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Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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What is a web host?

A web host is a service that gets your website onto the Internet. It can be done in quite a few ways, which we'll discuss. Typically you will pay a monthly or yearly fee in order to use their bandwidth, servers, and other features such as domain name registration.

What types of hosts are there?
  • Shared hosting - This is the most common type of host. You are placed on the same server as hundreds or even thousands of other websites. Each account on a shared server has it's own passwords and permissions so that they act independent of one another. Typically these are used for low-traffic web sites, if your site uses too many resources you will be warned or even kicked off the server. These are the cheapest hosts, see the overselling section for reasons why.

  • Dedicated server - This is exactly what is sounds like. You lease your very own server from the hosting company. You are the only account on that server, so you may use all the CPU/bandwidth that you like. You are also responsible for maintaining your server, including security updates and installing software.

  • Virtual dedicated server - Using today's virtualization software, a host can turn one physical server into many 'virtual' servers. This is a mix of dedicated and shared hosting. Although your virtual server exists on the same physical server as many others, it is separate as far as data is concerned. You are usually guaranteed resources such as memory and CPU, and will perform much better than a shared hosting plan.

  • Co-location - Similar to a dedicated server, except that you provide the server instead of leasing it from the company. You can configure everything on the server before sending it to your hosting company, where they set it up in their data center. Typically you will have to pay data center technicians to perform hardware repairs on your server, or you can drive to the data center and do it yourself.

  • Managed host - A managed host is similar to a dedicated server, but data center employees perform software updates and installation. Often times you will not have administrative access to the server.

  • Cloud hosting - A relatively new type of hosting, similar to a virtual server. Your resources are hosted on a cluster of machines to provide higher reliability, and you can typically purchase more 'units' of storage/power so that you can scale your package up as your needs increase.

What is a reseller account?

A reseller account allows you to sell a web hosts services and make commissions off your customers, usually by an affiliate-type system. Your customers will use the web hosts machines and bandwidth, and even control panel, branded with your company logo.

How much bandwidth/disk space/memory do I need?

Good question. Don't buy enough, and your site will slow to a crawl, or even taken offline by your host. Buy too much, and you're wasting money you could be buying baconators with. Many hosting packages will include tools for monitoring how much usage your account is incurring. Be careful, as many hosts will not allow you to switch plans and keep your data, may be responsible for transferring your site and its data from your current plan to your new one.

Can't I just host my website on my home or work computer?

You could, but you wouldn't want to run a restaurant out of your kitchen would you? Many home internet connections block ports that you typically use to host a server, not to mention it is also against most ISP's terms of service to run a server on a home connection. You also probably don't have hours of backup battery power, a generator, and 3 different fiber-optic internet connections going into your house.

Hosting on your PC also means your website isn't accessible when you reboot and you don't have to worry about a hacker jumping from your website to your personal files. And at work, your IT department will crucify if you if they find you running a web site form your work computer.

But my ISP gives me free hosting!

Some of them still do. The amount of space is usually very small, and you may not get access to things such as databases or shell accounts. If you just want a place to store some pictures or meeting minutes from your Star Trek club, the space your ISP gives you should be fine.

What does 1U, 2U, 4U, full-cabinet, half-rack mean?

Here's a "42U cabinet":



A 'U' is a rack unit. That's the smallest individual unit of space in a cabinet. 1U, 2U, 4U all mean one unit, two unit, four unit, etc. Typically the smallest server is 1U, as are many network devices such as switches, routers, or appliances for spam filters or firewalls.

Here's a typical 1U server:



As you can see, it's basically all the components of a server (motherboard, memory, hard drives, etc) packed into a compact size. As you may have guessed, you can cram 42 of these things into one cabinet. If you rent 4U of space from a host, you could put 4 1U servers in there, or 2 2U servers, or one giant 4U server. Or you could put a single 2U server, a 1U firewall, and then a 1U spam filter in your space. You can rent a whole cabinet if you want. 48U is also a common size, and you can do things like rent half of a cabinet.

How much do they cost?

Web hosting can run from anywhere from a few dollars a month for a shared host, or hundreds or even thousand dollars a month for dedicated hosting.

What is a shell account?

A shell account is usually a very low cost account where you can access a UNIX/Linux server via the command line. They are very useful for testing, IRC, and sometimes have limited space for files and websites. Many web hosts have 'shell access', where you can access your account using SSH.

I want to host porn, IRC bots, or things that may not be legal in my country

Check with your provider. Adult material can be very bandwidth intensive or go against the morals/beliefs of a provider. IRC often attracts attacks from other users and is prohibited by most providers. And if the legality of your content is questioned by your home country, you may wish to find a web host in another country whose views and opinions more closely match yours.

Do I want Unix or Windows hosting?

For most websites it doesn't matter what the underlying server is. If the software package you want to run only works on Windows or Linux, then the choice has been made for you.

What is overselling?

Overselling is the business model that shared hosts use to make money. It might sound bad at first, but it's not anything to worry about. Basically they promise you a huge amount (or infinite amount) of disk space and data transfer for an unbelievably low price. 500GB for $5.95?! A 500GB server hard drive costs $200, how do they buy one for every customer?!

It's not magic. If you have 500 people signed up for shared hosting, 450 of them might only use 1GB of space. 50 of the remaining people might use 10GB, and there's that last 50 people who are going to use up 100GB because they're pigs. So it all works out in the end.

It's kind of like the gym, where for $20 a month you can use the exercise equipment. They might have 500 members at the gym, but only 10 treadmills. Since all 500 people don't go to the gym everyday, or all day, they don't need 500 treadmills.

However, like the gym, a web host can be 'oversold'. If you have too many people using too many resources on a server (or at the gym), you're going to want to find a new gym. You'll either be standing in line to use the treadmill, or your users will be standing in line while they wait for your website.

What features should I get?

Depends on what features you need.

Why do I need a domain name?

If you don't have a domain name, you'll have you access your site and servers through strange letter number combinations such as web34599291.megahost.com. So either buy your own domain name (they're cheap) or set up a dynamic domain name through a place such as DynDns.

What is this data center thing I keep hearing about?

A data center is a building which contains hundreds or thousands of servers. Typically it will have multiple high-speed internet connections from different providers, massive cooling system, generators for backup power, high building security (you don't want people going in and pulling pranks like unplugging your server).





Goon-Run Hosts
https://www.lithiumhosting.com
https://www.apisnetworks.com
http://www.singlehop.com/
http://www.hostdime.com/
http://www.angryhosting.com/
betaForce

Shared hosts - these are all generally terrible. Good luck!
Dreamhost
Host Gator
1&1
https://www.justhost.com
https://www.bluehost.com
https://www.inmotion.com
https://www.powweb.com
https://www.hostmonster.com

Virtual Private Hosting AKA THE CLOUD
http://www.rackspace.com/cloud
https://www.linode.com
https://www.asmallorange.com
https://www.prgmr.com
https://www.vultr.com/
http://ramnode.com/
https://www.ovh.com/us/vps/
https://www.digitalocean.com
http://aws.amazon.com/ec2/

Dedicated hosts
https://www.rackspace.com
https://www.serverbeach.com
https://www.theplanet.com
https://www.verio.com

Free Hosts
https://www.0catch.com
https://www.yourfreehosting.net
https://www.250free.com
https://www.007sites.com

Control Panels
https://www.cpanel.com
https://www.webmin.com
https://www.parallels.com/plesk/
https://www.directadmin.com

Forums for discussing hosts
https://www.webhostingtalk.comra

Bob Morales fucked around with this message at Jan 29, 2015 around 14:39

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Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


If for some strange reason your app runs on a Mac, you can co-lo a Mac Mini

http://www.macminicolo.net/



Apparently they work almost as good as Xserves and cost far, far less.

One time I had a stupid idea to use an army of laptops for hosting.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


JHVH-1 posted:

I work at http://www.choopa.com
We do mostly managed servers, and mostly adult sites. A lot of porno tube streaming video applications, and that kind of thing.

We don't do CPanel virtual accounts anymore, but if you want to run your own CPanel server we sell it as an add-on.

We also run http://unmeteredservers.com for unmanaged customers who want a capped speed port and not worry about how 95th percentile or transfer per month.

I don't suspect a lot of people here to be that interested as we aren't a goon priced type of place that sells hosting for $10/month.

Do you guys run the choopa.net EFnet server too?

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


This is more server-related, but is anyone out there packing 1U/2U servers with GPU's? What are your options and how many can you stick in there? Do you end up exceeding any kind of heat or power limitations a typical host would complain about?

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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Which VPS software makes it possible to oversell?

If you are using Xen, it's impossible to oversell disk/memory, right?

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go




I'm trying to do the math on how many customers you'd have to have to compete with slicehost, (offering a lower price) and still make money

Bob Morales fucked around with this message at Apr 15, 2010 around 15:46

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


Elected by Dogs posted:

keep in mind a few other things: they are owned by Rackspace and pay much less for space, bandwidth, power, and I seriously mean a billion times less than what you would probably pay at any decent place

Corporate buying power, etc.

I was reading a blog of one of the smaller VPS places, and the guy is building his own servers with just 2 SATA drives per machine, etc. Yuck. Over 36 months, the cost of buying a better server doesn't affect profit too much. I also think he's on 10mb links and not 100.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


Rufo posted:

When you turn a profit how about you buy yourself a legit copy of Office you filthy pirate.

Not I promise. Re-sized my Windows partition and WGA flipped out.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


eightysixed posted:

Is IRC even that important? Important enough to poo poo this thread up with it?

Well, it is where hackers hang out.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


DNova posted:

http://www.prweb.com/releases/2010/04/prweb3895124.htm

Same company, right?

That's written by the marketing department, it's not a news article.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


Stacie posted:

Thank you for suggesting us kind sir :-D

If you guys have any questions I would be happy to answer them as shell hosting could be a little tricky!

How the hell do you set it up so the users can't gently caress everything up?

Are there any guides or pre-configured setups out there?

Or is it just trial/error from locking users down and giving them a little here, a little there and figuring that out from years of experience running a shell host. I had a rootshell.be account (Free) and it must have been on a 286 because it was slower than molasses and only 12 people were logged in.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


Spamtron7000 posted:

Either way, would someone mind telling me some things to consider when looking for a host to just stream a single file over and over again?

How much throughput? You could get an unmetered server and do that, or look into a CDN (content distribution network) like CacheFly

Rufo posted:

This is only a problem with free hosts. I've never seen this as a condition on proper hosting; it seems absurd.

Well, there's got to be somewhere they pull the plug. If you made your own Linux distro, for example, and just used Dreamhost or Hostgator to host the ISO's, they'd pull the plug on you. You couldn't just store a bunch of 5 meg files and link to them elsewhere, I was talking to a guy who got shut down for that.

Mortanis posted:

It doesn't look like there's a lot of good options for Windows based VPS setups. The company I work for has all its own hardware for hosting some 500+ website - we build the site, then host it. That's worked fine, but we're looking at losing the hardware due to cost, and maybe switching to VPS based services.

Mortanis posted:

Our current servers are all virtualized (Minus our DNS server that is pretty ancient at this point) on VMWare ESX 4. Best case scenario, we find a host that would allow us to move our virtual servers to their host. I haven't found anything that seems likely.

So you own the hardware and it's co-located? I don't think it'd be cheaper to lease VPSes. Maybe you could some lease the servers or something, but you'd still have to migrate when the lease was up.

Does the VMware license even allow people to re-sell VM's, or is that just with the free version?

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


Me Clumsy posted:

Can someone in the business explain to me how a web site with mostly passive content and tons of "extranet" content - that is, acessible over the web but only to users with the proper credentials, not the general public - could benefit from VPS instead of shared hosting?

Usually a VPS will smoke shared hosting

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


optikalus posted:

The only reason for VPS over shared is getting to run your own services. I have yet to see a VPS be able to come anywhere near the performance of my servers.

Well, you do get full access to the server, which can be good or bad, depending on what you want and if you have someone to admin the box for you (if you can't)

But a VPS is going to be quite a bit faster than your 'typical' shared host.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


optikalus posted:

You keep saying this, but it just isn't true in my experience. Way smaller margins on VPS than shared hosting, so VPS hardware just isn't as good, and usually way more oversold.

People usually get VPS because they're going to beat on it and don't want to pay for a full dedicated. I would say that the majority of VPS users use their services way more than a typical shared hosting customer.

I've never had even 'decent' performance from a big shared host (speaking from GoDaddy, Powweb, and Web.com from the top of my head)

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


drcru posted:

Anybody here happen to have a coupon for Linode or Slicehost?

My current host is getting kinda choppy lately.

No coupon, but Linode increased the RAM in all their packages a few days ago.

http://blog.linode.com/2010/06/16/l...g-ram-increase/

The numbers are very favorable compared to Slicehost now:

Linode
512MB/16GB/200GB/$19.95
1024MB/32GB/400GB/$39.95

Slicehost
256MB/10GB/150GB/$20
512MB/20GB/300GB/$38
1024MB/40GB/600GB/$70

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


drcru posted:

I'm thinking about getting the 768MB plan on Linode. I usually have a 1024MB plan but I haven't been using more than 200MB lately. Does the extra RAM really help a lot?

Also I can't seem to find how much IPs and extra space/bandwidth cost on Linode...

After you create your account you can add them through the Linode Manager. IP's are a buck a piece.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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atastypie posted:

Can someone recommend a windows reseller provider? Host Dime is goon run, but are those prices as good as I'm going to be able to get? I only need ~2GB of space and ~20GB of transfer with no plan on expanding.

I've been using Web.com for years for a few sites, they're always up. They're nothing big or complicated though.

http://www.web.com/hosting/windows.aspx

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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nooge posted:

Because every channel I know has been a total failure, I come here to ask if Dreamhost just loving picked up and left?

No panel access, all servers I have are down, no way possible to contact support.

I'm going to loving kill someone.

Or switch to linode.

Doesn't seem like any problems, maybe there is a routing issue at your ISP

http://www.dreamhoststatus.com/

For future use, check out http://downforeveryoneorjustme.com/

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


Does anyone know of a place that offers OS X shell accounts?

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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Just use Backblaze, Carbonite, or whoever for $5 a month.

If you use a web hosting account, you will have to transfer files with FTP or install and configure a third party application on your site to enable file transfers.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


Tsaven Nava posted:

Really, that's all I want is some web space with FTP access.

Alright, then you can use whatever host you want. Just pick a good one that does backups. You might have trouble finding a VPS with enough storage space+transfer at a low cost.

Just make sure you don't put the files in /www or /public_html

Make sure your host allows you to use sftp, so your stuff is secure. And if it's a shared host and it's confidential poo poo, encrypt it before you upload it.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


Maneki Neko posted:

Are you counting the costs of paying Vmware for ESX licenses? You can't use free ESXi in a hosting environment, if that was your plan.

I think the license agreement says you specifically cannot use it to resell VM's.

Adorai:

What kind of disk subsystems would you plan on running?

I think the biggest thing that the big VPS providers have are the tools that allow people to create a VM almost instantly, and also give them the ability to buy more disk/bandwidth and add VM's on the fly. They also have a built-in backup service now.

It sounds like the guy from prgmr.com has quite a few customers, and you should be able to duplicate his setup fairly easy.

You should get a bunch of free beta testers from this thread while you break your system in

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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Tsaven Nava posted:

I have a customer that wants simple hisname@hiscompany.com e-mail address. Doesn't need a web site yet, but might want one in the future. Only needs a couple e-mail addresses, nothing fancy or complicated, and would be okay accessing it via a web-based interface.

1and1 has some e-mail only packages for $0.99/mo, which looks to suit the need fine. Is there any reason NOT to go with them? I've checked, and the domain name he wants is available.

1. Make him buy the domain name (Better yet, sell it to him for more)
2. Add his domain to your Hostgator/Dreamhost/Godaddy account (unlimited domains, remember)
3. Add his email address to that (unlimited email, remember)
4. Charge him $4.95 a month or whatever

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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rugbert posted:

godaddy

GoDaddy donated millions to the McCain campaign and support net neutrality.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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BorderPatrol posted:

Thanks for this helpful information I guess?

Oops, I meant doesn't support net neutrality.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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ClosedBSD posted:

just don't use the Atlanta datacenter with linode if you want IRC

Doesn't that only apply to IRC servers, not clients?

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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CelestialScribe posted:

I'm totally lost - set up a Lithium Hosting account for my blog, and it tells me that WordPress is installed already, but I don't have idea how to access a login page or the WordPress software itself.

Does anyone know where I can go to login? I'm a total, absolutely nooby at this.

You could poke around in the file manager and try to find where it's installed

http://codex.wordpress.org/Installing_WordPress

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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Mithra6 posted:

Thanks. I'm not trying to be mysterious, I wasn't sure exactly what to say here. It's basically a cloud-based customer and property management database with some heavy duty history searches, reporting, blah blah blah. I'm most worried about processing and stability.

You'll have to write it and find out. One programmer might be able to make it so it can handle 100 users at a time, but a bag programmer might make it only handle 5.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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Apache 1.x

What hosts still use it? I know GoDaddy and 1&1 do, but do who else?

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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Fangs404 posted:

Signed up for Linode and migrated my MediaTemple site there today. I haven't done much web administration stuff under Linux before, but it was really easy and straightforward thanks to Linode's amazing documentation. I just got the base 512mb plan, and it's much faster than MT was. The flexibility of a VPS is awesome.

I have encountered one problem, though. I have a WordPress blog installed. When I try to upload a plugin through the web interface ([domain]/wordpress/wp-admin/plugin-install.php?tab=upload), it doesn't work. I get taken to a page that wants my FTP login info. I assumed this is a permissions issue, so I chmodded 777 wp-content and all directories under that directory (plugins, themes, upgrade, and uploads). It still fails, though. I Googled some, and some people suggest to chown with the httpd user (www-data). I tried that just to see if it worked, and it did. I don't want to do that, though, because it's a pain in the rear end to upload files through SFTP, and it's also insecure. Does anyone know how to fix this without chowning all the files for the httpd process?

Don't 'chmod 777' and the whole reason you want to use sftp over ftp is because it's secure.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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Are there cheap DNS hosts out there?

All I really want is to host say 5 DNS records. I really don't need any web space or poo poo like that because I just have a couple machines running here and there.

Right now I'm on a shared host, it's only $5 a month but from time to time I can't reach stuff. Not just my website, but DNS records I have through them (mail.bobmorales.com or minecraft.bobmorales.com) won't resolve.

Something like $10/year would rule, if I can add a dinky VPS or get web space that's a plus but I really don't need those features.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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adonis_dna posted:

I'm shopping around for a dedicated server to host my ASP.NET application and could use some help, specifically on choosing how much/how little hardware I need. I know it's a tough/relative question, but hear me out:

It's real tough to say depending on the app and how busy it is. We have a dual-quad Xeon with 12GB that hosts both an mySQL server, and an Apache web server, and there's around 50,000 users accessing the site every day. Mostly just logging in and logging data, but there's a small percentage of users that are uploading photos and stuff like that.

I'd personally set it up on a PC locally, and then make some sort of load testing script that simulates user access. Your big issues will probably be RAM and disk, plus what's your backup strategy?

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

This post is good to go


More of a DNS question, but...

Let's say you have a bunch of websites, all on one server:

site1.com
site2.com
site3.com
..
..

And they all have NS records pointing to the same IP address, such as 11.22.33.44

For making it easier to move them around in the future, could you point them all to the same CNAME, like web.myserver.com?

Then when I move to a different host I can just change the A record for web.myserver.com instead of 50 or 100 individual records?

Pros/cons?

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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Rufo posted:

This is something that he'd have to watch out for, yes

MX and NS records cannot point to a CNAME

Correct, I should have said

dev.site1.com
staging.site1.com
dev.site2.com
staging.site2.com

etc

since site1.com is actually pointing to whatever the actual website is at the co-lo

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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Seven Round Things posted:

Is there a good free host?

You get what you pay for. What do you need? Befriend a goon or someone on IRC and maybe they'll give you a shell or some web space or if you suck a great cock, a small VPS.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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Is there really any worry on running WordPress and Joomla! on our production servers, full of our production apps and data (no credit card numbers or things like that, but nonetheless it's data)?

We're re-doing our site as a Joomla! site, and instead of throwing it on a VPS or something they want to throw it on the 'main server'. I suggested we put it on it's own server, the rest of the team came back with "It's already running Wordpress and Interspire, what's the difference?"

Am I coming across as a paranoid freak or am I the only person with half a brain? I know Joomla and WP aren't rinky-dink CMSes but it's still not bright to stick it on a server that runs your core business production apps, right?

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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B-Nasty posted:

I would love to see an analysis of GD vs. other hosts where quantitative metrics of service quality/speed/etc. were compared with price.

It'd be hard to measure a shared host of that size. You'd have to get multiple accounts on different servers, and show averages and high/low. You could get an account on a busy server and have it smoked by one on a mostly idle server.

Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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coinstarpatrick posted:

I would also be open to getting a VPS to manage myself. I know a lot of people go into running a webhost thinking it will print money or will be easy, I'm at least not that bad but I'd like some real world talk on the subject. Any resources you might know of on the topic would be appreciated. Thanks.

You don't want to be a 24/7 sysadmin, which you'll end up being if you get an un-managed VPS/dedicated server. If you get a managed one, you'll just be poor.

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Bob Morales
Aug 18, 2006

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divio is hax posted:

Does anyone have any experience with the VPS hosting in the first post? I'm having difficulty understanding how the prices are determined. For example vps hosting like myhosting.com and vpsland.com are incredibly cheap - even when considering their windows server 2008 options... almost too cheap to be true. $20-30 prices for base packages. That is half what most everyone else charges. How are they getting away with this and what features would I be losing.

Overselling. Their packages for Linux Virtuozzo don't look THAT cheap. Apparently you can oversell Hyper-V?

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