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I'm looking for a rough idea of what I would need if I hosted it myself. I'm looking for a very rough estimate as to the amount of hardware/money it would take if the site ever really took off.
Also do you think it would be better idea to look into a hosting company for this.
Just my 2 cents.
joined:Dec 10, 2005
I assume you already know you need a broadband connection (DSL or cable).
Hang on, let me back up a minute. Did you mean hosting this out of your home/office or having a dedicated server with a co-location/hosting company?
You'll need the server itself (with all the required software- server-enabled operating system, web server, other application server (if needed), database server (if needed), e-mail server (if needed), usual security s/w- firewall/anti-virus/etc.). You'll definitely want an UPS. Getting a hardware firewall is probably a good idea as well. And of course you'll have some sort of backup device for making your daily backups!
If/when it takes off, you'll want to look into multiple servers (for splitting applications between servers and load balancing), a load balancer, definitely a h/w firewall if you haven't done so already. You'll also want to look into redundant Internet connections.
For pricing, you can spend $1,500 and up (way up) for each server, depending on the H/W & S/W configurations.
Hosting it in your home/office is almost certainly a bad idea.
Start with a shared or virtual server. They are cheap, good, and minimize financial risk.
Depending on what you are doing, it can be useful to have a "test server" at your home/office, but that is quite a different issue. It's a sandbox you can play with things in without screwing-up your live website.
But hosting off of ISP in-home bandwidth? Naw. First of all, many high-speed Internet plans have asymetrical bandwidth. High bandwidth down, low bandwidth up. You need high bandwidth up. Secondly, most prohibit this kind of use, and the cost of service that DOES allow it is typically much more costly than a hosting plan - and in many cases even more than the monthly cost of a dedicated server in a data center.
Finally, a good hosting center has much better connectivity than your ISP provides. Most have multiple backbone connections. Many are hosted in or adjacent or "data hotels" where they connect to multiple backbones easily and, more importantly - easily connect to additional ones as needs change.
Just because you can get hosting for free some places, that doesn't mean it doesn't take a lot of resources and highly trained people to make it work. Economies of scale make it work, plus the hosting companies often make their money indirecty or through "gothcas." They frequently go out of business.
The billion dollar company I was working for briefly considered becoming an ISP. Briefly.