Hosting Advice Needed

Hi, I’d like some advice on what web host package I should get for my flash game site.

I currently have a standard shared hosting account as I don’t host the game swfs myself and get about 5,000 visitors a day.

I’d like to make some changes and host the swfs (2MB each or so), but my current host is often too slow. It can take well over a minute to download a game, which is too long for most gamers.

Does anyone know a good web host that can handle fast downloads throughout peak hours, or should I go for VPS or something else.

Most of my users are from the UK, but I’m working on getting more US users too.

I’m willing to pay up to $50 for a good host which I can have multiple domains and other features, but the cheaper the better.

Can anyone help me?

It’s worth checking out something like RackspaceCloud or Amazon S3 just to host your swfs, with your website hosted on your own hosting account or VPS. Those servers are optimized for fast downloads, and you pay a lot less for downloads through them than you would through your own site (so I believe).

Thanks @ralph.m.

RackspaceCloud looks interesting but I’m not sure I need that type of server yet as I’m not actually hosting too many swfs.

I’d like to know if there is a big improvement in download speed between shared hosting and VPS hosting.

I know you get more RAM etc… with VPS, but is it actually quicker in terms of download speed as well?

Ideally, I think I’d like a VPS with fast downloads for less than $50 per month.

The bandwidth limit shouldn’t be a massive problem at the moment, I just don’t want people to leave my site before the game loads - that is the most important thing.

I doubt it. My VPS is much slower than the old shared hosting I had, but that’s at least partly because it is overseas, and the shared hosting was local. But I’ve not heard of download speed being a reason for choosing a VPS. (I could be wrong, though.)

I’ve just tried hostgator VPS test download after chatting with one of their sales team. I was hoping it would be quicker as they state ‘guaranteed 20mbit connection’ for VPS hosts.

Unfortunately, the test file was taking over 30 minutes to download for me.

Here’s their 20mb test file: http://www.hostgator.com/testfile.zip

The reason it seems to take so long is because I’m in Japan at the moment, but I have an excellent connection and many other downloads from US and UK sites are no problem at all here. I also got my friend to test the link on the other side of Japan and it was just as slow for him too.

As I’m currently developing my site in Japan, I simply can’t use hostgator. My friends in Japan would laugh at my slow site.

So, don’t use hostgator if you want Japanese users.

Maybe I’ll have to look into the RackspaceCloud option in more detail. I’m not sure how it works at the moment - do you still host your files on your own domain?

If I could get by on their cheapest price, it could do the job perfectly, but it could privacy problems in swfs…

You may want to look at a CDN (Content Delivery Network) provider since you having issues with speed. A CDN would allow you to host your content at multiple locations around the world to improve your download speeds.

I host websites on my own VPS, but any time clients want big files on their site, like videos, I put them on Rackspace, so they download from there rather than from my VPS. They download faster, and the downloads cost virtually nothing. It uses a CDN as Tin mentioned. I don’t think privacy comes into it really, as the files are public whether on Rackspace or your own hosting account. But you can make Rackspace files private too (although nobody but you can access them then).

Thank you for your replies.

I’m using MochiMedia to provide ads in my games. They provide an excellent free hosting service for the game SWFs already, but there are advantages of publishing the games yourself as you get extra ad money for being the publisher of the game (on top of the developer revenue). And if you have the SWFs on your own domain, you can easily download other content, likes images (I have some trophy images that I want to use both in the website and in the SWFs), without having to worry about cross domain privacy issues in flash.

To get the extra ad money you have to verify your domain where your games are hosted.

Would I be able to verify a domain when using CDN?

If I can’t, then there is very little advantage of it over the free mochi hosting, and I assume I’d have similar cross domain privacy issues.

To get the extra ad money you have to verify your domain where your games are hosted
I wonder if you can explain what this procedure involves?

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I would suggest to use VPS which you fulfill your needs. Cloud from Amazon is to expensive and you will not fit into $50.

It should be game server I believe. If you do the search for game server using google I believe you will be able to find some nice ones.

No, it should not be a game server.

If you do a search for ‘game servers’ then you’ll see VPS and dedicated servers specified for running multiplayer games such as counterstrike where a full game engine runs in realtime on a server, and sometimes they have provision of (unlike most servers) grahics cards to support these engines.

This has absolutely no relevance whatsoever for serving a .swf file.

Most CDN’s allow setting up your own custom CNAME so you should be able to verify at the very least a subdomain of your choosing (presuming it’s file based verification)

With regards to whether a VPS will be better than shared hosting, it’s similar in that a cheap oversold openvz VPS on a 100mbit port will likely be poor, where a quality xen vps on a 1gig port will be excellent. You might want to take a look at gplhost if you decide on a VPS, they have a range of locations including singapore which should be fast enough.

Well, if you are looking forward to run a game server, a dedicated server is the best option for you, however, if you would like to choose something within your budget, I would recommend you to choose a VPS or a Cloud VPS which would be a better option than Shared hosting plan.

You’ll find some good hosting companies in the UK who are offering VPS and Cloud VPS’s but as you would like to have the server located in the US, the best option according to me would be to check VPS’s offered by BODhost as they offer fully managed servers for a reasonable cost and good support :slight_smile:

You should get a dedicated server or try a cloud solution. VPS isn’t ideal for what you will need.