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Total noob starting his first forum.....

Discussion in 'XenForo Pre-Sales Questions' started by Emil JaBo, Aug 12, 2014.

  1. Emil JaBo

    Emil JaBo Active Member


    I was a moderator of a forum but the forum will be closing soon and I wanted to start my own forum with the help of a few of the dedicated posters from the old forum. It is essentially a rather specialist research forum. As I will be starting from scratch I have the opportunity to choose a new forum software. I like the look of xenForo and can see it continually developing in the future so I'm seriously considering using it as a basis for my new forum. The old forum used IPB and looked quite slick but the search function was always a real problem. This is because the subject matter of the forum relies heavily on the use of abbreviated terms including punctuation marks and often being 3-4 characters in length . Having researched this issue over the last few days I have found that this issue is not so much to do with the forum software but the way in which MySQL behaves and treats search terms. This would mean that I would require a more advanced search feature like the xenForo enhanced search add-on. From what I have read it appears to be ideal for finding the terms that will be used a lot on the new forum now and in the future. It is really imperative that my members will be able to search for instances of these abbreviated terms on the new forum. I do not have my own dedicated server and would prefer not have the hassle of running and maintaining one, so would rather leave it to a host service. I understand that a VPS hosting service will be the minimum requirement for me to be able to implement the 'Enhanced search add-on' with xenForo? As the new forum will be starting from scratch I'm not expecting it to be very large, as an example the old forum had only grown to approximately 12GBs in size over the last ten years (It's quite a specialist subject)... I will also at first not expect many visitors with the maximum ever at any one time possibly being 30... I have been researching VPS providers online and have found prices, some of which are really cheap but I fully appreciate you get what you pay for. I would only be running the forum from the VPS server, no other applications but I really have no clue what sort of VPS package to go for. What could be the difference between the really cheap options and the slightly more expensive ones? Would a small forum run on a VPS offering 1 core and 1GB of ram?

    I'm sorry for these questions in essay form :-D, that are most probably quite basic knowledge for most of you guys but I want to plan and make the right decisions the first time round and my limited understanding means I'm kind of walking blindly into this.

    I appreciate any advice on choosing the right hosting option for my small but important to so many forum....


  2. drastic

    drastic Well-Known Member

    HawkHost for hosting. Been with them for 2-3 years.

    A VPS is completely unnecessary for your needs at the moment. Just get yourself a cheap shared hosting plan and upgrade if and when you need to, which you can do instantly in their admin.

    Since you're just beginning, do NOT purchase 6-12 months of hosting. Start small with their $3.95 for three months plan and use the august2014 coupon code. You know you'll most likely stick with it for a month or so, but there's no promise you will even care about your forum a year from now. So start small and upgrade as needed.

    I've pushed 250 users on at a single time with my small account and it has held up with no problem or lag. I think that's thanks to XenForo code being pretty sweet and efficient!
    Last edited by a moderator: Aug 13, 2014
    Emil JaBo likes this.
  3. Emil JaBo

    Emil JaBo Active Member

    Thanks for the reply. My main concern is the need for the 'Enhanced Search Add-on' which if I have read things correctly can mostly only be installed on a dedicated server? The standard MySQL search functions are really not advanced enough to enable useful searching of the abbreviated, punctuation marks, 2-4 character terms which will be contained in 99.9% of the posts. Adequately searching these terms is the most important feature of any option that I choose. :)
  4. Emil JaBo

    Emil JaBo Active Member

    From the XFES announcement here:

    "XFES requires that you have elasticsearch 0.16.0 or newer installed. As such, this add-on is only applicable if you have root access to your server (such as with a dedicated server or VPS)."
    Dan Hawkins likes this.
  5. Brogan

    Brogan XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    The Enhanced Search add-on requires the elasticsearch service to be installed.

    It is unlikely you can get that done on shared hosting.
    Emil JaBo, drastic and Dan Hawkins like this.
  6. drastic

    drastic Well-Known Member

    sorry about that, I didn't realize it needed more.
    Emil JaBo likes this.
  7. Emil JaBo

    Emil JaBo Active Member

    No problem Drastic :).

    So would Elasticsearch Service count as another application on the VPS server:

    xenForo as one application and Elasticsearch Service as another?

    Does anyone have experience with a VPS server and what would be the minimum requirements for a small forum? :)
  8. Claudio

    Claudio Well-Known Member

    Hi Emil,

    If you forum will be really small (with 30 users online) you don't need a VPS, you just need a shared hosting plan. You should choose a VPS if a shared hosting account isn't enough for you. Then, if the VPS isn't enough you can choose a dedicated server.
    The Enhanced Search Add-on won't be useful unless your forum board has many thousands or million posts or unless you require to allow users to search posts with less characters or symbols.

    However if you really need Enhanced Search you'll definitely need a VPS because as Brogan said shared hosting won't install this application in the server only for you.
    Emil JaBo likes this.
  9. EQnoble

    EQnoble Well-Known Member

    @Emil JaBo

    For a small new forum you can just start with the minimum vps server (that meets requirements for ES of course) which your host of choice offers since it is generally a simple thing for them to upgrade a vps as they only really need to hit the proverbial switch and they can add resources to the pool available to your vps in minutes or less.

    As a side note with only a couple gigs of ram and a couple of cores I was messing around with a bunch of my own domains and setup a bunch of folks with hosting none of which caused any real bandwidth or resource issues and certainly nothing inherently detectable by eye unless I were to actually go through logs. If you are only running one site and starting fresh, any vps from a halfway decent hosting outfit will serve you just fine.
    Emil JaBo likes this.
  10. Emil JaBo

    Emil JaBo Active Member

    Thank you Claudio, please see most post No.3 above. Enhanced search is bare minimum requirements for my forum.

    EQnoble, Thanks, precisely what I needed. Now just to find a halfway decent hosting outfit to fit my starting budget.
  11. Claudio

    Claudio Well-Known Member

    Be careful about what hosting company you choose, I recommend you to choose one that offers hosting with cPanel/WHM control panel. Others like GoDaddy with their own control panel or 1&1 doesn't worth a penny
    Emil JaBo likes this.

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