On April 16, the MassLandlords.net website was transferred from Site5 cloud hosting to Amazon Web Services (AWS). Site5 was the second and longest-running host MassLandlords employed, offering services from April 2014 to April 2019. Several factors drove the migration.
First and foremost, MassLandlords.net will start to offer market certifications to owners and managers of residential rental real estate in 2019. Our site already receives over 100,000 unique visitors annually. Although Site5 was able to meet our needs for many years, we will need a scalable framework to accommodate additional traffic going forward. Amazon Web Services provides this.
The second reason for migration was related to direct costs. Site5 hosted VPS required little technical sophistication and little ongoing cash outlay, but didn’t offer fast servers for the money, compared with Amazon Web Services. Our monthly recurring server cost has decreased in this transition, and we have accepted some increased staff cost in exchange. Based on long experience with Amazon Web Services for other aspects of MassLandlords operations, we expect staff costs to be minimal.
The third reason to leave Site5 was related to indirect costs. For instance, Site5 doesn’t permit use of automated SSL certificates like Let’s Encrypt, which are free and equally secure. Also, Site5 botched a server migration in May 2016, during which three days of production data were lost. Finally, Site5’s email servers are shared, and the reputation of any bad sender diminishes the reputation of MassLandlords.net email addresses by association.
MassLandlords.net visitors will notice a performance increase on all pages except our service provider directory. The directory is faster like the rest of the site, except it’s starting from a slow baseline, so it will still be perceived as “slow to load.”
The new AWS foundation will enable us to migrate emails off of Site5 (where they remain for the time being). We will also be able to leverage Amazon’s impressive array of add-on services, including eliminating site downtime, mirroring world-wide for our remote team members, and using disk-level encryption.
It is hoped that the new server may also be used to host interactive policy discussions using a platform like pol.is or other.
Please join us in congratulating Jessica Thrower, MassLandlords’ Full Stack Developer, on this successful migration. MassLandlords will continue to employ technically sophisticated methods to further our mission to create better rental housing in Massachusetts.