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  1. #1
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    In need of a powerful development hosting environment

    I'm happily hosted with KnownHost and DreamHost, but since I'm from NL it's really not a pleasure to develop a Drupal powered website on that US based VPS. Speeds are not top notch and that annoys me.

    so... I'm looking for tips and advice from colleagues in the web/cms development world: Where do you host your development projects?

    It can be either a (managed/unmanaged) VPS, reseller account or even a small dedicated, but the latter is a bit out of budget so I prefer a VPS.

    - hosted in the UK, FR, DE, NL
    - max $45/50 /mo
    - no silly memory limits, it kills Drupal
    - no contracts
    - ample power

    I currently code on a GeekSRV account and it's blistering fast, but I run into serious memory problems when I'm rendering images with the GD library. Drupal has excellent modules to instantly crop and scale images, but that requires a lot of memory and the current shared account just can't cope.

    I also don't like developing locally, so a good hosting environment is mandatory.

    Any tips? Thanks from a CMS coder from The Netherlands!
    hi there!

  2. #2
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    EuroVPS. They're even fast when accessed from the USA.
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  3. #3
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay August View Post
    I'm happily hosted with KnownHost and DreamHost, but since I'm from NL it's really not a pleasure to develop a Drupal powered website on that US based VPS. Speeds are not top notch and that annoys me.

    so... I'm looking for tips and advice from colleagues in the web/cms development world: Where do you host your development projects?

    It can be either a (managed/unmanaged) VPS, reseller account or even a small dedicated, but the latter is a bit out of budget so I prefer a VPS.

    - hosted in the UK, FR, DE, NL
    - max $45/50 /mo
    - no silly memory limits, it kills Drupal
    - no contracts
    - ample power

    I currently code on a GeekSRV account and it's blistering fast, but I run into serious memory problems when I'm rendering images with the GD library. Drupal has excellent modules to instantly crop and scale images, but that requires a lot of memory and the current shared account just can't cope.

    I also don't like developing locally, so a good hosting environment is mandatory.

    Any tips? Thanks from a CMS coder from The Netherlands!
    How much memory does it require ?

  4. #4
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    How much memory does it require ?
    PHP Memory limit at least 64MB (for the imagecache module)

    another problem is that when I use the Update Status module, Drupal is almost bound to run into memory problems on every page, which leads to truckloads of errors due to lack of memory. I won't disclose a page here, but send you a DM with the URL so you can see for yourself.

    Thanks for your reply!
    hi there!

  5. #5
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    How's that?

  6. #6
    When developing you are actually much better off on the worst server you can tolerate. The reason for that is that developers tend not to throw a load at a server. Then at release time when the whole thing falls over, they wonder why. At least on a slow server, the developer might notice that things are not quite as zippy as required.
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  7. #7
    I have to agree with plumsauce, but there are hosting plans out there that will guarantee your memory, CUP and disk without the cost of a dedicated server. There are even virtual dedicated servers that can be load balanced. Instead of migrating your site to a dedicated server when your needs grow, you just add a second VDS with load balancing.
    Sphere Web Hosting, LLC.
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  8. #8
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    Your budget is good for a reliable managed VPS

  9. #9
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    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    When developing you are actually much better off on the worst server you can tolerate. The reason for that is that developers tend not to throw a load at a server. Then at release time when the whole thing falls over, they wonder why. At least on a slow server, the developer might notice that things are not quite as zippy as required.
    "My" Drupal sites always end up on a dedi Thanks for pointing it out though, it's a nice way to find out how your site's performing.

    Quote Originally Posted by GeekSRV View Post
    How's that?
    GeekSRV has helped me out fantastic here, thank you very much!
    All errors are gone now, and I can safely resume my coding work.
    hi there!

  10. #10
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    Can anyone explain why for drupal you need a vps or even a dedi ?

  11. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by webilly View Post
    Can anyone explain why for drupal you need a vps or even a dedi ?
    All depends on the size of the website. Drupal is quite a memory hog when it comes to listing/fetching updates, image manipulation and such. It's not really hard to run into memory limits on a shared environment. Furthermore updating a Drupal site without SSH is a PITA
    hi there!

  12. #12
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    I would give http://www.rackspacecloud.com/ a try, they are very solid and not that expensive.

    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    When developing you are actually much better off on the worst server you can tolerate. The reason for that is that developers tend not to throw a load at a server. Then at release time when the whole thing falls over, they wonder why. At least on a slow server, the developer might notice that things are not quite as zippy as required.
    Amusing as it is, limiting your development by using a slower machine in no way will guarantee that web site will function properly on better machine under stress.
    All My Data » From small shared web hosting accounts to powerful dedicated servers.
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  13. #13
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    and based in the US, and slow Thanks for your response Stacie, but the Rackspace Cloud just isn't my cup of tea. Furthermore Racksspace is expensive.
    hi there!

  14. #14
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay August View Post
    and based in the US, and slow Thanks for your response Stacie, but the Rackspace Cloud just isn't my cup of tea. Furthermore Racksspace is expensive.
    Not their cloud line, it's actually pretty cheap (plus you get to use their awesome support)
    All My Data » From small shared web hosting accounts to powerful dedicated servers.
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  15. #15
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    Not their cloud line, it's actually pretty cheap (plus you get to use their awesome support)
    Cloud sites starts @ $100 /mo. That's twice the budget I had in mind
    Cloud servers is indeed quite affordable. Then problem 2 arises: only credit card payments allowed. I have no credit card and do all my online payments through PayPal...

    But, as I stated above, i'm fine for now. GeekSRV helped me out great.
    hi there!

  16. #16
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    Have you thought about perhaps trying ImageMagick instead of GD - it seems to be faster/less resource intensive from my testing. I see that GeekSRV has made the change for you but changing to ImageMagick may get you more life out of your account.
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  17. #17
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    I would also suggest that you may want to try tracerts off of other US servers. You may be needlessly limiting yourself based off a bad experience.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by MikeDVB View Post
    Have you thought about perhaps trying ImageMagick instead of GD - it seems to be faster/less resource intensive from my testing. I see that GeekSRV has made the change for you but changing to ImageMagick may get you more life out of your account.
    IM is not installed on their servers. It's a good idea, so I'll ask for it. Thanks!

    Quote Originally Posted by astarnes View Post
    I would also suggest that you may want to try tracerts off of other US servers. You may be needlessly limiting yourself based off a bad experience.
    A US server is usually just a bit too slow. I'd love to try out a Slicehost or Linode VPS though, but both only allow credit card payments and I don't have a cc.
    hi there!

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by Stacie View Post
    IAmusing as it is, limiting your development by using a slower machine in no way will guarantee that web site will function properly on better machine under stress.
    No, it's not amusement.

    If you create a piece of software that performs to the required specification on a smaller machine then it will only be faster on a faster machine.

    This requires of course careful benchmark measurements during development and actual measurable goals.

    This is especially true when working with cpu bound processes.

    Working on a slower machine forces the developer to be careful with resources. It forces the developer to look for workarounds and optimisations. And it does all this before transitioning to more powerful production servers.

    For example if I know that 12.9 million lookups per second can be done on a population of 4 billion numbers on a 500MHZ XEON, and I know that a hard requirements limit based on prior measurment is 40k lookups per second, then it is ready for production and won't fall down when released.

    That module started at a very disappointing 60k lookups per second which leaves little headroom. Only by knowing the current performance is a developer pushed to improve the code.

    In some fields performance is measured in the tens of cpu cycles with bragging rights to the developer who can shave a single cpu cycle from a published algorithm.


    .
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  20. #20
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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay August View Post
    A US server is usually just a bit too slow. I'd love to try out a Slicehost or Linode VPS though, but both only allow credit card payments and I don't have a cc.
    Linode and Slicehost are both in the center of the US. You would be getting better speeds right on the Atlantic Ocean coast, as that's where the fiber is. Is there an IP you can give us close to you, so I can see where your slowness is coming from?

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    No, it's not amusement.

    If you create a piece of software that performs to the required specification on a smaller machine then it will only be faster on a faster machine.

    This requires of course careful benchmark measurements during development and actual measurable goals.

    This is especially true when working with cpu bound processes.

    Working on a slower machine forces the developer to be careful with resources. It forces the developer to look for workarounds and optimisations. And it does all this before transitioning to more powerful production servers.

    For example if I know that 12.9 million lookups per second can be done on a population of 4 billion numbers on a 500MHZ XEON, and I know that a hard requirements limit based on prior measurment is 40k lookups per second, then it is ready for production and won't fall down when released.

    That module started at a very disappointing 60k lookups per second which leaves little headroom. Only by knowing the current performance is a developer pushed to improve the code.

    In some fields performance is measured in the tens of cpu cycles with bragging rights to the developer who can shave a single cpu cycle from a published algorithm.


    .
    You should probably stick to discussing web hosting and not programming practices.

    What you trying to tell people is that they should to develop on a ****** development server so your web site will perform much better on a better machine?

    There is no point of doing that what so ever nor does it make any sense because it will not tell you the web site will perform under any sort of load.

    You will still need to benchmark every aspect of your code on a staging environment before moving it to production.

    All you gain from using slow server for development is waste of time and loss of productivity.
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by astarnes View Post
    Linode and Slicehost are both in the center of the US. You would be getting better speeds right on the Atlantic Ocean coast, as that's where the fiber is. Is there an IP you can give us close to you, so I can see where your slowness is coming from?
    This is close: 194.109.5.205
    An east-coast US server would be a good idea yes, good point. That is, -IF- I still needed one, which I no longer do.

    The discussion about developing on a slower machine is interesting, but its not directly related to this thread and the forum where this thread's posted in.
    hi there!

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Stacie View Post
    You should probably stick to discussing web hosting and not programming practices.

    What you trying to tell people is that they should to develop on a ****** development server so your web site will perform much better on a better machine?

    There is no point of doing that what so ever nor does it make any sense because it will not tell you the web site will perform under any sort of load.

    You will still need to benchmark every aspect of your code on a staging environment before moving it to production.

    All you gain from using slow server for development is waste of time and loss of productivity.
    No. You are the hoster.

    Develop on slower machines.

    Look for bottlenecks on slower machines.

    Look for errors on Verification Testing machines.

    Look for errors on Quality Acceptance machines.

    Production test on Acceptance Testing machines.

    Developing and desk testing on slower machines is not for the purpose of saving money. The above setup actually costs more because it duplicates environments.

    Testing in less capable environments makes the problems more apparent earlier in the development cycle when corrections can be made more easily.

    If you do everything on the best that money can buy, it will mask the performance problems. Then on release day everything keels over. At that point, you have no options. Certainly not better hardware because it already keeled over on the load.
    Last edited by plumsauce; 10-28-2009 at 06:03 PM.
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  24. #24
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    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    Develop on slower machines.
    Why?

    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    Look for bottlenecks on slower machines.
    Said bottlenecks will still exist on faster machines unless the bottleneck is the machine itself.

    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    Look for errors on Verification Testing machines.
    Or look for errors along every step of the process. I personally prefer to test every function I write extensively as I go along as well as testing the entire script as it is developed.

    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    Testing in less capable environments makes the problems more apparent earlier in the development cycle when corrections can be made more easily.
    I've never ever heard anybody argue this stance ... it's definitely an interesting one. How slow should you go - P4? P3? IDE? ATA66? perhaps on a 1megabit connection?

    Quote Originally Posted by plumsauce View Post
    If you do everything on the best that money can buy, it will mask the performance problems. Then on release day everything keels over. At that point, you have no options. Certainly not better hardware because it already keeled over on the load.
    Not if you know what you're doing and properly test your code as you go along and optimize it properly to perform well.

    But hey, I've only been a programmer for 18 years...
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