Uberspace, IPv6, Let’s Encrypt, Domain Names, etc. etc.

Over the weekend I wanted to set up a cloud based project management software and after my default web hoster failed miserably, I took the opportunity to try a new hosting company I heard of some time ago called Uberspace. This post is probably only interesting for German speakers because they only have a German web presence, sorry about that. So you might wonder why I am reviewing a web hoster, that's quite out of the ordinary for this blog!? Right, but this web hoster is too!

Unlike other hosting services that I've been using for over a decade that have become big behemoths that are now only interested in the masses and offer a very limited feature set and not a tiny bit more, Uberspace offers a lot of features, an online documentation that is very nerdy and fun to read and they offer maximum freedom for my web hosting requirements. For starters, they don't want money up front, you can try for free for a month. If you walk away during that time the account is simply deleted, no questions asked. If you want to stay around you decide how much you want to pay per month. They give some guidance of what they think this should be (€5) and give a detailed overview of their own costs from power consumption to hardware purchases. I like transparency and details! They also point out that in case you are cash starved you can also pay less. Paying more is also possible of course. A wonderful approach that seems to work, they've been around for a while.

Apart from the easy signup process all the rest is pretty much straight forward as well. After FTPing the project manangement software to my virtual web server and creating a mySQL database via mySQLAdmin web frontend I could immediately start working with it and could access it over both HTTP and HTTPS with the default domain name given to my account. Adding my own domains for the web space is simple as well, a simple command in the shell and it is done. Afterward, the IPv4 and (optionally) the IPv6 address of the site needs to be provisioned in the DNS server which by the way they don't provide so you can and have to bring your own domain names. It worked like a charm both for IPv4 and IPv6. Wonderful!

To use HTTPS with my own domain name an SSL certificate is required. Uberspace offers two ways of doing this. The old fashioned way is to get an SSL certificate somewhere and then to import the certificate and key files to the web space. The cool way to do it since last December is to use Let's Encrypt and Uberspace is probably one of the first web hosters that has integrated Let's Encrypt. It took about two minutes and three commands on the shell to request the generation and installation of the certificate. It was so simple I couldn't believe it until I checked that the Let's Encrypt certificate is actually used when I browsed to my site. Awesome!

Freedom, IPv6, Let's Encrypt, a great nerdy online documentation and my website was up and running with my own domain and https in less than an hour, Uberspace certainly got me hooked!