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  • The presentation slides have been posted: Forum & Communities Conference

    Pictures should be up today. Videos will be up either tonight or tomorrow.

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    • Originally posted by rustyangel View Post
      In your opinion, what is a GENERAL break-down on hosting costs for a forum based on certain levels of users? 10,000 users? 100,000 users? 250,000 users?
      The amount of users doesn't matter (that much), it's the amount of posts and sessions that matters.
      Once you've outgrown the amount a single server can handle (which should be somwhere between 2.000-4.000 users with 2x Quad Core Server CPUs) things start to get slightly more complicated (and expensive) - Dedicated Machines for Web and DB are just a start.

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      • Originally posted by Andreas View Post
        The amount of users doesn't matter (that much), it's the amount of posts and sessions that matters.
        Once you've outgrown the amount a single server can handle (which should be somwhere between 2.000-4.000 users with 2x Quad Core Server CPUs) things start to get slightly more complicated (and expensive) - Dedicated Machines for Web and DB are just a start.
        Isn't it cheaper to just pay someone for hosting as opposed to buying and maintaining your own servers?

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        • Originally posted by rustyangel View Post
          Isn't it cheaper to just pay someone for hosting as opposed to buying and maintaining your own servers?
          In most cases yes it makes more sense to "rent" than "buy" but once you hit a certain scale it does become more economical to DIY.
          Peter Davis - I Buy Forums
          Old Coins Forum

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          • Originally posted by rustyangel View Post
            Isn't it cheaper to just pay someone for hosting as opposed to buying and maintaining your own servers?
            It can be, it can also be more expensive.
            If you colo your own servers, you're responsable for all hardware. If something goes wrong you either need to pay a tech to look at your hardware or have someone who can go to the DC and access it.
            You'd also have to take care of any replacements that are required in case of a failure.
            You also have the upfront costs of purchasing this hardware.
            You also need to pay for your bandwidth.

            If you lease, you are not directly responsable for the hardware in most cases. If something goes wong they'll fix/replace it for you.
            In the long run leasing a server might cost much if not more. It really depends.

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            • Zachary hit the nail on the head and made a very informative post. Dedicated server costs are not easy to understand, especially if you're a newbie looking at offers from places like, e.g. WebhostingTalk. It's what they don't say you learn you're missing later.

              (1) Renting a server can be economical if you don't want to buy new hardware every year, put the money up front and your site grows so rapidly that you need annual hardware upgrades. That said, if you rent, chances are you'll have paid for the cost of a server over the course of 12-16 months.

              (2) Costs will depend upon how much hand holding you need and what kind of hand holding. If you don't know what top is and why -rm -rf is a black hole, you will need some real hand holding. You've got to ask what kind of support you get and what it will cost. If you need anything other than colocation and typical support (like server reboots, etc.), your costs will go up without a doubt. Starting out, you should absolutely rent a dedicated server and learn your way around before going to a colocated server with "pay as you need" support.

              Me - I own a couple of servers and I colocate. My stuff is durable and built to last a while (I have SSD drives for the OS and for all my databases to maximize speed.) I could probably run a couple of years this way until traffic grows to reach the limits. Cost is a few hundred a month as opposed to a rental which would have probably been 3-4 times my costs so far.
              My law forum, lawyers and legal help site

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              • Awesome information slinky!
                Huntsville's Premiere Car and Bike e-magazine: www.huntsvillecarscene.com

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                • Originally posted by petertdavis View Post
                  In most cases yes it makes more sense to "rent" than "buy" but once you hit a certain scale it does become more economical to DIY.
                  How might I be able to gauge what that limit might be? Someone has already said it's not really the number of users (per se) but about the number of posts and sessions. So, if I'm trying to plan for the future, at what "level" does it become more economically viable to buy your own servers versus just renting the hosting space? And how do you go about determining the level? It sounds like there are many factors besides just the number of users so I know this may be a difficult question...I'm just trying to get a ROUGH idea how to plan.

                  Let's say I anticipated 50,000 users by the end of year one and 100,000 by the end of year 2. Again, I realize it's more than just user count...but I can't really come up with any other way to quantify te values???

                  I am being told that hosting costs are extremely low (about $20/month to start) and can remain very economical (under $200/month) even with "tens of thousands" of users.

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                  • Originally posted by rustyangel View Post
                    How might I be able to gauge what that limit might be? Someone has already said it's not really the number of users (per se) but about the number of posts and sessions. So, if I'm trying to plan for the future, at what "level" does it become more economically viable to buy your own servers versus just renting the hosting space? And how do you go about determining the level? It sounds like there are many factors besides just the number of users so I know this may be a difficult question...I'm just trying to get a ROUGH idea how to plan.

                    Let's say I anticipated 50,000 users by the end of year one and 100,000 by the end of year 2. Again, I realize it's more than just user count...but I can't really come up with any other way to quantify te values???

                    I am being told that hosting costs are extremely low (about $20/month to start) and can remain very economical (under $200/month) even with "tens of thousands" of users.
                    If you have 50,000 concurrent users, then I would say that qualifies as 'time to get a custom solution' but if you just mean 50,000 members then most forums I see in that range do fine on a single dedicated server. For around $200 a month you can get a decent entry-level dedicated server at a nice data center like Softlayer, and if you optimize it well you should be able to easily host a forum for quite some time. Really depends on the traffic though, and how many registered members you have is less important than how many of them are using the forum at any given time.
                    Peter Davis - I Buy Forums
                    Old Coins Forum

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                    • Originally posted by petertdavis View Post
                      If you have 50,000 concurrent users, then I would say that qualifies as 'time to get a custom solution' but if you just mean 50,000 members then most forums I see in that range do fine on a single dedicated server. For around $200 a month you can get a decent entry-level dedicated server at a nice data center like Softlayer, and if you optimize it well you should be able to easily host a forum for quite some time. Really depends on the traffic though, and how many registered members you have is less important than how many of them are using the forum at any given time.
                      Great...thank you!

                      I've heard of the 90-9-1 rule (where 90% of members are lurkers, 9% post occasionally and 1% do most of the posting). Is there any rough estimation for what percentage of members a given forum might have using it at any given time? I'm sure it probably varies greatly depending on the forum, but if there are any statistics out there that might tell me something like "If you have 50,000 members, you might be able to expect 12.3% of them on the site at any given time", that would be great.

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                      • Originally posted by rustyangel View Post
                        How might I be able to gauge what that limit might be? Someone has already said it's not really the number of users (per se) but about the number of posts and sessions. So, if I'm trying to plan for the future, at what "level" does it become more economically viable to buy your own servers versus just renting the hosting space? And how do you go about determining the level? It sounds like there are many factors besides just the number of users so I know this may be a difficult question...I'm just trying to get a ROUGH idea how to plan.

                        Let's say I anticipated 50,000 users by the end of year one and 100,000 by the end of year 2. Again, I realize it's more than just user count...but I can't really come up with any other way to quantify te values???

                        I am being told that hosting costs are extremely low (about $20/month to start) and can remain very economical (under $200/month) even with "tens of thousands" of users.
                        (1) If you're getting started the answer is RENT. My suggestion, get a VPS. There are tons of them. The people I used were Neosurge.com and also Servint.net although there are many and feel free to shop around but make sure they are reliable. They are aggressively priced and a much better bargain for your money if you're taking running a forum seriously and want your site to be responsive. You can always start off small and build as you need it.

                        (2) There is no amount of users where you just know when to switch. It all depends upon what you're running and it may not be just a forum and you may have other plugins that may add to the amount of processing power you need, e.g. live chat, as well as the number of people accessing your site at the same time ("concurrent users") -- which means you may have 500,000 members but only 50 on at the same time (no big deal) or just 5,000 members but 1,000 on at the same time (unusual but possible and you might run into some limitations.) You will be able to tell whether your server is being overloaded over time by monitoring it (there is a tool where you can see the "load" which will grow over time and it will get higher and your server will start to stop being as responsive.) When you believe that your server is starting to reach its limits, then you can begin planning to move.

                        (3) Moving to a new server is not that difficult although I would ask for help the first time. If you've set yourself up properly it can be a simple affair where all your data is zipped, ported over to the new site, unzipped, config files changed to address the new server, change of your "nameservers" which tell the Internet where your hosting computer is and you're all ready to rumble.
                        My law forum, lawyers and legal help site

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                        • Videoa & Pictures have been posted: Forum & Communities Conference

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                          • Wow, I'm in the promo video.
                            Huntsville's Premiere Car and Bike e-magazine: www.huntsvillecarscene.com

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                            • Originally posted by Samir View Post
                              Wow, I'm in the promo video.
                              You are a star!


                              vB5 is unequivocally the best forum software, but not yet...

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                              • If I'm a star, everyone else there was a galaxy of stars.
                                Huntsville's Premiere Car and Bike e-magazine: www.huntsvillecarscene.com

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