Working on foreign hosting platforms

I've never really had to work on a hosting platform I didn't have complete control over. Ok, so back in 1999 we were hosting ToolBarn on Earthlink (yes, many many moons ago), but since then we've always had root access to our servers, and it wasn't actually too long after that when we started using our own hardware. ISP's are fine for getting started (we used dedicated server options at a few ISP's before moving to our own hardware), but when you need to make a change nothing beats root level access.

As I'm doing some simple changes to a site hosted on Yahoo's hosting platform, it really feels foreign. It's almost as bad as trying to work on the first site I ever worked on... maybe worse than that. I'm so used to making changes via SSH or some other server side login that even the simple things seem to take me forever. Wow... how does the rest of the world get along this way?

The more I have to do on this project, the happier I am that we have our own web servers, our own database servers, our own load balancers, our own search appliances and our own email server.

I guess what I'm saying is that limitations suck. If I want to use vi to edit a file quickly, why can't I log in and do that? If I'd like to use SFTP (FTP isn't a good idea), then I should be able to do that. But when all the host offers is FTP or some specialty control panel for file editing, I feel like I'm playing with my hands tied up. It's just not much fun.


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