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Within 12 months we will be running 10 sites, from a portal. At present we use Donhost for hosting and are fairly happy. But with this increased traffic, should I go with a in-house sever? If so, any recommendations. On a similar note is it advisable to have a email sever. I'm concerned that I make unwise choices and make short term cuts that will cost in efficency and cash.
Perhaps the best for me, if I'm not asking too much, would be a reasonable spec for us with an eventual 10 site portal. But I'd be thankful for any help on any part of the above. I feel some guilt on the forum because I'm on a real steep learning curve, so I can't really answer any threads. So thank you for the info and help.
As far as an email server, well... You're going to have a machine acting as a mail server, in almost every case. It most likely will be the same machine that hosts your website(s); In a nutshell, it depends. :) It's far easier to start out with a separate mail server, if you think you're *ever* going to need one in the forseeable future. Making the transistion from one server to another is not a fun task. I'd say look at how many emails you and your sites are likely to send on a daily basis. If it's more than a few hundred, IMO it's time to start considering a separate mail server; a shared outsourced one or dedicated low-end one is likely fine. If there's going to be a large quanitity of incoming email, you might want to look at that, too. HTTP timeouts are one thing; SMTP timeouts are quite another...
You always have to look to the future in this business but move in stages. Price is always a factor.
But only if you have many sites to locate on this server, otherwise virtual hosting seems just fine.
I wouldn't particularly recommend in-house server due to some many technical shortcomings.
I forgot to mention: I generally look at my hosting charge as less than 10% of the monthly income.
[edited by: Imaster at 9:43 pm (utc) on July 29, 2003]
Virtual hosting and dedicated servers are cheap compared to a systems engineer on Sunday time that you called in to the office to get your server back online. I don't know Donhost, but you might shop around a bit for a quality solution at a reasonable price.
Plus there's other considerations. I don't know anything about your hosting company, but the likelihood is that they are in a respectable data center which probably gives you:
- better physical security. Most data centers are built like a fort and have some sort of palm reader or retina scanner, and full-time security guards, escorted visits, etc.
- redundant connectivity. You'll have, what? A single T1 from only one provider? Most data centers are connected with multiple carriers so if there's a problem with any one carrier they still have others to fall back on. In your case you'd be down.
- higher quality connectivity. Larger data centers get nice tier-one connectivity because of the large quantity of bandwidth they buy. You'll probably be several hops away from the backbone.
- backup power. Most data centers have backup battery power and contracts with propane/diesel companies that guarantee emergency delivery of fuel to keep the generators running.
You can get a very decent dedicated server for $300 - $900 depending on the level of support and hardware configuration. A quality T1 will cost (correct me if I'm wrong) $900 - $1200 when you include the local loop charges. Add the cost of a tech (plus hardware, plus possibly software licenses) and you're spending much more for much less IMHO.