Posts Tagged dedicated servers

My Search for the Best Deal on a Dedicated Server

Searching for a dedicated server can be stressful, especially when you have a lot of sites that are running slow as a result of their current host. Recently, I switched about 600 sites over to a dedicated server I borrowed from my friend Lynn. It is a pretty decent server, with two dual core Xeons running at 3 GHz. It also has 8 GB of RAM. However, it's just not enough. After switching DNS over to this new server, its load went to 20 very quickly. For those who don't know, a load of 20 means that there are 20 processes waiting in line to be processed. I don't like my loads to go above 2 or 3. I can deal with them spiking to as high as 4, but with a multicore/multiprocessor I don't want it to get above the number of cores/processors you have available.

Suffice to say that the web sites were loading very slowly. So, I switched the NS back to the VPS server I've been running them on. I've seen its load spike to 10 quite often but it normally stays well below 4. So the VPS is holding up pretty well considering. This VPS has 4 cores assigned to it, each at 1.6 GHz. It also only has 3GB of RAM. So, my question is, "Is a dedicated server really the best option?".

There's more factors in this as well. For instance, my sites are all on a WHM/cPanel install, which means I have to pay a monthly license fee for that as well. On a VPS this license is about half the cost as it is on a dedicated server. I like saving money.

I currently have my hosting through a small hosting provided in Knoxville, TN called Knoxcolo/Smith & Hammaker. I have a colo server (not the one I used for my 600 sites, it's a single site), and I have the VPS. For the colo they charge $35 for the 1U of rack space, and it's an unmetered drop. The VPS is $40 per 1GB of RAM. That's their rate, they don't charge for extra HDD space or even CPU cores. They are also a good bunch of people to work with. I have full access to the colo facility through a high security system. I rarely use it since my colo has an iLo connection for remote console even when the servers main drop is offline.

I thought that a dedicated server would be a better choice for my 600 sites, but I've found that the VPS is really the better choice in the long run. The only thing I don't like about the VPS is that I don't have the ability to remotely reboot the virtual machine. I'd really like this ability.

So I've found that perhaps a dedicated server isn't what I really want. Some VPS providers give you a lot more bang for your buck. You can spend hundreds of dollars per month on a very powerful dedicated server, but you have two problems. You don't want to spend a lot of money for hardware that you may not use fully. Of course, secondly, you don't want to spend a lot of money on a server that can't fully handle the load if you have a lot of sites. With a VPS, you have more power to change the hardware specs to meet the demand of your site load. You pay for whatever you need. This is really the best option for anyone who wants to host any number of sites. If you don't need much power, because you only have a few sites, you can save money.

However, you should look for the best deal on a VPS. Smaller companies actually have the better deal when it comes to a VPS, because they typically don't have as much total load on their rack of CPUs. If you get a VPS from a larger provider, they may be pushing their rack to its limits already, and you'll get terrible physical processor speeds, even if you are paying for four cores.

Shop around and look into VPS servers. They are great alternatives to dedicated or colo servers if you look in the right place.

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Tips for Finding Cheap Website Hosting

Starting a website isn't hard. It's much easier than one may imagine. There are many things to know before starting, however. By asking key questions like how the site will be used, who will be accessing it, and what features it will need, will make the task much easier.

Websites start out as an idea. There are three main types of website. Personal websites normally are used to display family photos, communicate with relatives, or display a personal interest. These websites have been very useful for many to get more familiar with building websites. They are the modern scrapbook. However, they are becoming less common these days due to another form of website. The community (Web2.0) sites have been taking the place of many personal sites. These online communities try to replicate real-world socialization. The final type of website is the business website. These are used as store fronts or to display related information about a company. They can also be used as portals for business employees. Knowing which of these types of one wishes to create is the first step in finding appropriate hosting.

For personal sites, a small hosting package is normally good enough. Minimal money will be spent on this type of site. If one plans to set up a community-based website or a business website, other more expensive hosting options will be needed. No matter which type of site is being built, the first thing that will be needed is a domain name.

The very best place to grab a domain name is GoDaddy. For around the price of lunch, a domain name can be purchased for a year. So, it's cheap to buy a piece of the web. The hard part is finding the domain name. The big three top level domains are .COM, .NET, and .ORG. Finding a domain name within these three TLDs is the best, but very difficult. There are many people called "squatters" who buy up domain names just to resale later. Try to think of something clever and catchy that is related to what your site is going to be about. Limit the length of the name as much as possible. It'll be essential that visitor be able to remember the name for later. Godaddy has a great tool for checking the availability of a domain name and suggesting ideas for other names related to your search.

Once the domain name is found and purchased, it's necessary to have a hosting service. Godaddy also offers hosting, however hosting is a very competitive market and it's easy to find unlimited shared hosting for very little. For instance, here are some examples of very cheap unlimited website hosting on eBay. If one needs good support it would probably be better to go with a company like HostGator. While the eBay hosting packages will cost around $10 per year or (in some cases) for life, HostGator will cost around $10 per month. It can not be stressed enough, however, that HostGator is a reputable company that will deliver the best product. "You get what you pay for" is very correct in this case. The HostGator plan also allows one to host as many sites as they want all for the same month price. Omnis Network also offers great deals on domain names and hosting plans.

This hosting is great for any of the three types of websites, but if the site has potential to receive a lot of traffic, it would be best to go with either dedicated servers, colocation servers, or VPS.

Dedicated servers and colocation servers are the most powerful of the lot. These are real servers that the user has full control over. They are, of course, more expensive. Dedicated servers are basically servers one can rent that are in a data center on a dedicated internet connection. Co-locations, "Colo" for short, are dedicated servers that are owned by the customer and placed in a data center like those used by the dedicated servers.

VPS is just alphabet soup meaning Virtual Private Server. It's a dedicated server in a virtual environment. VPS is usually cheaper than true dedicated servers, but offer many of the same features. The customer is the owner of the server. They have full admin rights and can do whatever they want with it.

VPS, dedicated, and colocation servers are typically harder to maintain. They require more technical know-how than shared hosting or managed hosting. The customer is the administrator on the server and with the complete control comes complete responsibility. Unlike shared hosts however, dedicated servers and colo servers are completely dedicated to a single customer. There is always potential, while using a shared host, that the server will become slow due to heavy load from all the many sites it is hosting. Proper load balancing usually takes care of this but it could still happen.

So in conclusion, if someone wanted a small site for personal or small business use, the cost could be as little as $20 bucks for the domain name and hosting for a year, using Godaddy and eBay. For best results, however, it's recommended to buy hosting from a reputable company like HostGator or Omnis. One hosting account will allow for as many websites as one wishes.

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