by Jason Lutz
Although ColdFusion is not our standard language when creating sites, we have often used it in the past to create small and easily configurable web pages. These sites were all hosted through one hosting company and were serviceable in the early years of our company. However, starting a year or so ago, we ran into a few issues with having our ColdFusion sites hosted at this particular company.
Amongst these problems were:
- The server was updated at will, sometimes breaking our code.
- The server was shared and would on a weekly basis stop working due to load or other companies bringing down the server.
- There was very little configuration, which was a problem when it came to some of the pdf generation we were doing with cfdocument.
- The hosting company often didn’t know when the servers were down. We have an internal scheduled script that sends an email to us when our sites are down though to account for this (and is just generally good practice).
Due to these problems, I decided it was time to move our sites somewhere else. I went through a process of determining what the options were, including another hosting company, buying ColdFusion, re-writing the sites in another language, or finding another CFML engine (if one was available). This is when I discovered an open source alternative to ColdFusion called railo. Although I am a huge proponent of open source, I was tentative to move to a completely different CFML engine because I was worried about having to make a lot of changes to pre-existing code. In the end I figured it was worth a shot in order to save on the cost of installing ColdFusion on one of our servers. I was able to very easily install railo on my windows box in order to test before putting it on a real server. I grabbed the code from two of our sites, put them on railo, and gave it a go. It took a day or two to work through a couple configuration issues and one minor syntax change, and then I was up and running. I was pleasantly surprised by the ease of moving to railo, so I moved forward with installing on a linux server on tomcat and did some load and qa testing. Everything went great, and since then we’ve continued to move other ColdFusion sites onto the server. I’ve yet to have any problems in the months since and now have a lot more reliability. I am also thankful for the lessened cost and lack of time spent on moving the sites.
If you have some pre-existing ColdFusion code or just want to try ColdFusion out for free, check out http://www.getrailo.org/. It has been well worth it for us.