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  1. #1

    Looking for a good $50 dedicated server

    I stumbled on this site while looking for reviews on dedicated web hosts and decided to register and hopefully get some of the good advise I've seen on some of the discussion topics.

    I have experience developing and hosting websites with WAMP (local machine) and thereafter having them hosted by shared web hosts. After some frustration with these hosts, I've decided to start hosting client websites (I only have a few at the moment) on a dedicated server. I plan to start small and to gradually migrate. The sites I plan to host will mostly run on the Drupal CMS and aren't high traffic - any site with high band width requirements (such as pages with video streaming) I look for third parties to host (such as youtube).
    Any pointers on where to start? I'd like to pay about 50USD and I'm looking for the following features in the solution, as well as the provider, in order of importance:

    • Good reputation and reliable
    • Fast and excellent customer service (including livechat support 24x7x365)
    • GUI software that makes administration tasks easier. CPanel/Plesk(which is more intuitive & powerful?), WebHostManager, PHPMyAdmin etc.
    • Remote access to the server with full admin access, including reboot, coupled with basic managed support.
    • Unmetered bandwidth
    • Decent hardware specs. As much as I can get away with - is it possible to get 2GB RAM and a dual core processor (or equivalent) with my budget?
    • Linux (CentOS seems popular. Which will give the most flexibility and power?)


    There are just too many offers on the internet and it's hard to gauge those offers using my first two requirements. I'd like to make a purchase today and get down to work immediately. Which host would you recommend based on my requirements?

  2. #2
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    I think it is going to be hard to find what you want in a dedicated server.
    You will probably find a good solution in a virtual private server (VPS) around your budget.

  3. #3
    You won't get a server with cPanel for $50 - at bare minimum cPanel is gonna set you back about $20 for a server, and you won't really find a server for $30. The closest that comes to mind for me is interserver's atom which is $40.

  4. #4
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    Good and cheap don't get along well as well as reliability. When they do get along, it just smells too much.

    Remove "Good" from your title so that it becomes "Looking for a $50 dedicated server".
    Yes, there are offers that fit your requirements but do please remember. You get what you pay for and what you are asking is quite bit out of what $50 can do.
    I choose not to use my signature for advertising.

    It doesn't matter how much you claim how important your data is. If it's not backed up, it's not important.

  5. #5
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    Cheap, reliable, fast. Pick 2 :-)

    Seriously, if you up your budget to the $100 range, it should be much easier to get what you ask for.
    There are 10 kinds of people, those who understand binary and those who don't.

  6. #6
    Thanks for all your replies. I certainly don't want to remove 'good' from the subject header. No one has mentioned Plesk. How does it compare to CPanel? I haven't used either.

    I don't really think VPS will work for me, as I want the ability to add CGI scripts, install software etc thus I think dedicated is the way for me. If you look at my requirements, especially the first two, what budget and which provider would you recommend?

  7. #7
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    Then raise your budget. You can't get a "good" dedicated server with your pretty high requirements for just 50 dollars.

    Plesk ? It's good as long as you don't try to compare with CPanel.

    Your budget should be around 100 dollars and that will meet it bare minimum. I'd say 150 is proper since you are even asking basic management along with such bandwidth requirement.
    I choose not to use my signature for advertising.

    It doesn't matter how much you claim how important your data is. If it's not backed up, it's not important.

  8. #8
    Ok, I can raise the budget to be between $50 and $100. I can settle for metered bandwidth, an atom processor, and maybe Plesk (what would I lose in that case?)

    I'd not want to compromise on reliability and customer support (especially the 24x7x365 live chat). What are my options in this case?

  9. #9
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    Livechat is usually not good for dedicated server support. Ticket system is generally much better.

    The reason is that dedicated server support issues are often complicated. Livechat sessions are only temporary and they are not recorded, making it harder to accomplish complicated issues and even update your issues. Ticket system is far superior in that sense.

    If you pick Atom processor, yes, the cost will go down quite a bit.

    Pleak vs CPanel is best to be had on google. Just google the keywords or perform a search on WHT.

    Still, you are requiring basic management, and that needs to be explained in detail since everyone's opinion of basic management differs. What kind of management are you looking for ?
    I choose not to use my signature for advertising.

    It doesn't matter how much you claim how important your data is. If it's not backed up, it's not important.

  10. #10
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    Quote Originally Posted by alucasa View Post
    Livechat is usually not good for dedicated server support. Ticket system is generally much better.
    Agreed completely. I've been with a number of great hosts and have never used live chat for support issues. At the most some initial sales talks, but nothing more.

    If you want to save money, learn how to manage your server yourself. That'll potentially cut the cost quite a bit.
    There are 10 kinds of people, those who understand binary and those who don't.

  11. #11
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    I don't know what is preventing you to install CGI scripts, software on VPS? With VPS, you have root access, much the same with a dedicated server.

    Quote Originally Posted by bespokeprogrammer View Post
    I don't really think VPS will work for me, as I want the ability to add CGI scripts, install software etc thus I think dedicated is the way for me.

  12. #12
    Alucasa, thanks for your replies. Coming from shared hosting, the livechat seemed quite indispensable since issues were resolved quite quickly. What you say makes sense with regards to the potential complexity, so the livechat I can also strike out. However, I'd then want want a provider who has short turn-around times with a ticket system. Basic management in my case is to do with OS updates and security (firewall etc) .

    I'm not sure about VPS since as it is still a shared environment at the end of the day, there might be restrictions. Some of the websites I plan to host might end up suffering restrictions that happened under shared hosting so I really want dedicated, thus my willingness to extend my budget to $100. Or am I wrong about VPS?

  13. #13
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    VPS.

    It is essentially virtual dedicated servers. In essence, it is no different from shared hosting. But each VPS account has full control over their account. That includes a root access and an ability to install your own control panel or even format your whole account.

    As I said, VPS is virtual dedicated server. Resource on a server is shared between VPS accounts, but you do get guaranteed resource limits.
    VPS stands for virtual private server. If you feel like, read a wiki aricle.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virtual_private_server

    For 50, you will be looking at a high-end VPS account with some management, but since you will be having a virtual dedicated server, you need to do hardening on your end.
    Some VPS company will do this for you, and I think 50 is enough for this.

    However, there are a lot of run-of-mill VPS hosts out there since it's fairly easy to set up and run it.

    The bottom line is, if you want to step up from shared hosting, you will need some knowledge in server operation. The first step would be learning the ways of SSH and basic unix commands.
    Last edited by alucasa; 11-06-2009 at 11:38 AM.
    I choose not to use my signature for advertising.

    It doesn't matter how much you claim how important your data is. If it's not backed up, it's not important.

  14. #14
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    I'm not sure about VPS since as it is still a shared environment at the end of the day, there might be restrictions.
    In some cases your analogy is kind of right, but not for all "VPS" hosts. There are several different concepts that could give you a dedicated server like VPS (and give you the option to change specs automatically) rather than your average Virtuozzo or something like that
    General Manager, 100TB
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  15. #15
    Hmm... So is there a VPS provider that can guarantee x amount of RAM and y amount of CPU cycles even at peak times?

  16. #16
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    It is best to do the search by yourself. I don't give out recommendations such as links to companies since buyers themselves need to do the homework to know what they are getting into.

    WHT has a VPS forum. Perhaps, you could ask another question there.

    My last piece of advice, you may get PMs that offer you hosting. Never, EVER, go with such. Ignore them.
    I choose not to use my signature for advertising.

    It doesn't matter how much you claim how important your data is. If it's not backed up, it's not important.

  17. #17
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    Quote Originally Posted by bespokeprogrammer View Post
    is there a VPS provider that can guarantee x amount of RAM and y amount of CPU cycles even at peak times?
    There are hosts that will dedicate CPU and RAM to your VPS without overselling them.
    Last edited by NeilAgg; 11-06-2009 at 11:58 AM.

  18. #18
    I'll certainly look through the VPS forum, but for now let me go back to the dedicated host queries.

    One thing I have noted is that no one seems to want to volunteer a recommendation. For the technical aspects, I know I can always go through the various offers and make a decision based on what is being offered and on what price.

    But how to tell how fast providers resolve customer queries unless I hear it from people who have actually purchased dedicated servers? What of reliability? Is there a place that doesn't smell of affiliate money that actually ranks web hosts in terms of the quality of service? I guess i have a bit of murking around till I can settle on a plan.

  19. #19
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    Reliability is often very subjective. Many complaints on WHT are often too subjective to account and judge a host. Some just flame their hosts for their own faults also. A sad thing is that those who flame their hosts for their own fault generally do not admit their faults.

    You seem to be down to Earth compared to a lot of hyped shared hosting users, so I am quite positive that you have enough common sense to distinguish when it's too good to be true.

    For reliability, which I hope you mean a host won't disappear one day, there are a few out there with a long history.
    Softlayer, Burstnet, the Planet, Rackspace and there are a dozen others. A lot in fact. They aren't going to disappear one day.

    For support speed as in ticket responses, I am sure a lot will recommend Softlayer for this.

    Note that there are two kind of dedicated server providers. One is unmanaged. The other is managed. Managed costs a lot more obviously.
    Even if you do go with a managed host, it's strongly recommended that you get to learn basic sever operations because that will save tons of headaches in the future if you are going to stick with a dedicated server.
    I choose not to use my signature for advertising.

    It doesn't matter how much you claim how important your data is. If it's not backed up, it's not important.

  20. #20
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    If you want something in the east of US, contact Chris at Cyberwurx. They are in Atlanta. They are having some special low-end server, in case you still want to go with dedicated server.

    If you want something in the west of US, contact Adam at Netriver. They are in Seattle area, even I am not sure if they have small server or not.

    Both are named based-on my experience with them. I was with CyberWurx around 2 years before, and am currently colo'ing in Netriver facility. Both have great facility and fast, helpful supporting team.


    Quote Originally Posted by bespokeprogrammer View Post
    But how to tell how fast providers resolve customer queries unless I hear it from people who have actually purchased dedicated servers? What of reliability?

  21. #21
    Alucasa, that is exactly the kind of responses I was looking for, thank you. And yes - that is exactly what I mean by reliability. For instance, check this discussion thread

    From that discussion, I got a good impression from BurstNet based on how they handled that issue. I also got the impression that it might be better/safer to avoid resellers altogether and go for the 'big fish'. That a good idea? Once I get a couple of respectable names in terms of reliability and customer support, I'll then check what they have to offer and then work from there.

    So far:
    BurstNet
    Softlayer
    ...

    I definitely plan to up my skills on managing servers and have been doing it for quite a while on Windows Servers - just need to switch to Linux

  22. #22
    Thanks @gate2vn too... I'll certainly be doing acheck on objective discussions on your recommended providers. I don't really care about the location of the servers. I'm outside of the US anyway

  23. #23
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    Hello! I am not as participatory on these forums, but I think that I can add to this discussion.

    First, I have used Plesk and cPanel and choose Plesk. It is all that Rackspace offers so it was not a choice at first, but I manage a dozen domain names on other people's cPanel servers and I like Plesk better.

    Two years ago I had 7 VPS servers with Verio and I was happy right up until the end. The new VPSv3 had some initial problems that have long since been resolved, but I moved to dedicated because at the time I was paying more for VPSs than a managed dedicated server costs at one of the best providers - Rackspace. This is where i ended up and where I still am almost Two years later.

    I was with Verio for about 10 years and I was always happy with them. I jumped into the new VPS a little to early, put a few new and important clients on them, and when I realized I needed to get off the new VPS It made sense to switch everything to dedicated.

    I didn't have cPanel or Plesk at Verio. They home grew their own Control Panel and it was in some ways better than the rest, but lacked features that more mature CPs have.

    The advice of going VPS is good advice. You will get a quality VPS that you can host many Drupal sites on with the kind of support you can depend on at your price point. If you tried to go dedicated on that budget you are asking for trouble - the kind of trouble where there will be nobody to help at the support desk.

    As your hosting business grows to a few VPSs your next logical step will be dedicated. The WHT forums were invaluable to me while I was looking for solutions. You did well to ask here first, as did I. Good luck!

  24. #24
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    I am sure someone else will say this, so let me say it :
    Bad resellers give a bad name to good resellers. Everyone has to start somewhere, and being a reseller is one of the ways.

    Putting that side...,
    To be utterly honest however, yes, I would advise you to avoid resellers.

    Softlayer is high recommended by others on WHT while Burstnet has mixed reviews. The bottom line ? They are reliable as in a sense that they are "big fish" and won't disappear one day.

    Just browsing the dedicated sever forum will net you a list of big names. Choose one of them.
    I choose not to use my signature for advertising.

    It doesn't matter how much you claim how important your data is. If it's not backed up, it's not important.

  25. #25
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    The OP indicated that $100 is the upper limit, so Softlayer is out of the question unfortunately.

    Whichever route you pick: always make backups! Harddisks can always fail, even at the best DC.
    There are 10 kinds of people, those who understand binary and those who don't.

  26. #26
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    Quote Originally Posted by Bergen Hosting View Post
    You won't get a server with cPanel for $50 - at bare minimum cPanel is gonna set you back about $20 for a server, and you won't really find a server for $30. The closest that comes to mind for me is interserver's atom which is $40.
    Good points. I think what we need to impress upon people is that $50 is around what we pay for power/cooling/parts and of course the cPanel license... Then you have things like insurance, wages, and all the other costs associated with running a business of this kind, not to mention the bandwidth, etc... It's just not feasible to expect to find a product like this at a price point that is below that of what one can actually support it, and still remain in business.

    Its a question of either upping the budget, or lowering the requirements and expectations with regards to the services being sought.
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  27. #27
    SmileyBri, your post on VPS puts things in better perspective and much more so since it's from experience. Sounds like going dedi from shared is like trying to walk before you can crawl. From what I've read about VPS thus far (thanks to those who brought it to light), it might just end up being the route I take as it seems to offer a lot in terms of support, for one beginning hosting, for a lot less. I'll keep digging around as I'd like to get this right.

    It really was worth my time registering and posting here. I appreciate everyone who took their time to chip in. More research for me coming up. Guess I won't be buying that plan today...

  28. #28
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    You won't find a dedicated server and a control panel for $50/mo. Look for a VPS; that should fit within your budget.

  29. #29
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    It looks like he already warmed up to the idea of a VPS and also of increasing the budget to $100 max. That's fairly realistic.
    There are 10 kinds of people, those who understand binary and those who don't.

  30. #30
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    Quote Originally Posted by Talence View Post
    It looks like he already warmed up to the idea of a VPS and also of increasing the budget to $100 max. That's fairly realistic.
    Must have read over that piece of information. And yes, that is realistic.

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