This is one of the most important decisions – which web hosting service to select for your website?
You need a server when you want to take your business on the World Wide Web. The type of server you choose should reflect a number of criteria:-
Some thoughts we have regarding servers are shared below :-
Servers as opposed to desktop computers are optimized to run 24×7 reliably without RAM errors ( use ECC RAM) and high MTBF components like Enterprise RAID Ready Hard drives for a variety of needs and a degree of fault tolerance can be built into their design.
Internet Hosting business has a longtime saying which has been considered gospel truth ‘You get what you pay for’. While a poorly managed web hosting service with un-even cash flows provider can be a nightmare for your online business, lower costs are also a function of economy of scale so be very very wary of price discrimination in the marketplace similar offerings can be available for a price difference of 100s of %age points, so if you find a bargain deal, don’t discount its value.
So let us cut the cruft of zillions of options mentioned on hosting company’s websites and focus on what is really important.
What do you care about processing power or server brand. In a hosted environment it doesn’t make a difference of zilch whether the server has been hand assembled
With the size of disks increasing every year does it really matter anymore. Make sure you get mirroring on your disks, it doesn’t bode well for your business if a webhost puts in a single un-mirrored disk into your server. The other thing you should be worried about is throughput your disk system can offer you vs cost. Though these with cheaper RAM and a lot of caching it doesn’t make sense to buy SAS 10/15K RPM drives especially since their performance vs acquisition cost+operating cost is out of whack.
Multi-core processors are good. Server applications benefit a lot from multi-processing capabilities. Anything less than 4 cores in a processor is a waste of power and increases your operating costs drastically. Watch out for hosting companies offering you processors that are single core or two cores. They should totally be phased out. Nothing to against slightly older model of processors, they allow you to have great price-performance ratio, between each processor iteration the chip companies charge a lot more money for newer processors while adding a couple of %age points of performance.
Security: In shared hosting, different clients share the same server and each client has its own share of resources but vulnerabilities in one application out of 100s of shared hosting clients can cause a security meltdown bringing down your site. So while you are sharing the cost of a server to run your application for cheap you are also sharing un-limited security risks. VPS is a better option if your needs are small and you can’t afford a full dedicated server. Oh by the firewalls provide a false sense of security. Strong host based application specific security measures and monitoring both human/automated variety is required to maintain security for your servers.
Latency and Speed
The speed and responsiveness of your website not only depends on allocating a fair share of memory(RAM) and CPU to your visitors so your apache has free httpd children or threads to immediately respond with data but also how much geographically closer and number of hops away your server is from your clients. See why latency matters .
Use open source software wherever whenever possible. There is typically no advantage to paying for software subscription services for Open Source software if your webhost provides you with managed services taking care of that. There is always value for money in choosing CentOS over its commercial variant from brand reminding you of colored hats. Proprietary control panels to help you managed Linux servers are security nightmares. Relying on Open Source control panels is best for avoiding lockin .
Bandwidth is the amount of monthly data transfer allowed by the web hosting service provider. A webhost might offer you seemingly un-limited bandwidth on a small pipe like 1Mbps.
Here are a few data points :-
1 Mbps == 300GB of dataflow every month on either side. Assuming 1/6th data transfer on the upload side ( as opposed to download from your site) total data transfer available to you is 350GB or roundabout for a typical web application. For symmetrical usage on say VOIP or two-way video applications it would be double at . A 1Mbps pipe also constrains your visitors when the pipe is full the website would appear very slow and any advantages of hosting in India might vanish into thin air.
2 Mbps == 600GB on either side, 700GB typical. Same disadvantages as a 1Mbps pipe.
5 Mbps == 1.5TB on either side, mitigation of some disadvantages of 1-2 Mbps pipes.
5 Mbps burstable to 10Mbps sufficient for most websites but still a very large burst of traffic can bring down the site. The catch here is how the webhost bills, at 95th percentile billing you would almost always end up paying higher than you bargained for.
10Mbps 1:2 un-metered, the webhost takes care of your bandwidth overages if at the price of pure 1:1 5Mbps or a few percentage points you should almost always take it. Choose this kind of a plan if 1-1.5TB of bandwidth won’t suffice for you since you are doing something like 2-way video streaming or similar bandwidth intensive application with fairly uniform usage characteristics. Web traffic by its very nature is bursty.
1TB-3TB of dataflow per server on 100/1000 Mbps connection to Internet. A mature webhost who understands it is important for your site not to be slowed down regardless of the how huge a burst of traffic you get and provides you with a generous quota of bandwidth. That is what we do at E2E Networks
Managed or Un-managed
Managed Dedicated Servers: In managed hosting, the web host provides monitoring and maintenance of the dedicated server and the client doesn’t need to have any system administration resources. The host takes care of any technical difficulties that might arise in the server. The client might not be online 24×7 to manage the dedicated server or website and thus the host team handles the day to day needs of the dedicated server. A basic managed service with automated SMS/E-mail alerts 24×7 is almost always a good idea.
Unmanaged Dedicated Servers: In unmanaged hosting, the server is maintained and managed by the client. The web host provides storage space, physical security and negotiated bandwidth. Since the web host is not responsible for monitoring, these are less costly. But before leasing an un-managed dedicated server, the client should be sure that they have an experienced technical team to take care of the server.
Hosting contract term
Big bad hosting companies who lock you into multi-year contracts are evil avoid them like plague, you should never ever choose contracts more than 1 year for your hosting needs regardless of the fact that you might want to stay with the same hosting company over years to enjoy loyalty bonuses and free hardware upgrades. And always make sure you have some exit clause to let you out of the hosting contract incase the webhost is unable to meet the promised SLA, has network performance or support issues.