VPS Capabilities



My old host plan is going to expire within 45 days, and I’m planning to move to DreamHost since I’ve heard so many nice things about it.

As a Perl programmer, I’m looking for a server with mod_perl installed, which unfortunately seems to be uncommon. Then I came across VPS plans on DreamHost. These are pretty interesting, and not very expensive in my opinion (the 300MB plan might suffice my needs); but I have some questions regarding its capabilities.

I don’t have a great experience with the various hosting options in the market, but I’ve always wanted to have my “own” server where I could play with the configuration and software installed. VPS seems to fit in this description, hopefully. Some questions I have:

  • Can I install mod_perl in a VPS (is a C compiler available and so on)?
  • Can I edit Apache config files not available in shared hosting plans, such as httpd.conf?

Thanks in advance for any help and advices!


So, I’ve got good news and bad news for you.

Yes, a full development toolchain is installed by default. Better yet, our VPSes run Debian, so you can just install their packages for mod_perl instead of building your own.

You can. But you’ll kind of end up fighting with our management software if you do so — the web server is “managed” by default, which ends up generating httpd.conf when you make changes in the web panel. One option is to disable management for the web server in the panel; another better option, if possible, would be to write your site to run as FastCGI instead of mod_perl. That’d let it run on an unmodified web server, as well as making it easier to deploy and test.


Thanks for your info.

I’m starting to play with Mason, and yes, FastCGI is certainly possible. I did consider it since I was planning to keep using shared hosting (before getting to know DreamHost plans). However, I find mod_perl relatively simple to configure at this point; I’ve successfully used it with my machine’s server. I didn’t had success with FastCGI though, which requires some knowledge to write a handler that I’m still studying.

Or maybe, within some time we’ll be able to use PSGI as well. The PSGI/Plack adapters for both Apache and FastCGI are there, but I didn’t managed to get them going yet. Seems to be pretty “advanced” stuff.

So, as you can see I’m still learning a lot when it comes to servers.

Regarding installation of Perl modules, I found this page with some instructions. Anyway, just to confirm it, with the root user access I should be able to install any modules on my VPS in the traditional way, and avoid extra configuration on my scripts to modify the modules search path, right?


Sure — either that or install them from Debian packages if they’re available that way. I’d recommend using some combination of App::cpanminus, local::lib, and/or perlbrew in preference to installing Perl modules as root, as it’s much easier to clean up a mistake that hasn’t polluted the global environment.


@sidyll - I am totally agree with your opinion regarding VPS hosting selection. It will make available more options for you as a developer. Shared hosting can’t be compared with this Royal Hosting service.


Thanks for your help andrewf. I think I’m sufficiently convinced to sign up for a plan :slight_smile:

Looks like it’s what I was looking for, specially in the highly customizable aspect. Thanks apanji!


I am currently on VPS and am happy. sudo allows me to install the packages I need. You will need to carefully allocate the CPU and memory resources though.