[lug] Hosting Question

Ken MacFerrin lists at macferrin.com
Fri Sep 29 17:04:19 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
> admin experience.  but i've been focusing on other projects lately.  i
> imagine lots of folks are diy-selfers here.  any thoughts are welcome,
> including but not limited to.
> - did you purchase additional bandwith or are you using vanilla dsl/cable?
> - do you run a separate mail server or on the same box?
> - do you run a separate dns server or on the same box?
> - firewall setup/config (same box - i know not the best approach vs
> separate box/device)?
> - once it's setup and locked down, how much admin is involved on a regular
> basis?
> - what distribution you use & possibly why?
> - mimimum hardware requirments?
> - where you see the most return in terms of performance and hw component -
> ram, disk, etc..
> - backup / restore strategy
> 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.
> my thoughts for doing this on my own are that
> 1) I can do it (just a matter of whether i want to)
> 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
> 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

I use:
1) a hosted Xen VPS server for my email server (smtp/imaps &
webmail/https) and primary "stealth" DNS.

2) EveryDNS.net (free/donation) for my DNS slave servers and RDNS to my
home Comcast ip.

3) Dreamhost.com for my WWW hosting.

I enjoy this setup for several reasons.  First, using the VPS I have
flexibility to design my email and whatever other "always on" services I
want w/o having to worry about the infrastructure or security concerns
of running it from my home server.  My VPS host also provides a simple
web interface for me to download regular "snapshot" (tar.gz) backups of
my VPS to allow for instant restore if there was ever a catastrophic
failure (or closure) on their end.  I currently use Debian but there are
several distros available.

Second, using EveryDNS I can configure whatever DNS needs I have using
Bind on my VPS and then set EveryDNS to provide slave servers; which is
where I actually point my domains so that my VPS doesn't have to handle
public DNS queries.

Third, I use Dreamhost.com as my webhost so my VPS doesn't have to
handle the load or security of serving public www.  It's actually
cheaper to pay for separate webhosting than it would be to beef up my
VPS service to handle decent public web services with http/php/mysql.

Overall this runs me around $40/mo.  $32/mo for the VPS (256 ram, 12GB
disk, 256GB monthly bandwidth and 3 public IPs) and $8/mo for the
webhosting (20 GB diskspace, 1 TB monthly bandwidth, unlimited # of
hosted domains, etc).  Plus I also try to be a good netizen and donate a
bit annually to support EveryDNS.

So far, no complaints..

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