I can only imagine this is about the most common thread in these forums, yet I'm not finding the information I'm looking for after a few quick searches.
I need a machine.
Current situation: 5 low traffic sites (less than a GB a month between them all), running on a shared hosting service for about $20 a month. I'm unhappy with the uptime and the performance of what I'm getting. I'm fine with the features.
Near future: Hoping to greatly grow the number of sites from anywhere between 100-1000. Although I imagine each site will remain low bandwidth, I don't imagine any one site topping 200megs a month, but more to the point I imagine the average per site will be much closer to 75megs a month.
The sites will be generating income for me, so in other words, I will have paying customers, so reliability is of paramount importance to me.
So far I've looked into serverbeach and rackspace, and I'm glancing and liquidweb as well. And really, I'm leaning towards serverbeach. It seems to me I get alot more machine for the money, over rackspace. But then I look at something like liquidweb and the prices look too good to be true.
I certainlly have the skill onhand to run an unmanaged server, but I'm wondering if it's worth the savings or not. I'm also wondering how it is rackspace charges what it does and succeeds against competition like liquidweb, especially with 10GB a month bandwidth on the starter package.
So given that, does anyone have a clear winner in terms of advice on what I should get, are there key questions I'm not answering here that need to be answered?
Rackspace although nice may not be an optimal solution in your case because of the budgetting issue. It would mean having to charge more to break even.
Liquidweb.com or Allmanaged.com might not be too bad a choice as they are said to be managed and yet within the reasonable price range which you can afford without going broke.
If you can go with less hand holding, layeredtech.com , dedicatednow.com ev1servers.net or even servermatrix.com may not be bad options.
Study the alternative carefully and see the underlining bandwidth coverage, uptime guarantee/SLA and any other perks which may or may not be essential to you.
Since you are small now, it is best to conserve money. There is no point plunging in with a Dual Xeon or something. Maybe starting off with say a Celeron 2.4 or Pentium 4 2.4 may not be a bad move. Then when you grow, you could add on a faster machine and so on.
I am not sure if you have made your decision yet for a dedicated server. If you are interested in recieving a 10% discount on all ServerBeach orders just type in "COOPER" when prompted for a coupon code.
If I were you I will find a good reseller account instead of a dedicated server.
This will free up your resources (time and money) associated with owning a server and use it for promotional purposes to get new paid clients.
Choose one that has an upgrade path to dedicated server. When the time is right upgrade to dedicated but I don't think it is the right time now.
If you made a wrong dedicated server choice now, the uptime and performance may be worse than it is now.