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  1. #1

    Help us choose the best solution

    Hi everybody,

    We have a hobby-oriented forum based on phpBB Plus 1.53, that until a few days ago was hosted in a shared server.
    We weren't unsatisfied with our hosting company, but some time ago we got our account suspended due to excessive processor use. We changed as much as we could, including disabling some of the phpBB features and even blocking the search-engine robots.
    While this worked for sometime, we got suspended again last week and decided to search a better alternative.

    - Our forum has around 1000 registered members and roughly the same number of different daily visitors (global number of monthly visits is around 35000/38000);
    - Our monthly traffic peaked at about 35GB, usually around 20/30 GB;
    - We allow the upload of attachments, that sum around 2GB nowadays;
    - The supporting mySQL database backup is around 30MB (dump from phpmyAdmin).

    None of us have "sysadmin" experience, albeit we get along quite well with cPanel and WHM.

    We are now faced with the decision of choosing a more suitable solution but lack the knowledge to operate a server. Can you help us choose the best solution for us, please?
    1) Rent an unmanaged dedicated server and hire the management (such as Platinum Server Management, for instance);
    2) Rent a "managed" dedicated server;
    3) None of the above...

    In order to try to raise some money to pay for the bills, we are thinking of renting hosting space to our members, to store pictures and "Mini-sites".
    We might also aggregate a CMS, such as Joomla, to make it easier to provide contents to our community.

    Cost is an issue, and we want to keep the costs as low as possible, specially because the money will go out of our personal pockets (we're a team of only four...).
    Nevertheless, we know that we get what we pay for and prefer a stable, solid solution.


    Thank you very much for all your help.


    Regards,
    Lusitano

  2. #2
    Join Date
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    What's your budget?

  3. #3
    Join Date
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    email the folks at imountain.com and let them know your specs and they should be able to set you up with something. I have a very busy wordpress blog with them and I have never had a problem. 260 concurrent connections and they don't mind at all

  4. #4
    Hi,

    Thanks for the quick replies so far.
    As far as budget goes, we got a quote from our current host of USD 170+ for a managed server which seemed, well, "significant" for our pockets.
    Considering that PSM charges USD 30/mo for the management services, it would be interesting to see if we can get a "box" under USD100/mo.
    But, like I said, we prefer to hand out a few extra bucks monthly for a proper service rather than keep switching hosting companies.


    Cheers,
    Lusitano

  5. #5
    I would definitely consider either a VPS or Dedicated server. Consider getting point support from rent-a-coder.com or similar.

    I'd also make sure you know exactly where your server is & that the provider can truly deal with access types & volume you require.

  6. #6
    Join Date
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    I bet a Medialayer account would work for you.

  7. #7
    Go with VPS

    http://steadfast.net/services/vps.php
    They really reboot fast, I don't think you'll need much of sysadmin experience. You just need to transfer your site and I'm sure you can get a tech to do that for you.

    Gotta edit: It's really hard to say, whether is Dedicated or VPS, you might want to get a quote in imountain if you want, or mediatemple
    http://imountain.com/web/services/cl...-vps-pricing/3

    There is https://www.burst.net/servers.shtml which might go into your budget, i heard some good reviews from it, check their closeouts
    Last edited by Allenskd; 03-04-2008 at 09:27 PM.
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  8. #8
    For dedicated server solutions I recommend you look into liquidweb, lunarpages, and serverbeach.
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  9. #9
    Join Date
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lusitano View Post
    Hi,

    Thanks for the quick replies so far.
    As far as budget goes, we got a quote from our current host of USD 170+ for a managed server which seemed, well, "significant" for our pockets.
    Considering that PSM charges USD 30/mo for the management services, it would be interesting to see if we can get a "box" under USD100/mo.
    But, like I said, we prefer to hand out a few extra bucks monthly for a proper service rather than keep switching hosting companies.


    Cheers,
    Lusitano
    Hello Lusitano, USD100,00 a month is not much, but you could find yourself a small managed server for that money. (think around a P4 or lower) this may be good enough for your sites but its would be a low end server.

    You could improve your performance and quality by raising your budget. if you can do that, i am sure you will be more than happy with a dedicated server instead of shared or vps hosting. There are plenty of good managed companies which also sell a complete package. I would look for a company which is offering you a managed server which is 'handled' as shared-server.

    All the best in finding the right solution for your website!
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  10. #10
    Join Date
    Nov 2007
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    Better go for dedicated server. Its good for you

  11. #11
    For around 100 USD you should be able to get a dedicated server with cpanel that isn't all that bad.

    I saw that Steadfast Networks were mentioned, and Steadfast's managed VPS also are below that monthly figure. (I know by experience that their support is very good, and they also has good performance on their nodes.)
    http://steadfast.net/services/vps.php

  12. #12
    Quote Originally Posted by Lusitano View Post
    Considering that PSM charges USD 30/mo for the management services, it would be interesting to see if we can get a "box" under USD100/mo.

    Cheers,
    Lusitano
    Hello Lusitano
    $100 dedicated box with mangement would not be more than high end VPS, If you get your budget to around $180 then it will not only provide you better performance but also give your site room to grow.
    you should consider managed VPS for current budget
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  13. #13
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    Just my humble opinion a VPS is not a replacement for a Dedicated server, i would go for a Dedicated server above everything.

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by 040Hosting View Post
    Just my humble opinion a VPS is not a replacement for a Dedicated server, i would go for a Dedicated server above everything.
    Surely there is a difference between VPS/Dedi, but VPS can be a great middlestep.

  15. #15
    Hi,
    Depending on the "managed" definition you may find very good server but the $100 you suggest are low and I am not sure if you will take even some low end server as the server management is the thing that cost you money mostly, not the server hardware only. If the company who will managed this server for you will go from hardware to software management, then you may expect to pay a little bit more. Of course, if you can always go for some VPS solution, which will be cheaper but if your plans for the forum are big , then you may go for server directly.
    It is really up to the resources the forum needs now and the temps of growth in the next months.
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  16. #16
    Thank you very much for all the valuable input here!
    We initially thought of a budget around USD 130 (the previosuly mentioned $100 for the "box" plus $30 for the "outside" management).

    From all your help I have conclude that:
    - We should go with a dedicated server;
    - Our budget should be revised.

    Since none of us has server management experience (other than the usual maintenance through cPanel and WHM), what services should we ask to the hosting companies in order to get our server managed like "shared hosting"?

    Once again, thank you for all your help.


    Cheers,
    Lusitano

  17. #17
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    Since none of us has server management experience (other than the usual maintenance through cPanel and WHM), what services should we ask to the hosting companies in order to get our server managed like "shared hosting"?
    Lusitano,

    You should find a managed service which does pro-active updates, PSM in example is a great company but does NOT do pro-active work, you have to ask them to do the work before they do anything.

    That said with your budget you could find a company who can do this all for you, the more budget you have the better the hardware will become. (it is not more expensive to manage a low spec server or a high spec server).

    Good luck in finding the right host for your needs!
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  18. #18
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    With 130$ you can get a fully managed high end VPS/hybrid - it will act as a shared account. No need for management. That way you put your sites in a reliable and redundant server (I doubt you can get redundant nics, raid, redundant power etc. from a 100$ server).

    Another option is to get an application shared hosting account like MediaLayer (no experience), Cartika (no experience) or Iron Mountain. Search for an option like this, contact these companies and you will see you can get it for much much less than 130$!
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  19. #19
    Join Date
    Sep 2007
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    Quote Originally Posted by Allenskd View Post
    Go with VPS

    http://steadfast.net/services/vps.php
    They really reboot fast, I don't think you'll need much of sysadmin experience. You just need to transfer your site and I'm sure you can get a tech to do that for you.

    Gotta edit: It's really hard to say, whether is Dedicated or VPS, you might want to get a quote in imountain if you want, or mediatemple
    http://imountain.com/web/services/cl...-vps-pricing/3

    There is https://www.burst.net/servers.shtml which might go into your budget, i heard some good reviews from it, check their closeouts
    I would recommend VPS too.

  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lusitano View Post
    We are now faced with the decision of choosing a more suitable solution but lack the knowledge to operate a server. Can you help us choose the best solution for us, please?
    1) Rent an unmanaged dedicated server and hire the management (such as Platinum Server Management, for instance);
    2) Rent a "managed" dedicated server;
    3) None of the above...
    Well, I'm going to go against the trend and say 3. Stay with shared. You don't want the responsibility and cost of a dedicated server, and if you go for a cheap dedi you'll probably end up with worse reliability than a quality shared account.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lusitano View Post
    - Our monthly traffic peaked at about 35GB, usually around 20/30 GB;
    Based on that, you haven't yet outgrown shared hosting. You've outgrown cheap shared hosting. Look for hosts with a great reputation that charge around $1 per GB transfer (I'll mention MediaLayer as usual, but there are others also), give them this info and ask them what solution they'd suggest. I'm betting that for around $50 you'll get all you need.
    Chris

    "Some problems are so complex that you have to be highly intelligent and well informed just to be undecided about them." - Laurence J. Peter

  21. #21
    Hi!

    Following the advises here, and after researching and contacting a few companies during this last day I came to the conclusion that I can get very reasonable VPS with our initial budget or a "so-so" dedicated server.

    There are still some contacts to be done, but perhaps VPS might be an acceptable way to go for the moment, at least until we find some sponsors that allow us to "fly a little higher".

    I'm really impressed and thankful for all the help everyone has been giving here. Thanks guys!


    Lusitano
    Last edited by Lusitano; 03-05-2008 at 09:50 PM.

  22. #22
    Join Date
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    IMO, I don't think you need a dedicated server, a VPS or even a reliable shared plan may enough for your site. And I'd suggest a reliable shared plan, the reason is - you don't need your own resource to host the dedicated control panel, and you don't need hire a admin.

  23. #23
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    Quote Originally Posted by john8 View Post
    IMO, I don't think you need a dedicated server, a VPS or even a reliable shared plan may enough for your site. And I'd suggest a reliable shared plan, the reason is - you don't need your own resource to host the dedicated control panel, and you don't need hire a admin.
    I agree, i feel a dedicated server is overkill for 1,000 visitors per day running phpBB. I'm doing that on a shared host worth $29.95 per year.

    I'd look at one of the reputable VPS providers such as WiredTree.com which will give you room to grow, plus the management and pro active server monitoring is faultless. You don't need to know a thing serverwise, they will transfer your site and you can then just administer it from cPanel.

  24. #24
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    I agree with foobic, that I don't see you needing a dedicated server yet, and the fact that this is the way to go is emphasized by you being more comfortable with shared hosting.

    So, I'd get hosting (shared) that is designed for more CPU hungry websites and I would not rule out the possibility of your application (or a part/hack of it) being inefficient or poorly written.

    Do have a brief talk with the host prior to signing up, explaining your needs.

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