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  1. #1
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    Advtanges of upgrading from shared to dedicated server?

    Advice and opinions on the performance differences between shared vs. dedicated IIS servers would be appreciated. Let me explain our situation.

    We currently run a moderately successful web-site, getting around 1700 visitors a day and 50,000hits (on a not overly graphical site), on a shared NT/IIS4 web server at Superb. We have started to use databases and ASP scripting more and more. Our host is particularly good, Superb Internet, and performance is reasonable for our $40 per month. However, sometimes forms do take too long to be submitted, access to the site is sluggish, visitors cannot download our software, or some bright spark has crashed IIS4's ASP engine for 15minutes!

    With all these minor problems I'm wondering whether to upgrade to a dedicated Windows 2000 server (with Superb, or maybe another host -- any recommendations, need ASP and MS Access databases).

    My gut feeling is that we don't need a dedicated server -- I don't think we will utilise an entry-level dedicated server fully, nor even to 10 or 20% of it's capacity. But, the improved reliability is a plus point, and also maybe web-pages will be delivered quicker (especially ASP scripted pages) and the site will generally feel more responsive? Cost is not too much of an issue (US$200-300), if we will see a worthwhile improvement in some respect or another.

    I would just be interested to hear of experiences and any speculation/insight into the performance increase we might experience with such an upgrade. I would rather avoid the upheaval if it probably won't be worthwhile for a 5-8x increase in cost.

  2. #2
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    Changing to a dedicated server has many, many advantages. But, alas, you probably won't take advantage of most of them.

    With a dedicated server, you have complete control, so you decide what happens. You can trim away all the extra's yourself and be left with a mean speed machine. Even a Pentium lll 700Mhz with 512MB ram would suffice for your needs.

    The size of the hard drive is upto you, I would recommened looking and how much you need .. doubling that, and adding a quarter of your total. In my opinion, that provides enough scalibility for 3-4 years.

    The main advantages will be speed increases as yous is the only site on the server, and more control over what happens on the server, as I said. With a dedicated server you 99% of the time get a dedicated IP address, this means that you can run services such as anonymous FTP and such. It also means you can point as many domain names as you want to your main site.

    If you don't feel you will utilise the full strength of a dedicated server I would suggest doing either of the following:

    1. Get an Enterprise Level shared hosting account. This should be around $80 - $120 per month and usually puts you on a server with 20 or less other sites, so there will be spead increases.

    2. Go halves with someone on a dedicated server, find someone else with a site that gets about as many hits as you, and approach them to go halves on a server. This will reduce costs and still keep your site fast.

    If you have anymore questions, feel free to ask.

  3. #3
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    I have to agree with many of Pixel's points. The biggest advantage to a Dedicated Server is you have control. If you want to load any special scripts or anything like that, you have the ability. The main disadvantage is the cost... $2-300 vs $40/month. Pixels idea of sharing a dedicated server is a great one.

    With a dedicated server you also don't have to deal with your server being consumed by someone else's site. There are good deals out there, you have to look a little. The cheapest isn't always the best decision. Make sure when you choose a host you find one good with Windows OS. Many companies offer Windows but don't have qualified techs to handle problems with Windows Servers or IIS.

    You might also look at upgrading to Windows 2000. It is much more stable and efficient.
    Brad @ RackMy.com
    Co-Location and Advanced Windows 2000 Hosting Solutions.
    www.RackMy.com
    brad@rackmy.com

  4. #4
    SitePoint Addict LiveTronix's Avatar
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    I agree, if cost isn't much of an issue go dedicated, I know cost is always an issue. We were kind of in the same situation we have a dedicated server and use about 100 mb's of harddrive space seems pointless however we due have a completly dynamic database powered site, and use 40 gigs of bandwidth.

    we have like over 8 gigs of space doing nothing, but have a dedicated server is good for learning, not only that it's nice to have for more projects your company may embarke on.

    Also if you want to get 10 domains for search engine marketing it won't cost you a bit extra.

    The main disadvatage other then price is the learning curve, i'm sure the windows learning curve is a lot smaller then linux, but it's still there.

    In the end get dedicated! Maybe start off with a more affoardable (cheaper) box and work your way up or down as you see fit.

    I would offer to share but linux/windows don't work well together.


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