GoDaddy’s Alright (or “Id10t Errors”)
This weekend I discovered that things aren’t always what they seem.
I know, I’m old enough to know better, but sometimes I still buy into the hype.
When I started working on MyComicr (formerly Comimics) about two years ago, I knew absolutely nothing about application development. It was a project I took on because I had bandwidth at the office, and I wanted to learn some in depth programming concepts.
Since this was a nothing project that I was doing for myself, I threw it up on a GoDaddy deluxe hosting account, and went through the pains of building and testing there. And oh, was there pain. My API responses were slow, page loads were interminable, and whenever I had to interact with the database, it barely crawled along. It didn’t really matter at first, but last spring I decided I wanted to promote it at Dallas Comic Con; but I couldn’t sell anyone on a app this cripplingly slow. So I did what anyone else would do: I blamed the hardware.
When I ran the site locally, everything was great, so it must be a lack of power on my server. So when I found out that Amazon Web Services offered a “Free Tier” for 12 months, I jumped all over it. In reality, it cost me about $11/month, but I got full control of a server, database, routing, and a bunch of other things (that will be useful if I ever get big). The instance was small, with a tiny bit of memory, but it was mine. And my site started running a little faster!
Of course, I didn’t get it ready in time, so I’ve spent the last year tweaking things here and there, making upgrades to components, and ripping out huge chunks of terrible code I wrote two years ago when I was just starting to figure things out. And it got faster still. Until Saturday. Saturday the whole system came down.
It was, of course, by choice. My 12 months had expired, and AWS had unceremoniously deducted $70 from my checking account.
I immediately logged in to my remote desktop and started trying to get at my data. AWS charges by the hour of uptime, so the sooner I could get shut down, the less it would cost me. I had all my files, I just needed the data.
Interesting thing: Amazon is really helpful. So helpful, in fact, that they don’t even make you worry about backing up your data, or manually making transfers. They handle it for you. Another interesting thing: “we handle that for you”, roughly translates to, “there’s no way in Hell we’re letting you off the premises with your data. Sorry, bro.” So about an hour later I committed a text file I copied and pasted out of the database into my Git repository and shut everything down.
I resigned myself to sticking with a slightly slow GoDaddy server until I figure out how to make some money off this thing, so I set it all up this morning. I expected the same old terrible speeds I got last spring before switching over, but I have been amazed at how fast things are running! Turns out what was slowing it down was my shitty code, and when I thought AWS had sped it up, it was because I started fixing the parts that were slowing things down.
So I’ve learned two lessons today: if my site’s running slow, it’s probably my fault. And GoDaddy’s alright.