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I have a classifieds website, with around 50thousand ads put in every month. I don't have any more statistics than this. I use PHP and MySql currently, and I am about to install Sphinx or SOLR on whatever VPS I get.

I am about to order a VPS (virtual private server) from a provider, but need some answers on these questions first:

1- First is, if I order a VPS, even if it is a Linux Ubuntu OS, that means I can administer it from my windows computer at home right?

2- How would I know which version of Ubuntu I need, is the latest preferred?

3- I am very good with windows, and have no prior experience with Linux, is this a problem really?

4- Do I require anything I might have missed here that you know of, in order to maintain this website myself with the VPS account?

5- My VPS provider can charge extra in exchange of a service called DirectAdmin ControlPanel, does anybody know what this is and if it is something I need?

6- What is 'automatic failover' and do I need it?

Any good articles that you know of will help also...

Thanks

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50K ads doesn't mean much really. How many uniques do you get per day and month? What about pageviews per day? –  gekkz Dec 29 '09 at 19:06
    
gekkz: yeah, it doesn't mean much... but the asker also states they have no other statistics, so asking is rather moot. –  Jeff Ferland Dec 29 '09 at 19:11
1  
@Autocracy He doesn't have them on hand, but I'm sure he can ask or get someone to look into it :). I wouldn't ask if it weren't important. –  gekkz Dec 29 '09 at 21:00
    
I suggest you get some facts before going any further. The information gekkz asks for is not to satisfy curiosity. It's so that an answer can be given that's relevant to your requirements. Plus, item 3 tells me you seriously need to either reconsider your plans or start learning real fast before proceeding any further. An OS you're unfamiliar with is ALWAYS the wrong choice for an Internet facing system. How can you possible expect to properly secure something you have no experience with? At this rate your next question will likely start something like "My web server has been hacked...". –  John Gardeniers Dec 29 '09 at 23:18
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3 Answers 3

up vote 0 down vote accepted
  1. Yes, though it will most likely be Ubuntu Server, without a desktop present, so you will have to administer it through Putty, or something similar, which offers a console interface.

  2. The latest is preferred, and 64-bit if you have a reasonably large amount of RAM (over 1GB), otherwise it won't be worth it on a small 512MB VPS, since it will slightly increase the amount of RAM used.

  3. Houston-esque like problem.

  4. (Some) Knowledge of Linux.

  5. It will offer point-and-click to add domains, upload files and configure databases.

  6. Depends, both on what it means and if you need it, though only you know if you need it, and only your provider knows how they define "automatic failover". I assume they might simply offer the possibility of starting up a new VPS connected to the same file system when your VPS goes down, essentially looking like a reboot after a crash to you, but if only Apache crashes, this sort of automatic failover won't take place.

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@OP - I would suggest the long term support version of Ubuntu server, instead of the latest. I would also suggest that you install VirtualBox on your PC, and "practice" administering a local VM with Ubuntu server installed. It's an easy & safe way to gain some experience. –  Joe Internet Dec 29 '09 at 20:33
    
@Joe Internet LTS vs. latest depends a lot on what you're doing. If your project won't last beyond the end of support for the latest version, latest is fine. If you need newer versions of PHP, MySQL, etc., latest may be necessary. –  ceejayoz Dec 29 '09 at 20:40
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  1. Yes
  2. Yesish... I'd suggest the Long Term Support server edition
  3. Yes, that is a bit of a problem.
  4. The most basic method is to download PuTTy and use that to SSH into your virtual host. That would allow you to do practically anything you needed, but you may find yourself with some issues due to #3.
  5. It is a simplified interface that allows control of the server without using the command line. You do not need it, but it may help you since you lack Linux experience.
  6. Automatic failover... is a lot of things. I'm assuming it's an option offered by your hosting service. If that's the case, I can't answer. I don't know what that concept means for them. Odds are, you will survive if your site for some reason is down for up to ~8 hours. You should have some method of regularly backing up your server to another location that you can recover from if the site really dies.
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1,2,3 - Yes.

4,5,6 - Do you require a VPS at all? Or do you simply want to host a website? If you don't do any crazy background processing, custom deployment or whatever else - there's no point in getting a VPS really. If you get a proper hosting account you'll be able to change your site whenever you want and others will take care about the whole system. With a VPS you'll have to care about backups, database maintenance, system updates, etc. You'll either have problems with keeping the host up and running, or with keeping script kiddies out.

Think about a proper hosting account instead. Or if you like windows, then just get a VPS with Windows Server and IIS + php installed.

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