Oh CPanel. You were serverless before serverless. You were the cloud before the "the cloud". Things were simpler yet still very hard. It's where I started building my first websites. I knew nothing about servers. Fast forward almost a decade and I know way more about servers than I care to admit.
Shared hosting is still a thing and I wonder what it looks like after all this time. So in this post I take a drive down nostalgia road and see what it was/is like to use shared hosting.
The advertised pricing is still pretty mind bending. For less than a cup of coffee per month you can host a website.
But in reality it's more like this.
The experience is still very much what I remember, just some fancier icons in the CPanel area. The hosting company emails you your password which is pretty interesting. I have to assume their support team has access to this information as well.
Look at that invoice. No "Cost Explorer" or "Cloud Economist" needed here. Just 12 months of compute baby.
Deployment is as easy as drag and drop on an FTP client.
There is one gotcha though. The hosting company is just so busy setting up my cookie cutter account that they couldn't be bothered to tell me when I should expect my FTP files to show up. So I uploaded this and waited.
<!doctype html> <html lang="en"> <head> <meta charset="utf-8"> <title>Retropanel.com</title> <meta name="description" content="Retropanel"> <meta name="author" content="Kyle Parisi"> </head> <body> <h1>Hello</h1> </body> </html>
That's right. What you see there is an HTML 5 document. Just look at my lighthouse score.
Cooking with gas. Let's do something dynamic shall we. Let me make a ☕ and I'll be right back.
I'm back! Check it out!
The hardest part of making this little app was remembering how
.htaccess file works. I have converted to Nginx as my reverse proxy a long time ago. The app is a simple timestamp computation and CRUD functionality for subscribers. Syncing the FTP files was a little awkward but I think I could manage it with some practice.
So would I recommend anyone in this day an age use a shared hosting provider over one of the juggernauts like AWS or Google? The pricing is a little bait and switch.
Like Amazon Lightsail is very clear and doesn't change over the long run. On the other hand, the shared hosting gives you some services like mysql, emails, free domain for the first year, crude metrics, and support. One thing I would recommend is to not use your main contact information. The shared hosting company I used obviously sold my information and now I'm being spammed.
If I were a small local retail shop or maybe a public service with very limited resources, I would probably be ok with it. Will I ever use CPanel for anything? Absolutely not.
This was fun. I hope to do it again in another 10ish years.