Welcome to Andy Heathershaw

Welcome to the personal website and blog of software developer – Andy Heathershaw.

I’m a commercial Microsoft .NET developer and open-source PHP developer based in Tamworth, England. I live with my husband and I’m daddy to a seven-year-old Labrador called Mickey and two young boys.

Check out About Andy Heathershaw to read more about me, or browse my blog posts below.

Brexit forced me to change my identity

A year to the day before the UK leaves the EU, the European Commission announced that all .eu domains registered to a UK address would be dropped.

Horrified at the thought of losing my andys.eu domain name (and with it, my primary email address of 8 years) I tweeted out to EURid – the organisation that manages .eu domain names.

Reflections Read more


Redirect all visitors to a primary domain in Apache

There are several scenarios in which you may want to redirect all your website visitors to a single, primary domain in Apache:

  • Redirect the www and non-www (root domain) hostnames of your domain to avoid duplicate content and improve SEO
  • Redirect an old domain to a new domain, maintaining links and search engine reputation
  • Redirect secondary domains (e.g. “spelling mistake” domains, or alternative-spelling domains) to your primary domain

I have recently implemented the following on my own website, and I would like to share this Apache trick.

DevOps, Software Development Read more


Why I prefer self-hosted Git repositories to Github, Bitbucket, etc.

It’s the year 2018 and it’s impossible for a software developer to have not heard about (or used) Github, or a variant like Bitbucket. Even self-hosted Git evangelist GitLab is a popular choice.

At the start of February 2018, I provisioned a new Cloud VPS to run my website and other apps. I also chose to migrate all my private Git repositories to it and cancelled my paid Github subscription.

This article explores the reasons why I went self-hosted.

DevOps, Software Development Read more


The Great Big Cloud Hosting Speed Test 2017

2017 was an exciting year for the bigger players in the cloud hosting arena.

With all these improvements in cloud hosting, I thought it would be interesting to focus on a key metric of hosting providers that many overlook: network speed.

Most modern cloud hosting providers give your dedicated server or VPS a 100Mbps or 1Gbps network connection. But how close can you actually get to that speed?

Software Development Read more


Content Delivery Networks can improve your website’s performance

Content Delivery Networks were created for one reason: to speed up your websites and web applications. In this article, I explore how you can take advantage of Content Delivery Networks (CDNs) to improve your website performance for a small cost.

Software Development Read more



Daughtry performs Demons in The Passion

Earlier this week, I couldn’t sleep. So I did what I normally do when I can’t sleep – I watch music videos on YouTube.

The first video in my “here’s what YouTube wants you to watch” list caught my eye. I immediately thought I had missed a piece of new music from one of my favourite artists of the last 10 years: Chris Daughtry.

Entertainment, Reflections Read more


Upload photos to Blue Twilight PHP photo gallery from your new iPhone

Buying the new iPhone that Apple will announce today? Interested in photography?

Did you know that you can capture a photo and upload it straight into your Blue Twilight photo gallery directly from your new iPhone or iPad device?

Read this article to see how to upload photos using the Blue Twilight photo gallery and your iPhone or iPad.

Blue Twilight, Software Development Read more


My journey to parenthood – part 2

My second post in a series of articles about James and my adoption journey is our experience of the first day of "prep group training."

A few days ago we turned up at the Halesowen Barnardo’s office for day 1 of three days of prep group training – a course that’s designed to provide the information, explanation and tools we will need as adoptive parents – not just to get through the adoption journey, but for the life of our future children.

Reflections Read more


My journey to parenthood – part 1

This series of posts is an insight into the world of adoption from the viewpoint of a same-sex, male couple. I decided to publish our story for a number of reasons: 1) because I’m a private individual and rather than talk to people, sometimes it’s easier to put it into writing. 2) to help others who are thinking about going through the process, and 3) so we have something written down to show our future children how they came into our lives.

This is the first in hopefully a number of posts charting our journey.

Reflections Read more


I like Fridays, and the promises they bring

After I finish work on a Friday, I like to reflect on the week that’s been. Whether it’s in the car on the way home, or with a glass of wine later in the evening, I think about what we* did well, what we could do better – and what was just a complete disaster.

This week has been a rollercoaster at complete opposites of the scale.

Reflections Read more