I'm working on a social networking prototype that will hopefully soon become a beta with moderate user load. I have zero experience in the field of web hosts other than rolling out a web application in an internal server at my last job.
The application is being developed in C#/ASP.NET 3.5 with MS SQL Server.
1. Given the fact that I'm trying to save on costs now and worry about scale later, how much would you think that I should spend on hosting? I figured that I'd have my SQL Server instance and the web app on the same box and it wouldn't really matter too much. Would a dedicated server be a minimum requirement? Or perhaps 2, with one hosting the database and the other hosting the application?
2. Does anyone recommend or disapprove of cloud computing?
3. Are there any other factors I must take into consideration? I'm quite ignorant on these matters, and am more focused and knowledgeable on actual development.
To whoever reads and decides to respond, you have my utmost of gratitutde.
Just about any host will be able to provide you with the basics. Since you have limited experience with this type of application, I would highly recommend that you find a host that offers 24/7 customer support. If you're lucky enough to find one that does that, and has competent techs that are manning the support, you'll be just fine.
Based on what you have described in terms of immediate needs, I would imagine that you would be just fine with a shared host. The biggest concern with shared hosting is if the host is overselling the capabilities of it's servers. Again, that goes back to finding a reliable host that cares more about you as a person rather than just trying to make a quick buck.
Cloud computing is another option, but in reality, you probably won't need to go down that route. Eventually, you'll need to migrate over to either VPS or dedicated, so that should also play into your thought process as you decide.
thanks guys... so in your roughest estimation, how many concurrent users could I handle on a shared host... say... GoDaddy? Running the application and sql server instance on the same vm (do shared hosts put us on vms?)
You will probably do ok developing on a shared account, as long as you do not need admin access to server. Shared account will accomodate a moderate amount of traffic. Shared hosting done properly will use separate dedicated servers for web and database. You will also have remote access via SQL Server Manaqement Studio. The host you mention has this configuration
You can easily upgrade to vds as needed by migrating db and web files. On vds it will be ok to run sql on same server as web until you need more power, then another migration. It is also possible to keep your shared account for the db and run th eweb on vds. How soon from launch this will be required will determine where you start.