From a Single Server to the Cloud: Modernizing a Large Fan Website

Before the Internet became the domain of companies like Facebook and Google, it was filled with unique, independent websites often run by a single person. Things like homepages, and forums for fans of anything you can imagine, from Star Trek to trains. Many of these websites are still around, and are surprisingly popular and very heavily trafficked.

This talk will focus on a single fan site: probably the largest forum on the Internet for train fans. We’ll discuss how we went from the initial state of a code base that wasn’t even in version control yet and ran on a single server to a modern, scalable cloud-based architecture. We’ll discuss how websites small and large, corporate and independent, can benefit from modern web development strategies and architecture. And, best of all, how we saved the owner a significant amount of money in the process.

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