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  1. #1
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    newbie to dedicated servers...

    Hi,

    I currently have the following websites hosted with VO,

    www.wannabebig.com - v200 (2nd busiest site and php/mysql db driven)
    www.wannabebigforums.com - v650 (my busiest site running vbulletin gets about 80 online at busiest times)
    (domain name disclosed) - v200 (nil traffic as not launched yet, but will be db driven)
    (domain name disclosed) - v50 (very low traffic)
    (domain name disclosed) - v50 (very low traffic)

    I am paying $98 a month currently.

    www.wannabebigforums.com is seriously underperforming. Its horribly slow
    to browse, won't allow me to even email the users without timing out and I
    often get max sql connection error emails (500 over the last 2 days)

    I need to do something and I need to try and keep the cost down.

    Would the following server be ok for my sites above?

    866 processer, IDE, 20GB drive, 256 ram (can be upgraded to 512 fairly cheaply), 50 gb bw, and 8 ip's. It can be seen at:
    http://www.venturesonline.com/hosting/ded-specials.html

    I know the bandwidth and diskspace is good enough, I really need to hear from someone with experience that the processer and ram is enough? Or if the processer and 512 will be enough? The above server with a 256 upgrade to 512 and the cpanel licence is gonna come out at $170 a month.

    If not I will have to go for one of their standard servers which is gonna come in at about 250-270 a month which is a bigger step!

    Also can you fill me in on what else is expected from me with a dedicated server, from being used to a virtual hosting account. I will have someone helping me but what else can I expect to have to learn/do?

    Sorry for all the questions, but I just do not want to waste money on a rash decision.
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding Forums - Wanna be bigger and stronger?
    At Large Nutrition - nutritional supplements

  2. #2
    SitePoint Wizard Rick's Avatar
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    When you say you are getting a dedicated server, what sort do you mean?

    There are various, such as co-located etc.

    A dedicated server will often be a server set up with an specified OS, apache, PHP, MySQL running on RedHat Linux is one example.

    Where as in a virtual hosting account your host will provide and managed all these services for you, on a dedicated server you will need at least a half decent knowledge of the operations of the software you are using.

    You will need to know what you require setting up on apache etc. Another key issue is security, on most packages your server provider may provide some basic security features but it’s worth getting to know how the various security features on your chosen platform operate. This is one area any good host (providing virtual hosting) will have spent a lot of time working on.

    On a server where you would be responsible for the whole lot, you'd need to have a good knowledge of setting up the OS of your choice, the Webserver of your choice, security, and anything else you want to run, in your case probably PHP, MySQL and a Mail Server.

    I wouldn't recommend the latter option for a first timer to dedicated hosting, your bound to leave a few security loopholes around or something like that. You'd need a package where the company your getting the server off will set up everything you need, set up decent security etc etc. You should then be able to control most of the features you need through the control panel you are getting installed, but like I said its still worth understanding how your server operates etc.

    Also you should bear in mind that whatever control panel you choose, Plesk / webmin for example, it won't allow you to control core security features, add latest OS patches, change many of the OSes settings etc. You'll need to know how to do this, unless the company your getting the server off will do it all for you.

    Also check your host out, check tech support, talk to other clients, not just the comments from clients they post, do your homework on them, there’s nothing worse than your server crashing and a lack of technical support to getting going again for you, particularly if you are inexperienced.

    In terms of spec that should be enough, with the 512 of ram, for what you described. Bear in mind that if your site is PHP / MySQL generated, every time someone loads a page or views the forums its running another server process, if you expect your site grow rapidly, then you may want to evaluate your upgrade possibilities, although that will probably be a good way into the future. That server should run your sites for a good while providing its set up and managed well.

    I would recommend that if you can, get a computer, even if its a low spec job, and install the OS your server will be running on it. Have a play with it and get a feel of how it works, its commands etc. You may also want to try and install the webserver you will be using (apache?) and any addins such as PHP and MySQL, plus a control panel of some sort. Getting experience like this will help you if you have trouble with your server.

    Hope this woffle is of at least limited help to you!

    Rick
    Rick

  3. #3
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Hey!

    It is of massive help and I thank you for taking the time to reply. I guess first thing to do is check the level of support that comes with this server.

    I do have someone that can help me with it who is experienced in dedicated servers but I think I need to be clear what is expected from me from the host.

    I agree I think this server should be fine, definetely for now, I just need to make sure I have someone that can update, upgrade and fix it when neccessary.

    Thanks again, your advice was very helpfull.
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding Forums - Wanna be bigger and stronger?
    At Large Nutrition - nutritional supplements

  4. #4
    Web Genius
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    It sounds like you need a managed server or semi-managed server where the web host or provider will basically take care of security, software updates, etc. This will cost more per month but if you go with a reliable company that has a good reputation it will benefit you in the long run.

    You may also lease a server from one company and hire an admin for the server. Best of luck!

  5. #5
    Intoxicated with the madness petertdavis's Avatar
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    That's a bit of money for a server with those specs. You can do better.

    As far as bandwidth, how much are you using now? Does this server give you a comfortable margin between what you're currently using and where you'd start paying through the nose for overages?

    As far as the cpu and memory goes, it's hard to say without doing some testing as zoo suggests. I'd guess that you could run those sites on a single server comfortably. What server specs you'd want would depend on how much of a margin over what your sites use you would want. I say you can get much more for that money.

    Zoo is also correct about the convenience of having a shared hosting. Are you prepared to manage the server yourself, or hire someone to do it for you? You could make a compromise between and get a reseller account, or semi-dedicated.
    Peter T Davis

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  6. #6
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    You need more ram. 256 is not enough.

    If you thought you could handle linux administration yourself you could get much more hardware (and a ton more bandwidth) for less at rackshack.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  7. #7
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    The two main sites www.wannabebig.com and www.wannabebigforums.com only take up about 25-30 gig a month together. The other 3 are not worth mentioning about although one is aimed to grow big. So yes 50 gig is gonna allow be a 50% growth ish

    I'll have a look about at some other deals. My main worry is that going somwehere else I am not sure of the support and VO have been so good, I am unsure about leaving.
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding Forums - Wanna be bigger and stronger?
    At Large Nutrition - nutritional supplements

  8. #8
    Intoxicated with the madness petertdavis's Avatar
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    There's nothing wrong with sticking with a company you trust. Just be sure you're considering all factors. Looks like your current host charges $2 or more per GB in blocks of ten for overages. If you're planning on growing your sites, this could become a big consideration if you're cost conscious. I'd agree that the RAM is a big weakpoint in the server package you're looking at. A lot of hosts have that monthly charge for more RAM, as yours does, and that also adds signficantly to your costs.
    Peter T Davis

    I buy forums - PM me if you're selling.

  9. #9
    ********* Genius Mike's Avatar
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    Check out RackShack. I'm with them currently and I get 60 GB storage and 400 GB bandwidth with 521 MB RAM, all for $99 a month. The setup fee was $1.

    If you know how to wrok a dedicated serv, I'd recommend them. They will be posting new servers soon (they have only a handfull available evry week, and they sell out by noom usually) so check out their All Sevrers page every morning and snatch up a good server!

    Rumor is that they are getting P4 2Ghz serves next week for the same $99 price
    Mike
    It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.

  10. #10
    SitePoint Wizard Rick's Avatar
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    While I'd agree that you can get a better the deal you mentioned, I would recommend paying more for support, particuarly until you get to know the ins and outs of managing a web server.

    I wouldn't recommend playing the numbers game (high spec at lowest price) if it means loosing some support, go for great support, at least until you get some experience, then you might want to look at going for more spec with a little less support.

    Other than that bear in mind that paying for more badnwidth as you need it might sound cheap, but it can work out very expensive when your getting thousands of unique hits a week.

    Good luck with your new server btw

    Rick
    Rick

  11. #11
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    the thing about support is if you're paying $100 more a month basically for "support" you can hire a linux guru at an hourly rate to do anything you need done on your server.

    if you go to the rackshack forums and post a request (indicate you'll pay) there are plenty of people who will help you. Much like the trading post here.

    It'll all end up being cheaper and your server will be better.

    Especially since you could split the costs of the server with a friend since you would have so much unused bandwidth.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  12. #12
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    in a way I agree Aspen.

    However why are VO's servers so much more? I mean is there not a higher quality than say one from rackspace?

    How can I have people coming at me offering me a server a 1/3 cheaper than vo with way more stuff? Surely the machines or something must be low par quality?
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding Forums - Wanna be bigger and stronger?
    At Large Nutrition - nutritional supplements

  13. #13
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Karl's Avatar
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    Generally the $99 deals you see use Cogent bandwidth and cheap components in their servers and come with no support and aren't configured ideally for hosting (I'm sorry, but formatting a 40 or 60gb drive with one partition doesn't cut it). With VO you're paying for: Better Support, Better Bandwidth and Better Server IMHO, I've seen very very few complaints about VO compared to some of the others offering these cheap deals.
    Karl Austin :: Profile :: KDA Web Services Ltd.
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  14. #14
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    I agree with you Karl.

    I am very tempted to shell out for VO.

    I mean the whole reason I want to go dedicated is because the lack of performance currently is annoying people. I don't want to move to a dedicated be paying a whole load more and still get problems.

    still thinking, but VO is looking favourate.
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding Forums - Wanna be bigger and stronger?
    At Large Nutrition - nutritional supplements

  15. #15
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    I will recommend you to visit www.webhostingtalk.com to read reviews about lots of dedicated server providers

  16. #16
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    How is there such a thing as "better bandwidth"? Its a commodity. I think you're really stretching there. Everyone knows you don't like rackshack, but you should atleast be fair in your criticism.

    Rackshack is cheaper because they are bigger. They are also a large ISP and they have oodles of bandwidth so they can give you alot of it. They have thousands of dedicated servers and so they buy all their hardware in bulk and can save on it.

    My rackshack server also came with 2 partitions. One for all the system files, the other for the rest. I don't know why thats such a big deal though.

    For support, if its a hardware issue they're fine. I had a tech guy stay up until 6 am working on my server when it crashed one time (turns out it was a bad network cable). But other than that I've had 100% uptime most weeks, with only once or twice having less than that.

    They just don't provide support for the software on your server - but you can hire someone for much less than $100 a month to do what you need done. When you first get your server you'll want them to likely configure customized DNS and then secure it with bastille probably and do any little customizations to your apache/mysql configurations etc. Then after that you'll only need them to install patches when they become available. I've so far handled everything I needed to do with my server, including some complicated customizations, fine.

    If you're worried about generic hardware, which I built my PC with (and it works fine), then you can pay more for a Cobalt Raq, which is still much cheaper than what VO charges. Rackshack also occassionally has compaq servers available (right now though they don't have alot of inventory).

    I have my own rackshack server. Previous to that I virtually hosted with hostrocket. Now my monitoring service reports 100% uptime almost exclusively. hostrocket had like 97%. Now my sites are all faster. Now I use about 100 GB a month. I have no complaints about my server, its an amazing deal and it works great. I only have one complaint about rackshack the business, and that is that they charge so much for upgrades (which I guess is how they make their money). But I guess most people don't need upgrades.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  17. #17
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Karl's Avatar
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    Bandwidth differs in quality believe it or not, I can tell you this from experience with several data centres and bandwidth suppliers. I stand corrected on the partition issue with RS, not long back when I asked someone from RS they told me all drives were partitioned as one partition - which causes problems if your /tmp drive is on the same partition as your /usr partition - if /tmp fills the whol partition up you may be unable to SSH or Telnet into the server and most services will stop functioning - and we know how handy RS are with a restore CD.
    Karl Austin :: Profile :: KDA Web Services Ltd.
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  18. #18
    Intoxicated with the madness petertdavis's Avatar
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    I kind of agree with Chris, Rackshack (and others like them for that matter) do a good job at what they do. I've had this argument a dozen times, and I believe that the people who complain about Rackshack not providing a good service should have opted for a fully managed server like at Rackspace. It's usually some youngster with absolutly no business sense and little server administration skills, who sells too-cheap hosting plans and loads up their server with too many accounts, and when something inevitably goes wrong and they don't know what to do and Rackshack won't fix it for them, they whine that Rackshack isn't a good company. Or, they blame Cogent when it's just one of their customers running some script on the server. I'd have to say that 80% or more of the complaints about companies like Rackshack and Cogent can just be dismissed out of hand for such reasons.
    Peter T Davis

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  19. #19
    Serial Publisher silver trophy aspen's Avatar
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    http://www.rackshack.net/aboutus/networks.asp

    They don't just use cogent, if it really makes a difference. Also if you look at the graph you can see that the cogent connection went down recently.. Then you can also see that their redundant providers took up the slack.

    I don't know how you can even approach to support the claim that 50 gb of bandwidth from VO is superior to 400 gb from rackshack.
    Last edited by aspen; Oct 20, 2002 at 08:42.
    Chris Beasley - I publish content and ecommerce sites.
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  20. #20
    SitePoint Wizard silver trophy Karl's Avatar
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    Originally posted by Karl
    Generally the $99 deals...
    Never once did I say RS specifically, RS have a good network, there is no disputing that fact, but others that offer $99 deals a lot of the time don't, or they do, but put the cheap deal on Cogent only bandwidth or on singal supplier bandwidth.
    Karl Austin :: Profile :: KDA Web Services Ltd.
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    Call 0800 542 9764 today and ask how we can help your business grow.

  21. #21
    ********* Genius Mike's Avatar
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    I'm on a $99 dollar plan, and I think they have awesome support.

    I dont use the server enough to talk about the bandwidth, though.
    Mike
    It's not who I am underneath, but what I do that defines me.

  22. #22
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    Thank you very much for everyones opinions and advice.

    I finally decided to go with VO. This was mainly for the reasons I first said about being hesitant to move from them due to the excellent server already been given by them and also for the fact that the server is given to me in a very managable state and will be a lot easier for me to get to grips with.

    Maybe as I learn a bit more I can move on at a later date, but for now this suits me fine.

    Again thanks everyone..
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding Forums - Wanna be bigger and stronger?
    At Large Nutrition - nutritional supplements

  23. #23
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    Question

    so, you are going with VO's VPS then? which plan?

  24. #24
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    nope...

    A dedicated server.

    The forums are throwing out max sql emails to me as we speak

    They suggested a vps would be needed just for the forums, so I decided to make the leap knowing it will allow us to grow a whole load before another rise in cost.

    I just want things to run smoothly and not slow and I cannot be bothered to move to vps and that be slow.

    I also might be sharing with a guy I know locally who has quite a few noon database driven sites so it might work out well like that.
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding Forums - Wanna be bigger and stronger?
    At Large Nutrition - nutritional supplements

  25. #25
    SitePoint Evangelist
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    lol why am I in server configuration
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding
    Wannabebig Bodybuilding Forums - Wanna be bigger and stronger?
    At Large Nutrition - nutritional supplements


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