LRR Server config
May 18th, 2008

Posted by Paul

So, this started out as a reply to a question on the forums, but I realized that it might actually be informative for our audience at large. If there is interest, I might do a separate write up about the software that powers LRR.

Hosting
LoadingReadyRun is currently, and has been since the beginning, hosted by HostforWeb.com. Over the years we have had to upgrade from their budget $4.95/month shared package to the VPS we are currently on. Our hosting has not been without hiccups, but on the whole they have worked quite well. It would be cool to be using a local host, but Canadian hosts (at least locally) are way more expensive then their US counterparts. I believe HostforWeb is based in Chicago.

These days LRR pushes about 400GB of bandwidth/month consisting mostly of plain html/images, the podcasts and really old, non-revver videos. In actual fact, since we switched to Revver for videos, our main issue has been with processor usage, rather then bandwidth. When Talk like a Pirate got huge, we got taken offline because we were using 100% of the CPU time on our server and preventing everyone else from loading. Oops. As of the 5.1 update to the site design, we use lots of caching to speed up the site and reduce load on CPU.

Videos
We used to host everything ourselves (LRR started before youtube), but that gets old fast when you get the kind of traffic spikes we do. All the really old, archived videos are still hosted from our server, but everything in the past couple of years is served from Revver.

We originally went with Revver to host our videos because of the whole rev-share thing, but as a happy coincidence, they also happen to be one of the best video hosts period. They encode all videos in both flash and quicktime (which is needed for older computers) and their flash player is very customizable to match your site layout.

On top of that, Revver has, from what I have seen, the most complete API interface of any video host. Not only can you query their database for videos based on any criteria you want, but you can actually build an entire white-label video sharing site using their infrastructure. As an example, The Iron Stomach Challenge website is built entirely using their API and doesn’t actually have any database of its own (other then the forum).

The only thing to remember about Revver is that, because of the ads, everything you put up has to go through an approval process to make sure you are not using copyright material. You shouldn’t be doing this anyway, so I don’t really consider this a problem.

LRRcast
The LRRcasts are just totally normal mp3 files hosted on our server. It is possible that we might move to an external hosting service for them at some point in the future, but so far things have been ok.

Domain
Since the beginning, our main domains have been registered through DirectNic, who happen to be based in New Orleans. Did you notice that when Hurricane Katrina hit and New Orleans was flooded, LRR didn’t go offline with a “Cannot find host” error? That’s because the DirectNic crew never left. They kept their servers running with backup generators and defended their expensive equipment with guns from looters. For that kind of dedication, I’ll let them host my $15/year domain name.


8 Comments »

  1. Thanks a lot for the insightful reply, Paul. It really helped a lot ^^, but, out of curiousty, why don’t you upload the older videos to Revver?

    I like the sounds of DirectNic, they stick up for their customers.. plus that’d be a pretty neat story to tell people. As for hosting now I know what kind of service to be on the look out for.

    I would also be very curious as to the software that powers LRR, I like learning how things are done, often I will do that by hand, picking it apart until I can do it myself in reverse. Alas for things such as this, I really don’t have that opportunity, so reading ‘behind the scenes’ is always interesting for me.

    Comment by Tirk — May 18, 2008 @ 2:09 am

  2. WOW…. with guns…and back up generators……

    Comment by Krzwis — May 18, 2008 @ 2:12 am

  3. Alas, in New Orleans, guns and generators were never that uncommon. It’s also not too dumb an idea to defend your expensive equipment because it’s your livelihood.

    So, not so much “brave” as “entirely rational behaviour”

    Comment by Lyinginbedmon — May 18, 2008 @ 5:22 am

  4. why don’t you upload the older videos to Revver?

    We really should and probably will at some point, but there are a whole lot of pre-revver videos and we really just have not had the time.

    Comment by Paul — May 18, 2008 @ 10:26 am

  5. Fascinating. Thanks Paul! I followed the blog of one of the fellows in New Orleans during the hurricane but that was before I discovered LRR. It was definitely quite an ordeal.

    Comment by Evil Jim — May 20, 2008 @ 3:31 pm

  6. The whole time thing is one of the reasons why some people have requested an mass upload tool from Revver (as references by this link to the forum thread discussing it.

    I tend to upload stuff while I’m working on other stuff for our site. It gives me time to work and then come back to upload whatever the next video is as soon as that’s done.

    Comment by Snoopy/Eli Green — May 23, 2008 @ 1:16 am

  7. Don’t look a gift horse in the mouth,

    Comment by Maria — May 30, 2008 @ 8:26 am

  8. It makes perfect sense to me that LRR would not leave their entire archive on the website, both from the potential cost of keeping them there & a carrot for viewers to purchase the DVDs. I was actually a little surprised that another season didn’t vanish from the archive once the Season 3 DVD was released. I won’t complain, but I do feel a pang of guilt when I watch the QT-only videos online.

    Comment by Evil Jim — July 23, 2008 @ 6:09 pm

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