What do I think of EasyEngine, Webinoly, WordOps, etc?
There seems to be new webserver script-stack released every month. All of them copying/forking off each other, and promising the same thing:
- Super simple
- Install a whole webserver in just 1 or 2 commands
- All key stack features already preconfigured (php, mysql, security)
- blah blah blah
I love them but here’s why I never use them.
REASON #1 – CLI interface
These script-stracks are run on pure CLI. Quit clowning around. It doesn’t matter how l33t you are. CLI is not user-friendly for MANY people. Not only end clients but also work partners or contractors.
What are you gonna do when shit breaks and you’re not available? Do you have 2 or 3 other people with full SSH access that are familiar with Linux commands? What if you need to make an FTP account real quick? What if the database got corrupted? What if you lost file/user permissions? What if your server gets hacked? What if something is eating up a ton of resources and you’re not sure which site it is?
I’m fully aware they come with a helpful list of commands and other useful documentation. But are they truly handy and simple enough for everyone? Probably not. What if you have an emergency and want to reset or reconfigure something real quick on your phone? It’s super fussy with CLI. Script-stacks may be a “convenience” for CLI junkies, but a hinderance for everybody else.
REASON #2 – not much benefit
Script-stacks are a really weird middleground solution for me. I think they were most beneficial about 5-10 years ago…back when existing control panels were still too bloated for VPS (as they’re originally built for bare metal dedicated servers). Script-stacks offered a faster way of getting a web-server up and running quickly but without having to install Linux packages/modules one by one. A sys-admin’s equivalent of an IT person’s boot image (if you will).
At that time, script-stacks were more lightweight than a GUI but more convenient than manually provisioning Linux servers from scratch. What you saved was in 50-100 lines of CLI commands. This also saved you money, in not having to pay for a control panel license…and also in server fees (assuming the script-stack was more optimized than the usual control panel setup).
But the benefit has largely dwindled away in the past 2-3 years. There are user-friendly GUI control panel services now…some even built off those very script-stacks…that cost a couple bucks and provide you with a GUI that’s actually useful for everyone, not only Linux geeks. Using a script-stack to me in this day and age is the equivalent of stealing napkins from Chipotle so you don’t have to buy any. You save a couple dollars only to add more hassle in the long run.
REASON #3 – not convenient for managing more than one site
Script-stack servers are IMO probably only intended to manage one site at a time. Yes, you can install multiple sites but they aren’t convenient for managing multiple sites. No GUI makes basic things a pain. What if you want to move files around. Copy things back and forth between live and staging.
Or maybe there’s this pipe dream that you can just have this cheap side-server for development purposes, and putting only non-serious sites on there. That’s a pain, too. I wonder if script-stacks are a pain to manage multiple users as well. I bet so…because I wonder how they’ll be able to give granular access.
VERDICT – scriptstacks aren’t for production use
Make no mistake. Script-stacks are inferior tools. It’s like using NotePad or TextEdit instead of a real word processing program. Their main appeal is for the cheapass who don’t wanna pay for a control panel license. But control panels don’t cost much anymore. RunCloud is what…$6.67/month?
I think you’d be stupid to try and save $6/month so you (and your whole team) will have to learn Linux AND some scriptstack’s proprietary commands to do basic things. There’s a reason why no everyday device (desktop, laptop, mobile phone) is in CLI. They’re all in GUI because that’s how tools are used. It’s easier to see things in a contextual manner.
Maybe you ARE a Linux geek. Maybe you only have one site, and want the cheapest webhosting possible on the cheapest VPS instances possible. Fine do that. But that’s like buying just ONE wrench from the hardware store because that’s all you needed. Later on…when you (eventually) need more, you’re going to wish you bought the whole kit.
Scriptstacks are ok if you…
- Want to learn Linux command line.
- Want to host a small (non-important) site on the cheapest server possible.
- Are a Linux geek who’s very comfortable with and understands the limit of CLI interfaces.
For everything else, get a real web server dammit. And if you’re the type of person wondering whether these script-stacks are for you, I think you’re most likely NOT the target user demographic.