Would you use a Cloud server or webhosting for XenForo?

tlghnb

Member
Hi,

Would you use a Cloud server (like from AWS, DigitalOcean, Vultr etc) or a webhosting (like GoDaddy, Namecheap etc) for hosting your XenForo forums?

I'm planning on using Cloudflare for caching, AWS S3 (or anything similar maybe like DigitalOcean's S3) for storing images, resources etc and a managed database service (DBaaS) (like https://www.digitalocean.com/products/managed-databases/) instead of using my own MySQL.

What are your opinions on this setup? It may sound like a complicated setup when compared to just using a webhosting for everything but imo it seems more clean and easier to manage and rescale this way.
 

Gene Steinberg

Well-known member
Maybe you could tell us what kind of forum, and whether it's connected to an existing site. It might provide a clue. Forums don't deliver the sort of traffic they used to.
 

tlghnb

Member
Maybe you could tell us what kind of forum, and whether it's connected to an existing site. It might provide a clue. Forums don't deliver the sort of traffic they used to.
It'll be a brand new forum. I'd consider it a hobby one. Yes, they indeed don't.
 

beerForo

Well-known member
Here's another option:
 

Gene Steinberg

Well-known member
Then I'd suggest you start with a shared hosting package, something a level or two above the entry-level, with a host that allows you to upgrade as needed. With a cPanel interface, as a prime example, you can easily migrate to a higher-end plan if it catches on; some hosts will do it for their customers. Otherwise it's overkill.
 

Gene Steinberg

Well-known member
And I'm talking of maybe $10-15 a month. I'm familiar with Dreamhost, 1and1 IONOS and Namecheap, but don't recommend GoDaddy (overpriced, too much bait and switch). There are loads of others who'd do the job. And it's not restricted to the forum, obviously, but you can add a WordPress blog and other content.
 

JOGARA

Member
The only reason to use shared hosting is that you either don't know how to manage your own server and software stack or don't want to, as in you want to offload server management duties.

Xenforo is so light weight it can run on cheap shared hosting plans. Obviously the downside of shared hosting is that other people might be running resource hungry sites so there is a higher chance of slowdowns during peak traffic times. You also lose control over most of the server side settings and included add ons to PHP.

If you are able to manage your own servers and connect services like S3. It is so much better.

Normally I would advise against AWS but they just increased free tier so much that S3 and Cloudfront have enough free bandwidth that most small sites won't be charged a cent. A T2 or T3 micro plus RDS (if required) would easily run Xenforo worth dozens of users on it.
 

Sim

Well-known member
Because I already have build scripts for my VPS machines, if I was starting a new forum I would simply fire up a US$5 per month Linode VPS which would be more than adequate for running a new XenForo forum.

IMO the only reason not to use a VPS is if you don't have the knowledge required to be able to build and maintain it.

Right now I have:
  • 1GB Nanode running a private XenForo forum and some other applications for a customer of mine
  • 2GB Linode running my staging server for my main forum
  • 4GB Linode running 5 small XenForo forums (including some private forums for customers)
  • 8GB Linode running one of my large sites
  • 8GB Linode running ther other of my large sites which is in a different data centre
All sites have MySQL running in the same VPS, while the two 8GB Linodes are each paired with a 2GB Linode running ElasticSearch.

Managed database services are interesting and sound ideal for removing a lot of the configuration and management work - however, DigitalOcean's offering it is quite expensive IMO. If you can build your own VPS with sufficient RAM to allocate a larger InnoDB buffer pool than you have InnoDB data - then your forum will run very quickly with relatively little disk IO to slow it down - even SSDs are slow compared to RAM!
 

eva2000

Well-known member
VPS or dedicated only way for me - root access and full control is a must for a control freak like me! I currently have 120+ VPS servers and 3 dedicated servers all running my own Centmin Mod LEMP stack with exception of 3 cpanel servers, 1 directadmin and 1 plesk - the latter just for learning purposes to keep my system admin know-how up to date :LOL: :D My Wordpress blog just runs on $5/month Upcloud KVM VPS :) But my forums on $40/month + $10/month for backups on Linode.
I'm planning on using Cloudflare for caching, AWS S3 (or anything similar maybe like DigitalOcean's S3) for storing images, resources etc and a managed database service (DBaaS) (like https://www.digitalocean.com/products/managed-databases/) instead of using my own MySQL.

What are your opinions on this setup? It may sound like a complicated setup when compared to just using a webhosting for everything but imo it seems more clean and easier to manage and rescale this way.
Really isn't much about what you use, but how you use it that matters. So if you're familiar with the ins and outs of that setup, then sure go for it. If you aren't I wouldn't be using it straight off the bat for the production site. Maybe set up a test staging version to learn the ropes until you get the hang of it and all the gotchas that may come up? You don't really want to run into gotcha issues for the first time on a production live site.

I prefer to keep all my assets on the same server for as long as possible before scaling out remotely - just makes it much easier to handle and also allows you to overtime be able to get to know your applications resource usage and requirements as a whole and thus the tuning/settings you need to adjust and their impact. Though I'd like to try S3 storage only once Cloudflare R2 S3 compatible storage is out as there are no egress bandwidth costs https://blog.cloudflare.com/introducing-r2-object-storage/ :)

We’re excited to announce Cloudflare R2 Storage! By giving developers the ability to store large amounts of unstructured data, we’re expanding what’s possible with Cloudflare while slashing the egress bandwidth fees associated with typical cloud storage services to zero.

Cloudflare R2 Storage includes full S3 API compatibility, working with existing tools and applications as built.
Zero egress means you can get objects out easily, but what about putting objects in? Migrating data across cloud providers, even if they both support the complete S3 API, is error-prone and costly.

To make this easy for you, without requiring you to change any of your tooling, Cloudflare R2 will include automatic migration from other S3-compatible cloud storage services. Migrations are designed to be dead simple. After specifying an existing storage bucket, R2 will serve requests for objects from the existing bucket, egressing the object only once before copying and serving from R2. Our easy-to-use migrator will reduce egress costs from the second you turn it on in the Cloudflare dashboard.

Managed database services are interesting and sound ideal for removing a lot of the configuration and management work - however, DigitalOcean's offering it is quite expensive
+1 convenience like that has a price and probably performance overhead compared to properly spec'd local MySQL hosting.
 

duderuud

Well-known member
If you need to ask you are better off using regular hosting. Setting up your own fast/stable and secure vps has a steep learning curve.
 

DreamNetworks

Active member
If you want to run just a forum, the XF Cloud solution is an awesome idea, if you think about developing or adding significant changes to the code you should take a own hosted one.
 

Hotfix

Active member
AWS for me.

However,if you choose shared hosting, for the love of God, please don't use GoDaddy or NameCheap.
Remember to ask for a dedicated IP address if you choose shared hosting. You don't want to share IP addresses with websites that are engaged in illegal activities, because many Internet Service Providers will block the IP addresses they use without a notice. This can make your website inaccessible to many people – and the worst thing is that you might not even know your website is affected. This is horrible for SEO and for your website.

I believe that Namecheap is okay, but they have many issues. For example, it's not possible to monetize a website with Ezoic if it uses Namecheap's shared hosting. Namecheap's customer service could be improved. They are good at helping with basic problems and questions, but they seem quite helpless whenever there's a more challenging issue that should be fixed asap – such as your website going offline.

They didn't even try to sell me a dedicated IP address to avoid being blocked by various Internet Service Providers. I had to ask for it myself. I'm pretty sure that many of their customers don't know they could buy a dedicated IP address and reduce the risk of being blocked by Internet Service Providers because of sharing the same IP address with some stupid scam sites.
 

Rasmus Vind

Well-known member
If you know servers. Get a VPS. If you are big (more than 50 USD for a VPS) go dedicated at Hetzner or similar.

But keep it simple while you can. Shared hosting is easy and doesn’t require much skill and time.

But DO remember to back up.
 
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