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I plan to run a site, am located in central Europe but my visitors will be located in US and UK (plus some EU countries) in the first phase, if it becomes successful it will expand to the rest of the world as it is a global service.

Is server location an issue? Shall I run my server in Europe or US or it really doesn't matter?

For what price I can get reliable managed server hosting in US? Could you recommend me any?

For 180 euro I can get this in my country:

CPU Intel X3430 2.4GHz
2 GB DDR3 ECC
HDD 2x 500GB SATA
100/1000Mbps
unlimited data transfer

If I ordered this managed server, what performance I could expect? How much traffic I would have to have to make the site very slow/inaccessible? Have no big data transffers, long running alghoritms etc. Just a "common" LAMP application doing some graph generation now and then.

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closed as off topic by Iain Oct 16 '12 at 11:54

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5 Answers

Well let me say that given a high quality hosting center and good connections on both ends the delay between Germany (Nürnberg to be exact) and the US (a place on the west coast close to Chicago) is pretty exactly 120 ms. Tested 27/4 multiple times per second (except weekends where tests are done once per second) by a real time UDP Data stream I am getting.

The question, thus, is whether you can live with that or not. Depends on:

  • What your side is. Website? no difference should appear. Some games running against the server - you DONT want to play like a first person shooter with 120ms latency.
  • Where your customers are.

If I ordered this managed server, what performance could I expect?

If I rent a car, what top speed can I expect? Depends on the car. Same with a server.

How much traffic I would have to have to make the site very slow/inaccessible?

Depends on the server.

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120 ms is nothing for my purpose –  PetrB Nov 25 '10 at 11:18
    
I described the server configuration and would like to know what the maximum load it can handle presuming it's running the type of application I described. I know it's almost impossible to tell but I have no idea how to choose the right server configuration. –  PetrB Nov 25 '10 at 11:22
    
Test it. Put in a load test on your local equipment and then take it from there. Or give us THOSE numbers to work with. Or just get a decent mediunm size server (dual six core opteron) for future growth usage. –  TomTom Nov 25 '10 at 13:59
    
how is the West Coast close to Chicago? :) –  warren Oct 3 '12 at 14:49
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Check out Hetzner: http://www.hetzner.de/en/hosting/produkte_rootserver/eq4/ It's relative popular in Germany/Austria with good support and prices. From the rest of the money you should go with a CDN, for example CacheFly http://cachefly.com is affordable, to balance the distance to the US.

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Firstly I would suggest starting with a virtual server. A decent virtual machine with 512Mb RAM can support 50-60 RPS (requests per second) YMMV. A virutal server will cost you $20-30/month and can be upgraded at any time.

Secondly, I would suggest you make you site live before thinking about CDN etc.

Your third question is about the maximum load after which you will see a performance degradation. Well there is no way of telling. Have you done any benchmarking of your application? Use apache bench (ab) or siege to test your site in your dev environment. That will help get an idea of your hardware requirement.

To help pick a good hosting company, I would suggest you take a look at Netcrafts top ranked most reliable hosting companies. If you are planning to host in the USI suggest you go with east coast.

http://uptime.netcraft.com/perf/reports/performance/Hosters?orderby=epercent&tn=october_2010

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PeterB,

I would suggest you check out the www.cloudsigma.com offering. The key "cool" they offer is you can start and scale as you need.

The same server is cheaper than in your county and they are fully excellent for your needs for a long list of reasons.

Try it out for free for 14 days but you will see they rock in price and performance.

am

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Looks great but it seems they don't offer managed servers. I would need somebody to manage my server because I'm not an experienced linux admin and whatsmore I don't have time for this. –  PetrB Nov 25 '10 at 12:34
    
PetrB, Nope, not managed servers but dynamically scaled systems. –  Agustin Nov 29 '10 at 19:58
    
opps. Didn't finish my comment. Let me try again. Nope, not managed servers but dynamically scaled systems. However, it might be the right solution if you find a systems admin company to run the systems for you if you don't have time. Otherwise, the market volume in Germany will help you keep the costs in check. We prefer the CloudSigma solution because it gives us the best price/control over the servers. I wish you the best of luck with this task. Let me know if I can help more. –  Agustin Nov 29 '10 at 20:07
    
I understand, thank you. Have you also considered Amazon AWS? Is it the same kind of service as CloudSigma, isn't it? What are pros and cons? –  PetrB Nov 30 '10 at 8:20
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While these days bandwidth is cheap, the limiting factor in end-user performance experience for web-based apps is latency. And by far the best ways to address latency are:

  • caching - push as much caching out as possible
  • having servers nearer to your users

Both are big topics. But focussing on the latter, server location is very important. There are two implications for this:

  • your application needs to support operation on distributed locations (think particularly about managing sequence numbers and autoincrement ids as well as data replication)
  • you need a geographically sensitive DNS service

Regarding the former - you'll save yourself an enormous amount of time and effort if you design your application around multiple servers from day1.

While you can roll your own solution to the latter, its a lot simpler to use a location-aware DNS service. There's an article here you might find useful - try google for more.

There's no end of service providers touting for your business, however I'd recommend you think about whether you really need a dedicated server (or multiple dedicated servers) from the start. One or more VPS, or perhaps even shared hosts may suffice, indeed I'd expect to get a lot performance by using a couple of VPS in different contitents rahter than a single dedicated machine.

what performance I could expect? How much traffic I would have to have to make the site very slow/inaccessible?

These are impossible to answer until your site is built and you test it to find out.

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