Take the 2-minute tour ×
Server Fault is a question and answer site for professional system and network administrators. It's 100% free, no registration required.

What should I think about when ordering a VPS account (virtual private server), I have these questions that I would like answered:

1- How much processor 'power' do I need? I mean, they are offering different packages... Also, there is in every package a 'guaranteed' processor power as well as a 'maximum' power, example is the light package which is 100mhz and a max of 1ghz...

2- How much RAM do I need?

3- Whats with the IP:s, some packages cover only 1 IP while others have more, how do I know how many I need?

4- How do I know what OS I need ?

I guess you would need to know what kind of website I am planning on maintaining, here is a description of it:

It is a classifieds website, created with PHP and using (currently) Mysql, and I am planning on installing SOLR or Sphinx later on for the searching of the database. I have currently arount 100thousand ads put in every 2 months. There is images for all ads, and the images are some 100kb in size each. It's quite simple, with not so much graphics, just a pretty good search function of the ads. No user login or so.

Hope you could help me out, or atleast give me some articles to read so that I better understand what I need to order.

Thanks, and if you need more input, just let me know!

share|improve this question

migrated from stackoverflow.com Dec 28 '09 at 22:58

This question came from our site for professional and enthusiast programmers.

    
why do you think you need a VPS? what are you currently using to host your website ( specifics.. )? what's your monthly bandwidth, # of uniques, average bandwidth per visitor/user? –  meder Dec 28 '09 at 22:52
    
plus you tagged this as sql-server in addition to mysql - can you clarify if you're using both or one instead of the other? –  meder Dec 28 '09 at 22:54

2 Answers 2

up vote 2 down vote accepted

A VPS might well be the best compromise route to take, between shared hosting and dedicated servers. The former doesn't lend itself to having a lot of control, which you may well want if you're planning on running additional daemons or processes, such as a search service. The latter tends to be expensive for a smaller site.

  1. [Processor] You're not hosting a huge site with a lot of complex computation needed; it's serving a few dynamic pages, so a fairly lightweight package should suffice, especially if you don't have a huge volume of traffic.

  2. [RAM] Again, you're unlikely to need a vast amount of RAM. 256MB or so is plenty for an entry-level package and a relatively small-to-medium sized site.

  3. [IP Addresses] One should suffice, frankly.

  4. [OS] Linux is probably your best bet. Bear in mind that you'll need to be able to administer it yourself, so pick a distribution you're reasonably confident with, or otherwise able to learn. Certainly, stick to a Unix-like operating system if you're hosting PHP. Windows tends to be unnecessarily expensive at this level.

Questions you should also be asking are:

  • How much storage have you got? This will affect how large your source code is allowed to get, how much data (including data stored in a database) you can store, etc.
  • How much data transfer do you get? This will dictate how much data you can serve per month, in gigabytes. Go over the limit, and you'll usually start to incur pricier per-unit costs. Worth thinking about, even if you've only got text at the moment.

Some thoughts on next actions:

  • Make sure you're comfortable with the idea of administering your own server. It might be a virtual box on someone else's hardware, but you're still ultimately responsible for a lot of it, and that includes setting things up, maintaining them, and keeping them up-to-date and secure.
  • If you do pick an offer, see if you can opt for a short-term or rolling contract that you can cancel or modify reasonably rapidly if you find you've made the wrong choice. Most providers will let you upgrade to a higher package mid-term, but many will try to get you to pay for a fixed amount up front.
share|improve this answer

1- How much processor 'power' do I need? I mean, they are offering different packages...

If you test on a unix (linux, os x) machine, you can estimate this based on: a) the relative performance of your processor and the one you're considering; b) the CPU load average (measured in processes waiting to use the CPU) and CPU usage (measured in percent) figures for your current test machine. Scale up for the number of simultaenous users you need, etc.

Also, there is in every package a 'guaranteed' processor power as well as a 'maximum' power, example is the light package which is 100mhz and a max of 1ghz...

Ignore the maximum. If it's not guaranteed, it might as well not exist.

2- How much RAM do I need?

Calculate this using the memory that apache and/or php uses. Sometimes they're both combined in one process (mod_php) and sometimes they're seperate processes (fastcgi). Add on additional memory for mysql usage (including mysql caching), memcached or other caching solutions you might want, etc.

For a small private homepage type site, 512 is ample. For a largish site, you'll want 2GB at least.

3- Whats with the IP:s, some packages cover only 1 IP while others have more, how do I know how many I need?

For normal sites, one is enough. For each HTTPS/SSL server (each online store or secure site), you'll need a seperate IP. If you have multiple stores or secure sites all belonging to one company and under the same parent domain (store1.googleclone.com, store2.googleclone.com), then you can use a wildcard ssl certificate with one IP afaik, but that's rare.

4- How do I know what OS I need ?

Just use Linux. If you mean what distro, I'd heartily recommend debian, or for you, perhaps the latest LTS server release of Ubuntu. My advice is stay well clear of redhat based systems like centos or RHEL. Mostly they seem as good as each other, but when you really need to do proper admin on your server, you'll notice the difference in Debian-based distros by their ease of administration (easy package management, good support for many packages etc.) and configuration (packages are designed to work together better, and to be more flexible).

share|improve this answer

Your Answer

 
discard

By posting your answer, you agree to the privacy policy and terms of service.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.