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  1. #1

    web hosting for a forum

    Hey

    I run a relatively large forum (1,500 members). I was hosted for the last 8 months on a friends server (well...by friend, I mean guy I met over the internet who offered very cheap hosting). Surprisingly, although I had nothing to cover my back and no contract of any kind, it seemed to work. However, this morning at 4:37 GMT I got an email saying "I can't host you any more" and all the files and SQL tables were zipped up on the FTP.

    Anyway. I'm looking for a webhost - and here comes my problem.

    Forums generally use quite a lot of CPU - the latest version of SMF has fixed that partially, but I'm concerned that it may be too much for a simple shared package. There's no way that we can afford a dedicated server - the majority of the users are under 18, and most of our cashflow comes from adverts and donations.

    Anyway - One of those virtual hosts (the ones with an instance of linux or whatever running inside a larger OS) might be ideal?

    Any thoughts?

    Leo

  2. #2
    you are definitely on the right track. vps is good if you know something about maintaining your end of the server. or you can probably find a decent reseller account as well, and utilize that, without reselling.

    how many members are usually active on your forum at one time?

    its not impossible to find a decent shared host to take care of you, alot of smaller hosts have room and spare cycles to use up. but as you know you don't want to get sardined into a heavily oversold box.

    good luck.

  3. #3
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    Smile

    How many users online on average?

  4. #4
    Hey

    We recieve 5000 hits a day on the forum, mostly repeat usage from a few hundred of the members. I'm not in a position to check right now, but we probably have around 50-70 members online at any one time.

    Thanks

    Leo

  5. #5
    I've found somewhere called Westhost (westhost.com - I can't post links). It looks perhaps a bit too good to be true - they claim to use VPS for all their hosting packages, and for $10 a month will give you a static IP. However, I haven't looked around the hosting market since june, so my prices may be way out.

    Thanks

    Leo

  6. #6
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    Smile

    What's your budget? If it is $50 or above, you may be able to get a very very low-end dedicated which I think is much better than a VPS.

    Depending on the specs of the server that your friend has, 50 - 70 online users is really nothing. I have a forum with 100 users online and it isn't really using 10% of the CPU.

  7. #7
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    Have you thought of 1and1?

    http://1and1.co.uk

    They provide VPS for 14/month
    Wholesale Direct International Sip Termination & UK Numbering (DID's/DDI's)
    Over 250 Direct Interconnects with guarnateed CLI/FAX | SIP & TDM Interconnectivity
    http://wholesale.alohatelecom.co.uk | Instant SIP Trunking at unbeatable rates http://www.voipyonder.com/

  8. #8
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    Quote Originally Posted by logikstudios
    Have you thought of 1and1?

    http://1and1.co.uk

    They provide VPS for £14/month
    The VPS would probably crash with a forum that has only 25 users online. 1and1 is the last place I'd look to host, never mind a VPS.

    Personally, I think for the OP there is absolutely no need for a VPS. A solid shared hosting provider geared towards application hosting will be able to offer better performance than a VPS. Also, even with "fully managed" VPSes there is a learning curve and I don't think that is beneficial to the OP.

  9. #9
    That's impressive if you have 50-70 members online at one time on a forum with 1,500 members with a few hundred repeat users.

    I run a large phpBB forum with 4,000 members on a shared server, I haven't had any problems. Though I have 20-25 users at a given time, MAX.

    Unless you are running something processor-intensive on the forum, I don't understand why it would be processor-bound.

  10. #10
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    Your probaly right.
    What is the usual CPU Usage of the site and also memory being used?
    Wholesale Direct International Sip Termination & UK Numbering (DID's/DDI's)
    Over 250 Direct Interconnects with guarnateed CLI/FAX | SIP & TDM Interconnectivity
    http://wholesale.alohatelecom.co.uk | Instant SIP Trunking at unbeatable rates http://www.voipyonder.com/

  11. #11
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    You definitely don't need a VPS (indeed, in case that you were needing an "upgrade" from a shared account, a VPS is not one).

    A Shared account should be enough, I suggest you to make a shortlist of your potentials hosts and then research about them << removed >>.
    Last edited by writespeak; 01-04-2007 at 05:19 PM.

  12. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by logikstudios
    Your probaly right.
    What is the usual CPU Usage of the site and also memory being used?
    It is pretty hard to gauge that on a per site basis. Some hosts run more optimal setups than others, and there would be less usage.

  13. #13
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    If you are running cpanel/whm. this can be very easy to see.

    if you have root privligies click on CPU/Memory/MySQL Usage

    Thanks,
    Nathaniel
    Wholesale Direct International Sip Termination & UK Numbering (DID's/DDI's)
    Over 250 Direct Interconnects with guarnateed CLI/FAX | SIP & TDM Interconnectivity
    http://wholesale.alohatelecom.co.uk | Instant SIP Trunking at unbeatable rates http://www.voipyonder.com/

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by logikstudios
    If you are running cpanel/whm. this can be very easy to see.

    if you have root privligies click on CPU/Memory/MySQL Usage

    Thanks,
    Nathaniel
    That tool has been known to be extremely inaccurate and in my opinion fairly meaningless data. If a host is using a more optimized configuration of PHP, MySQL, Apache, etc...they will get less memory and CPU usage for each site. Furthermore, any tool that tries to segregate each website and determine the amount of resources it is using [out of all of the resources that are used] is never going to be accurate.

  15. #15
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    I usually have around 500-700 users online, and i'm on a shared host - and it's all been fine

  16. #16
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    Quote Originally Posted by PigFat
    I usually have around 500-700 users online, and i'm on a shared host - and it's all been fine
    Heh, well then your days are running low .

    For the original poster:

    Find a few hosting companies that host large forums, and talk to their support to help you get going with what you require. Just be prepared to pay $30+ if you want a real reliable solution.

  17. #17
    Can anyone recommend any hosts - all the websites around seem kinda unreliable. Do you know any hosts with large forums?

    Thanks

    Leo

  18. #18
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    Well, just out of curiosity, what is reliable to you?

    99.9% uptime? 99.99% uptime? Fast Servers?

  19. #19
    Hey

    I'm afraid apart from "always up", I can't really say whats reliable. I'd be looking for somewhere up most of the time, and somewhere that kept good backups so if something went wrong we wouldn't be screwed. Fast servers are a bonus, but quick support is also important. The ability to have extensions enabled, and changes made to the server is also quite important, but not vitally so.

    Our last server was windows, but I'd prefer linux because of the price, and I know my way around it.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by leoedin
    Hey

    I'm afraid apart from "always up", I can't really say whats reliable. I'd be looking for somewhere up most of the time, and somewhere that kept good backups so if something went wrong we wouldn't be screwed. Fast servers are a bonus, but quick support is also important. The ability to have extensions enabled, and changes made to the server is also quite important, but not vitally so.

    Our last server was windows, but I'd prefer linux because of the price, and I know my way around it.
    Well it looks like you're leaning toward a VPS solution. Are you going for managed VPS or unmanaged VPS?

  21. #21
    BTW, I just checked googles cache of our site, and we have more like 30-50 users online, rather than 50-70... (I hadn't checked in a while, and just gave a guess )

  22. #22
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    You can the Find a Host -> HOST QUOTE link at the top right of this page to get requests from hosts.

    Depending on the amount of disk space and transfer you need (how much does your current site use?), a fairly large reseller plan is probably a decent option. Though if you can afford a VPS or Dedicated they might be worth taking a look at (The Planet - Server Matrix is offering dedicateds from $69 / mo).

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by MrRadic
    Well it looks like you're leaning toward a VPS solution. Are you going for managed VPS or unmanaged VPS?
    While I know my way around linux, kind of, I'd certainly want something managed.

    A previous poster said that a VPS may not manage with the kind of use we have, which would worry me. I'm still open for anything, looking to sign up in the next few days. I have quite a lot of money from ads, so we can afford somewhere with $20-$30/month charges.

    I haven't really seen any solid recommendations for hosting providers yet - are you all afraid because you're not allowed to advertise, or is it something else...

    Is there a list of good providers I could investigate anywhere?

    Leo

  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by wickshosting
    You can the Find a Host -> HOST QUOTE link at the top right of this page to get requests from hosts.

    Depending on the amount of disk space and transfer you need (how much does your current site use?), a fairly large reseller plan is probably a decent option. Though if you can afford a VPS or Dedicated they might be worth taking a look at (The Planet - Server Matrix is offering dedicateds from $69 / mo).

    Reseller plans don't offer the same performance benefits as a VPS does. My recommendation would be to find a high performance VPS host, or even one that knows what their doing with busy forums.

  25. #25
    Quote Originally Posted by wickshosting
    You can the Find a Host -> HOST QUOTE link at the top right of this page to get requests from hosts.

    Depending on the amount of disk space and transfer you need (how much does your current site use?), a fairly large reseller plan is probably a decent option. Though if you can afford a VPS or Dedicated they might be worth taking a look at (The Planet - Server Matrix is offering dedicateds from $69 / mo).
    Thanks. While the dedicated server option seems attractive, its just a bit out of price range.

    Where would you find a reseller plan that was reliable? Any recommendations?

    Thanks everyone - this has been really, really helpful!

    Leo

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by leoedin
    I haven't really seen any solid recommendations for hosting providers yet - are you all afraid because you're not allowed to advertise, or is it something else...
    Quote Originally Posted by Rules
    You may not publish or discuss any information regarding your product or services, or future (possible) products or services, or any product or services you are, or have been, associated with. This includes, but not limited to suggesting your own services, or services of partners, clients, employers or friends. The Advertising Forums are for advertising.
    If you are looking for some hosts, you can also try a search on "web hosting directory" or try whreviews.com.

    Good luck

  27. #27
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    You can go with the VPS route if you choose so, but pretty much once you go managed at most VPS providers it comes very near to a low end dedicated server. You also have to throw in, if you go unmanaged, the added dimension of knowing how to run an unmanaged server on your own.

    I've run forums in the 1000+ user range on shared hosts and I've not had any troubles. You just need to find the right host. I can tell you from the experience of clients, friends, and my own past that these hosts that offer 100s of GBs of transfer and GBs of space are not the place to go for a good forum site. You'll end up in the same situation you are in now with places like this that oversell so heavily and rely on crammed servers. However, your forum should rather easily be supported in a shared environment.

  28. #28
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    Try contacting www.medialayer.com. They run a very tight ship and have highly optimized servers that should be able to run your forums with ease.

  29. #29
    This is really something that you ought to be able to handle with a shared hosting provider without a whole lot of problems. I run one forum that requires its own dedicated machine (vBulletin with 3 million posts, 10,000 users, 1500 users online at the moment), but others that do fine in a shared environment.

    That high-usage machine listed above did just fine when it had 600 simultaneous users on a dual-P3 box with 1.5 gigs of RAM, actually. Reasonable web hosting software (and I fit SMF in this category) doesn't require that much in terms of resources.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by dzeanah
    This is really something that you ought to be able to handle with a shared hosting provider without a whole lot of problems. I run one forum that requires its own dedicated machine (vBulletin with 3 million posts, 10,000 users, 1500 users online at the moment), but others that do fine in a shared environment.
    what's your forum's URL?

  31. #31
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    I would be interested to no, as well
    Wholesale Direct International Sip Termination & UK Numbering (DID's/DDI's)
    Over 250 Direct Interconnects with guarnateed CLI/FAX | SIP & TDM Interconnectivity
    http://wholesale.alohatelecom.co.uk | Instant SIP Trunking at unbeatable rates http://www.voipyonder.com/

  32. #32
    PigFat: PM'd it to you. Not trying to advertise or anything.

  33. #33
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    Can you pm it to me aswell please

    Thanks,
    Nathaniel
    Wholesale Direct International Sip Termination & UK Numbering (DID's/DDI's)
    Over 250 Direct Interconnects with guarnateed CLI/FAX | SIP & TDM Interconnectivity
    http://wholesale.alohatelecom.co.uk | Instant SIP Trunking at unbeatable rates http://www.voipyonder.com/

  34. #34
    I use all kinds of shared hosts, and never had problems with phpBB or vB forums. I've talked many times about Lunarpages, as some of you must know, and after knowing that their official forum runs on a basic plan, it even raised my opinion.
    I also have a plan at Dotable, owned by Aussie Bob, a great guy. Dotable has much less specs, but you know that servers aren't packed.
    I like them both.
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