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mod_perl, The Bane of Shared Webhosting

by hiseldl (Priest)
on Sep 05, 2002 at 18:14 UTC ( #195463=perlmeditation: print w/replies, xml ) Need Help??

Aaargh! There are several Perl portals and other CGI's out there that I would like to install and play with, but they require mod_perl to run. I asked my current webhost if they could install it, and I received this reply:
    ... There's no way to use mod_perl because all the scripts are loaded into memory... Impossible in a shared envirnoment, with hundreds, even thousands of scripts...
Is mod_perl just not feasible for a shared webhost? Are there any webhosts out there that support mod_perl in a shared hosting environment, or am I stuck either hacking the scripts that are out there, writing my own, or finding a cheap co-lo service where I can put my own box running mod_perl?

My webhost is Superb.net, and they are running Perl 5.8.0 on SunOS 5.9. If a Perl module is not installed, they are usually pretty quick to install it. Their only drawback is that they won't install mod_perl (see the quote above). Their web server is Apache/1.3.26 with tomcat, mod_throttle, PHP, mod_fastcgi, and a few others.

What keeps me there? Reliability and support. In two years there has only been one unscheduled outage that I remember. Every support issue that I had, from billing to configuration issues, has been addressed within 24 hours, and most of the time within 2 hours.

Do I want to move to another host? If I can find a host that offers mod_perl at a comparable price, I would definitely consider it.

Tell me about your webhost's support for Perl and mod_perl.

I found references to the following hosts supporting Perl or mod_perl in articles here on the monestary. Here is a short list of hosts that I came up with:

I started writing this article out of frustration from the realization that I may have to pay more every month to get mod_perl functionality from a webhost e.g. co-location or dedicated server. After searching for 'web host' and reading several of the writeups here at the monestery, I realized that the collective wisdom of the monks is uplifting, diverse, informative and helpful just like a community should be. A big ++ to everyone who has posted something here at the monestery. :)

--
hiseldl

P.S. Yes, there are equivalent PHP scripts, etc., but I'm a Perl Monk, not a PHP Monk. ;)

  • Comment on mod_perl, The Bane of Shared Webhosting

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•Re: mod_perl, The Bane of Shared Webhosting
by merlyn (Sage) on Sep 05, 2002 at 18:50 UTC
    The biggest problem with shared hosts and mod_perl is that you must completely trust all of your neighbors not to mess with your subroutines and your data. Once I can execute arbitrary Perl code, your shopping cart is vulnerable.

    So you end up having to run one Apache cluster per trusted user group, and that starts getting pretty expensive from a memory perspective.

    If you are looking to move to a different host location, please go immediately to Sprocket Data. I've had Stonehenge's server there for about six months, and have really appreciated their service level and price/performance ratio. Even my former ISP moved their co-lo service to Sprocket!

    -- Randal L. Schwartz, Perl hacker

Re: mod_perl, The Bane of Shared Webhosting
by valdez (Monsignor) on Sep 05, 2002 at 22:06 UTC

    Have you read Finding a mod_perl ISP... or Becoming One on www.perl.com?

    In this article we will talk about the nuances of providing mod_perl services and present a few ISPs that successfully provide them.

    May be your ISP will change its policy :) Ciao, Valerio

Re: mod_perl, The Bane of Shared Webhosting
by talexb (Canon) on Sep 06, 2002 at 14:01 UTC
    As far as I know, pair Networks (my web provider) doesn't support mod_perl .. and I check their list of installed Apache modules fairly regularly.

    I wish I could run mod_perl too .. from what I've heard, it provides a speed improvement of between two and three orders of magnitude, at the risk (according to pair's technical support) of providing (as I understand it) shared memory between all mod_perl processes .. and that's apparently a security risk.

    --t. alex
    but my friends call me T.

    Update: As drewbie has pointed out, mod_perl is of course offered by pair on their dedicated servers. I should have explained that my comments really only apply to shared web hosting. When you have a box to yourself, virtually anything is possible.

      mod_perl is not available on the shared hosting servers, but it is an available option on Quickserve. As outlined by merlyn above, mod_perl in it's current form is not suitable for shared hosting environments because of 1) extra memory usage & 2) trusting users not to mess around w/ other's modules/scripts cached in memory.
Re: mod_perl, The Bane of Shared Webhosting
by fglock (Vicar) on Sep 06, 2002 at 16:55 UTC

    I just migrated from FastCGI to mod_perl.

    I think FCGI doesn't have this issues, or am I wrong?

    (my motivation was standards compliance, not performance or security -- looks like there is more support for mod_perl than for FCGI)

Re: mod_perl, The Bane of Shared Webhosting
by Anonymous Monk on Sep 15, 2002 at 16:33 UTC
    I have used sevaa for a while now and have nothing but great things to say about them.

    Oh, and they have mod_perl. Prices start at $2.50 per month (that is the plan I use for my personal site).

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