Breakthepaywall website move to Azure

Since its inception the Breakthepaywall website has been hosted by Fast2Host in the UK.

Yesterday I noticed that the Breakthepaywall download link was not working – a IIS 404 error page not found was being displayed.

After frantically trying to work out why, without success, I suspected Fast2Host had changed something their end. I called support, which answered swiftly as usual – they have always been very responsive and helpful, and was informed that they had indeed blocked .exe files from being downloaded from their IIS servers.

I was asked to email the specifics of my site, which I did, but have not received a response and upon checking today the .exe files were still being blocked.

As mentioned Fast2host have always been very responsive and helpful but they have always had problems with keeping things up and running – the shared web server the site resides on usually goes down once a night for one reason or another and on many occasions during the day. There have been numerous occasions that the site has been down for 10s of minutes rather than a few due to a reboot or restart.

So, this was the final nail in the coffin, particularly as they had not informed me of this change! I decided to move hosting providers – not a task taken lightly as it has proved very difficult in the past.

I needed a free/cheap website hoster that supported classic ASP (the greatest scripting language of all time 🙂 and allowed .exe files to reside and be downloaded from the web server.

I have always been an MSDN subscriber (Microsoft developer network) and heard recently about their free credits to the Azure cloud network for MSDN subscribers.

It turns out they give you £95 per month of credits to use Azure resources as you please on a pay as you go basis.

Intrigued, I decided to give it a go. As an MSDN subscriber I already have a Microsoft username so I simply logged onto the Azure portal at:

http://azure.microsoft.com/en-us/pricing/member-offers/msdn-benefits/

The portal interface is superbly designed and very intuitive. And it supports older technologies like Classic ASP. Within 30 minutes I had a fully functioning website with custom domain and all my files uploaded via FTP. You also get a custom IP which I then punched into my DNS A record entry and voila! my new host was serving the Breakthepaywall website and the .exe setup files could once again be downloaded.

All this for just £6.16 per month – shared plan which is required if you want a custom domain name, otherwise it’s free if you’re ok to have an Azure domain name. For me it was free because of my MSDN free credits – fantastic, i’m sold. Microsoft are definitely going in the right direction with Azure.

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Author: James

IT Manager - Network, Web coding, MS SQL and Online Mapping expert

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