What you need to know

In this Getting Started Guide, we will show you how to launch your first website on freistilbox. Before we get going, though, let us explain a few things first that will help you understand what freistilbox does differently to become a world-class hosting platform for Drupal and WordPress.

Many pieces working together

With conventional hosting, you usually get webspace on a server that’s also used by other customers (“shared server”), or your own server that you need to maintain yourself (“dedicated server”), or even one that is maintained by your provider (“managed server”). freistilbox is quite a different animal.

With freistilbox, you don’t get just “a server”. Our hosting platform is based on an IT architecture that is called a “distributed system”. This means that your web application is served by a multitude of servers, each one optimised for its specific purpose. And where ever possible, we’ve built in redundancy in order to maximise your website’s uptime.

Let’s take a detailed look at the different parts of freistilbox. There’s much to discover! The following diagram shows how freistilbox handles web requests from your website visitors:

HTTP request flow

First, incoming requests arrive at one of our Edge Routers. The purpose of these machines is to decrypt incoming SSL traffic and then to pass each request to the freistilbox cluster running the website to which it is addressed.

Every freistilbox cluster has its own Content Cache based on the Varnish reverse proxy. Varnish stores content that is requested frequently in RAM, so when this content gets requested, Varnish will be able to deliver it many times faster than your web application. Since SSL requests have already been decrypted by the Edge Router at this stage, Varnish will boost content delivery performance for both HTTP and HTTPS traffic. If a request can not be answered with cached content, though, a load balancing algorithm decides to which Application Box it should be forwarded.

The box in “freistilbox”

At the heart of the freistilbox hosting platform is what we call “boxes”. The precise term would be “web application servers” but let’s be honest – nobody uses that term outside of technical whitepapers. At a conventional hosting provider, your website would run on a single server. On the freistilbox platform, on the other hand, your website’s Drupal or WordPress installation might run on 2, 5 or 20 servers! We’ve built freistilbox so that it will distribute the load over an arbitrary number of servers, depending on the capacity required to serve your content reliably. This gives you the flexibility to always get the capacity you need to satisfy your visitors. And the inherent redundancy reduces the risk that your websites becomes unavailable if one of the boxes takes a time out.

Platform services

Both Drupal and WordPress use a MySQL database for storing content. But that’s not the only service dependency – modern web applications rely on many more services in order to deliver a great visitor experience, for example Memcache and Apache Solr.

Platform services

freistilbox offers you all these services, each running on separate infrastructure designed for maximum performance and reliability.

Managed by experts

So now you have an idea of how freistilbox works. If you think that all this stuff sounds like a hugely complex thing to run, let us assure you: it is. :-) And we’ve got you covered. freistilbox is a fully managed hosting platform, which means that our operations team will take care of everything that your web application needs to run smoothly. Together, we have more than 30,000 hours of experience in running business-critical web infrastructure. We’re using it so you can work efficiently and sleep peacefully.

If you find this architecture hard to grasp, don’t worry. We’ve made a lot of effort to keep the complexity under the hood. In a short time, you’re going to find that freistilbox is easier and more efficient to use than the hosting solutions you’ve known so far!

Next: Let’s get started and set up SSH access!