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  • New host needed again? Maybe just server tweaks?

    I operate a licensed Vbulletin forum for a non-profit group. The forums have grown significantly in the last 2 years since our move to the current host. A month or two ago, our current provider "upgraded" our service to new server hardware. Since then, our performance has decreased with more frequent slowdowns and ocassional stops that appear to be related to SQL issues.

    Our forums are now getting about 20,000 posts a month. At any given time, the active users counter shows 500, plus or minus 100. Cpanel indicates about 20gb-30gb a month, with 1,000,000 page views and over 5,000,000 hits according to both awstats and webalizer. Our current shared hosting plan is limited to 40gb and we are approaching that number when our main website is also considered.

    So, the main question is, what should we do that won't cost a fortune? We currently pay $50 a year. I think $10 a month would be reasonable, $20 a month or $240 a year would be the absolute maximum. I'm not an internet guru but I do know the basics. So please consider that with your recommendations. Perhaps there are simple tweaks I can suggest to our current provider that would be sufficient or perhaps there are other providers who really know how to setup a server for vBulletin performance? Our bandwidth and traffic in general have roughly doubled each year for the past few years, so if that trend continues we will need to make a change at some point.

    Thank you for any suggestions!

    http://www.car-seat.org

  • #2
    Originally posted by Carsafety View Post
    I operate a licensed Vbulletin forum for a non-profit group. The forums have grown significantly in the last 2 years since our move to the current host. A month or two ago, our current provider "upgraded" our service to new server hardware. Since then, our performance has decreased with more frequent slowdowns and ocassional stops that appear to be related to SQL issues.

    Our forums are now getting about 20,000 posts a month. At any given time, the active users counter shows 500, plus or minus 100. Cpanel indicates about 20gb-30gb a month, with 1,000,000 page views and over 5,000,000 hits according to both awstats and webalizer. Our current shared hosting plan is limited to 40gb and we are approaching that number when our main website is also considered.

    So, the main question is, what should we do that won't cost a fortune? We currently pay $50 a year. I think $10 a month would be reasonable, $20 a month or $240 a year would be the absolute maximum. I'm not an internet guru but I do know the basics. So please consider that with your recommendations. Perhaps there are simple tweaks I can suggest to our current provider that would be sufficient or perhaps there are other providers who really know how to setup a server for vBulletin performance? Our bandwidth and traffic in general have roughly doubled each year for the past few years, so if that trend continues we will need to make a change at some point.

    Thank you for any suggestions!

    http://www.car-seat.org
    I think most people would agree with me here that your traffic is probably much higher than would be suitable for a shared hosting environment. It's not the hits and bandwidth so much as the fact that database-driven sites use lots of resources.

    Even though your site is run by a non-profit group, could you perhaps run ads or take donations from your regulars to allow you to upgrade to, perhaps, a VPS setup? It would probably cost you at least twice your maximum budgeted amount, but it would definitely provide room for further growth.

    If you are willing or able to consider this possibility, let us all know and I'm sure you'll get plenty of recommendations here.

    Peace,
    Gene

    Comment


    • #3
      We've managed to avoid taking donations, sponosrhips or advertisements for the last 6 or so years since the forums began. I realize that this may be inevitable at some point.

      I'm willing to take any suggestions regarding type of service and/or service provider. If it does come to the point of acccepting money to fund an upgrade, it really would have to make the forums run very well. Are all VPS setups created equal or are there significant variations in performance?

      Anyone know of a reputable VPS provider that gives non-profit organizations a discount?

      Comment


      • #4
        Originally posted by Carsafety View Post
        We've managed to avoid taking donations, sponosrhips or advertisements for the last 6 or so years since the forums began. I realize that this may be inevitable at some point.

        I'm willing to take any suggestions regarding type of service and/or service provider. If it does come to the point of acccepting money to fund an upgrade, it really would have to make the forums run very well. Are all VPS setups created equal or are there significant variations in performance?

        Anyone know of a reputable VPS provider that gives non-profit organizations a discount?
        There are lots and lots of hosts and it's not like buying an appliance. They differ in terms of network reliability, performance and customer service.

        The best thing to do is call the suggested hosts and see what they can offer you.

        I am using the VPS-Extreme package at HostICan, which has been a nearly perfect solution since setting it up in mid-May. I have a vBulletin board, two lesser open source-powered boards, a WordPress blog, and lots of other stuff, including downloads of the Podcast versions of two radio shows. I'm sure they could handle your needs without any problems.

        Peace,
        Gene

        Comment


        • #5
          Given my current numbers and allowing for some room to grow, what type of specs would I be likely to need on a VPS setup? I've done a little browsing and really have no idea to judge what processor speed or memory allocation would be adequate.

          Any other input on low cost VPS or high quality shared providers that might be able to handle our forums would be appreciated.

          I've also upgraded to the latest Vbulletin version today and implemented some performance tips on settings that I have found browsing the forums. Any other input on software side or server side settings would be great, too.

          Thanks again!

          Comment


          • #6
            Originally posted by Carsafety View Post
            Given my current numbers and allowing for some room to grow, what type of specs would I be likely to need on a VPS setup? I've done a little browsing and really have no idea to judge what processor speed or memory allocation would be adequate.

            Any other input on low cost VPS or high quality shared providers that might be able to handle our forums would be appreciated.

            I've also upgraded to the latest Vbulletin version today and implemented some performance tips on settings that I have found browsing the forums. Any other input on software side or server side settings would be great, too.

            Thanks again!
            I know there are tips on server-side stuff in these forums, but I wouldn't be able to suggest anything.

            The main choices you'd want to consider include RAM, storage and bandwidth, as such things as resource allotments may be difficult to discern. Obviously, you'll want to have a server with the latest processors from AMD or Intel. The VPS-Extreme setup I have at HostICan, for example, runs on a server with two quad-core Intel Xeons, running at 3GHz, which are about the fastest server chips out now. The system also has 12GB of RAM.

            That particular setup, which costs $89.95, has 512MB of RAM, and 60GB storage. They have a setup for half that price, with roughly half the specs.

            Another consideration is the control panel. The most popular is cPanel, and it is pretty easy and intuitive as such things go. The newest version, 11, has better management tools and improved security. Plesk is also used, but I'm not as enamored with their interface.

            Above all, I would think any decent VPS system could house your forum. The key here is to check out the host's reputation for reliable performance, speed, uptime and customer service.

            Good luck in your search.

            Peace,
            Gene

            Comment


            • #7
              As a note about our stats, 600 users is at peak times with 60 minute cookie timeout. It's more like 200-250 at peak times for 15 minutes.

              Comment


              • #8
                Originally posted by Carsafety View Post
                As a note about our stats, 600 users is at peak times with 60 minute cookie timeout. It's more like 200-250 at peak times for 15 minutes.

                I would surely think a VPS setup will work fine for you.

                Peace,
                Gene

                Comment


                • #9
                  If you base your server needs on concurrent users, what is the best way to get that number?

                  Is it the "Who's online" feature of Vbulletin? If so, what cookie timeout period is normally used to quote this number? Is there a better way to get this number?

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    On a VPS concurrent connections wont matter, as you are not limited, if you need more you just edit the my.cnf and that's it you can raise it as much as you would like.

                    Connections are on / off all the time, so when you request something it opens a session and then closes it, etc...

                    a VPS would be fine for this, so this shouldn't be a worry.

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      Do I need to be a linux guru to run a VPS? I'm clearly not. While I can manage Cpanel and basic file editing, I don't have the time or background to do anything that requires constant changes or significant expertise.

                      Comment


                      • #12
                        I don't see why you would need a lot of background with running a VPS... The most you need to know is how to use cPanel, WHM, and restarting your VPS. Unless you plan on putting other applications on the server such as a Ventrilo server, TeamSpeak server, or shoutcast server (etc) you should be fine. I went into a VPS with no knowledge whatsoever but honestly it really isn't that hard to operate and manage it. If you need help once you get the VPS go ahead and give me a jingle I can help ya

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Originally posted by Yours View Post
                          I don't see why you would need a lot of background with running a VPS... The most you need to know is how to use cPanel, WHM, and restarting your VPS. Unless you plan on putting other applications on the server such as a Ventrilo server, TeamSpeak server, or shoutcast server (etc) you should be fine. I went into a VPS with no knowledge whatsoever but honestly it really isn't that hard to operate and manage it. If you need help once you get the VPS go ahead and give me a jingle I can help ya
                          And i volunteer to assist as well. It's really no big deal once it's all set up.

                          Peace,
                          Gene

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            What is WHM?

                            Also, you mention restarts. If there is some issue, is it dependent on me to be available to restart the server and get the forums going again? If so, that could lead to significant downtime...

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Restarting is just a simple click of a button and the server does the rest. Now as for WHM that you may need to look into... its a bit complicated to explain

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