Yesterday, I quietly switched this site over from its old Apache server to the much more lightweight combination of nginx + XCache.  As someone who has worked with Apache servers for roughly 14 years now, the thought of moving my personal site to a server environment that I didn’t know how to troubleshoot in great detail was terrifying.  But you start becoming irrelevant the second you allow yourself to stop learning new things.  So I took a play from the Ol’ Jack Burton playbook and said “what the hell?“.

Surprisingly, it’s still chugging along without any complaints.  Most of the thanks for that goes to DreamHost‘s default nginx config and easy to follow tutorial tho.

All I really needed to do to get it going was:

  • Select the server from the Private Server configuration menu in the DreamHost web panel.
  • Wait for a configuration update to run on the server.
  • Flush my local DNS cache.
  • Check the HTTP headers to verify I was seeing the right server.
  • Comment out a few conflicting mod_rewrite rules from .htaccess.
  • Copy and paste new rules into my personal site config file.

And while that might seem like that list had a bunch of stuff in it, I can honestly say that it took no more than 30 minutes to make those changes.

The only weird thing that has happened so far is that it had a weird memory spike last night — but that dropped off this morning for no discernible reason.  Since everything has been level after that, I guess I’ll have to keep an eye on my graphs and make sure it’s not a nightly thing…

P.S. Since I’ve never been one to leave “good enough” alone, I’m going to keep making tweaks (and maybe start piling on a few more active sites) to see what nginx can do. Expect more nerdy updates on this eventually.