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Dedicated server questions, need input please

Discussion in 'Server Configuration and Hosting' started by boatswife, Oct 17, 2010.

  1. boatswife

    boatswife Active Member

    I'm not very knowledgeable about all the different types of dedicated servers, so I'm going to go ahead and put my "big girl" panties on and ask. I'm embarrassed, but I'm sure my post will help some other poor soul too! LOL

    I'm with Liquid Web now, managed dedicated. I can't say enough about their customer service, it really is top notch! Yet when I go look at WiredTree.com, because Anthony Parsons just switched to them, their pricing is a little better. I don't know if what I have is "outdated", "good" or "better" than what WiredTree offers. Sometimes my forum seems slow, or I'm "waiting", but I really don't know. If I work on anything else, like installing another test forum, it really seems to drag my forum down. I did try to upgrade my test 3.8 to the current 4 (just to see ;), I do have my XenForo license :)) and it made the forum horribly slow.

    My real problem is that I really don't understand and need some input. I try looking for information to understand the differences between the types of servers, but I'm just not finding what I need to understand.

    I run a Coast Guard spouse support forum and website. Compared to your websites, it appears very primitive, but it works for me. I would like to update it, but I just don't have the time to tackle that now.

    It's a private site, but I am willing to give you access to the forum.
    There are about 75-150 members on the forum at any given time.
    Threads: 142,126, Posts: 2,120,851, Members: 1,576
    My Awstats for September:
    Unique visitors:13059
    Number of visits:96583
    Pages: 2072868

    Right now:
    Server Load Averages 0.55 0.32 0.27 | 71 Users Online (64 members and 7 guests)

    Processor: Pentium 4 3GHZ Hyperthreaded
    Memory: 2GB PC3200
    Hd1: 120GB 7200RPM SATA / 8MB Cache
    Hd2: 120GB 7200RPM SATA / 8MB Cache
    RemoteBackup: 50GB Remote Backup
    OS: Linux - CentOS 4
    ControlPanel: CPanel / Web Host Manager

    I'm really embarrassed, but would really appreciate your input.
    Thanks for pushing me to ask on the forum Peggy.

  2. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Threads: 142,126, Posts: 2,120,851, Members: 1,576

    These stats seem to out of proportion to me!!! With that member to post ratio that would suggest every one of your members has at least 1500 posts.

    Anyways, Yes I personally think your paying way too much per month for that spec of server.

    You can pick up a self managed dynamic server with quad core with 8gb ram and 300gb hdd space for just £75 / $120 a month, with Centos5 and all the other bells and whistles.

    Or something like a dedi server, self managed, 2x2.4ghz, 2gb ram, 2x 250gb hdd in raid 1 for only £60 / $90 a month. Which, to be honest I imagine would handle your site fine.

    Personally I would get an upgrade going! If even just for the OS
  3. twhiting9275

    twhiting9275 Active Member

    With cPanel, you want more memory. Your processor is good, but you might want to update it a bit, say, to a Q6600 or higher
    You won't find much in hard drives less than 250GB any more, and usually you won't find those (best bet is 500GB).

    As far as 'managed hosting', be careful, very, very careful. Most 'managed server' providers don't tell you that they DON'T fully manage your server. They can't do so, because if they did, they'd spend every minute of every day managing servers and never actually build anything. Server management (from datacenters) is one of the biggest ripoffs you will ever see. LW does this, I know, as I've seen their servers from clients. No updates = bad for internet. Your best bet is to go with a dedicated server from any number of (reputable) places then hire a systems admin. There's those of us out there that will work for next to nothing because we love the job ;)

    Right now, you appear to be doing allright server wise, but once you get into updating and upgrading software, there's going to be an issue as you've discovered. Upgrade your processor and memory at minimum, but usually this will involve a server upgrade.
  4. twhiting9275

    twhiting9275 Active Member

    She's not just paying for the 'server', she's paying for the management part of it as well. That added in, she's paying a bit less than what she should be, for an updated server that is.
  5. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Well I tried to find something of similar spec to what she has currently from my host, which, unfortunately a dedi server wise the lowest I could get was
    Opteron 1216 Clock Rate 2 x 2.4 GHz RAM 2 GB RAM Storage 2 x 250 GB which comes out at around $90 a month, are you seriously paying another $80 to be managed?!

    Thats absurd to me.
  6. Blandt

    Blandt Well-Known Member

    Your site will do just fine with a $50-70 dollars plan with any reputable VPS host

    WiredTree is very expensive and they do not offer more than anyone else (technically speaking ... perhaps customer service .. not sure)
    Cpanel takes lots of resources away from the site ... that might explain the laps in performance when you check the stats or ad a site, since you are using cpanel to do that :)

    I can help you setup an unmanaged VPS (means no Cpanel :) ), and migrate your site to xenforo
    Slavik likes this.
  7. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    To add onto this, managing your own server / vps once set up is very very simple. And if set up right will not require any intervention from you at all.
  8. Blandt

    Blandt Well-Known Member

    And yes ... sorry to say this but your server is outdated .... I had a similar spec server 3 years ago for $70/month. it was unmanaged though but $110 difference doesn't explain the "managed" part
    Slavik likes this.
  9. boatswife

    boatswife Active Member

    Since my forum is a support forum, I do manage it differently. I routinely prune inactive members, but the board is very busy. I have a post count of over 30,000 and my 10th top poster has 19,915. It's very crazy! LOL

    Thank you for you input. It really needs to be managed and if I upgrade, then the price goes up. That's why I was starting to look at other hosts and comparing. That's when I realize I have the blinders on.
  10. Blandt

    Blandt Well-Known Member

    that's true ... but she still can ask for help when she needs it either here or Google :D
  11. Blandt

    Blandt Well-Known Member

    You can prune, delete run your forum the way you use too.
  12. twhiting9275

    twhiting9275 Active Member

    That is incredibly CHEAP for server management.

    Yeah, tell that to the client who just fubared their server because they executed the wrong command at the wrong directory.
    Tell that to the client who has been infected with rootkits and is now sending out spam.
    Managing your own server/VPS is NOT 'very very simple'. If you don't know what you're doing, please don't comment on it. Managing your server involves much more than setting it up right and forgetting it exists.

    Wrong again.
    Managing a server isn't about setting it up and not actually dealing with it ever again. Managing a server is about looking at everything constantly, making sure it's up to date and running properly, making adjustments as needed, letting your server talk to you, and actually understanding what your server is saying. Believe it or not, they do talk , you just have to know how to understand it.

    A true server management professional will spend a minimum of 1-2 hours a week in the servers they manage, and that's on a very, very slow week.
  13. boatswife

    boatswife Active Member

    See......that's what has always bothered me. I just never know because I don't understand.

    I know with an upgrade, the price will go up. Maybe I'll just show you all what I'm looking at and you all can help me determine if it would be a good move. Then really look into hiring a systems admin.
  14. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    I wont skirt around the issue, your current host is ripping you off.

    You say it needs to be managed, why? If you are unsure of what to do, it is VERY little. Get someone off here, to set it up for you and your set to go, if you went with my hosts I would be more than happy to do it (as I know how they configure things out the box) If you have any problems, just drop a message on here or a google search if a server restart doesn't fix it.

    Owning your own server doesn't have to be scary :)
  15. boatswife

    boatswife Active Member

    I've been with them since 02/07 and it's the same server.

    I meant "that I manage it differently" by that I do prune members and move threads. I know a lot of forum admins would cut their arms off instead of deleting members. LOL
  16. Blandt

    Blandt Well-Known Member

    I disagree.
    The only time she needs to ssh her server is when updating or adding a module.
    on the contrary setting up the IP Table and the firewall is done via the command line. I'm not aware if Cpanel can do that.

    I'm not sure of Cpanel can give you the "understanding" about your server !
    Plus CPanel comes with the price of having to put up with Apache ... waisting a loooot of resources
    Slavik likes this.
  17. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    I entirely disagree. My sites have been running off the same server for 8 years. In that time the only things I have done is every now and then (actually the time between them is so far apart I cant even tell you) is to update php and mysql. I last logged in via SSH / Plesk.... 2 months ago.. maybe? Yet it still runs lightening fast. Automated backups of the entire server to a secure repository, everything else goes on its own.

    I don't know what people do to require this "minimum 1-2 hours a week" but in all honesty, if it ain't broke, don't fix it.
    Blandt likes this.
  18. Blandt

    Blandt Well-Known Member

    You still have access to your control panel to prune and delete as you like.
    having an unmanaged server means that you will not have CPanel installed that's all. but running your forum will be the same as you do now
  19. Blandt

    Blandt Well-Known Member

    I recommend linode.com
    a reputable VPS provider among Geeks :D ditching Cpanel and Apache will dramatically reduce your needs for lots of ram.
    If I were you this is the setup I will have :
    1 VPS of 512 MB for mail and MySQL
    1 VPS 1 GB for your web server (nginx)

    if you want to be generous and plan for growth in the short term get the 2GB for the web server.

    I will set everything up ... I'll take donations :D
  20. random

    random Active Member

    Many people here are discussing about things that you probably aren't going to understand because you aren't a server specialist.

    To make it clear (and easy to read), you should:
    1. Move to a managed VPS solution (link in Wikipedia) with any reputable provider: Knownhost, Wiredtree, Servint or others.
    2. Choose a VPS plan with 1GB RAM.
    3. Ask the support to perform a tuning of your Apache (web server software) and MySQL (database software) config files.
    Currently you have a very old server hosted on an expensive provider (very over priced). Also, since your forum is a slow traffic one you really don't need a dedicated server, that's why I highly suggest you to move to a VPS: you'll get a very powerful server for probably half of what you're paying now for your out-dated dedi.

    Hope that helps.

    EDIT: what Blandt is suggesting you is something that you shouldn't care about at this time. Probably when your site gets bigger yes, but right now just don't follow his recommendations. I'm not saying that he's wrong but what he's suggesting you isn't for you.

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