Where to from here


Well-known member
I was going to post this in "Off Topic" but it isn't exactly off topic but does have a "server" element to it.

My site is currently in "no mans" land, sort of at the cross roads and not sure where to go from here. Firstly I have 6,500 members, up to 150 concurrents (30 or so being members), 16k threads and 150k posts. I have many addons like gallery, events, videos, 10 rss feeds plus 150meg of static html pages.

The important thing is that I also have 123FlashChat for the chat room that provides for Video (webcam)/Audio/Text chatting, a Whiteboard, playing of Flash Games, 1meg file sharing etc. I also have 123WebMessenger for user to user (1 to 1) Instant Chat again with Video/Audio/Text and file sharing. These are run through RED5 Flash Media Server that is installed on my server.

My server is a VDS with 8gig ram, 4 processor cores (Intel(R) Xeon(R) CPU X5670 @ 2.93GHz, Speed 1497.339 MHz, Cache 12288 KB). It is Linux and has Litespeed installed. I use about 80gig p/m of traffic and when hammered, ram used is around 4gig (50% of total), 2.5gig normal. Important part to note is my site is 95% Australian users so the server is located in Australia, fully managed but I don't have root access which causes issues for any little problems that I can fix myself but I am NOT a server admin guy and know very little about web servers.

Now the main issue. My site is 8 years old and I have put my heart and soul into it 7 days a week. It was initially targeted to Australian users but has saturated the market in its potential user base. I changed from a .com.au domain to a .com. I also added, as "addon" domains, the .com.au, .co.nz, .us, .ca, .co.uk etc for geographic targeting. I am now getting more International visitors as hoped but the content of the site is so Australian specific that many of those International visitors don't come back. For example a new user posted "Hi, I am from NC" and the users related NC to Australia ("Near Canberra").

For the last 8 years the site has not been commercial in any way...no income, so it has cost me thousands and thousands of dollars to have it plus 7 days a week of time. I have come up with an enhancement to the site that the users will love having which at the same time will make the site provide a very nice income BUT it relies on the site being International. I have tried many ways, create geographic specific forums, separate sites per country linked together with single login (back in vb days) etc but content is king, I can't get the International content whilst the content and users are Australian.

I am also in a very competitive environment and if I do anything wrong by the users they just jump ship to other sites. This is why site and server performance is utmost important as well. With a Aust based server I have latency to International users, with say a US based server, I get more International but have latency for the current users. I have to try and take the site forward without any users dropping off the end but get more International users but then the Australian content and server location are issues. The RED5 Video server etc is one of the large areas where latency has an impact yet it is one of the components of the future plan to derive an income from the site.

I am about to launch a sister site and don't want it to suffer the same growth issues by focusing on one specific country so this is an opportunity to start the new site and fix the current one.

So the issues in summary are:
Server location - International user drive but currently have 95% of users in one country, in a competitive environment so performance will have impacts
Server Composition - Having a web site and starting a new one, having RED5 Video streaming for important functionality of the sites
Server Management - Not being a server admin person I need full server management and very quick support for any issues and optimisation
Content Latency - With 95% of users from one country, in a competitive environment, making it hard to obtain growth from International visitors
Site Users and Content - With 95% of users from one specific country results in site content being specific to that country making it hard to obtain growth from International visitors
Site Income - Heavily dependent on User's Location, Site Content, Server Performance, Content Latency etc

I thought about getting a new server, copy the good content over to a new site, strip many of the good features from the current site but add them to the new one, let the new site grow with a balanced geographically spread community and then close the current site directing users to the new one which would have a head start in the community culture..

As I said, my site is at the crossroads and I am out of ideas and not sure which way to go...so I have posted this in the hope that some of you may have experienced this situation or have some idea of what you would do in this type of situation which would help me greatly...thanks for listening