And Done

Thats all my domains now moved over to the new host.

7 years ago I started hosting with Digital Ocean. At exactly 0218Hrs on Friday 23/08/2013 I made my first $5 droplet – and that $5 droplet worked exceptionally well. I had automated backups and with VAT it came to around $7.20 every month. Not a lot by any stretch of the imagination.

The existing VPS was destroyed at 1655Hrs, Monday 30/03/2020 – meaning that droplet ran for exactly 2411 days, 14 hours and 37 minutes. Or 6 years, 7 months, 7 days, 14 hours and 37 minutes – give or take a few seconds. Its a good thing I waited until today to destroy the droplet otherwise there would be an extra calculation due to the DST difference!

But anyway. Onwards and upwards. My new host is £1.20 per month for each server, with a £10 setup fee. I currently have 2 separate servers running – for both reliability and to ease strain as a new customer. So far I’ve spent £16.80 per server for 3 months. Thats £5.60 per month each, so £11.20 per month. Making it a tad more expensive.

Just for information. I just spent the last hour dealing with Digital Ocean’s Billing API to obtain all the following figures – then attempting to use jq to parse this data – and finally excel to do some quick calculations. I also used [1],[2] and [3] in my quest to save time.

Im going use the rounded up value of 6 years and 8 months for the following math – exactly 80 months.

I’ve had a total of $110 in Digital Ocean credit over those 18 months — this includes welcome credit and referrals. Over the 80 months I spent exactly $427.04. Minus that credit brings the total cost to $317.04, so per month that equates to $3.96. Not bad, and still under the $5 cost it should have been! Converting that into UK Pounds equates to roughly £3.15 per month.

As I said my new server is only £1.20 per month, but there’s two of them, so £2.40. A whopping 75p per month saving.

However – I still have to factor in that £10 (each) per server set upon cost – and if I take the average of 80 months £20 becomes £0.25 per month.

All totalled, It looks like i’ll be saving around 50p per month.

Damm. I wish I had done the math before the moves.



There comes a time when everyone makes a mistake with computers. Garbage In Garbage Out and all that jazz. I seem to just like shovelling a large amount of Garbage into my servers. Take this evening for example.

I have one domain left to transfer to my new servers. The third last one was this blog and that went almost without a hitch. There were some wordpress-related things I hadn’t accounted for but nothing I couldn’t handle. The penultimate one was another wordpress installation that went much smoother after I transferred this blog.

And then I started preparing the move for the last domain. I’m being careful with this one because I know things will go wrong given half a chance. I’ve been checking and re-checking everything and decided to start to the process this evening.

First up was to update the existing code on that domain so that I could transfer everything fresh. That has a small hiccup which ended with me erasing (thanks to an errant FTP command) almost every folder and leaving but a handful of files behind.

Panicking, I managed to copy a new instance of the software over however in my haste this overwrote the main configuration file. Thank goodness I managed to remember some very old username/password/database combinations.

That ended up being rescued and is now working fine on the old host.

Whilst running about I then tried to login to my new host and managed to type with my ham-fists the incorrect password a few times and put my own IP address in a fail2ban jail.

I managed to get a remote KVM Console running via my hosting provider, and took myself out of the fail2ban jail. Now, I’m not entirely sure why I thought this was a good idea but I seen this button and figured I should click it.


Now I’m no new entrant to linux and its ilk. I’m also not a stranger to Windows – and my organisation requires the use of Ctrl+Alt+Del to initiate a login. Completely forgetting that Ctrl+Alt+Del on Linux restarts the server I click the button. No confirmation. No warning. Just a graceful restart.

Remember how I didn’t want any downtime? 🤦🏼‍♂️

I am not a smart man.

On the plus side, I today confirmed that a reboot would bring all services back online in a sane manner!

But the last site move has been postponed.


Easy root MySQL Password reset

I’ve recently found myself in that awkward situation where I’ve chosen a (very) secure password for a root MySQL user and I’ve forgotten it. I suppose its the most secure password I’ve had then because even I cant use it to login to the MySQL database – not that you should be using a root account under any circumstances – this was debugging.

I’ve had this happen before and I’ve used the


trick that stops the MySQL server, starts it up with no password, allows you to change the password, then stop and restart the server with the new password in force.

Ideally I wanted no downtime (even for those few precious seconds). As usual, google ended up pointing (to me) to a unknown way to reset the root password using another account that has full root privileges in a standard Ubuntu install.

Full credit to, and the main parts are only reproduced here in case the original site goes offline.

The debian-sys-maint user account is an administrative user account automatically created when installing MySQL Server on Ubuntu and this user have full access to all databases.

Quote from

This means that viewing the debian.cnf file using cat

sudo cat /etc/mysql/debian.cnf

nets us directly the login details including password for this account. Looking under

user = debian-sys-maint

is a

password = LongAndRandomPassword

so, using these details, a a quick

mysql -udebian-sys-maint -p


 ALTER USER 'root'@'localhost' IDENTIFIED WITH mysql_native_password BY 'NewVerySecurePassword';

nets you with an uninterrupted uptime MySQL password reset.

Now. To read about this account that has MySQL Root Privileges that I’ve never noticed before.


Time for an update.

Update 1 below, posted at 12/12/2019 @ 1910Hrs

It’s Annual Leave time. Seeing as I’m not going away anywhere that means I have to fill my time with other things. This time, I’ve decided to migrate hosts. Oh the joys.

I have approximately 10 domains to move, database to migrate, files to transfer and DNS changes to propagate. This is going to be fun.

Why? Cost. I currently pay around £9 a month for my current hosting, which is to a company based in the US. I recon I can (safely) get it down to around £2 per month, maximum. Thats roughly 77% less. The hosting for the sites I do isn’t mission critical. Its still just a hobby. The £2 a month hosting should be more than adequate for my needs.

Because I’m lazy I figure a script will help with some of the automation. I’m using Apache VirtualHosts, and because each domain requires a separate VirtualHosts configuration file, I created this script. It doesn’t have the full configuration in it, but its enough to help you get started. I also output the command required to enable each configuration into a separate file, which can be viewed here.

Update 1: Most of my sites have been transferred over with no issues. All DNS records have been updated and appear to be working fine, apart from Virgin Media dragging its heels and apparently (still) not adhering to TTL values.

This one, and my busiest have yet to be moved. Im contemplating moving these two to a separate server, and at £1 per month, I don’t see why not.