Thursday, September 09, 2004 - the future

I am one of the main admins on the UnrealAdmin page ( Ever since the site was started by Azazel we've been growing, and for a couple fo years we've been the authority for server administration for the Unreal games (Unreal Tournament, UT2003, UT2004). One of the main principles of our site is to stay independed as much as possible and remain free. Ofcourse being independed and free introduces some issues for hosting of the website.
In the beginning the site was hosted on a commercial host. But within a short time this wasn't enough to cope with the activity. Multiplay UK (MPUK) jumped it and provided use with a nice shared hosting solution without any hooks attached. This was great, it allowed us to continue growing. Over time ideas came up to expand our services, for that to work we need a dedicated hosting solution.
A little while ago ( offered to host our site. Since we where happy with our current host had to make us a better offer. So they offered us a dedicated host, that was great, it would allow us to expand has we had planned (for the future). After some discussion within the admin team we decided to do it. But before we made the final dicision Azazel first wanted to talk with MPUK and thank them for their services. MPUK responded by offering a dedicated but "jail" host on a FreeBSD machine. Well, that was nice, now we could discuss if we would take th offer or the MPUK offer.
In case of we would have to put a banner of on every site, but we would get a dedicated machine with Linux ES (RedHat). In case of MPUK we would have the same deal as before, but get a dedicated machine with FreeBSD within a jail (so no full control). The jail wouldn't matter much, it's not like I would recompile a FreeBSD kernel. The main reason for tha jail would be to allow the MPUK admins to fix the machine after we "broke" it. I would be the main person to administer the software on the machine, and I didn't care if it was a FreeBSD jail or a RedHat hell. I would prefer a nice Debian Linux machine, but nobody offered that. So I left it up to Azazel and he decided to stay with MPUK. So when our MPUK related site admin (Killing) requested the jailed machine from the MPUK admins they wouldn't give it to us. Instead, they gave use a normal (no jail) FreeBSD machine, even better.
Well, last monday I got access to the machine to install apache, php and mysql for the initial setup to host our current site. To summerise: FreeBSD package system sucks big time compared to Debian. Also FreeBSD doesn't really use stable software via the package system. For example pkg_add -r mysql-server will install a MySQL 4.1 alpha server. I had to manually download the binary package for MySQL 4.0 (there was no 3.23 package available). The alternative was to compile it manually via the ports system. Also installing PHP and requested extentions isn't as easy in FreeBSD as it is in Debian. So after two days and quite some annoyance I finally installed Apache2, PHP5 and MySQL. Ofcourse our forum software vBulletin isn't compatible with PHP5. All my own PHP scripts work perfectly, but quite some things in vBulletin just didn't work. On their site they only stated that PHP5 support was still being tested, instead of just saying "it doesn't work out of the box". So I had to replace PHP5 with PHP4. After an hour or two messing with FreeBSD I had replaced it... It could have been easier.
Right now our new machine is being tested if the current site works as it should. With a little luck I'm going to issue a site move by the end of the week (sunday or something). For this work work smoothly I'm planning to create an additional hostname to point to the new location ( This is to give people direct access to the site while the DNS entries have been updated for everybody (1 or 2 days).
After that we can start planning the new stuff in the future of