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Where to host a site that might go viral?

Discussion in 'Web Hosting' started by GreyWolf, Mar 10, 2010.

  1. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Hi everyone, I've been working on a project lately that will be ready to launch soon. It is an interesting idea regarding a topic people are passionate about. It will be easy to get it indexed and links posted on related sites, and it is really a pretty novel idea. Just like any other idea, there is no gaurantee that it will atract any significant traffic at all, but it has potential.

    What I'm wondering is this. I've been hosting all my domains on a reseller account (epro hosting) for the last year or so. It is one of those unlimited traffic accounts, and haven't had any problems with the meager amount of traffic that I get on my other sites. I'm sure it would handle considerable more traffic than anything I get so far. But if I get lucky and have a website hit the front page of Digg or get mentioned on National TV, I'm pretty sure that the surge of traffic will create a problem.

    For all my other sites I just figure if it gets popular enough I will see my stats growing and have time to find another solution if neccessary. But what if a site goes viral? How do you deal with that. And if you have an idea and a way to implement it that has a really good potential of going viral how should that be dealt with. If the surge of traffic might take down the host, I don't want to risk my other sites going down too, or worse losing my host account permanently.

    Is there a better solution? Maybe another hosting company that is still cheap enough to set up (in case it goes nowhere), but still be able to handle a surge of traffic if it succeeds in going viral? Does anyone have any suggestions as to where would be a good place to host the new site?

    Any suggestions would be appreciated. Thanks.
     
  2. secax

    secax Junior Member

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    try bluehost
     
  3. donkeydude

    donkeydude Registered Member

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    hostgator baby account is hard to beat.
     
  4. Deviance

    Deviance Regular Member

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    They are still going to shut down your account of you use 25% CPU resources for X seconds, so if your site really gets a big traffic surge shared hosts (''unlimited BW'' or not'') just simply won't cut it.

    A dedicated server is, really, the only solution.
     
  5. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Thats why I'm wanting to be somewhat prepared in advance. I don't want to get a dedicated server unless the website actually does take off. So I'm looking for a place to host that that the basic account would be able to handle a fair amount of traffic, and then if it is neccessary to switch up to another type of account have good customer support that could help get everything changed over quickly while the site is still hot.

    So the host needs to have a decent affordable plan to start, and then have an available way to upgrade to something else that is still somewhat reasonable. Looking at the bluehost and hostgator baby accounts they are affordable and look like there is a reasonable upgrade to a business account for only about double or triple the cost of the basic account. I can't tell by looking at their websites, does anyone know how much traffic those basic accounts handle? and if they are upgraded is the business account a dedicated server? It seems that for the price of the upgraded account it probably still isn't a dedicated server, but does anyone know how much additional traffic the business accounts would handle?
     
  6. meathead1234

    meathead1234 Moderator Staff Member Moderator Premium Member

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    Shared hosting isn't going to help you however they spin it in the sales pages.

    If you want scalable hosting go with a cloud solution (I believe Rackspace do this) - that way you can easily scale up if it starts going viral. Moving from shared to dedicated could be problematical if you start getting regular traffic so go with something decent to start with.
     
  7. Blockis

    Blockis Newbie

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    Dedicated is what you need, although Host Gator's packages are pretty hard to beat.

    Blockis
     
  8. character

    character Regular Member

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    go with slicehost.. upgrading your slice is a click away and they will help you with the transfer
     
  9. OldMadHatter

    OldMadHatter Junior Member

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    now, I handle some heavy traffic and have / had accounts with providers named here.
    if your idea is only half as good as you hope, stay away from shared hosting. CPU throttling in Bluehost killed a site using my plugin and that after I told the client to relocate it once they go over 200 visitors/day.

    here's my 2c solution (a lot more expensive than that to implement, unfortunately). depending on what your scripting requirements are, get a small VPS and deploy nginx on it. if you must keep Apache, use reverse proxy (RPAF module) to save memory and eAccelerator for PHP. if possible, scrap Apache completely (you can run PHP and PERL directly under nginx).
    also, if based on WP, use Super Cache plugin.
    this setup, properly done, can hold literally thousands of sessions on a small server - just make sure it does not succumb under heavy I/O load. and good luck with your idea, keep us posted!
     
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  10. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    That is exactly what I'm afraid of. The site will be mostly just standard html for the landing page and then part of the site will be set up with either use wp or a simple bb forum to allow interactivity with the visitors, allowing for comments and debate, etc. So exept for the forum ability the site shouldn't place much demand on the server except for actually serving up pages. How many visitors/day did it take before they started throttling the account.

    I'm going to look up the other things you mentioned to see what I can find. The problem is of course that there is no gaurantee it will make the impact I'm hoping for, so i don't want to spend a lot of money for a hugely scalled solution, only to find it not going anywhere. But on the other hand if it does go viral, then when someone emails their friend about it then the site better be up, or it won't keep getting forwarded on.

    I'm on a very limited budget right now otherwise I would just set it up prepared for the best, but as it is I don't have the money to risk. I can afford to try something better than the $9.99 or less plans, but I still need to keep it under around $50 or so to start. The site will be monetized from the start, so if it succeeds then there should be money available to scale it up.
     
  11. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Thanks the advice.
    Can anyone recommend any good hosts that I could use to do this? What kind of price should I be expecting for this? How hard is it to use a VPS. All I've dealt with so far is shared hosting with WHM and Cpanel. How much more will I have to know to use a VPS?
     
  12. judson

    judson Power Member

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    The thing with scaling is that there are so many different considerations that all impact on your final solution.

    At the very least, follow some of the Mad Hatter's advice. (Not sure that dumping Apache for NginX is the best solution for all problems). On a budget, you want to cache as much as you can. If you are running on WP, there are many plugins you can use for this. Cache is your friend ... both on the site, and in the infrastructure, or server setup.

    You can also begin to easily do more interesting things, like serve images and other files from a CDN (content delivery network). It does not have to be fancy. This could just be another hosting account you got just to serve images. For many reasons, which I won't get into here, this can speed up your site.

    One more thing you could do easily, is hive your forum and dynamic bits off to a different server if possible. Very little of this dynamic content will be cached, and it will probably be a bigger drain on your server resources. In addition, depending on your site, you want to keep the Intro/Content humming, even if the other bits crash under the server load.

    After caching, which you should do irrespective of your final solution, the next baby step is something like slicehost. I have used them before, and the advantage is that you can increase the size of your slice in an instant to deal with a traffic spike. Setting one of these up is trivial for anyone with VPS experience. Slices can get quite expensive quite quickly though, so YMMV. Another problem with a situ like this, is you probably get a huge spike in traffic when your site gets dug, and then a lull, so you only need the additional capacity for a short period of time.

    If you are new to the game, VPS and slices are probably a better way to go than a dedicated server at this stage.

    On a related note, there are a lot of providers that will sell you a dedi or VPS, with no time tie-in, or setup costs, and so you could ostensibly get one of these as a precaution, and then downgrade if the site does not go viral.

    There are tons of offers over at the WebHostingTalk forums.
     
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  13. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Thanks a lot, I think maybe the VPS is the way I'll probably go. I searched a little and found that you can get a VPS with abut 750GB bandwidth in the range of my budget of $50. I've only dealt with shared hosting before. How hard is it to set up a VPS? Will I have to do a lot of server configuration stuff? How hard is it to figure out.

    Is there anything I should look for when I'm selecting one? I found one co. called KnownHosting that is the right price range, but what do I need to look for to be sure theyre any good. Is there any other VPS sellers that anyone else is happy with?
     
  14. judson

    judson Power Member

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    Setting up a VPS is not hard. Especially if all you want to be doing on it is run a WP site or forum. PM me if you need a hand with this. You can be up and running with a production site within a couple of hours. The setup is not that different for a dedicated server either.

    What you want to look for, especially on WHT, is the rep. Just search and see if there are any disgruntled customers. Other than that, it will be a crapshoot. One thing that is always good to have though is RAM. Lots of dedicated RAM is good. + some offer more burstable RAM too. Especially where you are caching the site, you can pretty much be serving all the static pages just from RAM which is much faster than hitting the disks for every page request.

    About the 750Gb::
    Bandwidth is one of those things that webhosts tout to attract new business. It really depends on your site, but for *most* users, by the time you are serving > 500Gb per month, you should be profitable enough to afford umetered servers.

    A good question to ask is the size of the pipes the servers are on, typically 10Mb or 100Mb. Look at it this way. Which offer is better, drink all you want, but only through a straw, or drink only up to 12 beers as quickly as you can drink them?

    It really depends on your site. You might find that the server is the bottleneck. Or that you fill the pipe for a period, and that that is the bottleneck. Rarely will content sites be serving 750Gb per day. Even at an average of 500k per page (quite big), you would need to be serving over 50k page views every single day to hit that limit.
     
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  15. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Thanks, when I find a host and get a chance to look at it, if I feel lost I might take you up on that offer. I have a pretty small learning curve, but sometimes a little help can save a lot of time.

    Yeah that is the hardest thing to get any real understanding on. Thanks for your explaination. My landing pages and the static pages will be mostly text so less than 10k for most of them. A small amount of graphics of course but really everything is small and simple. About 15 to 20 pages of static content pages. A couple pages will be larger with a lot of graphics, but they are ancillary pages that only some of the visitors will go to. I don't even need the WP except that it will be good for this site to have a place for debate. I figure the easiest was is to use wp and make a few content articles there so that people can leave comments, there. I already know how to set up wp so it seems easier than setting up a forum script. So based on all that I can probably even go to the lower package VPS that offers 500GB which is even more affordable.

    If I start with that and then turns out I get the traffic and do need to go up to 750GB is ther anything that needs to be changed as far as my VPS server setup? or is it just a matter of upgrading my account. In otherwords can I just make a phonecall or email, or will I need to migrate everything to another server. Thats probably a dumb question, but I haven't dealt with server management at all before.

    Thanks
     
  16. judson

    judson Power Member

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    I would check with the hosting company.

    On the VPS, from a technical perspective, it is a question of enabling more resources, so is theoretically just a phonecall or email away. Most hosts I have dealt with gladly allow you to upgrade to 'bigger', higher cost packages. 'downgrading' on the other hand is not always so easy.

    Thinking about it, once you have narrowed down your list of potential suppliers, you could just contact them all, telling them you want package X, and that you might want to upgrade to package Y in the future. Find out which ones give the best response. Bonus points will be those that allow you to temporarily upgrade to package Z for a short time when your site gets slashdotted.
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  17. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Ok here is what I'm thinking about. Currently I pay $20 for an unlimited domains and bandwidth shared hosting plan. I found a VPS plan for $35 that has 512MB RAM, 30GB disk space, 750MB bandwidth and then additional $5 for control panel, the next tier is only $10 more to get 768MB/40GB/1000GB.

    If I set up all my other domains on the VPS, then I will be increasing my current monthly cost by $20. If I do that then if one of my sites does get popular or go viral, it will be much easier to deal with. Even if my new site doesn't do as well as I think it might, I will still be getting more control over my sites, and better performance overall. Am I thinking along the right line here?

    If so can someone look at this host http://knownhost.com/vps_packages.html and tell me if the specs seems like a good choice? Is there any other companies that you would recommend instead? Has anyone dealt with them and had any problems? They have a datacenter in Texas and California you have to choose where you want to be, is there any reasons that would make one a better option that the other? I'll still be searching for other hosting plans myself as well, but this one seems pretty legit. Just hard to tell nowadays.

    I looked at the cloud stuff a little bit, it seems like it may be much faster to scale, but seems like it might get pretty expensive. It seems to me like the VPS will be a lot easier to figure out, maybe the cloud solution will make more sense after I have used a VPS for a while???
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  18. !!paul!!

    !!paul!! Newbie

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    have you tried amazon's cdn network? or slicehost?

    You may be able to offload some of your content, onto different boxes, this might also help?

    Do you need that much traffic - or is it just for growth? You'll be better of going for a vendor that doesnt oversell :)
     
    Last edited: Mar 14, 2010
  19. GreyWolf

    GreyWolf Executive VIP Jr. VIP

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    Well the $38 plan with slicehost has 512MB RAM but only 20GB diskspace and 300GB bandwidth. Just from a money angle it seems like the knownhost would be better for me, as long as no one here has any nightmare stories to share. I hadn't found the amazon cdn network yet, so I will look that up right now.

    Thanks.

    BTW... Has anyone looked at the server specs on the knownhost plans I linked to in my previous post? The basics look good to me, but maybe someone else will see something I should be concerned about. So far I think, unless I find something that looks better in the next couple days, I will be contacting knownhost to ask the questions mentioned in previous posts. I want to get this set up so I have time to learn anything I need to about setting up on a VPS, that way I can have everything ready when I launch my new site in a couple weeks.
     
  20. !!paul!!

    !!paul!! Newbie

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    You're right about the pricing, it all depends on the requirements - I'm not sure what you're angle is so dont know the data specifics.

    The most important thing for google PR, and customer experience is to have the pages load relatively quickly :), so finding a box where the majority of your customers are is going to be better off (i.e south africa vs usa).

    A really good place you could look if you havnt already is webhostingtalk.com - they have a deals section which normally has some pretty good deals going (also reviews of other hosts; and not the fake testimonial reviews we're all used to either :))

    Good luck buddy.