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Web Hosting for a forum

Discussion in 'Server Configuration and Hosting' started by ashkir, Jul 9, 2012.

  1. ashkir

    ashkir Active Member

    Hey there. I'm staff on a forum that is switching to XenForo. We currently have 437,000 posts and 25,000 members. Screenshot proof.

    However, we ran a test to try to mimic about 200 online people which is normal for us. This is what we got:

    This is frustrating to us. Apparently, once XenForo is optimized it is much better, right?

    Can anyone here suggest what type of vps or hosting we should be looking into? I have a feeling our current VPS isn't very good. Some of our other stats:
    • 1.3GB database roughly.
    • 437,000 posts.
    • Average online users is 170.
    • 120GB bandwidth used monthly
    • 500GB diskspace.
    That's all we have, really.
  2. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    The linode or 1+1 server I pointed out in the other thread should be more than enough for you.

    XenForo is very lightweight, and handles surges of traffic wonderfully.

    In addition, with some basic mysql tweaking and the leveraging of caching it will bring your loads down drastically. If you realy wanted to overkill it, you could look at running LEMP over LAMP.
  3. ashkir

    ashkir Active Member

    We had experience in 1&1 before and it was not a good experience. The above screenshot was a test of XenForo with 200 connections over 10 minutes.

    The problem is, we don't know how to do the mysql tweaking and leveraging of the cache at all. :-/. We however, are liking Linode and are seriously considering it. Someone also suggested BuyVM to us because they do managed hosting now.
  4. Slavik

    Slavik XenForo Moderator Staff Member

    Time to learn (y) Theres some great people on here who have years of experience running such services and can help you out. Linode while it can apear intimidating, is very easy to use and they have amazing guides on setting up.


    People may reccomend debian, but it comes down to your preference if you have any. The latest verisons of Centos and Debian both offer similar performance and security. I personally prefer centos based destros because its what I learned first so find it easier to work with and overall feel its better for begginers.

    Having said that, you may want to use LAMP if your new to it and don't want to handle nginx rewrites.


    In addition, people have pre-configured stacks available for use.

  5. Ghan_04

    Ghan_04 Active Member

    I'm currently running one of my Xenforo sites on Linode and it has been wonderful. This is the site: http://www.thehelper.net
    We don't have quite as many users as you do, but on the flip side, this is our load average:

    load average: 0.66, 0.72, 0.70

    In the past, I've run a 768 Linode that got around 550,000 requests per day to the webserver, many of them vBulletin (more intensive than Xenforo) and many of them Xenforo itself. I run the free Litespeed version on my servers these days, and it works great with a nice administration panel. Linode is awesome.
    I'd be willing to help you out if you want. Just let me know.
  6. ashkir

    ashkir Active Member

    Thanks.vthis stuff still seems a bit Greek to me.
    Wow. Your forum has 150 online? Has it dealt with 200? If so, what linode VPS are you? And, would either of you be willing to share what you did to optimize the site?
  7. Ghan_04

    Ghan_04 Active Member

    Right now, I'm on the 512 Linode, and I plan to add more sites to it in the coming month or so. It still has room to take on more traffic. :) It's currently already running some subdomains for The Helper in addition to the forum itself here:
    Obviously that traffic is less intensive since it's not a full forum, but still. The whole server itself right now gets about 300,000 requests per day.

    > would either of you be willing to share what you did to optimize the site?

    Certainly. I'd even be willing to do one better and help you set it up if you'd like.
    ashkir likes this.
  8. ashkir

    ashkir Active Member

    Thanks Ghan! And wow!

    Okay so our monthly averages:

    - 32,000 unique.
    - 75,000 page visits (and growing steadily)
    - 1,400,000 pages served.
    - 6,870,378 hits.
  9. Ghan_04

    Ghan_04 Active Member

    Ok, so that's only about 230,000 hits per day. Should be no problem at all for a Linode 512 to handle with some MySQL tuning + Memcached installed. The only place where you might experience some issues is with big searches. Your search index is going to be big enough that MySQL won't be able to create a temporary table in memory for stuff that is scanning a lot of tables. That usually isn't a deal-breaker (The Helper's database is over 2 GB and it manages large searches in 2-5 seconds in most cases). Normal thread views are not an issue, though.
    Another option would be the ElasticSearch for Xenforo. I've never used it myself, but I have used the DigitalPoint Sphinx search for vBulletin, which is very similar.

    And also, it's really easy to resize Linodes up if you need a bit more RAM or whatever. :)
  10. wrx1

    wrx1 Active Member

    Another +1 to Linode. We are a small local community, but we handle a bunch of constant traffic. We are normally in the 40-50 users and 150-200 total guests and I am running 2 512 linode slices. One does all the web side work and the other just handles the database stuff. We could easily double our traffic without any issues. I have APC installed on the web server and memcached installed on the database server and that keeps the site pretty snappy. I figure for what it would cost to run a larger linode, I can really cut down on the I/O traffic by running 2 servers and keeps things running smooth.

    Fell free to check out my site (in my sig) and if you have any questions, please feel free to ask.

  11. Ghan_04

    Ghan_04 Active Member


    I'm curious - I've tried the double Linode setup before, and there was a noticeable added delay on page requests, which I concluded was due to the latency for the database queries having to travel over the Linodes' private network (which is capped pretty low - around 50 Mbps). Have you noticed anything like that?
  12. JeffTN

    JeffTN Member

    Linode is hard to beat for an unmanaged VPS. In fact, I'd say they're pretty much the best in that area. If you really need a managed environment, take a look at WiredTree. They provide a fully managed cPanel VPS environment. Support is great (as in, you have a helpful response within 15 minutes). Uptime is also fantastic in my experience. I had a bunch of sites (shared hosting customers) hosted on a VPS there and was quite happy with them.

    My Xenforo board is hosted there as well, but it just opened so I can't advise much on server load under heavy forum traffic. I don't expect a problem for a while (ever?) though.
    Ghan_04 likes this.
  13. wrx1

    wrx1 Active Member

    I guess I am not to sure. When I made the move to Linode, I was on VBloat 4.x, so everything is just kinda slow. Then after the move to XF, our resource usage was cut in half, so the site was just faster. I have never tried to run the site on a single server to see if there is any increase in speed.

    I also have a friend that is a genius when it comes to setting servers and optimizing everything, so there very well could be some settings that he has tweaked so everything works good. Fell free to mess around on my site to see if you notice anything.

  14. Ghan_04

    Ghan_04 Active Member

    Your site is blazingly fast for me as a guest. Not sure how it would be as a registered member - it seems like you're using something like Varnish, which would have the most impact for unregistered users.
    ashkir likes this.
  15. ashkir

    ashkir Active Member


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