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Cloud Hosting CodeBetter.Com

It’s been over a year in the making, but CodeBetter.Com has finally settled into its new home.  It’s been a journey from Community Server, hosted on two large Windows 2008 servers (SQL Box – Core2Quad 2.4 Ghz Q6600 4G 2x500G SATA RAID, Web Server – Intel Core2Duo E6850 DC 2G 2x250G SATA RAID) to WordPress, running on 4 small cloud hosted Ubuntu 10.04 small Linux servers.  Our current architecture looks sorta like this:

Community Server running on Windows Server/ASP.Net has treated us well over the years, providing a solid platform on which we could grow to our current size.  Increasingly however, server cost, Software/OS/SQL Server licensing (while currently deferred via BizSpark and free licenses from Telligent) was threatening our future ability to provide the kind of community support we’ve been able to do since 2005.

We had a lot of internal discussions about what platform we should use, and talked about rolling our own platform from which to blog but decided against it.  I think Derik Whittakersaid it the best:

The fact is ‘blog engines’ are a dime a dozen.  This is  a boring problem which has been solved many times over… I say pick an engine that we can live with and move on.

There were lots of factors that pushed us in the direction of hosting with an open source blogging platform like WordPress, but some of the biggest were WordPress’ strengths : an outstanding blogging platform with massive community support and extensibility via plugins.

I’m going to be doing a series of posts on the more interesting things I’ve stumbled across in this journey, like using Python Fabric for automating the configuration of new server instances. I’m also making all of the tools that I’ve used and source code for the site itselfavailable up on GitHub, so if you’re interested in how anything around here was done, you should be able to glean the information there.


About Brendan Tompkins

Brendan runs CodeBetter.Com. He was twice awarded MVP for Microsoft .NET, and is a founder and the CTO of Quick180.Com More about Brendan at https://www.linkedin.com/codebetter
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  • http://codebetter.com Brendan Tompkins


    Yep.. I’m looking into this.. We have a few other issues that we’re trying to get straightened out at the moment.. Thanks for the heads up.

  • Phillip Haydon

    Can you guys please look into why your feed is pushing down duplicates? Had three posts now pushed down twice each into Outlook and Google Reader.

  • http://codebetter.com Brendan Tompkins

    Also I’m in the process of using NGINX for the app server tier of the site as well, and have yet to get this setup going.. This should allow us to run on smaller middle tier servers.

  • http://codebetter.com Brendan Tompkins


    I would have thought the same, but we did host on one server at first, but Apache2 with PHP/Wordpress and our traffic levels, brought another similar cloud hosted server to its knees. I had to up the RAM to 2 G, and provide three processors before the site was stable.

    It seems with the cloud products out there, you end up paying a lot more when you increase your ram, but at small levels of ram (256-500M) your costs are very low. And once you have a good automated deployment strategy like using Fabric, it is so easy to scale this way, it doesn’t make any sense not to.

    I’m starting to these are very small, very disposable linux cloud slices. I’m very much in favor of small repeatable servers, and having this setup to allow scaling should we need it.

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  • http://devtalk.net Dmitri

    Err.. why do you need this much hardware? Surely a blog with 32k subscribers doesn’t need 4 machines, or even decoupled web and database stacks! I could be wrong though – feel free to correct me. And good decision on choosing WordPress – I’ve also dabbled in Asp.Net-driven blog engines and found them all to be awful and unusable.

  • http://blog.jasonmeridth.com Jason Meridth

    Awesome job Brendan. LosTechies is on your heels.