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  1. #1

    Feasibility for upgrade to a dedicated server

    Hi,

    Newbie posting here. I'm a relatively seasoned and correspondingly jaded web pro currently working freelance. Over the past few months, I had accumulated enough web hosting accounts under my reseller account for a princely cash flow of just over US$110 per month, not including content-related services. So basically this got me thinking, if I put this money into a low to middle end dedicated server, I should have plenty of space and CPU headroom for further reselling or to develop new apps.

    Some thoughts I had regarding this:
    [list=1][*]Almost all my accounts are used for static pages, email and FTP purposes. They're not exactly popular sites of the month either (right now, at least). I reckon CPU power isn't exactly the biggest requirement. Rather, it's reliable and fast transfer speeds that important, something that my current hosting provider is barely able to do.[*]Having said that, the development work that I do are entirely scripting-based, so some measure of CPU power is needed after all.[*]While only 1 of my current clients have the need to use CPanel (which my current provider provides), if I'm to resell space on the new server further, it would be best for me to have this option. Or any of the other server control softwares on the market.[*]I used to be a network engineer cum sys admin, so I'm not handicapped in handling server issues either.[*]I've already been diligently doing local backups of my clients' content since I also handle content creation for them. I don't foresee this to change. [*]I'm not looking to be the next Rackspace. I'm still primarily in the business of creating kickass creative websites for my clients but revenue from this is mostly one-off and the potential for recurring income from hosting is becoming hard to ignore.[*]I don't have many hosting clients right now but that's because before this I've been getting them to sign up for VPS accounts under their own names. I still maintain close relationships with them and over time, I'm sure I can get them on as well.[*]I primarily need reliable hosting with stable transfer speeds to the Asia region. I don't host in Singapore where I'm based at as the hosting prices here are exorbitant compared to USA. My reseller hosting provider thus far has been giving reasonable service but I do know that they're overselling the server by quite a bit. I'm only fortunate that my client websites experience their peak traffic hours during daytime in Asia 'cos the server gets awfully slow at night.[/list=1]

    With these thoughts in mind and some searching through the archives here, I arrived at a reasonable dedicated server package that I can cover using my cash flow at a provider that's not been panned too badly on the forum.

    [list=1][*]Either 15minuteservers or Layeredtech provides packages that suit my budget (Most of your guys concur that they're generally good and reliable providers.)[*]I'm getting either a Pentium IV 2.x server or a Sempron 2600 with 1 GB RAM, 80 GB h/d, 1000 GB transfer[/list=1]

    This server configuration already surpasses the server that my current reseller account is residing on, so I have no doubt whatsoever that this server would be able to take care of my current clients' website needs. But I'm not a web hosting pro so I've got to ask some other related questions:

    [list=1][*]I'm used to CPanel but at my budget, I can only get DirectAdmin which seems to be equivalent on the outset. What are the major differences?[*]I'll be given 8 IP addresses for my selected packages. I do know that 2-3 of them will be reserved, but what are your thoughts on using the remaining 5 IPs for say up to 40-50 websites? Yes, I know too that SSL-enabled sites would require a dedicated IP address and have costed that into the packages that I sell to clients.[*]Currently, it's not a problem for me to have a local backup copy of my clients' data. But if the number grows, I'm going to have trouble transferring a large amount of data from Singapore and back. How do providers' backup services work and can I depend on them? LayeredTech for e.g. makes no mention of backup while 15minutes itemizes backup at with pricing in blocks of 20 GB.[*]One of the advantages of having a dedicated server is that I can run a version of Apache that I custom compile for myself. However, would that cause DirectAdmin to lose control over the Apache server? I have no experience of administrating DirectAdmin/CPanel as the root user so I need advice on this count.[*]I'd be running a primary DNS service on this server, but what about secondary? Do the providers provide secondary DNS as part of the default dedicated hosting package or do I need to pay extra for it? Especially for 15minutes and LayeredTech. I remember having a dedicated server with Alabanza some years back and they did provide 2ndary DNS.[*]Overall, what do you guys think of my idea running my own web hosting business? The cash flow is is just enough but the upside potential is pretty good. I'm just not aware of the potential hidden costs that may break me.[/list=1]

    I realize that I'm operating on a shoestring budget and that some of you may feel that I'm trivializing the hosting business which you obviously put a lot of effort into. But I already spend days and nights maintaining my clients' websites and monitoring them too. Having an extra element of control over the server is something I feel can only do my clients' a favor. Hope to get your feedback on this.

    Thanks!
    Wong

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    2,762
    Here's my small advice to you, Wong. I would not say that you're gonna be good with a Dedicated Server. I won't even say that you won't but, here's some things for you to consider before you jump in and say yes/no.

    Reseller and Dedicated Servers are two totally different things by themselves.

    1. Reseller, you'd practically have the entire team of support personel at your disposal when you need help, but with Dedicated Servers you'd be on your own and you'd have to troubleshoot everything yourself.
    2. Do you know how to manage a server well enough? How much experience do you think you have?
    3. Is there a real need for a dedicated server or could you do with getting a bigger space for your Reseller Hosting? (cheaper cost)
    4. If you do know how to play around with a dedicated server, why not just COLO at QALA or STARHUB or SOne or something.

    Spending days and nights maintaining websites and monitoring them is totally different from spending days and nights maintaining a dedicated server. For example, you'd be looking at things, stats and etc (currently), but with a dedicated server, you have to also look at the funtionality, the security, the loads, the connection and a lot more.

    So, my advice is... think about it properly before jumping into anything like that. It's a fairly BIG step.

    But on the whole, I wish you good luck and all the best! May you succeed.

    Ps. If you should need any help or something else, please do not hesitate to contact me via email or MSN. It's stated in my profile
    Aaron Ong
    Dedicated Servers - 100TB Servers - 100Mbps Unmetered Servers - Web Hosting - CDN Network
    Servers in Central, East/West Coast USA, EUROPE and ASIA
    Welltodo Century
    - www.welltodocentury.com

  3. #3
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    833
    Wong,
    If I were you I will continue to use the reseller account to make insane money without worries (I am assuming your host is good).
    Grow your business and let your host worry about providing you the server space and bw to make nice income.

    Running web servers is not a fun and easy thing, the headaches that come with it may not be worth it. If you are considering a fully managed server that easily comes with a price tag of around $250 and more per month, I would encourage you to go ahead otherwise I think you will be happier not having a server.

  4. #4
    2. Do you know how to manage a server well enough? How much experience do you think you have?
    I'm setting this up with a partner who is a full time server admin himself. Between the two of us, we've got 10 years of experience configuring, hardening and managing Linux servers. Not fantastic, not bad either, IMHO. At the very least, I do know what kind of s*** we're getting into administration-wise.

    3. Is there a real need for a dedicated server or could you do with getting a bigger space for your Reseller Hosting? (cheaper cost)
    This is definitely possible. I am just concerned that the servers are oversold. My clients, while technologically impaired, are aware of the price war. I am not able to charge them above the typical US$6-7 for 100 megs of hosting space as they will definitely move. And at this price, the reseller packages I get so far have not been fantastic in terms of server performance.

    4. If you do know how to play around with a dedicated server, why not just COLO at QALA or STARHUB or SOne or something.
    Well, at S$600 for 1U of rack space in Webvisions, one of the few in Singapore who do not sell space by the half rack, it's way more than I can afford. Thanks for the suggestion though, I will research more and see if Qala can give a better deal. Qala so far seems to be one of the more flexible providers.

    Spending days and nights maintaining websites and monitoring them is totally different from spending days and nights maintaining a dedicated server. For example, you'd be looking at things, stats and etc (currently), but with a dedicated server, you have to also look at the funtionality, the security, the loads, the connection and a lot more.
    Point noted. Thank you.

    Question to you though, aodat2, you're based in Malaysia. Are your servers located in Malaysia? If they're in US, how do you manage the backup tape rotations, for example? I was handling a rack of servers colocated in Exodus, Santa Clara once and after a period of doing backups over the network, we finally resorted to Remote Hands instead.

  5. #5
    Originally posted by efarmer
    Wong,
    If I were you I will continue to use the reseller account to make insane money without worries (I am assuming your host is good).
    Grow your business and let your host worry about providing you the server space and bw to make nice income.

    Running web servers is not a fun and easy thing, the headaches that come with it may not be worth it. If you are considering a fully managed server that easily comes with a price tag of around $250 and more per month, I would encourage you to go ahead otherwise I think you will be happier not having a server.
    True, true. I get your message. I guess it's true that the only thing that's making me itch to get a dedicated server is the control freak in me. I'll have to do some searching inside to find my own answer. Thanks!

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Nov 2002
    Posts
    2,780
    There will be limit where you will hit with a reseller account. If you know how to run the show, I would suggest you go ahead with it.

    Somehow I got sympathy for you. you seems to be an honest man.

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Apr 2005
    Location
    India
    Posts
    505
    If you know that you will not be requiring much bandwidth then it is totally incorrect for you to go dedicated. But yes if you want to increase the business then you can sure go for another reseller account rather than the dedicated server. You can go dedicated in future when you find the need for the extra bandwidth and disk space.

  8. #8
    Join Date
    Aug 2003
    Posts
    833
    Originally posted by lilwong
    True, true. I get your message. I guess it's true that the only thing that's making me itch to get a dedicated server is the control freak in me. I'll have to do some searching inside to find my own answer. Thanks!
    That itch can be very costly.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Sep 2004
    Location
    Miami, FL
    Posts
    2,762

    Question to you though, aodat2, you're based in Malaysia. Are your servers located in Malaysia? If they're in US, how do you manage the backup tape rotations, for example? I was handling a rack of servers colocated in Exodus, Santa Clara once and after a period of doing backups over the network, we finally resorted to Remote Hands instead.
    Well, to tell you the truth, our servers in the US is actually managed by a group of people there (my partner and our staff), whereas the servers in Malaysia are handled by us. So, I don't really have a problem if anything does really go wrong. I know someone will be on it within a few hours (TOPS).

    Also, we so totally do not do backup tapes. Our servers are on multiple hard disks. We make images on each server to the HDD and then we burn them into a CD's every 2 weeks. (we started out doing it weekly and found out that it was a HECK of a lot of CD's, too many in-fact)

    If I am not mistaken, I did try asking QALA and a lot more places before. I don't know where I left the pricing that they gave me but I'll search for it if you want it. Just add me to your MSN list and we could talk from there. It's way easier than talking over here.

    Ps. I'm not getting anything from anyone there but I could pass the quotes to you if you want it. MSN name is in my profile.
    Aaron Ong
    Dedicated Servers - 100TB Servers - 100Mbps Unmetered Servers - Web Hosting - CDN Network
    Servers in Central, East/West Coast USA, EUROPE and ASIA
    Welltodo Century
    - www.welltodocentury.com

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