M. Willis Monroe

New Blog

I decided to take the plunge and start self-hosting websites.  I started with my wife’s blog/site as a venue for her to put up art and talk about her artistic process.  I wanted another site that I could experiment and write on.  Eventually I’d like to start hosting sites for friends and family.

I went with digitalocean for hosting.  I liked their cheap VPS options, and their website looks pretty professional.  On the backend, the management of droplets (their term for servers) is really slick.  You also only pay for the time you use.  So you can fire up a droplet briefly if need be and then shut it back down.

They also have a host of great tutorials which make setting up various server tasks really easy.  I’m running these sites on nginx (a first for me), and wordpress of course.  Nginx is pretty slick, I’m really enjoying how modular the server configuration files are.  It’s nice that you can keep server configurations around, and activate and deactivate them without changing the files.

The first time I was able to host two websites from one IP address was a mind opening experience.  The way a webserver can interpret the HTTP request and serve up different files depending on the domain requested makes a lot of sense in retrospect.  This server is now hosting hayleymonroe.com, willismonroe.com, and our domain from our wedding site: hayleyandwillis.com.  I’m using nearlyfreespeach.net, which is ok, not completely sold on them yet.