Since 1996 I have had on some hardware or other where I hosted the site myself. It all started in 1996 when I worked for The Internet Access Company (T.I.A.C.) in their New York City office as the network guy. I was responsible for the Points Of Presence in NY, NJ, CT, and DC. It was a fun gig and I registered my domain name to fiddle around. I remember buying a copy of Windows NT 4.0 at J&R down by my office, and installing it on my Compaq Presario desktop. I used IIS back then to run the website.

Later in 1998 I got in to Linux and my website changed. I built a computer to host my website and ran Red Hat Linux on it. I had a cable modem from Cablevision and used DynIP to keep my DNS names tied to my server. This was a pretty good setup for a while. The Squirelmail on Red Hat was lacking polish that I was looking for. It seemed like spam was just totally out of hand, and I hadn't yet learned about SpamAssassin yet. (Maybe it didn't exist yet.)

So August 1st, 2000 I moved from Long Island back to New York City. Went from a Cable Modem to sDSL with static IP addresses. More IPs meant I could now run multiple systems and spread services around. I quickly built a second server, but ran Windows on it. I put my email on that box. For a while I ran iMail from IPSwitch, but they got greedy and charged way too much to go to their 8.0 version. I went to SmarterMail because they had a migration tool and they seemed very reasonable on price. Even now I'd recommend them. Many people jumped from iMail to SmarterMail at the time.

September 11th, 2001 came and went with me living in New York City. I still had my 2 servers chugging away hosting my email on a Windows box and web on the linux box. In May 2004 I moved to New Jersey. Stayed with and still had my 2 servers, but now I have a 3rd server running my BBS. Sometime after 9/11 I got nostalgic for my old BBS hobby. So now I'm moving 3 huge systems to New Jersey. That was really annoying.

In June 2005 I moved from my apartment in New Jersey to a house in the same town. 3 boxes had to move again. Stayed with for service initially. Later I changed to Verizon FiOS which brings us to present day. So about two weeks ago I started looking at Google Apps and the Google G1 cellphone from T-Mobile and Google. Wondered if I could finally dump my self-hosted setup and never need to patch or worry about spam or viruses ever again. I am using Blogger for this blog (a Google company) and Google Apps for email and website hosting.

Today I shut down 2 of my 3 servers. My web and email servers are now quietly sitting in my office not taking up any more of my electrical bill or time to maintain them. Any experimenting I used to do on them now is done in VMWare Fusion on my MacBook Pro. No longer will I need to backup my files or email. No longer will I stay up late troubleshooting a patch issue that keeps my email from working.

The last box still running is my BBS. It's running on the hardware that was my first Linux box. It's really old, and I am debating what to do about it. It is a Fidonet node, and has some nice BBS games on it. I think the next step is to virtualize it in VMWare and run it on a desktop system that I use for browsing and other little tasks. I guess I'll never get to zero servers but it's pretty close. Google has taken a lot of stress out of my life. Thank you Google.

How Google made my life easier