ASP Dedicated Server: OS? Management? Provider? Help!
I am currently in the market for an ASP host with mySQL/msSQL. I have some questions concerning the OS, management and providers.
Right now there are two for sure that I am considering, and those are Windows 2000 Server and Windows 2003 Server. I have heard of ChiliASP for *nix servers, but I'm not too sure how good they are with ASP, so right now I'm thinking a Windows server would be best. Any advice on whether or not I should use 2000 or 2003? Currently all the sites that I will put on the server are in ASP 4, and I'm not too sure about plans of upgrading to .NET standards. Are there any limitations I should know about 2000 and 2003? I might also run some gaming dedicated servers as well.
I have never really run a big public dedicated server. I have on the other hand run personal web servers for development in Windows XP Professional. So I really have no idea what to do for security or tweaking. Does anybody have any advice on how I would go about learning how to work with these issues? The extent I can do is close off all ports and services that won't be used by me, so I basically just leave port the www and smtp ports open, and dedicated gaming server port when I need to.
I have taken a look at ServerMatrix, and if I go with them I will definately sign up for free Silver management, which will take care of basic things like OS updates. Looking at SM for example, is it worth it to get things like a hardware firewall or Floodguard as options? Or are there any cheap/free software firewalls which would be similarly as effective?
Basically the only things I'm worried about are DoS attacks and getting hacked and content messed up. I'm not really worried about DoS as much because the sites are not mission critical or anything, but getting content messed up would be time consuming to fix, especially if any operating software stuff is messed up too.
Right now the two main providers I am looking at are EV1 and SM. I won't use more than 500GB at the moment with all the hosted sites, but if I plan on scaling up, I'll just get another server and split up the sites among the servers accordingly. Right now, I don't think I will need anything more than an entry level Celeron, as the sites are pretty basic and the most advanced one only has a few SQL calls per page.
Right now my budget is around $150USD per month at maximum, so with SM I'll go with the Celeron 2.4 or with EV1 I'll go with the Celeron 2.
I'm leaning towards SM at the moment because it costs less and comes with a lot more. Are there any SM resellers that would offer extra support which would be extra "dedicated server newbie" friendly? Or are there any other ASP hosts which are managed and around $150USD with similar features to SM?
OS - If you need ASP support, go for Windows. There is no reason for *nix. I would choose 2003, price is the same and 2003 has more features.
Management - Look for a managed hosting provider that can help you proactively secure your server and help out when you need OS help. I would not worry too much about DOS attacks unless you are running controversial content. A firewall is a VERY good idea!
Hope that helps!
Mike @ Xiolink.com http://www.xiolink.com 1-877-4-XIOLINK
Advanced Managed Microsoft Hosting
"Your data... always within reach"
Definitely Windows Server 2003. Go for Standard Edition, not the Web Edition. Try to go for a P4 rather than a Celeron if you can, it will give you more room to grow.
Consider looking for someone to help you get the server set up and tweaked -- this will be very cost-effective and once done should avoid the need for too much ongoing management. Very few places deliver a server "ready to go" -- some are bare OS installs, others have more installed but with insecure configurations etc. Getting 100% ready to run is a fair bit of work.
Chris at TDMWeb.com
Windows & Linux hosting and fully managed dedicated servers with great customer service!
UK-based but serving the world...
I'm thinking that I should hire a network admin to help me out once I get things started. Any recommendations? I'm new to these forums and am not familiar with some of the names. I'm looking for a good and reputable admin for a Windows 2003 box.