One area where Open Source Railo should make a difference…

With the release of Railo 3.1 as an open source project, I can think of one area in particular where this is going to make a huge difference – hosting.

UK hosts seem to split into two camps (IMO), LAMP specialists, and then CF providers, often running Win2003/IIS/CF/MySQL/SQL server.

With UK hosting, there is a huge disparity between hosting for standard LAMP, and CF hosting: Not just price, but diskspace and bandwidth. You can pick up a linux PHP based VPS with 30GB webspace and about 300GB of bandwidth for a fraction of the price the equivalent would be with CF hosting: the reason is fairly obvious – CF licenses (and windows server licences) cost a lot – shared hosts in particular seem to cram a lot onto several larger servers to stretch the license as widely as possible (I’m not saying LAMP hosts don’t), so diskspace (in particular) is at a premium.

Previously I’ve considered getting a VPS, and simply buying a CF standard license, as generally speaking, that suits my freelance needs; but that extra £1000 odd is simply crippling, and makes the whole idea unuseable.

I run a lot of smaller sites, none of which could afford the CF outlay and rely heavily on shared hosting – the irony is, as they’re built in CF, they were initially quicker and thus cheaper to build.

I hope we’ll start to see Railo offered as another service alongside PHP: there’s now no reason *not* too, except the obvious maintence required for an additional service, and the potential hit to the server’s RAM in actually running it. Alternatively, this could all go the way of OBD or the smith project, but I hope not.

Whilst there are many sides to this argument, especially the effect on CFML as a language, this announcement is something I’m really rather pleased about overall – it gives many more sites the option of using CFML, especially those smaller ones which would otherwise have to go on PHP for budget reasons. Additionally, for higher education, running Railo should now be a no brainer – after all, it’s free, why not at least try it?

I’m now seriously considering consolidating all my hosting into a single linux VPS with PHP, Railo and MySQL. Being able to run Drupal and all my bespoke CF projects under the same roof is very appealing. Now all it takes is do some research into Railo properly, and check there aren’t any massive “gotchas”. Speaking of which, is there a good CF8 vs Railo 3.1 comparison out there anywhere yet?

  • I’ve been developing with CFML for a long time, but not until the last year did I come across Railo and the benefits of using it. I also began using Cloud hosting instead of dedicated server hosting last year and have been very pleased with the results. The two combined together make for an incredibly powerful platform that is affordable and just as functional.

    A few suggestions I have for you going forward:

    First, find a reliable cloud hosting company such as Rackspace. I wasted a lot of time with several companies before I learned about Rackspace’s cloud. I also highly recommend Slicehost (which is now owned by Rackspace).
    You can get a full root Linux server for $10/month ($US) and upgrade in minutes, not days. Besides the reliability, the biggest reason I recommend these companies is the support that comes with them. The online articles they provide for setting up a server securely are fantastic. They cover everything from MySQL, Apache, SSH, firewalls, etc. Here’s a link to Slicehost’s articles for Ubuntu. They have them for other Linux distros as well:

    Second, I have used this blog post on how to install Railo on Ubuntu around 20 times now (literally).

    Third, what struck me as odd that nothing warned me of when using Railo is that every website configured in Railo will have it’s own administrator section. I was used to only having one central admin on the server, ColdFusion Administrator. No, every site get’s it’s own administrator, and then there is a server administrator as well. You can access the admin of any sites by going to:

    That was a lot of typing, but I hope it helps. I’ve been considering blogging on doing a full server setup of Ubuntu, Railo, and MySQL. Good luck in your journey and if I can of any help, just let me know.

  • I forgot to mention:

    Be sure you get a VPS or cloud server with at the VERY least 512 MB of ram. I would recommend you get higher if you can afford it, but 512MB at least.

  • Tom

    Thanks Grant;
    For some reason this post got sent out again on the RSS feed to Cfbloggers – I’m actually all set up now!

    I ended up with Centos 5.x, PHP 5.x (ugh), mySQL 5.x, Railo 3.x on Apache/TomCat all running on a VPS – not proper cloud hosting though – couldn’t quite afford that..

    The VPS has 968MB RAM which has been doing me fine – I find it idles around 350MB most of the time, and spikes to 500MB+ with proper traffic. The biggest RAM jumps appear to be loading frameworks, or something like MangoBlog – once they’re in memory it’s all fine though.

    I ended up using Jordan’s Viviotech installer for Railo, which worked flawlessly, and I’ve now got SeeFusion running on it too – although I’m still working out how to leverage that properly!

    All in all, a busy 6 months!!

  • larryclyons

    lets not forget the other open source CF project, Open BlueDragon (

    BTW it runs on the Google Application Engine, which neither CF nor Railo does yet.