[lug] Hosting Question

George Sexton gsexton at mhsoftware.com
Fri Sep 29 15:53:58 MDT 2006

dio2002 at indra.com wrote:
> i'm getting ready to turn a couple (2-4) personal websites live and will
> be adding a few more over the next year.  i don't expect lots of sustained
> traffic (in terms of being bombarded by big numbers of individuals).  at
> least initially.  however, when someone does arrive, i would like the
> download/response time to be snappy.  some sites will contain flash and
> photo galleries.  in sum, my overall load will probably be low but i want
> the experience to be responsive.  i will need php/mysql support as well.
> i'm wondering how feasible it is to host a *responsive* 24x7 server from
> home versus colocating or going with a host provider.  i do have linux

Co-location is usually a pretty expensive option. OTOH, it's the one 
that gives you the most control You're responsible for the machine 
entirely. I think the cheapest you could find co-location for would be 
$100 per month for 1U of rack-space.

There are some real advantages to co-location, but it's pretty expensive 
and takes a fair amount of expertise to keep going. There's also the 
issue of fault tolerance. I keep spare drives and power supplies on hand 
for my servers. But, if a server dies then I'm on the hook for getting a 
new one up to the facility.

> - did you purchase additional bandwith or are you using vanilla dsl/cable?

The biggest problem I had with self-hosting is power. It seems that 
every summer, there are 3 days or so of power outages. Last year, it was 
the pits. There was something like 18 hours of outages in our area 
spread over 4 days. If people are paying real money for your service, 
this is a problem.

We have some 300 paying customers using an application that we provide. 
If things are down, the phone starts ringing pretty quickly.

> on the other hand, maybe it's just easier/better to host with an ISP.  if
> you host with an ISP, any recommendations are welcomed (good and bad
> experiences).  i'd prefer someone local.
Everyone has their preferences. I've been pretty happy with FRII for 
many years. They answer the phone quickly, and it never takes long to 
fix things. The staff aren't reading from a script, and they all speak 
English.... They're not perfect. They have messed a few things up, but 
the fact that I know that I can call and get a live body in 2 minutes at 
1:00 AM on a Sunday is pretty great.

> 2) i will be updating and adding more sites/functionality over the course
> of a year so i have more flexibility in what i can do in my sandbox versus
> having to haggle with an isp all the time to change configs etc
Discount hosting providers aren't going to haggle. They make money the 
way health clubs do. Signing up lots of people, and praying that most of 
them don't use the service. Adjustments to running systems just aren't 
going to happen.

There's a news group for web masters. alt.www.webmaster. About 1/3rd of 
the messages are people looking for cheap hosting providers, and another 
1/3rd are people who signed up for a cheap hosting provider last month 
complaining about the poor service.

> 3) my sense is that administering multiple domains with an ISP on a box i
> don't own is likely to be more challenging than me just owning my own box
 From what I've seen of the various control panel packages it shouldn't 
be that hard.

George Sexton
MH Software, Inc.
Voice: +1 303 438 9585
URL:   http://www.mhsoftware.com/

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