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How much VPS power do I need?

Discussion in 'Server Configuration and Hosting' started by cdub, Nov 13, 2014.

  1. cdub

    cdub Well-Known Member

    Especially after this most recent incident with Hostgator f'ing up the XenForo sites for a while on my shared Hostgator server (the logging in and caching issue everyone on Hostgator had yesterday) I'm thinking of looking into getting a new host.

    I don't need or want to spend the money for a dedicated server...

    But how much power do I need for my forum?

    Discussions: 22,234
    Messages: 148,812
    Members: 17,829
    There's usually 50-90 people on at a time with around 5 members at a time.​

    I like the idea of SSD. But how much RAM do I need? VPS has a bunch of different tiers... what should I look for.

    I want a managed solution. I don't want to have to bother with any updates on the server end of things. I have enough problems in my life.

  2. jwright

    jwright Active Member

    I'd say shoot for around 1-2GB as a starting point. You can get pretty good prices on ~1-2GB managed VPSs and going for an SSD is never a bad thing. Should certainly speed up MySQL a bit but even without it with proper caching your site can load virtually instantly. Ours is still on spinning disks and pages load in around 3 tenths of a second.

    In a perfectly optimized setup you could probably get down as low as 500MB or less but it sounds like you probably want cPanel so cPanel itself needs at least 512MB thus my minimum recommendation of 1GB, preferably more.
  3. WSWD

    WSWD Well-Known Member

    1GB is a must if you want cPanel. 512mb will work, but you'll encounter errors regularly. With 50-90 people online, 2GB probably wouldn't hurt any.

    The most important thing to remember when switching from shared hosting to VPS is that everything is now using YOUR resources...the OS, the control panel, etc. We see people, for example, who are hitting the 1GB RAM limits in shared hosting, only to be shocked that a 1GB VPS isn't the right answer. The RAM you're using in shared hosting doesn't account for anything being run on the server level.
  4. jwright

    jwright Active Member

    This is a very important bit of information (y)
  5. rainmotorsports

    rainmotorsports Well-Known Member

    I have a forum about that size. Our shared hosting has 3GB of ram to work with between all of its clients. I was actually on a 1GB VPS with @WSWD for 6 months and that worked out great. A well tuned setup could run under 512mb of ram but I would never recommend it. With MySQL tuned to not be such a hog (performance schema off for example) the rest of the load ends up being cpu heavy. Which OpCache really helped with for me. Took a load 2 threads couldn't handle and did it on 1.
  6. RoldanLT

    RoldanLT Well-Known Member

  7. cdub

    cdub Well-Known Member

    Who else uses them as you seem like the only one pushing them all the time in every server thread.

    Why should I use them? No one ever seems to give a reason.

    I can't decide to use someone based off a random comment on a board who just says "use them!"
    fEaRz and WSWD like this.
  8. Marcel

    Marcel Active Member

    This caught us out too a few years ago. Definitely something to think about.

    As for hosting recommendations, I can only recommend those who we've used in the past so I'd have to throw the hat in the ring and suggest Nimbus Hosting.
    We followed Tim from his old home at GlobalGold when we were on vBulletin when he started Nimbus. For me, he's always at the end of an email which is my selling point. Some hosts can be quite "Nope, that's not our remit, your server, your problem".
    We started off straight on a Dedi, but they offer cloud hosting specced specifically for forum usage, I believe. Would indeed be worthwhile giving them a whirl.
  9. MattW

    MattW Well-Known Member

    Just thought I'd reply because it was Roldan who tagged me. I started offering shard hosting because people were asking for it (I only used to configure VPS/Dedicated servers for people). My servers are all in the EU, and today have been upgraded to use Litespeed rather than Apache.

    I've got several medium sized XenForo sites on there, as well as multiple smaller sites. My aim is to be able to offer hosting to people who don't feel a VPS is needed yet.
    cdub and RoldanLT like this.
  10. cdub

    cdub Well-Known Member

    Ok I think I'm going to go with KnownHost....

    It's either:

    • VPS-2 with 1536MB of RAM
    • VPS-3 with 2560MB of RAM
    • SSD-2 with 2048MB of RAM
    SSD may be overkill but I'm leaning towards it because I think my new site will eventually get the traffic that merits it.

    It'd be $5 more and $12 more for the cpanel and lightspeed respectively. Although with SSD I can probably forgo the Lightspeed until the site gets huge.
  11. turtile

    turtile Well-Known Member

    I use VPS-2 with cPanel running many different sites and it still has resources to spare.
  12. .Rolex

    .Rolex New Member

    do you really need cpanel? why not save that money and allocate it for something else?

    as for a new forum, any of those VPS are more than sufficient

    what's your budget?
  13. craigiri

    craigiri Well-Known Member

    I moved to KH (mattw did the work for me) and have never regretted it. I bought a VPS-3 and it's never even hit over 2% system load - nor over 700M of Ram used. This is for my hobby site - but I am getting a total of 10,000 page views (WP and XF) per day right now!

    If I were doing it again and knew how good KH was, I'd go for less RAM......but, who knows, maybe my site will grow fast and I can also move some of my other junk sites there.

    Highest recommendations....

    Edit - for the Film poster, the VPS-2 with the 1.5G is MORE than enough.....I doubt you will use even 1/2 that RAM, but it's nice to have the extra.
    MattW likes this.
  14. cdub

    cdub Well-Known Member

    I used @MattW too and I am now on the SSD-2 with KH. High praise for both. Especially Matt. I wish I'll get 10k page views per day one day. :)

    EDIT - I can't spell.
    MattW and craigiri like this.
  15. craigiri

    craigiri Well-Known Member

    I shouldn't have spoken so soon....after 6 months with knownhost and complete uptime, it started going bonkers about Dec. 20 and maxed out the server load (crashed) a couple times a day! I've done everything normal - and more - to lock down my systems (locked out countries, etc. etc.) and it's not web requests or excess data bringing the VPS down.

    Luckily, most every time (other than one) all the services restarted themselves, so these were 5 or 10 minutes events.

    Their tech support people are very very nice and very responsive. However, I sense that some of them don't attempt (or know) how to truly get to the bottom of a problem. They seem to use stock answers like "upgrade your wordpress" as opposed to actually looking at the many crashes and saying why.

    Of course, that's somewhat normal. There are probably people of various skill levels in their tech support team. But I am used to someone REALLY knowing exactly what the problems are and the fixes are.

    Whatever the problem is, it has nothing to do with my normal traffic...which up to now was only a 0-2% server load. Maybe their network isn't as protected from various types of attacks as it could be?

    I still have faith in the company but we'll see as the days go by if I have to constantly deal with such crashes without a clear idea of what the deal is.
    ForestForTrees and cdub like this.
  16. craigiri

    craigiri Well-Known Member

    An update on the above - for the record.

    Yep - it turns out that the whole thing was their fault, although they try to gloss over that. They had some kind of a problem...I assume with another account on the server....and yet all of the ticket responses said it was my fault and problem. I spent endless hours fiddling, changing, checking, etc. which turned out to be wasted. Finally, after 8-9 days and my pleading they must have elevated it to someone who actually knew something - and then it still took 1 1/2 days to migrate the server, during which I had 100% loads and crashes every hour or so.

    Oh, well, live and learn. Here are the lessons.

    1. Never believe tech support...in other than the simplest situations. I was spoiled by having a 1-man ISP for 10+ years and the one guy was at the level of "senior" tech support - that is, he always (100%) knew exactly what was wrong when he looked.

    2. Elevate quickly if no satisfaction...I made the mistake of believing them when they said it was my fault. This despite all other indications (I has no excess RAM used, no high network traffic, my security systems had no excess warnings, etc.). Until I REALLY cried out (things had gotten much worse!), nothing was fixed. This too is strange because others on the VPS must have had the same problem.

    Up until now, KH has been 100% great. However, my site has it's busiest 2 weeks just at the time this happened...resulting in lowered revenue and traffic (I make $$ from mostly affiliates).

    Summary - I'm staying with KH for now and am going to write this one off as an anomaly. No one is perfect. But I'll keep the above in mind next time I have a problem and make sure their tech support knows that I don't want the "boilerplate" answers. Boilerplate answers consist of stuff like "upgrade your Wordpress" or "rebuild your apache" or "optimize your mysql tables".....in my case none of them were causing the problem.

    Hope this helps. I guess we always get what we pay for when it comes down to it. My hobby site has grown quite a bit (300K page views this month), so it's more important to me know than it was when I started it.
    ForestForTrees likes this.
  17. MattW

    MattW Well-Known Member

    TOP is your friend. I had a look at the VPS for Craig while the load was showing 85+, despite his site not getting that much traffic.

    High %wa on a 24 core VPS node across all the cores points to another VPS on the node hogging the resources.
    Tracy Perry likes this.
  18. JoeSchmoe

    JoeSchmoe Member

    Thanks for the case report, Craigiri. I've been having similar experiences and have become similarly disillusioned with the tech support at LiquidWeb. They seem really nice, but I've come to think that the first level tech support people probably only get one week of training. Basically, they know how to use cPanel and WHM and can copy and paste some bash snippets into ssh, but they don't really know how to get to the root of a problem.

    I was having crashes every day for a while and each time, they always told me that it was some hacker who was doing a brute force attack on one of my WordPress sites. But when I looked at the logs, the supposed attacker was only requesting a page every 1-2 seconds and had been doing it for hours already. How is a request every second or two going to take down a 1 gig VPS? Clearly it won't - that was just an easy answer they could give to me so they could move on to the next caller. It was like a doctor prescribing a test that you don't really need just so you don't leave empty-handed. Meanwhile, my server had more down-time.

    With that being said, we'll probably stay with them. We can't afford true premium service and what do you expect for $60/month? I've spent an awful lot of time on the phone with them and while the can't go beyond their training (or don't seem motivated to), they've been incredibly patient.
    How do you actually do this? I'm getting to the point where I can quickly tell that the person on the other end of the line doesn't have the expertise to help me. But I don't always know whether it is appropriate to elevate or how to do it without being a jerk.

    For example, I'm trying to figure out which PHP handler I want to use: DSO or SuPHP. I asked for the tech support guy's advice and he didn't really have anything to say. He didn't, for example, ask me whether there were other, untrusted cPanel accounts on the server (which would have made SuPHP a better choice).

    Should I have elevated? For $60/month, can I really expect that type of information?

    And the operator seemed like a nice enough guy. How do you say, "Thank you for not pretending to know more than you actually do, but can I talk to your supervisor?"
  19. craigiri

    craigiri Well-Known Member

    KH doesn't use phone.....support.
    I don't think any of these tech support people can answer what type of PHP, etc. you should use. You should have someone else (like MattW) who can detail that kind of stuff.

    As far as elevating stuff you have to understand that in my case it was a complete breakdown of the server - so that's a case where you need to elevate it.

    Or, if you have a more experienced IT person who helps you independently, they should look at your server and determine whether it is your fault or the fault of the hosting provider.
  20. JoeSchmoe

    JoeSchmoe Member

    In terms of VPS transitions, I've been thinking about this for a while. I think the next step along our server migration path will be to an unmanaged Linode VPS using CentMinMod and hiring @MattW to help manage the transition. Linode's prices are terrific and I think they do a great unmanaged VPS. CentMinMod seems like a great way to get cutting edge apps (nginx, etc.) and with @eva2000 being on this site, my bet is that there is a decent XF/CentMinMod connection (someone has already worked through any possible problems between, say, MariaDB and XF or figured out how to get object caching to work). Plus, CentOS should be more familiar given that I'm coming from cPanel, which runs on CentOS. Finally, MattW's CentMinMod package seems like it would be exactly what I would need:
    I could tough it out on my own, but MattW seems to have many happy customers and I'm sure I'd be glad to become one of them.

    Anyway, that's the plan. Just putting that out there in case anyone else wants to try it.
    MattW and eva2000 like this.

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