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In-House sever or stay on Donhost

How much traffic before ungrading

6:42 pm on Jul 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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We are at present running a website and forum using approx 3g traffic per month.

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.


8:36 pm on July 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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I can't really comment on the server issue; there are just too many variables. I'd ask your existing host what he thinks; he should know the present load of his servers, and how well your sites would run on them. Price is another factor; above a certain (pretty high) point, it's cheaper to buy or colocate a dedicated server...

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...

9:05 pm on July 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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We do around 20,000 unique visitors a day with forums, email, chat etc. We run 1 server running mysql databases under mod_perl and everything has been very fast. We have a great host that looks after things 24/7.

You always have to look to the future in this business but move in stages. Price is always a factor.

9:17 pm on July 29, 2003 (gmt 0)

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If you can afford one, then my suggestion would be a dedicated server. There are so many reliable web hosting companies out there that provide you very cheap options.

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]

9:22 pm on July 29, 2003 (gmt 0)


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Except for unusual circumstances, I don't think an in-house server makes much sense. Do you want to be there to solve problems 24/7 365? Do you have people that want to do that? And if they do, is it cost-effective?

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.

8:24 am on July 30, 2003 (gmt 0)

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>> a systems engineer on Sunday

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.