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Server advice please


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I'm on the hunt for a new server, not looking for company recommendations as that would be naughty with IPS selling their own hosting and I know who I'm going with, I'm just looking for a little advice on what I should be purchasing.

My forum will be pretty much be stock with just 2 plugins to show ads after x topics and x posts. We have roughly 1.5m page views per month and on average 200 people online, maybe 80 of which will be members. We do hit around 600/800 on a matchday (football forum) with 150 members. We're approaching 1m posts, with 5729 members.

Not looking to scrape through with minimum requirements, I'd like the site to run comfortably without breaking the bank. I barely know what I'm doing so don't fancy going down the dedicated route so I'm looking at VPS which can still be pretty scary but I've got bored of the downtime with shared cloud servers and given all kind of excuses. I have a choice of.....

vCPU 1, 2, 3, 4, 6 or 8

Ram 1, 2, 4, 6, 8, 16gb

HDD or SSD

Centos 7 or 6, Debian 6 squeeze, Debian 7 wheezy, fedora 21, ubuntu LTS 14.04 or 12.04

Dell PowerEdge servers and Intel dual Hexacore Xeon CPUs with either 10k SAS or Samsung SSD drives configured in RAID 10

I've been reading a bunch on here and I know a lot can depend on the optimisation but any advice on what I should be purchasing would be great.

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I barely know what I'm talking about but there are other considerations as well.

Does your host easily facilitate upgrading your VPS, if you go that way, to a greater capacity.  Mine does with a simple click of a button. No "migrations" which is important if you think your site will grow.

Does your host allow you to select the version of PHP you want? From the discussion on this board yesterday, I just happened to peruse PHP 7 on my host, a VPS, and I was amazed to find I could install any level of PHP with a simple click of a button, and ... not uninstall a previous version of PHP which was important for other software that needs a lower level of PHP.

The importance of support is really key.  My site was loading super slowly three months back, taking upwards of 3 - 5 minutes.  They offered a free mysql optimization analysis and it revealed two things that needed to be done.  As a result, my site is running like the wind.

Definitely SSD.

Kind of shocked that you would be considering anything less than 16gb Ram. It should be more like 32 gb.

- Brian

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1 minute ago, CheersnGears said:

Is it just going to be the one website?  If so, Centos 7, SSD, 4cpu, 4 - 8 gb of ram depending on cost.  

I fully agree with the exception of the ram. If it were me I'd be looking at 16gb or higher. Not to mention I am a big Fedora fan where it comes to servers.

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Just now, Woodsman said:

I fully agree with the exception of the ram. If it were me I'd be looking at 16gb or higher. Not to mention I am a big Fedora fan where it comes to servers.

He mentioned cost... so I was trying to strike a balance there.   I picked CentOS because even if it doesn't come with a cpanel he could install one.  He mentioned he's not really sure what he's doing, so using WHM/Cpanel to run things may be better. 

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Thanks for the replies so far, it does come with cPanel and it is just for one site.

8gb ram is the maximum they offer for VPS, I can go for 16 or 128gb if I went down the dedicated route although I have pretty much zero knowledge of running a server. There is an option to stay in the cloud with 16gb as well.

I know there is probably loads of other companies that would offer more options, just I have been with this company before with other sites and the support is right up there with the best I've ever had. Response times under 15 minutes.

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1 minute ago, CheersnGears said:

He mentioned cost... so I was trying to strike a balance there.   I picked CentOS because even if it doesn't come with a cpanel he could install one.  He mentioned he's not really sure what he's doing, so using WHM/Cpanel to run things may be better. 

Agree- He sure would not want to attempt anything like my unmanaged server. LOL!!!!.

There are still a few reputable VPS hosts out there today not looking to rape the less experienced. He will just need to take the time finding them.

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I think the calls for more than 16gb of ram are a bit excessive.  You can tune mysql to run comfortably inside of that.   I'm almost exactly half his max numbers (400 users online / 500k posts) on my main site.  I run multiple sites on the same server with 8gb of ram and mysql max ram is around 4gb.   If the ram is cheap and inside the budget, go for it... but more than 16 gig really isn't needed.

Can you tell us the spec of the server you are on now?

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3 minutes ago, CheersnGears said:

Can you tell us the spec of the server you are on now?

I wish I could, all I know is it's a cloud server and having spoke to them before moving a couple years ago they claimed it would run comfortably on their top package which I went with. Recently they have merged with another company and everything has gone downhill. 

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Got in a little to late.

Quote

 

I think the calls for more than 16gb of ram are a bit excessive.  You can tune mysql to run comfortably inside of that.   I'm almost exactly half his max numbers (400 users online / 500k posts) on my main site.  I run multiple sites on the same server with 8gb of ram and mysql max ram is around 4gb.   If the ram is cheap and inside the budget, go for it... but more than 16 gig really isn't needed.

Can you tell us the spec of the server you are on now?

 

There again this is true depending on what is being loaded. For example images can eat up not only bandwidth, but cpu and memory. I run a graphics site which may not be a big concern for him at present but the first thing that slapped me up thinking of servers.

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2 hours ago, Woodsman said:

I fully agree with the exception of the ram. If it were me I'd be looking at 16gb or higher. Not to mention I am a big Fedora fan where it comes to servers.

Why would you want 16 Gb of Ram for a site with 1M post? Database must be something like 2 to 3Gb in size. It will fit everything in Ram.

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You can go with a cheap dedicated server using Centos 7 and Nginx Mariadb phpfpm and a few caching methods like Zend opcache and Memcached......

8 - 16 Gb ram is fine:)

But you will need an admin to install them for you and optimized them also as the default installation will not give you the performance that you want....

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