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100% Ground Up CentminMod Server Setup & Optimization Saving You Money On Hosting

Brent W

Well-known member
#1
Hello everyone,

For over 3 years now I have been working with https://www.centminmod.com/ to setup all of our servers that we have used on https://www.whippmedia.com/

Through that time I have found the best things that works for us when it comes to XenForo through constant testing. What has resulted is a completely stable, modern web server for XenForo that is powered by the latest versions of Nginx, PHP, MariaDB and Memcached.

On top of being completely stable and modern, in almost every instance of me working with a client to provide them this service, I have either saved them money monthly from their current setup or meet their current monthly budget while offering them better hardware and room for growth in the future.

The following is what I can offer you for your entire site. The service goes beyond just setting up your server and walking away!

Nginx, MariaDB & PHP Installation Service
The entire experience is completely personal from start to finish. Your server, when completed, will consist of the following software, services and configuration:
  • CloudFlare
  • Centos 7.3
  • Nginx - Latest Mainline Version
    • SSL Setup via CloudFlare
  • PHP - Latest 7.1 Version with Zend OpCache
  • MariaDB - Latest 10.1. Version
  • Memcached
  • CSF Firewall
  • Postfix configuration with SMTP service of your choice
  • phpMyAdmin - Secured & Password Protected
  • Secure FTP accounts for each of your forums
  • Optimizations & Security Enhancements
    • Optimized CloudFlare service
    • Optimized Nginx configuration files
    • Optimized PHP and ZendOpcache configuration files
    • Optimized MySQL my.cnf file based on 24 hours worth of MySQL data collection
    • Optimized Memcached configuration file
    • Optimized CSF Firewall based on only the needed ports and services used
    • Email alerts when someone logs in to your servers root account
Each setup comes with 3 months of monitoring for updates to all software as well as an initial walkthrough of best practices for securing your server.

The below image is an example of us buying a site and moving it from their VPS Apache CPanel server to our LEMP server described above.

Screenshot 2017-05-27 08.23.28.png

Furthermore, your server is updated for security and bug fixes when Whipp Media's servers are updated. For example, today April 25, 2017 Nginx Mainline 1.13.0 was released and is now live across all of our servers and client servers.

Web Server & Host Consulting
Let me pick the perfect server setup and host for your web site. Preferred hosting companies:
  • OVH - Cutting edge servers at incredible prices. Datacenter is located in Montreal with other locations in Europe.
  • Linode - Great prices on VPS servers with datacenters across the world
  • Digital Ocean - Another great priced VPS host with datacenters across the world
The above are services I have or do use. Currently, we host all of our XenForo forums on OVH Enterprise Dedicated servers. They have datacenters in North America and Europe. Linode and Digital Ocean are well priced VPS options with Datacenters all of the world. I will be happy to consult with you on your best location based on your traffic location and server needs.

Email Hosting
I recommend either Zoho Mail (Free) or Google Business Apps ($5 a month a user) for email. We use Zoho Mail and find it perfect for our needs.

Elasticsearch
If Elasticsearch is required we will install and optimize Elasticsearch on your server.

CloudFlare XenForo Optimization
I recommend the Pro level of CloudFlare though if you insist the free version will work. Usually I can provide you a new server + $20 CloudFlare for less than you are paying right now for your VPS or Dedicated server. If you do decide to go with the Pro Version of CloudFlare, I will optimize each setting for XenForo. This means enabling the WAF, image optimizations and page rule settings. We have determined what WAF and OWASP rules do not work with XenForo and have disabled those. The WAF and OWASP rules are fantastic at stopping malicious bots that soak up bandwidth and steal your content.

For larger sites with a bigger budget, I can set you up on a CloudFlare Business plan and take advantage of their RailGun technology. Our site, https://www.christianforums.com/ uses RailGun to drop page load times across the world.

SSL Via CloudFlare
Let me set you up with SSL on your site. CloudFlare makes SSL safe and easy and it is free to you even on the CloudFlare free service.

Complete Ground Up XenForo Performance & SEO Setting Audit
As part of this service I will also provide you with a grounds up audit of your XenForo settings for both Performance and SEO. No changes will be made without your approval. This includes auditing your add-ons for potential issues and basic on page SEO.


Whipp Media Sites Using My Setup
Client Sites

Important Notes
Also, please understand, that in order for me to offer you the reliability that I expect to offer my clients I insist that the following services be used: CloudFlare, Amazon S3, Amazon SES. This ensures that you receive fast support and a solid reliable setup. These are the services we use for all of our communities at Whipp Media. These are the services that I support. This is a very specific and optimized service that may not be for everyone. I understand that. My support also only extends to XenForo. While you may host other sites on this server they must have the same compatibility requirements as the latest version of XenForo.
 
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dvsDave

Well-known member
#2
I started working with Brett a while ago and he worked with me to migrate from legacy dedicated hardware (when WiredTree got bought out by Liquidweb) to a flexible Linode setup. He saved me literally thousands a year on hosting costs. He is currently managing my servers and keeping them secure and up to date. (seriously, everytime I login and review what's been happening on the console, I've found that he's been in and been updating things to keep us patched.

When we initiated the migration from wiredtree to Linode, my long-time users commented that it was the most painless migration ControlBooth has ever had in our 13 year history! My users and myself have been super happy with the site since we moved!
 

Brent W

Well-known member
#4
I can also vouch for the speed of the setups being absolutely top notch, one of the largest migrations I ever did was lightening fast with the servers set up by Brent.
Great to hear. That was also 2 years ago! Crazy how time goes by so fast.
 
#5
Are this class of services available for private servers that we house ourselves? We are running a small farm of WHM/cPanel at our HQ in Columbia PA with Comcast isp. Columbia is a small town and the Comcast service is not super reliable. We currently are using Sucuri on all our systems except our Message Board. I have been thinking that we need to add CDN for performance, but perhaps we need more than that to ensure availability.
 

Brent W

Well-known member
#6
Hi @Tom McIntyre I will start a conversation with you in an hour or two when I get home to get a bit more information and we can see if this is something that your company can benefit from.
 

Claudio

Well-known member
#7
Are this class of services available for private servers that we house ourselves? We are running a small farm of WHM/cPanel at our HQ in Columbia PA with Comcast isp. Columbia is a small town and the Comcast service is not super reliable. We currently are using Sucuri on all our systems except our Message Board. I have been thinking that we need to add CDN for performance, but perhaps we need more than that to ensure availability.
Yes Tom, it's absolutely possible. Centminmod is an autoinstaller that installs Nginx, MariaDB, PHP-FPM & CSF Firewall.

Edit: sorry, just noticed this post was in the Third-Party Services & Offers section.
 

Brent W

Well-known member
#8
Are this class of services available for private servers that we house ourselves? We are running a small farm of WHM/cPanel at our HQ in Columbia PA with Comcast isp. Columbia is a small town and the Comcast service is not super reliable. We currently are using Sucuri on all our systems except our Message Board. I have been thinking that we need to add CDN for performance, but perhaps we need more than that to ensure availability.
Hi @Tom McIntyre you should have a new conversation message :)

Yes Tom, it's absolutely possible. Centminmod is an autoinstaller that installs Nginx, MariaDB, PHP-FPM & CSF Firewall.

Edit: sorry, just noticed this post was in the Third-Party Services & Offers section.
No worries.
 

Dakis

Well-known member
#9
Brent moved 3 of my forums to one of the OVH servers we purchased, and it has been absolutely fantastic. The move was super fast, and we had no issues whatsoever. At the same time all forums moved to https and I am very happy.

I checked on my main forum's google analytics to see the pages' speeds now compared to before the migration. The results speak for themselves:

2017-05-12.png
 

Brent W

Well-known member
#10
Brent moved 3 of my forums to one of the OVH servers we purchased, and it has been absolutely fantastic. The move was super fast, and we had no issues whatsoever. At the same time all forums moved to https and I am very happy.

I checked on my main forum's google analytics to see the pages' speeds now compared to before the migration. The results speak for themselves:

View attachment 152336
Thanks for the review and was awesome being able to work with you and your sites. I was very interested to see how your site performance improved considering this is the first time I have worked with any international sites.

His server is located at OVH in France and we are only using the CloudFlare free plan on his sites. The improvement I can see alone from another continent is pretty mind blowing. His previous server was a WHM Cpanel VPS at Nimbus. He now has a fully dedicated server with over twice the ram and processing power for less money per month.
 
#14
Hi Brent,

I have a fairly busy site with 300,000 members (not as busy as we used to be), I also have been using centminmod for a very long time.

We already have 1 enterprise server with OVH, 32 CPUS, etc.

The problem I have is my site is not my main job, it is a hobby site, I run a small business and I just do not have the time for it all.

I would be interested in a quote and ongoing support, but I am just in the middle of moving from vbulletin to Xenforo and will hopefully have the migration done by the weekend.

Cheers Brent!

Mick
 
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Brent W

Well-known member
#15
Hi @MickkD

I am traveling today and have one client I am working with over the next few days. I will get you a quote by Monday of next week, if that is ok?

Can you message me your URL of your site, your top 3 traffic sources by country and your current server configuration and monthly fee for it?
 
#17
Small Typo: " If you do decide to go with the Pro Version of XenForo, I will optimize each setting for XenForo.".

Also, how much would you charge for the WAF, OWASP & Page rule settings? I'm liking your anti-spam addon so far.
 
#18
What a great service, Brent has saved us Thousands - not hundred's!, Thousands!!!

He also really went out of the way with support helping us with other issues we faced... we have a vBulletin platform that we are converting to Xenforo (next week), but we cannot move from vBulletin until another members helps us with our REWRITES, Brent was a complete professional about this and moved my vbulletin installation first whilst keeping in mind our Xenforo needs.

Brent optimised the new server so well that all page load times have been halved.

vBulletin Page Load Times
Code:
Old Forum Home:
Page generated in 0.48419 seconds with 27 queries. Memory Usage: 28.01 MB
New Forum Home:
Page generated in 0.21526 seconds with 27 queries. Memory Usage: 19.77 MB

Old Forum Display:
Page generated in 0.26587 seconds with 31 queries. Memory Usage: 24.51 MB
New Forum Display:
Page generated in 0.14351 seconds with 29 queries. Memory Usage: 21.11 MB

Old Show Thread:
Page generated in 0.26562 seconds with 41 queries. Memory Usage: 24.21 MB
New Show Thread:
Page generated in 0.14046 seconds with 44 queries. Memory Usage: 23.94 MB
I love the dragonbyte VBoptimse (page generated in) feature, and my forum home page I have always checked daily, and it has always been around 0.4(something).

I have always done my own server admin, but it just shows you when you get in a professional, you get what you pay for...

Personally I cannot recommend his service highly enough, very professional, Excellent communication, and will go out his way to help.

Thank you Brent.
 

Brent W

Well-known member
#19
What a great service, Brent has saved us Thousands - not hundred's!, Thousands!!!

He also really went out of the way with support helping us with other issues we faced... we have a vBulletin platform that we are converting to Xenforo (next week), but we cannot move from vBulletin until another members helps us with our REWRITES, Brent was a complete professional about this and moved my vbulletin installation first whilst keeping in mind our Xenforo needs.

Brent optimised the new server so well that all page load times have been halved.

vBulletin Page Load Times
Code:
Old Forum Home:
Page generated in 0.48419 seconds with 27 queries. Memory Usage: 28.01 MB
New Forum Home:
Page generated in 0.21526 seconds with 27 queries. Memory Usage: 19.77 MB

Old Forum Display:
Page generated in 0.26587 seconds with 31 queries. Memory Usage: 24.51 MB
New Forum Display:
Page generated in 0.14351 seconds with 29 queries. Memory Usage: 21.11 MB

Old Show Thread:
Page generated in 0.26562 seconds with 41 queries. Memory Usage: 24.21 MB
New Show Thread:
Page generated in 0.14046 seconds with 44 queries. Memory Usage: 23.94 MB
I love the dragonbyte VBoptimse (page generated in) feature, and my forum home page I have always checked daily, and it has always been around 0.4(something).

I have always done my own server admin, but it just shows you when you get in a professional, you get what you pay for...

Personally I cannot recommend his service highly enough, very professional, Excellent communication, and will go out his way to help.

Thank you Brent.
Thanks for the review. Also note that those improvements are with PHP 5.6.30 :) Once you are on XenForo we can bump you up to 7.1.6 for even better improvements.
 
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NixFifty

Well-known member
#20
Like others, I gave Brent’s services a try to see if we could reduce our monthly server costs for a friend’s site. Not only did we manage to significantly reduce our monthly bills, our infrastructure has greatly improved with much more reliable backup, cdn and email systems in place.

Great communication and even better results. Would highly recommend Brent. Thanks! :)