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What does it take to run a big forum?

Discussion in 'Forum Management' started by 51463, Apr 7, 2014.

  1. 51463

    51463 Well-Known Member

    I remember I started off with shared hosting. And i had to upgrade to VPS because my forum was becoming really slow and always getting "max user connections"

    My forum currently runs fine on VPS. Althought it got my wondering. How many users can a VPS handle?

    And what would be the next step. Dedicated Servers? How many users can a dedicated server handle?

    And is there anything past the dedicated server? How do those forums who have over 10,000 users online at the same time work?

    Anyone want to give us a brief outline? I can't find anything on google to read.
  2. Robby

    Robby Well-Known Member

    It's really hard to say without knowing the specifics of your vps or dedicated server?
  3. TheBigK

    TheBigK Well-Known Member

    From my little knowledge of servers and hosting; a VPS may not be a logical upgrade over shared hosting environment. Because you never know what resources you are using at any moment when you are on a shared server.

    Forums that have 10,000 users online would run on a much complex setup involving multiple servers and load balancers.
  4. RobParker

    RobParker Well-Known Member

    Multiple load-balanced servers with servers dedicated to just running the database engine with others running the webserver. Basically, $$$.
  5. RoldanLT

    RoldanLT Well-Known Member

    1$$ ? :D
    Maybe some are spending $$$$.
  6. Robby

    Robby Well-Known Member

    I think it has more to do with your efforts thean with dollars.
  7. 51463

    51463 Well-Known Member

    So would it look something like this?

  8. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Well-Known Member

    It's pretty much an impossible question to ask... Not all forums run the same stuff (be that addons or whatever else).

    For digitalpoint.com, the forum is probably the smallest of the significant things that use resources, so our hardware is *way* more than we need for just a forum.

    We have a lot of stuff that serves something for every page view of OTHER websites for example:

    More efficient social buttons: https://tools.digitalpoint.com/social-buttons
    See where users in the world are from: https://tools.digitalpoint.com/geovisitors
    Hit counter (from like 15 years ago.. haha): https://tools.digitalpoint.com/counter
    Digital Point Ads (serving up ads for the sites): https://advertising.digitalpoint.com/

    We also have some stuff that are pretty significant resource hogs without serving up content to third party-sites:

    Keyword Tracker: https://tools.digitalpoint.com/tracker
    Website Thumbnail Generator: https://tools.digitalpoint.com/thumbnails
    A full-blown spider that is visiting sites 24/7: https://tools.digitalpoint.com/cookie-search


    I think the larger your site gets, the more you will tend to branch out and give users something unique (which tend to need more resources).

    The 3rd post in this thread has a picture of our hardware as it is now (the 4U with 2 rows of blue lights are the primary servers - 8 pretty beefy servers packed into 4U)... https://forums.digitalpoint.com/threads/new-server-hardware-for-the-geeks.2654797/

    All 8 servers do the same stuff (for the most part)... each is part of the web server cluster, database cluster (we use ndbcluster storage engine), Elastic Search cluster, etc. Any machine can fail or be taken down for maintenance without the site going down.
  9. Robby

    Robby Well-Known Member

    Where are you hosted?
    Do you have any recommendations on hosting firms?
  10. digitalpoint

    digitalpoint Well-Known Member

    I wouldn't really call it "hosting"... they supply a cage with electricity and connectivity, that's it. All the hardware (servers, DDoS mitigation equipment, switches, routers, managed PDUs, etc.) I own. It's colocation is all.

    My servers are at this facility: http://us.redit.com/data-centers/locations/us-san-diego-world-trade-drive/

    As far as more traditional hosting where you are using the company's hardware, I'm not really sure... I've had all my own equipment for 20 years now (way back then it was Windows NT and FreeBSD servers.. hah).
  11. Moshe1010

    Moshe1010 Well-Known Member

    Before going to a dedicated server, you can use multiple VPS`, so it really depends on database(s) size, overall load, and what do you have on your server.

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