I have hosted snoogans.co.uk for many years. The website frontend content is very minimal, but I enjoy learning about and configuring the backend.
Netscalibur - Physical server hosting
I built this server using old server parts collected whilst working at the ISP, Netscalibur. I couldn’t find the original rear IO plate so made one out of a plastic ice cream container. There were no consumer 3D printers back in 2002.
I was lucky enough to have full access to the datacentre and hosted this for free.
I hosted the webserver via the Apache HTTP Server (“httpd”) and used my free staff email account.
Exonetric - Physical server hosting
When I left Netscalibur/Claranet, I had to decom jay.snoogans.co.uk, so I purchased a new 1U aluminium rack mount server and hosted this with Exonetric. This hosting company is run by a few ex-colleagues from Netscalibur.
The server was located at Telehouse in London, Docklands.
Having worked at an ISP for the previous 5 years, I put all my knowledge to use and basically ran my own mini-ISP on this server.
Services installed, configured and managed by myself:
- BIND 9. Primary DNS for snoogans.co.uk.
- Base services
- OpenSSL to generate and manage my own CA and SSL certificates.
- BerkleyDB backend for OpenLDAP.
- pam_ldap for authentication using OpenLDAP.
- Cricket, RRDtool and Mailgraph for stats graphing.
- Cronolog for managing Apache logs.
- AWStats and Webalizer for generating Apache visitor statistics.
- Web services
- Email services
- Postfix SMTP server.
- Cyrus IMAP for IMAP/POP3.
- Cyrus SASL to integrate IMAP/POP3 authentication with the accounts in OpenLDAP.
- Amavisd-new, ClamAV and SpamAssassin to integrate anti-virus and anti-SPAM with the mail system.
- horde/imp/turba/passwd - PHP framework to deploy my own webmail system.
- phpldapadmin to manage the LDAP database entries.
- Instant Messaging
- jabberd14 IM server.
- msn-transport for jabber. This allowed Jabber clients to communicate with people using MSN Messenger.
I learnt a LOT whilst managing all this, but needless to say, it took a serious amount of time and effort.
Exonetric - Virtual server hosting
Around 2010 I came to the conclusion that it takes up too much time to basically run your own mini-ISP. I was also worried that my ageing 1U server would experience a hardware failure. This is not something I wanted to experience.
Around early 2010 I moved my mail hosting to GMail and moved my DNS hosting to another service provider.
To reduce monthly costs and not have to worry about supporting hardware, I switched from a physically hosted server to running snoogans.co.uk inside a FreeBSD container/jail. Again, hosted with Exonetric.
At this point, I was only managing the web server setup.
GoDaddy - Virtual server hosting
s4.snoogans.co.uk to s6.snoogans.co.uk
After many years running my own server and software, I decided to make life easier for myself and move to a fully hosted platform. I picked GoDaddy and let them worry about OS/software updates.
I did mange a few items to work around the limitations of GoDaddy hosting at the time.
- Let’s Encrypt
- Apache HTTP to HTTPS rewrite
Moving to an even simpler and cheaper solution, I decided to move the website hosting to GitHub Pages.
Using Visual Studio Code to manage the content in Markdown and Hugo to generate the HTML code. The use of Git version control and GitHub Actions for deployment is fantastic.