a friend recently contacted me about a music webzine and forum, which is having frequent issues on its current host. The site is built in PHP, using Xoops for the webzine and phpbb2 for the forum.
In the last year, the site's traffic has been steady at 1200 unique visits, ~3500 page views and ~140,000 hits per day, for a total transfer of 20GB per month. The site's MySQL database is more than 600mb of data. Most of the site's traffic is generated through the forum, which usually has around 30 users online. Although a small community, most users are very frequent posters. Being a phpbb2 forum, it is quite CPU intensive and currently the MySQL server has frequent failures.
Our immediate plan is to switch to another provider, then upgrade to phpbb3, tweak its code and probably rewrite the webzine in Python/Django so as to implement new needs in a faster manner and make the site performe steadier and faster.
As the site is not-for-profit and therefore cost-sensitive, we are considering two plans:
1) switch to Webfaction on its first (or second) shared hosting plan, for a cost of $10/month.
2) switch to Linode for an unmanaged VPS with 360MB of memory, for a cost of $20/month.
If the latter option is selected, we plan on using the following setup: nginx for static content (and possibly PHP if phpbb doesn't complain), Apache + mod_python for django, MySQL and mail server with MySQL virtual folders (to handle multiple domains). SpamAssassin is another consideration. The problem is I haven't actually used a VPS in the past, although I've read extensively on how to set it up and tweak the server's settings for optimal performance.
My questions are:
a) would a VPS (with the above setup) with 360MBs of memory be able to handle the traffic load mentioned above or will we be forced to upgrade to a plan with more memory?
b) would a reliable shared web host be able to handle the site's traffic load without problems, thus making the switch to a VPS unnecessary? More specifically, would webfaction, if someone has previous experience, be able to handle it?
Having just 'read' up on server administration isn't sufficient, if you're going the vps route -- go for a managed one from a provider like liquidweb or servint. Otherwise you'll be in over your head, pay a bit more and make the sailing a bit more smooth.
David Web hosting by Fused — For businesses with more important things to do than worry about their hosting.