Neophyte Choose Web Hosting (VPS Or Near-equivalent)

Aug 11, 2007

I currently run five websites that are hosted by Yahoo! Small Business.

I am extremely frustrated by the fact that I cannot use PHP 5 and MySQL 5 with these websites. I pay ~$200/month for these 5 webhosting accounts.

I am beginning to see that paying this much to host 5 websites where I cannot even use the PHP version that I would like to is a bit ridiculous.

I know that I could simply switch to another shared hosting provider that includes PHP 5 as an option, but since I am running 5 websites concurrently, and these websites are each just about maxed with respect to bandwidth and disk space, shouldn't I look into another option?

So as I can see, my options are either a VDS/VPS, where I could host all 5 websites for one fee that would probably be MUCH lower than my $200/month I am paying currently, or something else that is similar.

I have decided that I want/need root access, because that way I can install/configure the system with whatever I desire now and in the future, BUT: I am not familiar with Linux (and I would want Linux) server administration; I don't know whether to choose CentOS4 or Red Hat Fedora Core 6 for an example; I don't know which Plesk 8 options I would need, etc......

WILL I BE GETTING MYSELF INTO A LOT OF TROUBLE if I choose a VPS and I am unable for some reason to administer the server properly?

I AM familiar with UNIX administration on OS X for example, and I AM familiar with coding.... PHP, SQL, Perl, Python, etc....

I just don't want to get myself into trouble although I am sure I want at least a VDS/VPS and I am sure I want root access.

I am confused as to what my options are other than a VDS/VPS (I don't think I need a dedicated server yet).

I have visited TextDrive and read about their Joyent Accelerators; what are they exactly? Not a VPS, but a scalable web-application-deployment environment?

This has been a long post and as you can see I am completely confused as to where to go from here..... could anyone that doesn't mind please let me know what my options are and what might be a good fit?

My websites are database-driven and need to be scalable.

A few of my requirements:

Full Root Access
Linux OS
at least 600GB Bandwidth
at least 25GB disk space
FTP Backup / Routine Server Backup for entire site
384-512MB Guaranteed RAM
Plesk 8 (I think) with various add-ons (which ones I don't yet know)
Support for 100 MySQL databases

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I have taken the decision to move from shared to VPS in order to have two hostings (less risky) and learn more about servers (will certainly have to take a dedi one day).

Now I need to find a plan I can afford and I must say that I have all the variables:

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I don't understand why are some certs so expensive? Doesn't 128 bit cert form any provider at any price provide the same level of security?

I thought 128 bit encryption is unbreakable. Why do someone buys 256 or 512 bit cert at higher price?

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is it any problem with hosting and vpn server ?

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a friend recently contacted me about a music webzine and forum, which is having frequent issues on its current host. The site is built in PHP, using Xoops for the webzine and phpbb2 for the forum.

In the last year, the site's traffic has been steady at 1200 unique visits, ~3500 page views and ~140,000 hits per day, for a total transfer of 20GB per month. The site's MySQL database is more than 600mb of data. Most of the site's traffic is generated through the forum, which usually has around 30 users online. Although a small community, most users are very frequent posters. Being a phpbb2 forum, it is quite CPU intensive and currently the MySQL server has frequent failures.

Our immediate plan is to switch to another provider, then upgrade to phpbb3, tweak its code and probably rewrite the webzine in Python/Django so as to implement new needs in a faster manner and make the site performe steadier and faster.

As the site is not-for-profit and therefore cost-sensitive, we are considering two plans:
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2) switch to Linode for an unmanaged VPS with 360MB of memory, for a cost of $20/month.

If the latter option is selected, we plan on using the following setup: nginx for static content (and possibly PHP if phpbb doesn't complain), Apache + mod_python for django, MySQL and mail server with MySQL virtual folders (to handle multiple domains). SpamAssassin is another consideration. The problem is I haven't actually used a VPS in the past, although I've read extensively on how to set it up and tweak the server's settings for optimal performance.

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b) would a reliable shared web host be able to handle the site's traffic load without problems, thus making the switch to a VPS unnecessary? More specifically, would webfaction, if someone has previous experience, be able to handle it?

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