Once upon a time not all that long ago, if you wanted to have a website online, you did a quick search for a hosting provider, settled for a £5/$7 a month shared hosting package which gave a meagre 500mb of storage, 5 pop email accounts and a mySQL database. If you were lucky, you got 1gb monthly bandwidth and 10 ftp accounts to access all that 500mb with…

The good news, times have changed for shared hosting! Well actually I lie, everything’s relevant, now instead of sharing a server with 100 other sites its now more like 1,000 and that “unlimited” space is subject to a fair use policy of around 5gb.

Then there are VPS packages, in my experience are generally woeful and unreliable. I run my sites from a dedicated server, it seamed like this was the most reliable way of hosting one or more sites, the trade off undoubtedly being price. Until now that is.

Cloud computing

You hear the phrase thrown about, its the new buzz word that shared hosting providers use for their site crammed boxes, but what does it actually mean?

Depending on who you talk to, it differs, my interpretation is one or more computers providing infrastructure remotely. My own experiences with cloud computing have been Media temple’s excellent grid service, which was around before the ‘cloud’ term was coined, and Amazon’s AWS.

With the introduction of Amazon’s EC2 service, I really struggle to see how users with higher end requirements can even consider a conventional service, VPN or dedicated server. Install a Ubuntu instance and every one of my tutorials (apart from pi specific performance ones) would work to get you up and running. When my renewal comes around on my dedicated box I will be making the jump!

Raspberry Pi

And then there’s the Raspberry Pi, the cheap little computer that is only going to get more powerful over time. When I created this site, it was a small personal experiment to see if it could run Apache2, it worked, so then came PHP and MySQL, yet again, no problems. Then came the question, can I reliably run a WordPress site from one? Yes, and this site serves 14,000 monthly visits, all on a Raspberry Pi (with some tweaking).

Home connections are getting quicker, people are more technologically savvy, and if I don’t write some program to set up a LAMP with control panel for the Raspberry Pi, its only a matter of time before someone else does.

This begs the question, with the giants of Amazon’s stature covering the high requirement market, and a £30 computer easily capable of covering the other with small businesses and individuals self-hosting, where do the likes of Fasthosts, 1&1, easyspace etc fit in, in the future? What are your thoughts? Sound them below!