domains, and at a fair price, and still with UNLIMITED MS SQL databases.  Pretty sweet if you ask me.

But before I get too excited here, I need to get my applications loaded up on the site and see how the run.

5/4/09@2259
I have loaded up two of my ASP.NET MVC applications and they are both running perfectly.  One of the two uses SQL2008, and that is working great to.  I must say I like Plesk 9.2 a whole lot better than HELM 3.16, which is getting quite dated.  All the stuff available to me for $5 a month is just great.  If you are a .NET developer and need a place to throw your stuff, this is it.  The systems are ready to rock ‘n roll.

OK here is a big wtf they are pulling.  The mid level developer package I am using only allow 1 mailbox.  Yeah you read that correctly, one mailbox.  You can alias other email addresses to it, but still only one box.  Very, strange.  Even their reseller packages are pretty restricted on mailboxes.

There is no doubt, if service levels remain the same, I will move all my domains over to planetsmb.com using a reseller package for multiple domain support.

5/26/2009: It’s been a few weeks I have been using PlanetSMB and everything is fine.  I setup a DotNetNuke portal pretty painlessly and haven’t had any issues with my .NET 3.5 sites.  I like the fact that I can setup a new database for whatever and not have to worry about running out of allotted databases.  Makes life much easier when your host doesn’t get in your way.

Come this August I will be moving all my domains from iHostasp.net to PlanetSMB, as my iHostasp.net account lapses in September.  I am planning for a happy future with my new host.

Chomping at the bit to get ASP.NET MVC up and running on my regular hosting environment, iHostasp.net, I sent their support a ticket today asking if they plan IIS7 installations in their shared hosting environment.

Brett Slaski
Posted On: 29 Apr 2009 10:50 AM

Greetings,

I just wanted to check to see if there is an ETA on any IIS7 installations for shared hosting?

Thank you,

Brett

Their response, unfortunately:

Clint Schleeper
Posted On: 29 Apr 2009 02:06 PM

Hi Brett,

At this time we have no plans for incorporating IIS7 into our shared hosting environment.

IHOST, LLC
Customer Support
https://support.ihostllc.net
support@ihostllc.net
Local/International: 1.440.793.0323 x2
Toll-free: 1.800.593.0238 x2

So now I have work to do, find a host with a like offering as iHostasp.net running IIS7, is there such an animal?  I have tried in the past and haven’t come up with anything so any suggestions is highly appreciated.

I find it ironic that I needed to send iHostasp the support ticket today, from work, out of the blue.  When I got home today, my copy of Professional ASP.NET MVC 1.0 arrived on the door step from Amazon.  A book I pre-ordered shortly after the release of Scott Gu’s free first chapter, now available in HTML.

Please post comments if you know of a good hosting company providing shared hosting of IIS7.

Thank you.

My current plan, which runs around $16/mo, $88.83 every 6 months.  I have to say the two things I like the best is dedicated memory pool for each domain and 3 MS SQL databases.  Three databases was the major reason I went with them in the first place.

  • Dedicated application pool for each domain!
  • Customer accessible database backups!
  • Storage – 2400MB
  • Bandwidth – 20GB
  • DNN Installations – 3
  • Parent portals – 60
  • Child portalsUnlimited
  • MSSQL 2005– 3 x 250MB each
  • MySQL 4/5 – 6 x 250MB each
  • MailUnlimited POP3/SMTP/IMAP/WEB MAIL Accounts. Accounts. MailFoundry spam & virus filtering included.
  • FTPUnlimited FTP accounts with ability to set user permissions.
  • Sub domains – Create & manage your own 3rd level domains.
  • Statistics – Detailed real-time statistics to track your visitors.
  • ASP.NET 1.1/2.0/3.0/3.5, ASP 3.0, PHP5 supported
  • Microsoft ASP.NET AJAX extensions
  • Can run wide array of other ASP, PHP, .NET based web applications without any limits

This is a bit silly, but I couldn’t resist.  I replied to their support email and simply said

Please?!

And their reply:

Hi Brett,

We do not have IIS7 available within our shared hosting environment and do not have any plans to incorporate it in the near future. However, we do offer virtual dedicated server hosting environments and we could set you up with IIS7 on a virtual dedicated server. Our virtual dedicated server packages can be viewed at the link below.

iHost Virtual Dedicated Server Hosting Packages:
http://www.ihostasp.net/HostedAppliance/Default.asp

IHOST, LLC
Customer Support
https://support.ihostllc.net
support@ihostllc.net
Local/International: 1.440.793.0323 x2
Toll-free: 1.800.593.0238 x2

UPDATE: (4/17/2010)

It was really interesting to me that the owner of iHostasp.net left a message on this blog post about their service and how it was incorrect for their technician to say what they did.  But the truth holds; it is now April 17th of 2010 and still they have no known installations of II7 in their shared hosting environment.  What if I would of took him for his word and stayed with iHost?  I would be stuck and still without the environment I need.

Trying to make good of your company is one thing, making up stories is something completely different.

Just the other day I decided to sign up with dreamhost for SVN and web hosting.  This hosting service is setup really well.  They have one very reasonably priced plan, and charge for extras from there.  Not that I need any.  They are running an unlimmited storage and bandwidth special right now.  Normally 50G (not sure on bw);  5 MySql databases, unlimited email and shell/ftp users,unlimited mail, imap access, webmail client, etc., etc.  Truly full service hosting. You can setup a virtual private server for on $15 per month extra!

Programming support for PHP5, Perl, Python, Full Unix Shell (one of my favorite parts), Crontab access, Full CGI access, Ruby On Rails, SSI, CVS and SVN reopos, and they have mod_dav_svn installed!

Running on Debian Linux, friends have told me that they have had very little down time with the service.

You cannot go wrong with all they provide for the price they charge ($9/month?), easily the best Linux based hosting I have come across.  Only time will truly tell me how reliable the service is.  The word on the street is good!

http://dreamhost.com

Oh yeah, and they are a green hosting center 🙂

A new installation of VS2008 Team Edition said it was missing a dll.  Other methods I found to add the dll failed as the whole directory under c:\windows\WinSxS where the dll should be, was missing.  Perhaps I forgot something during the install; I went to Add/Remove programs and clicked the VS2008 installation.  After the installer, did this and that a dialog box poped up reading:

A problem has been encountered while loading the setup components

After clicking OK on the dialog the installer just closed.  This isn’t good, I thought to myself.

I found this post through google which fixed my issue

There is a critical hotfix (kb952241) which is creating this issue with Visual Studio 2008.  Removing this hotfix and rebooting my computer allowed me to successfully run the installer again.

For reference I have included the entry in Windows update for this hotfix.

Visual Studio 2008 Security Update for Microsoft Visual Studio 2008 (KB952241) Succeeded Saturday, November 01, 2008 Microsoft Update

Not sure if I will be prompted again to load the hot fix (I am sure I will) or how sever the security hole is that this is suppose to fix.

As always, I hope this helps one other out there.  If you have any further information about this issue, please put in the comments and I may add it to the post.

Update: Now of course Windows Update wants to load the hotfix every day I boot up.  I an not sure if I want to load it again for obvious reasons.

4/1/2010: I am loading my new Windows 7 computer and much after loading VS2008 and SP1, I realized I failed to load unit test support (Doh!).  When I went to load the feature in VS2008, I received a similar error as before.  The difference this time, the hot fix isn’t on my system, its now incorporated into SP1.

To fix this issue and let me select new features in vs2008:

  1. I had to remove VS 2008 SP1
  2. Update the features using VS 2008 installer
  3. Reload SP1.

A pain in the ass, but it does work.

To remove VS2008 SP1, go to Programs and Feature (or Add/Remove Programs) and click View installed updates. You will find it listed in here, and uninstall it from here.

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