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Having decided to quit my job and start a web development business, after some success with previous business. I will be starting with 9 clients but are looking to expand to 25 relatively quickly.

However each of these clients currently use their own shared hosting package, I wish to set up a dedicated or virtual server but having spoken to Rackspace they have pointed me towards cloud servers.

Now as a designer I have limited knowledge of servers, i.e. I can install apache on linux but pretty limited skills in server fields.

For a small web business am I best just getting a low end virtual server, I'm getting presure off most of the server companies to spend a fortune and I just don't believe it is needed, ideally £35-40 a month to start off is perfect.

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closed as too localized by Zoredache, mailq, Ward, Scott Pack, HopelessN00b Aug 28 '12 at 16:36

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If you are a developer then you want a reseller shared hosting package from a reputable web host who will offer you support. You don't want to get your own dedicated or VPS box that you will have to be the sysadmin for.

Development is fairly predictable work, sysadminning can be all-out chaos. With development you are dealing with stuff you know and have chosen to work with. With sysadminning you will be dealing with whatever the problem of the moment happens to be. You'll have to deal with system configurations, spammers, DoS attackers, email delivery issues and who knows what else. If you won't want to have to be available 24/7 to solve problems that you may have no expertise in, then get a well supported reseller shared package and stay away from dedicated, VPS, or cloud servers.

Now, having said that, if your clients are heavy enterprise level sites, then you're not going to be able to get away with shared hosting so you'll have to look at dedis or VPSes or cloud servers, but my experience has been that small shops like yours don't typically have that enterprise-level requirement.

I've seen a lot of web designers and developers go down the tubes because they embarked on this same step and grossly underestimated the amount of knowledge and work required to maintain a system. It's easy to think that maintaining a web server isn't hard work when someone else is doing it for you and you have no visibility into what they're doing. That's why I very strongly recommend that you source out and be willing to pay for very good sysadmin support. Over time you may become knowledgeable enough to sysadmin your own system and you can drop that level of support at that time.

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Well said. <filling space> –  EEAA Oct 20 '11 at 15:50
    
thank you so much, are you allowed to recommend any systems thanks kris, would shared hosting prevent ssl certificates though? –  nextyear Oct 20 '11 at 16:47
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It depends on what this server/VPS will be used for.

Do you intend to move your customers there, or do you wish to use it as your dev/testing environment ?

In the latter case, I would advise you to run a dev server locally instead - there is nothing you can do on a public server that you cannot do at home.

If the former - do not underscale; for 25 web sites you want to spend at least a few hundred a month, to get quality all-in-one service (including DNS, mail, etc.)

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