Is Amazon LightSail a good option for XenForo hosting?

fly

Active member
FWIW, I've never run into a case where I've needed to open a support ticket. Their forums can be pretty helpful, if ever needed.
 

Chernabog

Well-known member
One thing to consider is that AWS will not allow you to create any technical support tickets, regardless of what they're about unless you pay for a support tier (Anywhere from $30/mo and up in addition to the cost for the actual resources you're using). Without that you're limited to account issues and limit increase requests for things like SES email limits. If you're just wanting a basic unmanaged VPS similar to what LightSail will get you I'd definitely suggest something like Vultr or Upcloud before it

Thanks Jake! I think I am going to just go with a basic shard hosting and as the community grows I can move it up to a VPS or dedicated as needed; at the very least; I'll have my backups and redundancy. Looks like KnownHost, that I saw @Ozzy47 mention is gonna be my first try.

Next I'll be searching on the value to using cloudflare with your host as opposed to the cons lol --- gotta shake this newbie vibe I am feeling lol
 

FTL

Active member
I appreciate your detailed and assistance with my question @FTL -- It's easy for people to remark, or emote, but not everyone takes the time to write several paragraphs of their views. I can go easy route and go stick with what I am familiar with and currently use -- or I can try to get my hands a little dirty and find a more solid solution. The input is helpful. I am also researching MattW and KownHost, too.
You're welcome.

AWS definitely has a learning curve associated with it, you have to do everything yourself and support other than the forums, similar to this one, is a paid extra, so it's not for everyone. Whatever solution you go for, it's important that you're able to run the latest PHP and MySQL. I don't know why all the hosts out there insist on these old versions with no option to use the latest, but it's asking for trouble.

If you see the system requirements for XF, they recommend PHP 8.x now, although it still works with 7.4. Similar with MySQL.

I'd be interested to see what you finally decide to go for. 🙂
 

Xon

Well-known member
The major issue with AWS/Google Cloud/Azure hosting is the data charges rapidly becomes stupidly expensive.

Most VPS providers bundle a significant amount of "free" bandwidth, and even the over-usage charges tend to be cheaper than the big 3 cloud providers bandwidth charges.
 

motowebmaster

Well-known member
I don't really "host" with AWS, but do utilize for my XF site - Cloudfront, SES, S3 - and my monthly charges are higher than ever ($9.11) ;)

Agree that AWS is cost-prohibitive in several use cases, but I take advantage only on particular items:
  • Move roughly 28gig daily to S3, representing daily backups, but am not running a "chatty" backup solution to it. My other two daily backups go to other storage services. It is a way to protect myself from service providers and laws in other countries.
  • My outbound XF email/notifications goes through SES, but not much else. Am considering another option that will cost slightly more, but it's an inexpensive way to get email out without having to worry about where my site is hosted.
  • The Cloudfront CDN is being used only for specific items, primarily XF theme images and avatars. No CSS, JS, or Content. I used to pay much larger costs for CDN services (bikers love pics) but found this is a good balance for the best user experience. AWS has a source node only a few miles from where I host which no one else can match.
Approach AWS and similar cloud-providers as potential solutions to specific problems, using them from a Software-As-A-Service perspective, after you've setup on your preferred host.
 

m1ne

Well-known member
Lower performance for a higher cost provided by an awful company, what's not to love?

Go with ExtraVM, BuyVM, Vultr, many others before AWS.
 

Chernabog

Well-known member
You're welcome.

AWS definitely has a learning curve associated with it, you have to do everything yourself and support other than the forums, similar to this one, is a paid extra, so it's not for everyone. Whatever solution you go for, it's important that you're able to run the latest PHP and MySQL. I don't know why all the hosts out there insist on these old versions with no option to use the latest, but it's asking for trouble.

If you see the system requirements for XF, they recommend PHP 8.x now, although it still works with 7.4. Similar with MySQL.

I'd be interested to see what you finally decide to go for. 🙂

I am trying out KnownHost right now.. so far so good... everything seems to work well, although I am not use to working with CPanel lol but it is pretty helpful and their support is lightening fast.

So shall see... just purchased another XF license and starting to build out the backbone for the community... I am a bit rusty ... so it's a little learning curve again lol
 

Wildcat Media

Well-known member
I've been using NFOServers for years now, but they lack a backup that is compatiable with XenForo and that has caused some challenges in the past.
One comment about backups--some managed hosting services do provide a backup, but even those companies do not recommend their customers rely on those backups. So anyone hosting a forum should have their own backup mechanism in place. Some hosts do offer a more robust backup for an additional fee.

I run three server instances (called Droplets) at DigitalOcean and aside from email, have never had an issue. I use one droplet for the web server, a second for the database, and a third for ElasticSearch. For backups, I run a full nightly backup--my sites aren't busy enough that if we lost a day's worth of data, it wouldn't be the end of the world. I do a MySQL dump of all database tables and compact those in to a ZIP file. Same on the web server--I copy all of the web directories into a ZIP file. ElasticSearch does not need a backup--I would simply regenerate the search indexes, as the process does not take very long. After the ZIP files are created, I use a server script to copy the ZIP files over to the ElasticSearch server, and also save them to my OneDrive account. (I think I use rclone for that.) So I have a week's worth of backups saved in OneDrive as well as on the ElasticSearch server. (And my OneDrive syncs to my NAS at home.) I figure if the two important servers (database or web) ever get hacked or corrupted, I have the data safely stored in three different places, and a week's worth of files to refer back to if the most recent backup is also corrupted.
 

Chernabog

Well-known member
One comment about backups--some managed hosting services do provide a backup, but even those companies do not recommend their customers rely on those backups. So anyone hosting a forum should have their own backup mechanism in place. Some hosts do offer a more robust backup for an additional fee.

I run three server instances (called Droplets) at DigitalOcean and aside from email, have never had an issue. I use one droplet for the web server, a second for the database, and a third for ElasticSearch. For backups, I run a full nightly backup--my sites aren't busy enough that if we lost a day's worth of data, it wouldn't be the end of the world. I do a MySQL dump of all database tables and compact those in to a ZIP file. Same on the web server--I copy all of the web directories into a ZIP file. ElasticSearch does not need a backup--I would simply regenerate the search indexes, as the process does not take very long. After the ZIP files are created, I use a server script to copy the ZIP files over to the ElasticSearch server, and also save them to my OneDrive account. (I think I use rclone for that.) So I have a week's worth of backups saved in OneDrive as well as on the ElasticSearch server. (And my OneDrive syncs to my NAS at home.) I figure if the two important servers (database or web) ever get hacked or corrupted, I have the data safely stored in three different places, and a week's worth of files to refer back to if the most recent backup is also corrupted.

I like how you have things spread out. I’m admittedly not the most savvy when it comes to the hosting part of things, but I tend to be a quick learner! :)

I do have the database backup from Jaxel at 8WR — which I could use to create a nightly backup on my end.

Building this new community from the ground up.. I am trying to make sure I do things as clean and with best practices in mind as possible.

You’ve all been very helpful. Another reason why I love this community and “forum” platform - even if I use it more as a social engagement portal than a forum.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
AWS is awesome and it is very price effective. You can run a nice server there with a full core and a half GB of ram for 50 $ prepaid a year maybe. It all depends what you need.

AWS EC2 provides their servers for rent - the same AWS Lightsail also includes. Here you get a full core that always is capable to run 100%. I rented from another big "core" server vender and what I got was very mixed results each time I was running my php speedtest script. On AWS the script always returns the same results. AWS really delivers what they promise. To exactly that price that's advertised. There was never a need for a support ticket as it always ran. The reason why AWS is the biggest in the market.

For - now 30 $ ? - you can start giving them tickets if you have questions.

For the prices: It is more affordable to keep everything on one server. AWS always bills the core EC2 instances it needs for mysql ("RDS"), elasticsearch (same name) and puts some premium on top in terms of $$$. So if you hace an EC2 for php, RDS for mariadb, Elasticsearch for searching ... you pay 3x the servers and for RDS and Elasticsearch some premium so their services run smoothly (and they do!).


AWS Lightsail puts all together in one box and makes it a bit more affordable, but then you cant mix their products as before. AWS Lightsail includes some good bandwith from what I remember a few years ago. You will need a few days to learn about AWS free security system (security groups) and the other stuff. Then you will love it. I block ports on my server just with their security system frontend, and all other services only work within the AWS network. I do that with a few clicks and never have to worry about "open ports".
 
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Marcus

Well-known member
I use AWS for my XF installation which works great.
Which services do you use now and which do you intend after the free period? I am far away from my free year and currently my setup is a single EC2 with SES, that's all I need. Periodic backups of the EC2 SSD give me a point and click restore of the whole system if something breaks. An error in the database or whatever? Just restore the backup to a new SSD and put the SSD on a new instance, it works out of the box.

For EC2 I use T3a it is very affordable and provides a good relation of cores and RAM (which I need for Elasticsearch).

Keeping everything on one box also makes things faster, the "ping" is instant on the same machine.
 
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Mr. Jinx

Well-known member
I have professional experience with AWS and Azure, and would never host my own XF install with that kind of cloud services.
It is great for companies that need a lot of different cloud services. However, the cheaper servers always run on slow storage. If you want NVMe in those clouds, you are going to pay alot and even then the latency is not that great.
If you need the best performance with a VPS hosted on pure NVMe, I would go for one of the many hosting providers out there.
 

Marcus

Well-known member
I have professional experience with AWS and Azure, and would never host my own XF install with that kind of cloud services.
It is great for companies that need a lot of different cloud services. However, the cheaper servers always run on slow storage. If you want NVMe in those clouds, you are going to pay alot and even then the latency is not that great.
If you need the best performance with a VPS hosted on pure NVMe, I would go for one of the many hosting providers out there.
For absolute best performance on the cheap rent a whole server and switch off the power saving functions for each core, let the cores run really hot. You have to do that for each "cpu governor" - I do not remember exactly. That gives you a real performance boost for all cores.
 
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