Saturday, October 3, 2009

PHP Hosting

For a long time, I've been using a PHP host called EZ-Web Hosting. The price was good, only $6.45 / month if you buy a full year at a time. And the control panel was standard.

However, recently my hosted database became corrupted. The site that uses that database is not one I check regularly, but still the data was very important. So by the time I noticed the corruption, it had been corrupted for a few months. I asked them to restore their last good backup and they said they only keep a couple months of backups, so all of their backups were corrupt too. So the result was that the entire tables were lost. I had to restore the last backup I made, which was over a year ago.

So there are two lessons here. First, make regular backups of your online data. I think everyone knows they should regularly backup their own computer in case it crashes. But I, for one, do not expect that the data I have online will be lost. After all, those companies are supposed to specialize in reliable, redundant systems for hosting your data. It seems they should have many safeguards against corruption and data loss. Turns out, even hosting companies can screw up. So go to your control panels regularly and make backups.

Second lesson is that you should not use EZ-Web Hosting. I still believe that no hosting company should lose your data for any reason other than you accidentally erasing it yourself.

So do people have suggestions for good PHP hosts?

xtranormal

I just learned about this "text-to-movie" site called xtranormal.com. It's a very cool and easy way to make an animated custom movie. They provide the animated backdrops and actors, and then you add the script and pick the camera angles. You can make the actors do little animations and facial expressions too.

It can all be done online for free. Or you can pay $5/month for more backdrops and actors. You can also download a desktop version called State. State has even more features. You can make the actors move around. You can create your own custom camera angles. And there are more animations, like dancing. State ran very slow on my Pentium 4, 2.8 GHz laptop with 1.5 GB of RAM. I don't have a great graphics card on the laptop though.

Here is a video I made using the online free version.