[sf-lug] Questions about Cloud Services

Jonathan Drews jondrews at fastmail.com
Sat Feb 4 17:59:27 PST 2023

On Sat, Feb 04, 2023 at 12:15:34PM -0600, Zach Hanna wrote:
> What are your goals?
> What do you want out of the site, and what do you plan on hosting (Frontend and backend stack)?
A webstore. I am not happy with Shopify's recent changes. They are
making things way too complicated. Shoify's interface has a bad
defect. Namely If you list multiple items under one price point, then
you can have a combo box to select the item. The difficulty is that you
can clik on different images to see different fabrics. However this
does not change the combo box selection! So a seamstress who clicks on
Cobalt Blue fabric thinks that is what is in her cart when in reality
it's some other color. Shopify has not fixed this. This kind of thing
causes returns.

> What is your budget for the hosting costs of this store (compared to Shopify)?
> I have plenty of opinions on this but think most of the ???cloud??? providers are drastically overpriced for what you get, if you are only running Linux on a single vertically scaled vm with enough resources for everything to run the store.
I currently pay $27.00 per month for Shopify. I wouldn't want to go
above $50.00 a month. I am going to deplete my inventory and go out of
business. Selling fabric online is not very profitable as shipping
costs are very high. I've actually shipped an order to Canada where
the shipping cost was more than the cost of the product.

> In my day job I primarily support/design/built Linux servers and Kubernetes clusters on Google cloud, and help customers design things for scale and resiliency, usually via separating out different components to run in different containers and never in only one place. 
That's impressive. I don't have anywhere near those skills.

> So if you are interested in going the ???reliable, scalable, proper container best practices??? route I can help give advice on that and I think Google Cloud, IBM cloud, or Azure are good places to build and deploy a properly architected eCommerce business backend. But only if you have a certain budget floor (usually at least a few hundred a month).
That's way too expensive. Shopify is a reasonably priced. Maybe I
should move to Square web hosting? Wix, as far as I can tell, has been
hacked on multiple occasions. The problem with all thes guys is that
their software is over featured. As a merchant, most of my time is
spent sorting trash fabric from good fabric. Believe me there are only
a few wholesalers that carry good fabric. Of the hundreds of offerings
that they carry most of them have awful prints. I mean they are so
ugly that if a woman were to sew a dress from that fabric, It would
make dogs bark and little children cry. So finding good fabrics is the
most urgent task.
 I have no time to deciphre the hype laden instructions for some 
"feature". It has come to the point where itt may be easier to just
 write my own HTML with EMACS or Vi than suffer through the buggy 
overfeatured software. 

> Another approach is to go the ???serverless??? route with something like Google App Engine but that is a bit more of a learning curve on the dev side, with the advantage of only ever paying for exactly what you use (the original promise of Cloud) and being almost completely hands off for day to day operations.
If there is going to be any learning curve its going to devoted to
setting up OpenBSD as a server using HTTPD as the webserver and
Sqaures payment portal. I have used OpenBSD as a desktop for years and
it worked just great. LibreOffice works. Printing works. Scanning
> But if you want to just do everything on a Linux VM, and keep doing things the way you???re used to as a Linux admin/enthusiast???stay away from the ???cloud??? providers, and go with a budget dedicated host like Ionos. 

I will have to look into Ionos.

> They will give you a root server starting at like $35 a month that???s dedicated and you can install whatever you want, though I personally enjoy using Plesk to automate a lot of the provisioning tasks, you may wish to hand roll all your configs. 
> You really can???t beat the dedicated server pricing for the performance, in any of the ???cloud??? vendors, or even at home really considering the power costs and the static IP charges.
I just looked up Ionos and they are rated highly by TrustPilot. I will
have to look into that. 

Thanks for your input and expertise. 

Kind regards,

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