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Posts Tagged ‘winhost

Aliasing a sub-domain to Amazon s3 at WinHost

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One of the major problems with WinHost is that you don’t get much disk space, their base plan comes with not even 2GB but 2000MB.  One way to stretch this disk space is to host images and other big files using Amazon’s S3 service and just keeping your ASP.NET/PHP e.t.c code files at WinHost.  To make this hosting appear seamless to your visitors, Amazon allows users to alias a sub-domain or domain to their hosting service.  This way users see your domain i.e s3.xyzio.com but the files are pulled from AWS.

The setup is not very complicated and takes about 2 hours, most of which is spent waiting for your sub-domain name to propagate.  First, log into the AWS S3 console and create a bucket named after your sub-domain – s3.xyzio.com here:

Create Bucket in Amazon S3 AWS

Then log into your WinHost control panel and click on DNS Manager.  There under Manage CNAME Records enter your sub-domain for Domain Name,  s3.amazonaws.com for the Destination and 3600 for TTL.  TTL stands for Time-To-Live and denotes how long in seconds the alias is maintained before it is refreshed.  Here setting it to 3600 means that it will be refreshed every hour:

WinHost CNAME Record Setup

Now wait for about two hours.  Then you can access any file you’ve uploaded on AWS using the following format: http://<domain>/<directories>/<file-name>.  For example, the image above is hosted on AWS at the following address: http://s3.xyzio.com/s3_cname/winhost_cname.jpg.

You can use https to securely link to your image.  This will throw a warning message in your browser because the domain and hosted domain names are different i.e. https://s3.xyzio.com/s3_cname/winhost_cname.jpg.

Of course you can also link directly to your file using the AWS linking convention: https://s3.amazonaws.com/s3.xyzio.com/s3_cname/winhost_cname.jpg or http://s3.xyzio.com.s3.amazonaws.com/s3_cname/winhost_cname.jpg

And that is it.  Now you can easily extend your disk space at WinHost without having to upgrade!

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Written by M Kapoor

June 27, 2013 at 7:17 pm

WinHost ASP.NET hosting review – Boring is Good

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It has been a year since I moved my website off Mono at Linode to WinHost and I’m being honest here – the hosting has been absolutely boring and that is a great thing!

After spending some time looking at ASP.NET hosts it came down to DiscountASP.NET, GoDaddy, and WinHost.  I ended up choosing WinHost because they offered database hosting in their base package, promise not to oversell, and I couldn’t find any bad reviews about them.  Looking at my other options – The web is littered with bad GoDaddy reviews and DiscountASP.NET doesn’t offer a MS SQL database (or any database) at the same WinHost price point.

Unlike hosting with Mono – I do not have dink around with arcane text files, there is a nice GUI interface to manage my site.  I can select my ASP.NET version, manage my databases, and do everything I need to manage my site through their interface.  My website and iTextSharp based BingoCard maker just work!  In addition, I’ve had no downtime or hosting issues since I’ve started hosting with them.  Perfectly boring!

Of course nothing is perfect – I’ve had a few a couple issues with them:
Their auto installer would only install WordPress in domain.com/wordpress.  I couldn’t choose another sub-directory like /blog or /diary.  However, I was able to manually install WordPress in a different directory on my own.

Another problem I’ve had is that I had trouble connecting to WordPress Jetpack through my install.  However it seems that they’ve now fixed the issue.

One last annoyance is that they don’t include Scheduled Tasks in their basic $5 package.  This means that I can’t set up tasks a-la-Cron like a Mono-on-Linux install would allow.

Overall I’m happy with my experience, perfectly boring ASP.NET hosting with database for just $5/month where everything Just Works!

Have other questions? Check out the WinHost forums!

Update 12/29/2014:

I’ve switched to using Mono at DigitalOcean on their base droplet.  I get 20GB of disk space and greater ability to run scripts or set up a database for just $5/month.  Also, WinHost changed their monthly price to $5.95/month with a 3-month pre-pay so DigitalOcean with Mono is cheaper, faster, and comes with more features.

I still highly recommend WinHost for beginners and for those that want no-hassle hosting.  Maintaining your own server does take time and sometimes requires technical troubleshooting.

Written by M Kapoor

June 27, 2013 at 7:14 pm

Posted in ASP.NET, hosting, review

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