Lately I’ve been playing around with the Lisp web framework Weblocks that runs on Hunchentoot, and it seemed like time to test it in a deployment environment. There are not many web hosts that officially support Lisp, however, so short of setting up my own local server machine and getting a dedicated connection to the internet, it was not immediately obvious whether I could accomplish this.
Luckily, my hosting account from Webfaction—that I use for testing web apps under development before deploying them on my clients’ servers—allows me to install basically whatever linux software I want from source under my home directory. So I installed CLISP and SBCL on my server, followed by Quicklisp, set up a custom app (listening on port), forwarded a domain I wasn’t using for anything else, and installed Weblocks and CL-Prevalence through Quicklisp. Et voila! I didn’t even have to run Hunchentoot through Apache. If you’re looking for a powerful and flexible web host, WebFaction is definitely the way to go.
That being said, there were a few catches along the way, which some of you might like and/or need to know about up front.