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End of Servint contract, considering move to Linode

Discussion in 'Server Configuration and Hosting' started by CivilWarTalk, Aug 5, 2012.

  1. CivilWarTalk

    CivilWarTalk Active Member

    I'm coming to the end of my current Servint contract. I've been using them for two years now, and their service has been great, but money is tight and I've never been completely thrilled with my server performance. I'm currently on the Essential VPS plan, it was great for my vB4 install, but it's somehow not optimized for xF after conversion last December, not to my satisfaction anyway...

    I'm looking at Linode's 768 plan, but I'm leery of jumping into an un-managed solution. The savings would be great though, and maybe I can get some pointers on how to better optimize my setup for xenforo.

    I do have some college Linux/Unix experience from 18 years ago, but I'm very rusty, and watching some of the tutorials on youtube make me wonder if I can do this on my own.

    Are there any books or guides that I can use to brush up my skills so I'm ready to use Linode? Also, I'm not sure what server configuration I should consider to make my forum perform to it's best...
  2. Jesepi

    Jesepi Well-Known Member

    I went from servint to linode as well. The cost savings was just way too high, and after looking at my ticket submissions I realized I was doing everything myself anyway and not really getting anything out of the "managed" service they offer.

    The linode library has a good deal of information in it, as well as the forums and IRC channel.

    I also moved a 500,000 post community running to a 512mb linode, with around 30-40 registered members accessing it at the same time with pretty amazing performance. The client was very happy since his other server was costing him well over 100 a month.

    Feel free to send me a PM if you want to converse about this a bit more.
  3. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    If money is the issue, then it doesn't really matter about optimization, you'll need to move server companies.

    APC for caching is essential with largish forums 250k + posts, though a huge crush to image caching is installing http://xenforo.com/community/resources/tinhte-image-attachment-optimization-cdn-support.909/. Install and forget, no need to configure anything. That will stop those image intensive threads draining resources from users in other threads.
    CivilWarTalk likes this.
  4. CivilWarTalk

    CivilWarTalk Active Member

    That's very reassuring! I'm still trying to wrap my head around some of these terms, but are you using a LAMP configuration? If I understand properly, this is the type of install I need to pick...
    Money is always an issue around here, and if I can get more bang for my buck, and at the same time learn how to better run my own web site, that sounds like a win-win!

    I used to use xcache with vB, switched the the APC/Memcache config as suggested by the Help Guide. I actually think my performance issues are more in the SQL config, something I only recently discovered might be an issue.

    Thanks for the suggested add-on, I never took note of that one before! I'll be looking at it tonight!
  5. robdog

    robdog Well-Known Member

    I use linode for all my sites and absolutely love them. I would 100% recommend those guys if you know how to admin a linux box. (btw they have great guides to help with setup)
  6. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    linode is highly costly and there are other dependable and affordable alternatives.
  7. CivilWarTalk

    CivilWarTalk Active Member

    As compared to what? I want VPS hosting, and from what I've seen, Linode is one of the cheapest and best respected Unmanaged VPS providers. Please provide some examples of cheaper alternatives that provide similar server specifications. Thanks!
  8. robdog

    robdog Well-Known Member

    Please state some examples. I am always open to new hosting ideas.
  9. Adam Howard

    Adam Howard Well-Known Member

    Let's talk generics shall we....

    OK, disk space and bandwidth are not something you normally have to worry about. Because honestly, they're typically affordable and offered everywhere. Every host under the sun offers them in bulk.

    CPU usage is also typically standard between 1 core through 4 cores, depending on where you go.

    This leaves 3 final deciding factors when shopping for host, which are not generic.

    1) Dependability and support (do they actually deliver on their claim and do they support you)
    2) Ram
    3) Price

    Now there are millions of web host out there. But as you know, only about 1/2 (we could argue less at 25%) of them actually do provide #1. But that still leaves thousands of other web host remaining to shop from. Which leaves the last two.... Ram and price.

    $79.95 - 2GB of Ram - linode.com

    For this price, I could get a low end or mid range dedicated server.... Depending on where I go.

    Next post will include list of host I use and have used in the past... Need to find list.
  10. Luke F

    Luke F Well-Known Member

    Can't beat buyvm for value :p

    (Not a serious recommendation - IO is kinda poor but it's still extremely good value for a backup MX/DNS server and US VPN)
  11. CivilWarTalk

    CivilWarTalk Active Member

    Great, I'm looking forward to it, thanks for taking the time to explain.
  12. wrx1

    wrx1 Active Member

    Another +1 for Linode. 660k posts, 30-50 logged in members and a total of 80-150 online and with 2 512 servers, I handle it with easy. APC installed on the web side, memcached install on the database side. I am usually in the 3-5% cpu range. I should easily be able to more than double my current users without any issues. Check out my site in my sig and please feel free to ask any questions.

  13. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    IMHO, anyone bordering around that $100 mark, then the best I've found to date is WiredTree's Hybrid offer for $99. A full Xeon core, 3Gb RAM, 120Gb RAID10, 5Tb transfer.

    I've found some offer good lower end services, then get too pricy in the middle / upper end, or vice versa. Very hard to find one host that adequately caters to both low, middle and high end requirements.

    Like DI mentioned, I/O is everything from your host. They can offer you the world in specs, but if their storage servers are seriously congested and / or poorer specs, then you still get a crap response.

    I think Linode offer some good lower end deals, though their mid and high end VPS are poor for specifications and price, compared to what you can get fully managed, at the same or lower price, and better specs.

    Hosting region is also everything, based on how you want your server to respond to the traffic.
  14. Ghan_04

    Ghan_04 Active Member

    I agree that Linode is too expensive for anything around 2 GB and up. They scale up linearly, which quickly gets way too expensive. However, for 512 - 1 GB Linodes, they are pretty damn competitive.
    I run my Xenforo site which has over 1000000 posts and around 300,000 hits per day on a 512 Linode, and I'm going to be moving some other sites there soon as well. A properly optimized Linode can do a lot for you.
  15. Jesepi

    Jesepi Well-Known Member

    LAMP stands for Linux Apache MySQL PHP

    I actually use nginx as my webserver, php-fpm processing php requests, and percona is my mysql replacement at the moment, though my site is probably too small to get anything out of it.

    I'm running the site on Debian.
  16. CivilWarTalk

    CivilWarTalk Active Member

    I'm still not sure what I want to do, I'd really like the best performance for my forum. From day to day I'm wondering if I should look for a managed solution, or stick with my plans for an unmanaged VPS. I don't want to go over $50 per months for the server costs (of course less would be awesome!), and under my current config, 768MB isn't cutting it for my needs.

    Maybe I'm not evaluating my choices correctly. I want a lean mean optimized fast server. I want my users to be amazed at how fast the site loads.

    I was reading about Shamil's Xenforo Optimized service, and although a bit pricey, his service sounds pretty good, assuming his service is as reliable as one of the big providers...

    I'm still hoping Adam Howard will post his list of cheap hosting with lots of RAM!

    My current stats are as follows:
    xF 1.1.1
    Add-Ons: XenPorta, XenAttendo, MailChimp, Simple Sitemap, Azucloud, Keyword Replace by Waindigo
    25,000 Threads
    446,000 Posts
    6,200 Members
    Normal User Peaks: 30 Registered Users/140 Guests
    Monthly Bandwidth Usage: 56.8 Gb
    Avg Posts per day: 650
    Avg Threads per day: 45
    Avg Registered Users Active per day: 195
    Monthly Visits: 10,700
    Monthly Pageviews: 44,700
    This setup also includes a copy of wordpress with very light traffic that I use to solicit for advertisers.
  17. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    Xenporta is a load, Xenattendo is another load, that will add to your server. To test, disable your addons and assess your load over a 24hr period. A good many addons will add load, thus you sacrifice cost / server resources for add ons.

    I have about 30 add ons on my site, and I'm using 2.5Gb of RAM with 400k of posts and about 1.5 cores average to run it.... all because of add ons.

    Also, if you ad one advertisement image into your thread pages, that alone can increase your load significantly. This is where CSS comes into its own and creating ads or such via CSS is the better method, so an image or ad is either completely CSS or loaded via CSS, not loaded with a query with every page load.

    I've done these tests with a 400k post forum, and one 20k ad can ad 30% CPU usage, thus load... especially if your forum, like most forums, have more guests reading than members reading.

    You could get any number of server guys around here to go through your server and optimize it for XF. If managed, you could ask your host to look at it for you and they will do the same, ie. look at what is loading it, then look to minimising the top usage if possible.

    Deebs & Slavik should be able to do such things for you for a small fee if you ask them.
  18. wrx1

    wrx1 Active Member

    These stats are fairly close to what we run. Few more user users, few more posts, but all in all, pretty damn close. I would check out my site (link in sig). We are running 2 512 servers and are barely even throwing a load on them. I just renewed for another year and it was $430 for the year after the discount. I think I could easily double or traffic on our current setup without issue.

    As for managed, I am running on 2 years of uptime on my servers, never had any issues. In the 4 years that I have been on linode, I was only down for a few hours when they were getting a DDos attack. Other than that, they have been rock solid. If you have any questions, let me know and I can help out as best as I can.

  19. Anthony Parsons

    Anthony Parsons Well-Known Member

    I didn't really notice how low your traffic was... so I tend to agree that a basic Linode VPS would suit your needs perfectly, as the load would be negligible at best with that little of traffic per month. As wrx1 outlined, even a dual pair using one for MySQL and one for files.

    I have just had to shift onto a dedicated from hybrid, with 400k posts, 150k monthly visits and one million plus page views per month. Up until recently, a hybrid single core with 4Gb RAM did the job for a hundred per month.

    Sorry I didn't pay more attention to those figures.
  20. CivilWarTalk

    CivilWarTalk Active Member

    Our numbers used to be much much higher. In July of 2011 we had 60,300 visits (compared to a year later after a November 2011 Google Panda Update), that with a 55/44 split for New Visitors/Returning Visitors, and all that was with vB4 on the same Servint Server.

    Today our visits are at a 17/82 split, and I'm fighting to get some of that search engine traffic back. Most of the lost traffic seems to have been long-tail traffic, at least that's what Google's Webmaster Tools shows. I'm not sure how to get all that traffic back except optimize and keep creating good content.

    Honestly, if I'd stayed with vB, I think the forum would be dead today, xF has totally rescued and breathed new life into my forum, the registered member post more frequently, and the time on site for many members is going up. We are also registering lots of new people every day, so maybe we will return to our former traffic levels. I hope so.

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