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  #1  
Old 07-15-2009, 10:05 AM
submachine submachine is offline
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Unmanaged VPS hosting


Hi!

A couple of friends of mine want to start an online T-shirt store in Bangalore, India, and since I used to administer our college's GLUG website, they turned to me for help.

Unfortunately for them, I know -zilch- about hosting services (back in college, I simply used to host the site from a machine sitting in the computer center).

So:

I googled 'hosting' etc and did a bit of looking around. I figured out there are essentially three kinds of hosting:
a. Shared
b. Dedicated (you get your own machine)
c. VPS (you get your own VM instance running on XEN/VMWare/whatever)

I think I like (c) for my friends' little project. To be more specific, I think an unmanaged VPS running GNU/Linux that is going to feel reasonably fast to someone sitting in Bangalore will do just fine.

So my questions are:
1. Am I right in choosing 'c' or is there a better option? (what about security? I read on the forum that recently, fsckvps' boxes were cracked)

2. If 'c' is right, which hosting service should I go for? I couldn't find any in India. I could find several interesting options like slicehost, linode, fsckvps etc but they're all based in the US/Europe. Or am I bothering too much about location?

I guess thats about it for now.

Cheers!



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  #2  
Old 07-15-2009, 10:50 AM
cristibighea cristibighea is offline
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Indian hosting can be quite expensive due to high bandwidth costs. Not knowing how to properly administer your VPS could make you vulnerable to attacks of all sorts, so you may want to get something managed.

Depending on the size of their store, they might be just fine with a more high-end shared host, unless you need root access for your own applications.

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  #3  
Old 07-15-2009, 10:53 AM
Matt Saunders Matt Saunders is offline
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All of this will depend on your friend's requirement. What is the size of the website and what amount of transfer is he expecting for his website? You will find cheaper hosting options in US and UK but the price will be higher in India as cristibighea mentioned. So it depends on your budget as well!

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  #4  
Old 07-15-2009, 10:56 AM
Layershift Damien Layershift Damien is offline
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Mainly your conclusion that an unmanaged VPS is likely to be the most appropriate for your needs (whilst also stating that you know "zilch" about hosting services) worries me a bit.

I'm presuming that you must at least be familiar with Linux itself in order to secure it properly and ensure that things are kept up to date? If not, then I would suggest using an unmanaged server (i.e. where you're responsible for your own security/troubleshooting/updates) is probably not a good idea - especially for hosting an ecommerce site, where downtime costs money!

Shared hosting might be enough as a starting point for you, though it can be difficult to conform to PCI DSS on shared so (depending on how you're processing payments) this might be a problem for you.

The other consideration regarding why type of service is what software you're going to run on it. As a new venture it's likely to start off quite low traffic, but still inefficient/resource intensive software can be an issue, and in particular it might cause certain hosts to suspend your service in some cases.

As for location, I'm not sure how you find connectivity to the US and/or Europe in general? Have a think about some US hosted sites (WHT is one of them) and likewise some European ones. In many (most?) cases your provider's website will be hosted on their own network so you can consider the speed of their site as a benchmark in terms of network performance for what you might expect.

You can also ask chosen providers for test IP addresses which you could traceroute to in order to review connectivity from your location and latency etc.

Although there are a few providers within Asia, you'll find a lot more choice in US/EU and so if the connectivity is good enough these might be a better option for you (perhaps also cheaper?).

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  #5  
Old 07-15-2009, 12:49 PM
submachine submachine is offline
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Quote:
Mainly your conclusion that an unmanaged VPS is likely to be the most appropriate for your needs (whilst also stating that you know "zilch" about hosting services) worries me a bit.
I concluded on the assumption that as far as I would be concerned, a VPS running GNU/Linux is pretty much the same a 'regular' box connected to the internet. I'm very comfortable using UNIX boxes, and 'unmanaged' fits better into the budget (25$)

I'm not sure how 'secure' would be defined. A couple of smart iptables rules and a cron job doing daily backups on a regularly updated Debian release sounds 'secure' enough to me. But is it -really- enough? If yes, then think I can handle security)

Quote:
What is the size of the website and what amount of transfer is he expecting for his website?
The answer to both will probably be: 'minimal'. I'll bet the basic '10GB with 100GB pm transfer' that most VPSs seem to offer will work fine. If it doesn't there's always the option of an upgrade.

Quote:
Depending on the size of their store, they might be just fine with a more high-end shared host, unless you need root access for your own applications.
There's a website (probably running 'oscommerce') + a mail server.

I just thought 'our own box' will feel nice.

Alright! The lights just went out at my home. I'm bugging out!

  #6  
Old 07-15-2009, 02:22 PM
gunemalli gunemalli is offline
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well as you have said you're very new to this field i would suggest you to go for a shared hosting environment first, atleast for a couple of months. This way you would get to know what it is like in the real environment. And since you're just starting the site, that's the best option.

if your site starts pull a lot of traffic then you should consider a vps not at the very begining. That's the best thing to do. And the safest.

VPS are great but you need to knw your way around. and its not exactly the same as a "REGULAR" unix/linux box. You control all the things on a regular box but on a vps it's not the same. Like partitioning and all are different.

As far as i can see s good shared hosting environment is all you need for now.

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  #7  
Old 07-15-2009, 02:53 PM
shaki22 shaki22 is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by submachine View Post
Hi!

I'm not sure how 'secure' would be defined. A couple of smart iptables rules and a cron job doing daily backups on a regularly updated Debian release sounds 'secure' enough to me. But is it -really- enough? If yes, then think I can handle security)

Cheers!
Well what you are looking for is entirely possible if you go survive with an unmanaged VPS. Most unmanaged providers do in fact offer technical support, and most that I've seen is good.

The bottom line is if you've got mission critical needs, then use a managed VPS. If not, and you has the time and know-how to perform 75%-80% of your server's maintenance then an affordable unmanaged service should do you just fine. Also don't forget to perform regular backup.

Please Note: Managed providers do not provide any website development/coding support.

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Last edited by shaki22; 07-15-2009 at 03:03 PM.
  #8  
Old 07-15-2009, 03:43 PM
Odisha-Hosting Odisha-Hosting is offline
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I agree that bandwidth cost in India is comparitively little higher than US and UK but it is definitely affordable if one is looking less than 100GB or less b/w .

Apart from this , I think other aspects like quality in service, uptime and other infrastructure is comparable to any US/UK Hosting Providers who offer VPS/Dedicated service.

Please browse through the offer section to find your hosting provider which can match your needs.

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Last edited by Odisha-Hosting; 07-15-2009 at 03:44 PM. Reason: better message
  #9  
Old 07-15-2009, 05:12 PM
sleddog sleddog is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by submachine View Post
I concluded on the assumption that as far as I would be concerned, a VPS running GNU/Linux is pretty much the same a 'regular' box connected to the internet. I'm very comfortable using UNIX boxes, and 'unmanaged' fits better into the budget (25$)
If you're comfortable in a UNIX environment then by all means get an unmanaged VPS. There's lots to figure out but with your background that means researching & reading.

It sounds like a US-based VPS will be cheaper than one in India. The US is a big place, so you might look into which geographic region of the US provides the best connectivity to you. Some pings and download tests should give you basic information.

For an unmanaged VPS I highly recommend Linode -- http://www.linode.com/ Their entry-level VPS (at $20/month) will provide ample resources for your site as you describe it. They use Xen, which gives a very dedicated-server-like experience. They have multiple locations throughout the US so you can pick the one that performs best for you in terms of networking. And they are an established company providing excellent quality of service.

Hope this helps.

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  #10  
Old 07-15-2009, 11:18 PM
johnch johnch is offline
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It's ok of getting a US hosting provider, but try to ping several different host providers before you order, be sure of getting a host with 60ms or less responding time from your location.


Last edited by johnch; 07-15-2009 at 11:23 PM.
  #11  
Old 07-16-2009, 04:58 AM
isparky isparky is offline
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IMHO, check out a shared environment if it works with your technical requirements e.g. ecommerce software unless go for a managed vps where you can install your ecommerce software but always check out the back-up options

best,

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  #12  
Old 07-16-2009, 05:11 AM
HostColor HostColor is offline
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Don't bother too much about location. The reliability of the service and the network, as well as the provider's business record are much more important. Virtualization technology you are about to use is also very important. I would suggest you to read more about different approaches to virtualization and to see how different VPS management solutions work. You can get reliable entry-level VPs for around $25 so the only thing you need is to choose virtualization technology and the service provider.

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  #13  
Old 07-16-2009, 02:05 PM
submachine submachine is offline
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Lightbulb

In summary:

cristibighea: get a managed vps or shared hosting
Matt Saunders: US/UK is generally cheaper than India
Layershift Damien: get shared hosting, US/US has more choice than Asia
gunemalli: get shared hosting
shaki22: unmanaged is cool as long as you know how to handle it
Odisha-Hosting: b/w costlier in India, but service/uptime is okay
sleddog: unmanaged is okay
johnch: response time matters
isparky: go for shared/managed VPS hosting
HostColor: bother about virtualization tech being used

Quote:
For an unmanaged VPS I highly recommend Linode -- Their entry-level VPS (at $20/month) will provide ample resources for your site as you describe it.
In fact, I've been pinging their boxes for the last couple of minutes

Fremont/Newark seem to be fastest from here (probably because they're on the western coast)

Quote:
It's ok of getting a US hosting provider, but try to ping several different host providers before you order, be sure of getting a host with 60ms or less responding time from your location.
Yes, I'll do that! But I'm very tempted by a Linode right away (They use XEN I like their basic package more than most others').

So:
I still think VPS is good to go with (Since now I'm feeling tempted to do more than just serve the ecommerce site, if possible. Maybe I'll run 'tor', if its allowed to do so, and some other stuff).

Thanks everyone! I'll get back once I've placed an order with one of the providers and tried things out.

  #14  
Old 07-16-2009, 02:48 PM
menj menj is offline
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Frankly I think shared hosting would be good enough for your friend for now, since he is just starting out.

  #15  
Old 07-16-2009, 04:27 PM
rockvps rockvps is offline
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I'd be interested in hearing how you fair as a novice user going into an unmanaged environment. Please let me know how it goes.

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