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  1. #1
    SitePoint Addict frankdux's Avatar
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    Dedicated Server for E-Commerce Sites?

    The owner of one of the larger e-commerce sites I work on recently asked me if I thought we needed to consider switching to a dedicated server. Up until now we have been using shared hosting and even though traffic on the site has greatly increased, there has not really seemed to be any performance issues or delays.

    I'd like to pose the question to other e-commerce webmasters. Are the middle to large size sites you manage typically on shared servers or dedicated? If you upgraded to a dedicated server what prompted you to do it?

  2. #2
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    Hi

    "If it 'aint broke, dont fix it."

    I guess you could ask an expert to properly evaluate your situation. Make sure the consultant is not affiliated with other dealings (co-location etc.) so you dont get biased advice.

    Jamie.

  3. #3
    Intoxicated with the madness petertdavis's Avatar
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    It's good to start planning for these things before you need them. Are you happy with the host you have now? Do they offer servers? Perhaps they'd help you move the site. also, realize there's a lot involved in running a server, be sure you know what your host will do for you, and be sure you can cover the things your host won't be doing for your server.

  4. #4
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    beley's Avatar
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    I definately don't think a dedicated server is neccessary. It just depends on the reliability and speed of the host. I wouldn't want to run an e-commerce website on just any shared host, but a host that specializes in e-commerce might be good. You have to consider things like speed, uptime, security, etc. You also don't want someone uploading some script to the server that brings the entire thing down (or just to a halt).

    2BigFeet.com is still on shared hosting, but with other e-commerce stores. We have been growing for almost 5 years now and still don't need a dedicated server. We will probably upgrade to dedicated within the next 2 years if things go well. Why spend $300/month (or $150 if you plan to self-administer) on a server when you could spen $50/month on a good shared account of VPS with plenty or space and speed?

  5. #5
    SitePoint Addict frankdux's Avatar
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    Beley-the things you mention are exactly what I am weighing. The site that I am considering moving has also been growing for 5 years and for now it seems to be ok with the shared hosting. I do expect the site to grow a lot more though, and I am trying to have the right infrastructure in place for the future.

    One of things that has got me thinking more about it now, is that Dreamhost.com has a dedicated server special for $99 which seems pretty good. I have used them before for smaller sites and although there are occasionally periods of slowness, for the most part their service has been pretty decent. Also, because I have been dealing with them, they are not some mystery company offering a sweet deal.

    I am also considering what petertdavis said as far as what the host will take care of, and what I will have to administer myself on the dedicated server. I am a fairly experienced webmaster, but all of the sites I have done have always been on shared hosting plans.

    I would love to hear more about what other e-commerce webmasters think about deciding what is the right situation to go to a dedicated server and what good/bad experiences / problems they may have run into.

  6. #6
    Intoxicated with the madness petertdavis's Avatar
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    Unless you have experience with administering a server,or plan to hire someone who has experience I'd caution against getting your dedicated server. What are you going to do when the hackers come? This is especially sensitive with an ecommerce site, and double that if you keep any customer billing info on the server (even if temporarily).

  7. #7
    Intoxicated with the madness petertdavis's Avatar
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    Brandon's advice about the VPS is an excellent compromise solution.

  8. #8
    SitePoint Addict frankdux's Avatar
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    Going with VPS does sound like an option I should explore more. I'm realizing now that the cheapy dedicated servers have lower prices, but they are self-administered. You can go managed (dedicated server) which seems to help with some security and admin issues but then it's not such a bargain.


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